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  • Writer's pictureWatch and Pray

Weekly round up of news: 27 December 2019

A priest and former seminarian professor who preferred to remain anonymous told Church Militant Boris Johnson's message was positive and hopeful for Christians, while the pope's was negative and disheartening. "Christmas Day is, first and foremost, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ," said Johnson, adding: "It is a day of inestimable importance to billions of Christians the world over." He used the occasion to remember Christian persecution throughout the world and state his resolve to defend the right of Christians to practice their faith in peace. "Today, of all days, I want us to remember those Christians around the world who are facing persecution. For them, Christmas Day will be marked in private, in secret, perhaps even in a prison cell. As Prime Minister, that's something I want to change," said Johnson. "We stand with Christians everywhere, in solidarity, and will defend your right to practice your faith," he added. The pope, meanwhile, told the curia, "We are no longer living in a Christian world, because faith ― especially in Europe, but also in a large part of the West ― is no longer an evident presupposition of social life.

Banks around the world are unveiling the biggest round of job cuts in four years as they slash costs to weather a slowing economy and adapt to digital technology. This year, more than 50 lenders have announced plans to cut a combined 77,780 jobs, the most since 91,448 in 2015, according to filings by the companies and labor unions.

Technology has turned this type of thing into a far darker art. Algorithms that can identify and analyze images have developed to a point where it’s possible to create convincing video or audio.. We’re living in a period of technological wonderment, but many of the shiniest new technologies come with their own built-in potential for harm. These are five of the most dystopian technologies of 2020—and beyond. Predictive algorithms: Are they a helpful tool or an invasion of privacy? - There is a massive shift occurring within our public services that few, until now, have known about - the rise of predictive algorithms. You could be affected - and you wouldn't even know about it.

USMCA is merely a merger of both NAFTA and TPP — a fact that was even touted by Richard N. Haass, the president of the pro-one world government Council on Foreign Relations.. serious threat that global and regional governance bodies pose to U.S. national sovereignty, which the USMCA only further builds upon. The USMCA establishes an EU-style Free Trade Commission. Part of a World Government Build-up - The USMCA is part of a startling, but purposeful, strategy used by the globalist elites to integrate individual nations into regional unions... Existing unions include the European Union, African Union, Union of South America, Eurasian Economic Union, and more. We’ve stopped similar trade deals in the past, including the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the TPP, and the TTIP.

In 2020, eight Francophone West African countries belonging to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) will rename their CFA franc to Eco: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. As part of this agreement, French officials will no longer be represented on the governing bodies of these African central banks and member states will no longer keep half their foreign reserves in France... But the currency reform does not change the fact that 14 West African countries still pay a colonial-era tax to France and the harsh legacy of French colonialism persists. In 1999, when France took up the currency of the European Union, the euro was “hard-pegged” to the CFA...

This project maps Europe’s role across the Middle East and north Africa, making the case that Europeans can do more to leverage their influence in pursuit of core interests... The project has three main components. Firstly, it maps and quantifies European tools of influence across the MENA region – covering political, military, and economic capabilities – in a series of interactive data visualisations. Secondly, it includes 12 essays on European regional influence, written by experts from key states in the MENA region and beyond. Finally, it sets out the views of MENA officials and experts from all 28 EU member states on European assets and ambitions. The European Council has 47 Member States, 28 that are members of the European Union. "More than 45 non-member states are Parties to Council of Europe treaties or members, observers or participants in Partial and Enlarged Agreements, such as the Venice Commission, Pompidou Group or the North-South Centre. Council of Europe legal instruments are increasingly drawn up with the participation of interested non-member states. Specific relations are maintained with more than 70 non-member States and countries in the neighbouring regions."

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) –Chairman of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Alen Chastanet, says the regional grouping exemplifies the spirt of togetherness “when we celebrate our achievements in different fields of endeavour and when we stand in solidarity with those who are faced with adverse circumstances”.

In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Xi signed an agreement to discuss harmonizing the Eurasian Economic Union with China’s Belt and Road, an important acknowledgement of respect for the Russian-led project, and the partnership between the two countries has continued to grow.... China’s push into Central Asia through Belt and Road-linked investment projects has made Central Asia into a geopolitical laboratory—and a new frontier for global trade. How China Is Colonizing Africa Using Trade, Aid, and Debt-Trap Diplomacy - Today, China is the largest trading partner in Africa – a surprising turn of events considering how in the 1960s trade between China and Africa was almost non-existent...China also appears to be working to establish bases of operations for future wars. China’s Belt and Road projects drive overseas debt fears

US recalls ambassador to Zambia after he criticized jailing of gay couple: Report The United States has withdrawn its ambassador to the southern African nation of Zambia after he condemned the sentencing of a local gay couple to 15 years in prison, Reuters reported Monday

A Christmas greeting from Franciscans International (FI), a human rights group formed by various Franciscan orders, depicted the Andean earth-goddess “Pachamama” alongside... Mary.

Cardinals cross arms over chest to venerate Mother Earth. The Mother Earth goddess, worshipped by the indigenous people of the Amazon, was invoked by a Latin American woman before an audience of 5,000, while two million watched on television in Italy and around the world on Christmas Eve and the afternoon of Christmas day. An indigenous woman asked the audience to cross their arms over their chest and to feel a strong vibration: 'the heart of Mother Earth.'

Iowa Man Gets 16 Years for Burning LGBT Flag As leftists are free to torch U.S. flags across the nation, an Iowa man is paying a heavy price for burning a rainbow LGBT pride flag. In addition to spending a decade and a half in prison for burning the LGBT flag, the 30-year-old Martinez also will be serving an additional year for his use of fire and 30 days for harassment.

Biological Male Files Lawsuit Demanding Entry Into Female Beauty Pageant A biological male who identifies as a transgender woman is suing after being denied entry into a female beauty pageant in Oregon.

Activists and leaders were honored for their contributions in the effort to end extreme poverty. The Deputy Secretary-General (United Nations) Amina J. Mohammed won the prize for World Leader of the Year for her work to promote the Sustainable Development Goals around the world. Sting won Artist of the Year prize for his decades of work to preserve the rainforests. UN Agenda 2030: A Recipe for Global Socialism - “This agenda promises a brave new world, a new world which we have to consciously construct, a new world that calls for the creation of a new global citizen,”

Pope Says ‘Real Disciples Never Share Faith’ or ‘Try to Convert People “Asked by one of the students Friday how a Christian should treat people of other faiths or no faith, the pope said that “we are all the same, all children of God and that true disciples of Jesus do not proselytize.”………….Jesus said something different. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:18-20).

Pope Reinvents Church: Nixes Traditions, Claims Jesus is ‘Refugee’, and Now: ‘Eco-Sins’ Pope Francis’ Christmas address shocked many as he rejected tradition, Western culture and compared Jesus in Bethlehem to a refugee. “Christendom no longer exists!” Francis declared in his speech. “Today we are no longer the only ones who create culture, nor are we in the forefront of those most listened to. "Pope Francis specified that the culture he was rejecting was European. It should be noted that Jesus was not a refugee and was, in fact, described in the New Testament as being from the tribe of Judah.

The publication reported that that some members go to donate blood and are paid up to £100 by medical trial companies. This money is then handed by the young people over to the church’s pastors... SPAC Nation was already embroiled in allegations that some of its pastors pressured young people to take out loans to donate to the church. Conned by my Church - for the past five years, a radical new church has been promising hundreds of young people an escape from gangs and crime and a pathway to salvation, SPAC Nation, the Salvation Proclaimers Anointed Church. Its leader, Tobi Adegboyega, has been courted by politicians and the media for his work in tackling gang violence. But Panorama has discovered how the church’s outward show of concern for young people hides a less than charitable appetite for money. African Preachers Preying on the Vulnerable - They have been known to hoodwink their followers into parting with huge sums of money and also subject them to dubious rituals, in the name of “performing miracles”. This Is Unbelievable - Dennis Bentil

Legionaries founder sexually abused 60 boys, religious order’s report says Sexual abuse of minors was rife among superiors of the Legionaries of Christ Catholic religious order, with at least 60 boys abused by its founder Father Marcial Maciel, a report by the group showed.

“Their vulnerability also means that they are easy targets for exploitation by criminal gangs, who are expanding drugs markets through ‘county lines’ activity into semi-rural areas,” the report states. “As a result of this exploitation and the fact that many go missing, we hear a lot about the challenges these children pose to services: the difficulties for the police, health and education services of having a constant flux of very vulnerable children concentrated in one area.” Almost 40 cases a week linked to witchcraft and child abuse, councils report - Abuse of children based on faith or belief – which includes witchcraft, spirit possession and black magic – increased from 1,460 to 1,950 cases between 2016/17 and 2018/19.

The new spending bill, HR 1685, re-authorizes funding the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The USCIRF reports to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress, making recommendations for government actions to promote religious liberty abroad.

Christian higher education, like many other parts of Christian culture and church life, follows broader cultural trends. And those trends are distinctly anti-Christian.

George Soros and his ‘rented evangelicals’ outed by Christian leaders A new video from the American Association of Evangelicals reveals how George Soros, through his many funding ventures, has been busily infiltrating the Christian base in America to divide, and ultimately conquer, the religious minded within the Republican Party.

Dulis: Christianity Today Editor Champions Theologian Who Excused Stalin’s Mass Murder Reading this piece, …those issues are dwarfed substantially by the stunning hypocrisy of Galli’s judgment on the Deplorables… . [W]e have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view,… Note the admission here: “We,” CT‘s editorial staff, have tried to understand the “they” of Trump supporters. That phrasing — us and them — indicates there are no Trump supporters among CT‘s editorial staff,… .

If you’re a pious Christian mom who wants to escape into a universe where all the cynicism and immorality of modern life aren’t allowed, or if you want to snuggle up with your eight-year-old daughter and watch a silly movie without having to explain inappropriate content you weren’t expecting, the Hallmark Channel is about the only place left that will let you do it..... Once, you could trust Disney and PBS not to fight actively against the Christian beliefs you wanted your children to hold. Then Disney and PBS stuck gay characters in programs aimed at preschoolers

... people incarcerated at the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security women’s prison with a capacity of more than 900, were making calls to California on behalf of Bloomberg. The people were required to end their calls by disclosing that the calls were paid for by the Bloomberg campaign. They did not disclose, however, that they were calling from behind bars... the former New York mayor is worth $54 billion... Bloomberg’s campaign has already hired more than 200 staffers in 21 states and spent over $76 million in television advertisements.

India National Population Register: Database agreed amid protests The Indian cabinet has approved funds for a census and a population survey to be held next year despite weeks of protests over a citizenship law that critics say is anti-Muslim. Authorities say the updated National Population Register (NPR) will be a comprehensive list of all residents. However, critics say it will be a list from which “doubtful citizens” will be asked to prove they are Indian.

The EU could face a backlash from "suspicious" Chinese entrepreneurs if it pursues its plans to limit foreign corporate ownership and China's involvement in 5G communications, the country's ambassador to the EU said.... Zhang Ming warned that if EU countries do not promote international cooperation and free markets, "it would be disastrous for them," as it would impact Chinese investments in the bloc. "Huawei: Beijing's Trojan Horse inside Europe." - Despite the ongoing U.S. effort to lobby its allies not to do business with #Huawei, Germany last month announced that it won’t exclude any supplier from participating in Huawei’s 5G rollout. Many more countries including the United Kingdom have not yet made a final decision.

Nearly 12 percent of global foreign direct investment was blocked in 2018 for national security concerns, according to a study by The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “In recent years, there have been numerous cases where foreign investment has been rejected by targeted host countries for national security reasons and related public concerns,” a report by UNCTAD stated.

Said Ahmidouch, the wali of Casablanca-Settat region, and his wife, and Rachid Afirat, the governor of Casablanca-Anfa prefecture, joined more than 800 Moroccan Jews and other dignitaries on Sunday at the community’s main Hanukkah event, which took place at a hotel in Casablanca.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely applauded the decision, saying “more and more countries are joining the historic process that began with the U.S., and are recognizing the historic connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem."

The two main obstacles to moving ahead with such relations seem to be public opinion and the Palestinian conflict.

U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Victoria Coates met recently with the ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Morocco in Washington; she also met with representatives from Israel’s foreign ministry to explore the idea

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the United Arab Emirates, tweeted an article supporting an emerging alliance of Arab states with Israel. He tweeted from his personal account to his 4.6 million followers. The tweet repeated the headline of the article: "Islam's reformation, an Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape in the Middle East."

(Jerusalem Post) Jonathan Spyer - Eight separate armed forces may be discerned in northeast Syria. There is the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the U.S. Army, the Turkish Army, the Turkish-associated Sunni Islamists of the Syrian National Army (SNA), the Syrian government army (SAA), the Russians, the IRGC-supported Shia militias, and the Sunni jihadis of Islamic State. South of SDF and U.S. forces, the Iranians have carved out an area of de facto control in the area just west of the Euphrates.

Erdoğan has warned that if the U.S. continues to "disrespect" Turkey, Ankara will seek "new friends and allies." Those new friends include Russia & Iran.

Turkey has thrown a spanner into the works of efforts by Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Egypt to develop East Mediterranean gas, putting a barrier across a proposed pipeline that would run from Israeli and Greek-Cypriot waters to the Greek island of Crete, on to the Greek mainland and into Europe's gas network via Italy. The $7-9 billion pipeline would have to cross the planned Turkey-Libya economic zone.

(MEMRI) In Turkey's Yeni Azafak daily, a mouthpiece of Turkey's ruling AKP party, editor-in-chief Abrahim Karagul wrote on Dec. 2: "The Ottomans are back...the claims of past centuries are back; in brief, everything that belongs to us is back. We have seen that they are all ours, they belong to us." Turkey's enemies "were dividing the Mediterranean, completely eliminating Turkey from this sea - which was once a Turkish Lake - and making it impossible for us to breathe." "The deal between Turkey and Libya not only ruined all plans over the Mediterranean but it also showed the world that Turkey has a Mediterranean map....Turkey and Libya directly became bordering countries. We build a shield right in the middle of the Mediterranean."

Netanyahu backs joint diplomatic effort after Erdogan claims economic rights over large swath of eastern Mediterranean, threatening Israeli gas pipeline.... The president of Cyprus said Friday that he’s in touch with the leaders of Egypt, Israel, Greece and Lebanon to formulate joint diplomatic action aimed at countering a Turkey-Libya maritime border deal that they say flouts international law and ratchets up regional tensions.

Oil discovery raises stakes between Israel and Lebanon People in south Lebanon fear another war between Israel and Hezbollah. In the last conflict in 2006, more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians had died compared with 23 on the Israeli side. But as Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reports from southern Lebanon, the discovery of oil and gas reserves in waters disputed by Lebanon and Israel has raised the stakes

The planned gas pipeline is projected to meet 10 percent of Europe’s natural-gas demand • Move comes amid rising tensions with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean ... The proposed pipeline system will take Israeli natural gas to the Greek island of Crete and the Greek mainland before heading on to Italy and other European countries.

Egypt will begin importing natural gas from Israel by mid-January 2020, a senior industry source said on Sunday. Israeli gas exports to Egypt will gradually reach 7 billion cubic meters, the source said on condition of anonymity.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Saturday said Russia and China had blood on their hands after the two countries used a veto of a United Nations security council resolution to block cross-border aid deliveries from Turkey and Iraq to millions of Syrian civilians.

Five years after Europe’s migrant crisis eased, Turkey is warning that it may no longer be able to handle a growing flood of refugees from Syria on its own. Tens of thousands of Syrians have moved towards the Turkish border in recent weeks because of attacks launched by Syrian regime and Russian forces on rebel positions in Syria’s north-western Idlib province.

Germany has rejected calls from the European Commission asking the country to take in more unaccompanied migrant children from overcrowded refugee camps in Greece.

After garnering over 72% of the vote in hotly contested primary race, he thanks supporters: "We have achieved a great victory. Thank you for your faith and support." Rival Gideon Sa'ar: "The results are clear, and my friends and I stand behind Netanyahu."

President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia has got a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons. Speaking at a meeting with top military brass, Putin said that for the first time in history Russia is now leading the world in developing an entire new class of weapons unlike in the past when it was catching up with the United States.

Russian expansion is on the table because Putin is trying to finalize the implementation of a union treaty that the two countries signed in 1998. Moscow and Minsk interpret the agreement differently, but Putin has begun to apply economic pressure to Belarus while scheduling a flurry of meetings with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko over the last year... The prospective agreement is widely regarded as a way to provide a new legal basis for Putin to remain in power, sources told the Washington Examiner.

Russia’s anti-doping agency Rusada has appealed against the country’s four year ban from major sporting events including the Olympic Games, setting up a court battle between the Kremlin and the global doping watchdog. Rusada said on Friday it had formally written to the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) to say it disagreed with the body’s imposition of a four-year ban sporting ban, after investigators uncovered years of state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has said that one of his allies had been forcibly conscripted and sent to serve at a remote Arctic base, in a move his supporters said amounted to kidnapping. Ruslan Shaveddinov, a project manager at Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation, went missing Monday after police broke into his Moscow flat and his phone’s SIM card was disabled.

China, Russia and Iran will hold joint naval drills starting Friday in the Gulf of Oman, Beijing and Tehran said, at a time of heightened tensions since the US withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran. Set to take place from December 27 to 30, the military exercises aim to "deepen exchange and cooperation between the navies of the three countries", Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian told reporters Thursday. Wu said the Chinese navy would deploy its Xining guided missile destroyer -- nicknamed the "carrier killer" for its array of anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles -- in the drills.

Barham Salih refusing to designate Asaad al-Eidani out of ‘desire to stop bloodshed. ’Iraqi president Barham Salih has threatened to resign rather than risk a constitutional crisis by refusing to designate as prime minister a pro-Iranian parliamentary bloc candidate rejected by protesters.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Cambridge University graduate and specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, said in a letter dated December 24 that she had begun refusing food and water at the Evin prison in Tehran. She was reportedly taking a course in Islamic studies in the holy city of Qom last year when she was arrested by Iranian authorities

Head of the IDF, Aviv Kochavi leveled with the Israeli people on Wednesday explaining that Israel will be fighting against Iran implying his disappointment with both the US and Sunni Gulf states who are also at odd with Tehran saying: “It would be better if we weren’t the only ones responding to them [militarily]” Israeli chief of staff’s speech underlines the sobering fact that it’s fighting Iran alone

The myth that has guided Western policymaking regarding the regime in Iran has been the existence of a power struggle between moderates and hardliners. Its brutal crackdown against protesters has finally shattered that myth

About 1,500 killed in Iran crackdown ordered by Supreme Leader: Reuters ‘Do whatever it takes to end it,’ Ayatollah Khamenei cited as telling his lieutenants as bloodshed unraveled The brutal crackdown on the November protests in Iran came on a direct order from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Reuters reported on Monday, citing sources close to his inner circle.

In November, Germany granted refugee status to Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei, who was seeking asylum in the country after claiming Iranian officials earlier this year pressured him to withdraw from a competition in order to avoid fighting an Israeli opponent. As a result, Iran was banned from participating in international judo events by the sport’s world body until it allowed its athletes to face Israelis.

The U.S. Geological Survey earlier said the quake had a magnitude of 5.1."Survey teams have been dispatched to the area and fortunately ... there are no reports on damage, except some landslides in a mountainous area,"... Criss-crossed by several major fault lines, Iran is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in Kerman province killed 31,000 people and flattened the ancient city of Bam. Fighter jet crashes in northern Iran, pilot's whereabouts unknown

Recent news of Anti-Semitism and Christian Persecution

Campus Reform has compiled a list of the most extreme cases of anti-Semitism on America’s college campuses in 2019. On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order aimed at combatting anti-Semitism.

I found myself locked in a room listening to Israel Defense Forces’ veterans tell their stories while people outside chanted for my blood. For several hours, the protesters chanted, pounded on the walls and doors of the lecture hall, and intimidated participants trying to enter. While the event pressed on despite this brazen assault, at least two Jewish students broke down and had to be escorted out. The relentless pounding, chanting and noise continued unabated for several hours without letup. Calls of “viva intifada,” fauda (meaning “chaos” in Arabic) and reports of another chant that I will address later poisoned the atmosphere of what was supposed to be a peaceful gathering.

Columbia University accused of anti-Semitism under Trump executive order A federal complaint has been filed against Columbia University accusing the school of anti-Semitic discrimination — the first case filed since US President Donald Trump’s executive order on combating anti-Semitism, which grants Jewish students the same protections as other minority groups.

Many of the public figures that push this phrase are not Christian; they have no stake in Jesus’s ethnic background. They claim he was a Palestinian because it furthers the erasure of Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel. The theory originated with former Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat, and has snowballed since. Today, some even argue that Jesus was the first Palestinian “martyr.” This year, anti-Israel BDS supporters such as Rep. Ilhan Omar, Omar Suleiman and Linda Sarsour have advanced this ahistorical narrative. Al Jazeera, The Independent and even The New York Times have published articles defending this conjecture

Instead of exposing the anti-Semitic canard behind secretive artist Banksy's new “Scar of Bethlehem” piece or choosing not to give the vitriolic message a platform, media outlets uniformly provided warm, approving coverage.... Falsely casting Jesus and his parents as Palestinian is standard Palestinian propaganda. As noted by CAMERA’s Tricia Miller, according to this formulation, “just as 1st century Jews persecuted Jesus, the Jewish state now persecutes Palestinians, the purported descendants of Jesus.” By giving the small installation such disproportionate coverage, journalists have provided a platform to propagate this falsehood.

- ...It is the source of similar efforts (sadly legitimized by international groups like UNESCO) to strip the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the city of Jerusalem of its links to the Jewish people.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry condemned Jews making holy pilgrimages to the Temple Mount on Wednesday, calling their visits “ongoing Israeli violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque”, according to Jordan’s official news agency. Dhaif Allah Al Fayez, the ministry’s spokesman, demanded that the visits end and that Israel “respect the status quo”, adding that the Temple Mount is “a place of worship for Muslims...

Instead of peace on earth and goodwill toward men, Gunness unleashed scathing attacks on Israel for Christmas with parodies of famous holiday songs and poems....Author Kay Wilson, for example, the survivor of a 2010 Palestinian terrorist attack, condemned Gunness not only for his tweets but for his entire tenure at UNRWA, an organization now facing serious corruption allegations,

France’s chief rabbi has slammed the “tragic” and “grotesque” decision of Paris prosecutors to excuse from trial the alleged antisemitic murderer of Sarah Halimi ...Traore — broke into her apartment ... had shouted the words, “Allahu akhbar,” and, “Shaitan” (Arabic for “Satan”), as he rained kicks and punches on his victim, before picking up her bruised body and throwing her out of the window... “The examining magistrate refused all the requests for an investigation into the murder — all of them,” he emphasized

An assault on a pair of Jewish children was among the four antisemitic attacks in New York City to have occurred in the space of two days this week, police in the city confirmed on Thursday....

Armed security, handgun training for congregants, a polarized discourse, and an improbable act of Jewish solidarity in Jersey City... returning home from a brief trip to the United States just in time for this Hanukkah’s first candle-lighting, I carried with me enough encounters with anti-Semitism and its impact on contemporary American Jews to last for all eight nights and way beyond.

Open Doors USA calls persecution of Christians “one of the biggest human rights issues of this era,” citing instances of violence, imprisonment and murder in countries around the world. According to Open Doors, in 2018 over 245 million Christians were living in places where they experienced high levels of persecution. The war against Christians - It hit a peak in the last century, but it’s ongoing in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Movita Johnson-Harrell.. pleading guilty on charges of perjury, record-tampering, and embezzling over $500,000..., a charity she established to allegedly serve the mentally ill and drug addicted poor in her predominately African-American neighborhood.. she shared the stage with numerous extremists .... calling on Muslims to "occupy every space of this world.".

Trudeau moves to criminalize therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction A bill that will criminalize “conversion therapy” in Canada is a “despicable” attack on religious liberty that could lead to Christians going to jail for proclaiming that homosexual individuals can change, warns Canada’s pro-life, pro-family organization Campaign Life Coalition.

There is also a ban on advertising these services to those under 18, and violation of the ban could cost the offender 30,000 Euros (over $33,000 USD). Parents and guardians are warned that seeking reparative therapy for their children is a “gross violation” of their duty to care for them. However, some treatments for sexual and gender identity issues will still be permitted for children, including therapy aimed at combatting exhibitionism and pedophilia.

Under the terms laid out in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the State Department identifies various countries that engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom” as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs). The law also stipulates that the administration put out an annual report documenting the state of religious freedom around the world. The State Department announced the latest report back in June.

“All parties are infected by the anti-Semitism virus,” said Max Privorozki. “It is a big problem that everyone points their finger at others, but clears themselves of any suspicion. Of course, the AfD (Alternative for Germany) has a big problem with anti-Semitism, and the willingness to stamp it out is less than with other parties.” ... A 2017 federal government study found that 40 percent of Germans hold modern anti-Semitic views, specifically hatred for Israel, reported The Jerusalem Post. The study also estimated that nearly 33 million Germans out of a total population of 82 million in the country are infested with contemporary anti-Semitism

At the one in the northern town of Rajec, 22 gravestones were desecrated, a week after 59 tombstones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in town of Namestovo, almost two hours from Rajec.

A 34-year-old Jewish woman out walking with her young son became the latest victim of the spree of violent hate…

Anton Redding, 24, was charged of breaking into and devastating the synagogue on Dec. 14, flipping furniture and damaging Jewish items, including holy books, according to police and prosecutors. A staffer had informed security when he discovered a door open and the building desecrated.

She received several death threats. Dead rats were placed in front of her doorstep twice. And a letter slipped under the door of her House of Commons office, likely by someone who had regular access to the corridors where parliamentarians’ private offices are located, called her a “Jew whore” who should be “shoved back in the oven.”

The suspect, whom the Jewish Chronicle identified only as a 33-year-old man from the Clapton area in east London, is suspected of committing a “racially or religiously aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm,” the paper reported on Tuesday.

This is what Biden promised during a recent CNN “town hall” event as he decried believers in Jesus Christ for opposing the radical LGBTQ agenda. In Biden’s view, unless you vigorously support the transgender mafia in its effort to “transition” all children into something other than their natural biological sex, then you’re a terrorist who deserves to be marginalized from society, and possibly even shipped off to Guantanamo.

A judge who received a public warning from the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct for recusing herself from conducting same-sex weddings has filed a lawsuit against the censuring agency

Islamic State in Nigeria ‘beheads Christian hostages’ The Islamic State group has released a video claiming to show the killing of 11 Christians in Nigeria. IS said it was part of its recently declared campaign to “avenge” the October deaths of its leader and spokesman in Syria. No details were given about the victims, who were all male, but IS says they were “captured in the past weeks” in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno State.

China instructs Bible to be rewritten as pro-communist: report The Chinese Communist Party instructed the Bible and other religious texts to be rewritten in an expressly pro-communist perspective that conforms with the party’s goals.

Israel fears the International Criminal Court’s decision to move forward with a potential investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories by Israel will open up current and former government officials and military personnel to prosecution on the global stage, according to a report Saturday. A 5-step plan to fight the ICC

The ICC was created in the context of the negotiations that ended in 1998 with the Rome Statute, and already then, it was clear that Israel was a primary target ... Four Palestinian NGOs – Al-Haq, Al-Dameer, PCHR, and Al Mezan – have been directly funded by the Swiss, Dutch, Swedish, and Danish governments and their grants specify the documentation of "war crimes" and similar accusations. Other groups involved in this process are funded by the EU, the UK, Belgium, Germany, and other countries. Netanyahu: ICC decision to probe Israel ‘a dark day for truth and justice’

Muslim UN officials are blocking Christian refugees from Syria — especially those who have converted from Islam to Christianity — from getting any help. The moves includes blocking them from entering refugee camps and labeling them as security risks, a status which makes them ineligible for emigration to Western countries, including the U.S. and Britain. In the course of a trial concerning a related issue in 2016, a federal judge chastised the Obama administration for allowing into the U.S. such a small number of Christian refugees from Syria. While the Obama administration exceeded by almost 1,000 its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrians to the U.S. (during the 2016 fiscal year), only 56 were Christian.

A news article by Marcy Oster on the JTA news agency/wire service website dated December 24 stated, “The Palestinian village of Deir Yassin was the site of a massacre by Israeli troops in 1948.” The problem: while it is true that Arab and pro-Arab sources have for many years alleged there was a massacre in Deir Yassin — just as they later alleged many Israeli army massacres — there is no evidence that it actually happened.

For many, the difficult logistics are a small price to pay to keep the congregation safe from the type of violent attacks that have devastated other Jewish communities in recent years... In a recent survey of 12 European Union countries by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, a large majority of Jewish people said they feel anti-Semitism has increased over the past five years and are cautious about wearing anything that could identify their faith in a public place. Over a quarter of respondents to the survey in the Netherlands said they had experienced anti-Semitic harassment in the past year.

In a lengthy interview with Poland’s Catholic News Agency, Abraham Foxman — the national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — warmly welcomed the announcement made earlier this month by the German-owned retail giant OBI that it would no longer sell the offending decorations, following an online protest over the sale of framed pictures showing Orthodox Jews counting gold coins.

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