• Watch and Pray

Weekly round up of news: 31 January

Christian Colleges and Seminaries in More Trouble Than Ever As Many Plunge Into Emergent Spirituality

For nearly 18 years, Lighthouse Trails has been reporting on the slide that evangelical colleges, universities, and seminaries have been taking into the contemplative/emergent/ecumenical river. It would be great if we could say there’s been a real turn around and things at these colleges are getting better. It would be great if we could say …


The New Age Christian

The current popularity with meditative contemplative mysticism presents a very perplexing challenge for evangelical Christianity. We are now encountering the New Age or Aquarian Christian


Christian Persecution and Antisemitism

Christian Killing Fields Ignored By Western Media

“An ongoing Islamic extremist project to exterminate Christians in sub-Saharan Africa is even more brutal and more consequential for the Church than it is in the Middle East, the place where Christians suffered ISIS ‘genocide’, as the U.S. government officially designated.”

Antisemitism Includes the Denial of Jewish History

People around the world – including world leaders – are denying the essence of 3,700 years of Jewish history in Israel and around the world. Denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Israel, the world calls Jews “colonial invaders” stealing land from the “indigenous” Arabs; Denying that Jews built their two Temples in Jerusalem and that the site is Judaism’s holiest location, the United Nations backs the Arabs’ antisemitic declaration that Jews should be limited access to the site and denied the right to pray there, while the UN only calls the site by its Muslim name; Denying that Jews made Jerusalem their capital city 3,000 years ago and have been a majority population in the city in excess of either Christians or Muslims since the 1860’s, the United Nations passes resolutions condemning the “Judaization” of the city and others stating that it is illegal for Jews to live there


Macron must end France’s colonialist-like stance against Jerusalem

The French President's clash with Israeli police is just another episode of French antagonism to Israel’s presence in Jerusalem....Visiting Jerusaelm for the World Holocaust form last week, French President Emmanuel Macron used the site of a holy church to yell at the Israeli Police who were protecting him. This is just another episode of French antagonism to Israel’s presence in Jerusalem. In 2016, France supported a ludicrous UNESCO resolution that implied Jerusalem has no Jewish or Christian historical connection. The French prime minister at the time, Manuel Valls, subsequently expressed regret for his country’s action, but it did not stop France from doing it again: A year later, it abstained on a similar UNESCO resolution.


Another church is shut down as crackdown continues in Algeria

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that Hope Evangelical Church in Oran city in western Algeria received a closure order issued by a local court earlier this month. The church is the latest in a series of churches that have received similar orders under a 2006 law requiring that all non-Muslim places of worship be authorized by a government board called the National Commission for Non-Muslim Worship.


Germany's Selective Fight against Anti-Semitism

The new governmental initiative, however, appears to be directed only against anti-Semitism committed by right-wing extremists. The question, then, is why jihadi anti-Semitism does not appear to have been included in the German government's package of initiatives to combat anti-Semitism? Imams made in Germany - Yet two of Germany’s largest Islamic groups — the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) and the Islamic Community Millî Görüş (IGMG), together representing nearly half of Germany’s estimated 2,500 mosques — declined to participate, citing concerns over potential state interference. They have their own approach to training imams, with DITIB launching its own program in early January 2020. Antisemitism on the rise in Germany

9 MPs yet to sign IHRA definition of antisemitism

They include Sinn Fein's seven MPs and Labour MPs Tahir Ali and Grahame Morris.. 9 MPs have yet to sign an international definition of antisemitism following fresh calls to do so. Parliament’s 650 MPs were asked to put to their names to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition in the wake of last month’s general election.


Labour refuses to give leadership candidates its response to EHRC antisemitism probe

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby has refused to make the party’s submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) available to candidates fighting to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader. Wigan MP Lisa Nandy asked for the material...But Ms Formby said she had been told to refuse this request after seeking advice from Labour’s external counsel.


Pastor in Northern India Severely Beaten and Falsely Accused of Forced Conversions

According to Morning Star News, a mob of hundreds of radical Hindu nationalists attacked a house church in India’s Haryana state. The attack left the pastor of the house church badly injured and falsely accused of forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity. On January 5, a mob of some 250 to 300 radicals surrounded a small house church led by Pastor Jai Singh in Bichpari village, located about an hour north of Delhi, in India’s Haryana state. According to Morning Star News, approximately 30 assailants broke into the church and attacked Pastor Singh and the other Christians gathered for worship.


4 aid workers with French charity Christians of the Middle East disappear in Baghdad

The charity has been working with persecuted Christians in Iraq since 2014 when Islamic State jihadists seized the predominantly Christian province of Mosul, displacing tens of thousands. The group is also active in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil, where many Christians sought refuge.


Investigation re-opened into employment tribunal judge accused of being 'anti-Christian'

Staff writer

An investigation has been re-opened into the conduct of a judge who oversaw the employment tribunal of a Christian nurse dismissed following complaints that she had spoken to patients about her faith.

Third UK stadium bars Franklin Graham from preaching to appease LGBT activists

One government official indicated that she thought the Christian preacher might break so-called hate speech laws…. Earlier this week, stadiums in the English cities of Sheffield and Liverpool bowed to pressure from LGBT activists and their “allies” to bar Graham, the son of the world-famous evangelist Billy Graham, from preaching. Now Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus (SEC) Hydro has done the same.


Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Banks Yank $5.4 Million From ‘Bigoted’ Brown Kids At Christian Schools

Wells Fargo and Fifth Third announced this week they will no longer donate to help poor, minority children attend better Christian schools, because the banks’ leaders think Christian teachings about sex are bigoted….. “All of us at Wells Fargo highly value diversity and inclusion, and we oppose discrimination of any kind,” said a spokeswoman…. The banks ended their support for the poor minority children after a harassment campaign by the Orlando Sentinel. The newspaper went after Christian schools in articles accusing them of hating LGBT people due to religious teachings about sex that are shared by the majority of the world’s faithful, including Muslims and Jews. Then the newspaper contacted major donors to the scholarships, including Fifth Third and Wells Fargo, to pressure them into recanting. It worked.


Antisemitism on the American Right — and Its Ties to Russia

The FBI has arrested members of “The Base” for plans to transform a massive pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, into a violent riot. The Base is virulently antisemitic, although also a self-styled “white protection league.” It broke into the headlines last September, when New Jersey leader Richard Tobin activated two members of The Base’s Great Lakes Cell to vandalize synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin, and Hancock, Michigan. Tobin proudly called his remote-control desecration of synagogues the first act of a national terror campaign, named “Operation Kristallnacht,” which included murder plots. We now know more about the founder of The Base: Rinaldo Navarro… After years of being associated with white separatist groups in Washington state, he popped up in St. Petersburg, pictured wearing a Vladimir Putin tee-shirt with the inscription: “Russia, Absolute Power.” Apparently, he was a guest of the Russian government, and may have ties to the Kremlin’s disinformation apparatus targeting the US.


Never Again? What About Palestinian Antisemitism?

We’ve often argued that the British media’s anti-Israel bias is just as evident in the stories they ignore as in the skewed nature of the stories they do cover.

The nearly complete failure of journalists assigned to the region to report on the endemic antisemitism within Palestinian society, and the deleterious impact such anti-Jewish racism has on efforts at peace and coexistence, represents one of the more egregious problems with their reporting.

Canadian Jewish groups ‘disappointed’ mayor nixes anti-Semitism definition

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said she is “absolutely not” rejecting the motion; defining anti-Semitism was “far from a black-and-white issue…” But it is! .... “We are deeply disappointed that Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante did not support the adoption of the most widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism,”


Fight antisemitism in Michigan

Throughout the year, the ADL recorded intimidation of, and harassment and threats against individual Michigan Jews and against synagogues and Jewish organizations. The latter include “Lier (sic)” painted on a synagogue in Battle Creek in January, and a man “intentionally defecat[ing] on” a Detroit synagogue in May.


Welsh parents lose right to opt children out of sex ed

This comes as Andrew Moffat, the teacher who created the No Outsiders programme, spoke to the BBC about how he is continuing to defy parents’ wishes in Birmingham by using a ‘tweaked’ version of the programme to teach children about LGBT themes. Protests outside the school took place for months, urging a stop to teaching on LGBT themes.


China creating ‘system of persecution for the future,’ Open Doors warns

The pieces of this puzzle, Curry said, involve China’s use of a social score system that grades its citizens based on their actions and the government’s creation of a network of surveillance cameras that have been put on street corners and in churches. “Imagine a system where citizens are given 2,000 points and every time you do something they government disagrees with, you are marked down for it,” Curry detailed. “Eventually, your travel is restricted, your children won’t get into the best schools. You lose points for taking your children to Sunday School. That is what the experience is like for many Christians in China.”


'Persecuted Even after Death' – China Bans Christian Funerals

Communist officials throughout China are using regulations that restrict religious freedom to also prohibit religious-themed funerals, even going so far as to arresting family members and stopping ceremonies mid-service.


Many French Jews living in fear as a result of anti-Semitic attacks – research

As the number of attacks on Jewish people in France continues to rise, new research by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) found that many Jewish people currently fear for their safety. The AJC Paris survey found that 70 percent of French Jews say they have been victims of at least one anti-Semitic incident in their lifetime, 64% have suffered anti-Semitic verbal abuse at least once, and 23% have been targets of physical violence on at least one occasion, with 10 percent saying they were attacked several times.


Anti-Semitic attack sparks Italy protest

Hundreds of people carrying candles protested in an Italian town Friday after unknown vandals wrote "Jews Here" on the front door of the house of a Nazi concentration camp survivor. A Star of David and the words "Juden Hier," German for "Jews Here", were daubed in black paint on the door in the Piedmont town of Mondovi, where a member of the Italian anti-Fascist resistance lived until her death in 1996.


Fresh anti-Semitic writings appear in Italian cities, towns

Holocaust memorial day incidents include racist poster tacked onto a Democratic Party bulletin board near Vicenza and a swastika in a Rome high school


Nigerian pastor who praised God in ransom video beheaded after refusing to deny Christ

“They have slaughtered him in Sambisa forest,” a source told Save the Persecuted Christians, according to the nonprofit's Executive Director Dede Laugesen. “They murdered him because he refused to renounce his faith. And because they couldn’t raise the money for his ransom.”

The local source, whose name could not be revealed for security reasons, told Save the Persecuted Christians that Andimi’s captors demanded 2 million euros in exchange for his release. However, the underserved church community was only able to raise 2 million nairas (4,969.88 euros).


Christians In Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Other African Countries Are Under Islamist Attacks, WEA Reports

A Christian group, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) that is serving more than 600 million evangelicals has said that Christians in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and in other countries of the sub-Saharan region have been under many Islamist attacks. This is however, the first time the persecuted Church in Africa is becoming a subject of discussion at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. With around 260 million people directly affected, the economy and society are also profoundly impacted.


Military Massacre & Related Atrocities In Eastern Nigeria

….reported cases of mass killings and related state atrocities in Eastern Nigeria by the country’s security forces spearheaded by the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force. The state atrocities or grisly crimes against humanity (perpetrated under situation of no war or armed conflict) were perpetrated against unarmed and defenseless citizens of Eastern Nigeria, targeting members of the Judeo-Christian Igbo Ethnic Nationality and their neighbors.


Israel Folau joins new rugby team, forbidden from talking about faith

Folau, who was ousted from his contract with Rugby Australia last year over comments he made about homosexuality and God's wrath, will now represent the Catalan Dragons, which plays in England but is based in France. If the media story is correct, then that is disappointing.


Trump's Middle East Peace Deal

"Peace to Prosperity" – the official document


Who wins and who loses in Trump’s Middle East peace plan (and why fortunes can easily change)

Netanyahu has agreed to a plan that would have a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem, something he swore would never happen. (If the capital came to be, he told Israeli reporters, would reside in the portion of Jerusalem outside the security barrier.) He has committed to a four-year settlement freeze in the 70 percent of the West Bank where Israel would not extend its law, a prospect that has deeply concerned some settler leaders. Netanyahu also is the first Israeli leader to agree to a deal that would swap some lands within the 1949 borders with the Palestinians — bordering the northern West Bank and along Israel’s border with Egypt. That’s an astonishing concession however its spun, and one that would roil Israelis in or near those regions.


Trump unveils Middle East peace plan with two-state solution, tunnel connecting West Bank and Gaza

The plan is a basis for negotiations with Israel, Trump officials said, claiming many of the Palestinians' red lines are met, including their calls for a Palestinian state and a capital in parts of East Jerusalem. The vision calls for more than doubling the amount of territory the Palestinians control. "This plan will double Palestinian territory and set the capital of the Palestinian state in eastern Jerusalem where the United States will happily open an embassy," Trump said... The plan also includes a map of a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank, with a proposed tunnel to connect the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There would also be land swaps south of Gaza to give the Palestinians more territory.


The Palestinians’ bluff has been called. Over to you, world

Yet this proposal is far from being one-sided. On the contrary, it generously provides the Palestinians with a route to a state of their own consisting of most of the disputed territories (with sovereignty less limited than the conditions imposed by the allies on Germany after World War II). It is a highly detailed map for a two-state solution. This has produced cries of dismay from Israelis for whom a Palestine state is anathema, and who view this as yet another reward being dangled for continued Palestinian terrorism and war. But this reward is entirely conditional upon the Palestinians giving up the very thing which forms their identity and without which they are nothing: their aim to liquidate the State of Israel.


Trump’s “Peace Plan” Would Double The Size Of Palestinian Territory And Give Them A Capital In East Jerusalem

Under Trump’s plan, the U.S. would formally recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians would be allowed to set up a capital in East Jerusalem, and the amount of territory under Palestinian control would double. Yes, you read that correctly... In fact, the plan envisions that the section of Jerusalem which will be given to the Palestinians for a capital city could be named “Al Quds”… “the sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, and could be named Al Quds or another name as determined by the State of Palestine,” the plan states.


Those That Bless Israel Will Be Blessed, But Those That Try To Divide The Land Of Israel Will Be Cursed

In this article, I am going to show that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob gave that land to the people of Israel forever. If any politician attempts to carve up the land of Israel and give part of it to someone else, that politician is cursing himself and his entire nation....Over the past several decades, whenever the U.S. has been involved in an effort to divide the land of Israel, really bad things have happened. The following list of 10 examples is based on a list that I shared in a previous article…But I do find it very interesting that all of a sudden Mitch McConnell doesn’t have the votes to block impeachment witnesses. I still fully expect the Republicans in the Senate to acquit Trump, but from this point forward things may not go as well for Trump as they did before.


The ‘deal of the century’ must be rejected

Should a Palestinian state be created, we are liable to find ourselves in a situation several times more severe than the one we face in Gaza, as the missiles will be much more advanced, much more deadly and especially, much closer to the densely populated center of the country. Terrorists Tall for Killing Jews -- from UN HQ in Gaza - Leaders of several Palestinian factions are again calling for stepping up terrorist attacks against Jews. The difference is that this time, the calls were made during a sit-down strike held by Palestinians outside the offices of the United Nations in the Gaza Strip.


Defying US and Israel, Palestinian Authority Pays Out $150 Million in Terrorist Salaries in 2019

According to the Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), “the PA has admitted to spending no less than 517.4 million shekels ($149.7 million/€136 million) paying salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners in 2019.” Abbas vows to continue to pay terrorists ‘even if it costs PA its last penny’- (2018) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday defiantly vowed to continue make welfare payments to convicted terrorists and their families, even if it costs his government its last penny. “We will not accept a cut or cancellation of salaries to the families of martyrs and prisoners, as some are trying to bring about,” Abbas told representatives of a Palestinian prisoners advocacy group..... Australia’s government also announced earlier this month that it was freezing direct aid to the PA in light of the payments, a move the Palestinians blasted as politically motivated.


Arabs prioritize key ties with US against Iran in reacting to Trump's peace plan

The traditional unwavering support for the Palestinian cause no longer seems to be the order of the day among Arab powers, whose leaders have more pressing issues to resolve....The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed appreciation for Trump's efforts and support for direct peace negotiations under US auspices. ..Egypt and Jordan, which already have peace deals with Israel, as well as Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates used similar language that swung between hope for restarting talks and caution against abandoning long-held stances....Despite the Palestinians' rejection of the plan and boycott of Trump over perceived pro–Israel bias, three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the UAE – attended the White House gathering in a sign of changing times.


UK

Nigel Farage says Brexit party is going nowhere because Boris ‘can’t be trusted’

Nigel Farage says the Brexit Party will continue to exist despite achieving his ‘life’s political goal’ of delivering Brexit.


Goodbye to the demoralised past. Hello, world

Now Britain has to hammer out its long-term relationship with the EU. And now comes a particular danger. The transition period of at least eleven months, during which the UK will remain bound by EU rules while no longer being a member, means that for this period the UK will be at the mercy of anything the EU might do to damage it. For the EU, the battle now merely moves up a gear... The question now is what Boris Johnson will do. He has declared that he will enter no deal with the EU which requires “alignment”. The withdrawal deal that he signed, however, and the accompanying political declaration still contain – despite undoubted improvements upon the originals – some troublingly ambiguous statements which the EU could use as a negotiating weapon.... whether he will actually have the courage, vision and statesmanship to keep his word and face down the EU’s attempts to keep Britain ensnared and weakened.


Brexit: why fishing threatens to derail EU-UK trade talks

No one disputes that the fishing grounds are richer on the British side. French, Belgian and Dutch trawlers are usually out in force right up to the line six nautical miles from the English coast that is already reserved for British-flagged vessels. The majority of the EU catch is made in the North East Atlantic, of which British waters are a crucial part....Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, fanned the flames last week by insisting that Britain will “take back control” and have full jurisdiction over its “spectacular maritime wealth”. For EU fishermen, this is the stuff of nightmares. Ensuring that fishing rights do not die with Brexit is a priority for the bloc’s coastal states, not least France, in future relationship negotiations with Britain that will begin in the weeks after the UK leaves the EU on Friday.


Brexit trade row brewing with UK just days away from EU exit

The Times reports that Brussels will attempt to gain the upper hand before trade talks start late next month by insisting European judges continue to hold sway in Britain after Brexit.

The UK will leave the European Union on Friday, with the country entering a transition period where relations with the bloc will largely stay the same while negotiators look to thrash out a trade deal before the end of the year. According to the Times, a leaked diplomatic document suggests the EU is preparing to demand that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is able to enforce rules on trade, fishing and security even after Britain is classified as a third country.


Don’t fall for the EU spin that ceding access to fishing grounds will be the price of a trade deal

So are we really saying that the UK should give up something of value (fishing grounds) in return for something that is in the interests of both sides (a trade deal)? What sort of bargaining is that? The fact that our media routinely refer to this outcome as a serious possibility shows how uncritical it still is of EU spin. Boris’s Brexit deal is on the way to being passed – but there are a few areas where we need to keep vigilant - Then there is “Common Defence”. Campaigning by Veterans for Britain led to the May text including one firewall over Defence Procurement... as we now learn that a new Directorate General will be formed in January to push integration in this area. However, the institutional risk of gravitational pull remains strong.


UK battles to define defence and security role post-Brexit

European leaders have acknowledged the need for a new forum for defence and diplomacy after Brexit. One suggestion, mooted by France and endorsed in Berlin, is a European Security Council, which would potentially bring big EU states together with UK leaders and other non-EU countries…. In the shorter term, the E3 grouping of France, Germany and the UK — sometimes with the inclusion of Italy — has broadened beyond its original focus on the Iranian nuclear programme to Libya and Syria. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany’s defence minister, has suggested “consolidating” the E3 group and establishing it more permanently.


12 Brexit cherries the UK wants to pick

From medicine and chemicals to energy and aviation, Britain wants to keep everything pretty much the same....The full extent of those opt-ins (or at least the ones the U.K. would like to negotiate) is starting to become clear and it seems Britain is quite keen on many aspects of the EU after all...


Will Boris fail his first big test over Huawei?

Is Boris Johnson about to fail his first big test?* Reports suggest that he is about to give the Chinese technology company Huawei the contract to install at least parts of the UK’s upcoming 5G network....Britain’s intelligence services appear to be divided about the risks this would pose to Britain. GCHQ, which has the most sophisticated telecoms expertise in the UK, is reportedly aghast, as well it might be. The Times has reported that tests GCHQ conducted on Huawei devices had produced “alarming results”, and that a senior source there said said handing Huawei such access would be akin to “letting a fox loose in a chicken coop”. *Update: Yup, he failed it.


Nigel Farage on Huawei: "Our government has been bought with Chinese money"

"We see former senior CBI people, we see former senior civil servants, we see former bosses of big companies who have been ennobled," he said, "and, let's face it, David Cameron is an official interlocutor between the British and Chinese governments."


UK doing the wrong thing on Huawei, says Australian ex-spy

Britain has done the wrong thing in allowing Huawei to supply it with 5G equipment because China cannot be prevented from exploiting the technology for mass surveillance, according to a senior former Australian spy.


Whistleblowers say public have been 'deceived' over cost of HS2

Two HS2 whistle-blowers have told Sky News they feel there should be a public inquiry into the spiralling cost of HS2 and that the taxpayer has been deceived. A third executive has suggested the project goes back to parliament before progressing. Serious Fraud Office probes HS2 contracts: Troubled rail scheme in new crisis over whistleblower's 'lethal' dossier


Netanyahu indicted for corruption in three cases, in first for a sitting PM

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Tuesday filed the indictment against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust with the Jerusalem District Court.... The move marks the first time in Israel’s history that a serving prime minister will face criminal charges, casting a heavy shadow over Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, his legacy and his ongoing attempts to remain in power.


International

Coronavirus: Global health emergency declared by World Health Organisation, reversing earlier decision on outbreak

To date, the Wuhan coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV and the novel coronavirus, has infected at least 9,692 people in mainland China and killed 213 people. Over 100 cases have been reported overseas; the vast majority of subjects were recent travellers to Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital. But of critical concern to health authorities is the small but rising number of human-to-human transmissions outside China, where a person with no recent travel to the country contracts the disease from another individual.

Israeli Biological Warfare Expert Connects China’s Wuhan Virus to Covert Biological Warfare Laboratory

An Israeli biological warfare expert by the name of Dany Shoham, who is now with the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University in Israel, believes that the deadly Wuhan virus is likely connected to one of China’s covert biological warfare laboratories; in this case, the Wuhan Institute of Virology. While there is a lot of speculation at this point, there are several truths that validate his concern. Shoham stated, “Certain laboratories in the institute have probably been engaged, in terms of research and development, in Chinese biological weapons, at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility of the Chinese BW alignment


Did China Steal Coronavirus From Canada And Weaponize It?

Last year a mysterious shipment was caught smuggling Coronavirus from Canada. It was traced to Chinese agents working at a Canadian lab. Subsequent investigation by Great Game India linked the agents to Chinese Biological Warfare Program from where the virus is suspected to have leaked causing the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak….. The Wuhan institute has studied coronaviruses in Athe past, including the strain that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, H5N1 influenza virus, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue. Researchers at the institute also studied the germ that causes anthrax – a biological agent once developed in Russia. “Coronaviruses (particularly SARS) have been studied in the institute and are probably held therein,” said Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese biowarfare.


Atrocities against Muslims: Leaked Documents in China

Leaked documents obtained by the New York Times reveal Chinese President Xi Jinping's directives to round up and incarcerate the one million or so Muslims -- Uighurs, Kazakhs and others -- in detention centers. The detainees, from the province of Xinjiang, are treated to a strict "re-education" program that includes what one escapee described as horrific physical abuse, such as forced organ removal, abortions and medical "experiments."


Cyberattacks targeted world leaders’ planes as they flew into Israel last week

At least 800 attacks, including from Iran and Poland, were beaten back by Israel’s newly upgraded air traffic cyber defenses, officials say... The attackers came from Iran, China, North Korea, Russia, and Poland, the report said. The attacks “were directed at the airport and the planes,” the report said, “and were aimed at disrupting the flight paths of more than 60 planes carrying heads of state, kings and presidents.”


Supreme Ruler Putin? Kremlin non-committal on proposed new job description

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin had no view on a proposal that would see his job description change to Supreme Ruler from head of state after a government commission said it was considering the idea.


Russian Pipeline Owner Faces $1B Claims Over Tainted Oil

At the end of April 2019, Russia halted supplies via the Druzhba oil pipeline to several European countries—including Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic—due to a contamination issue, which the Russians said was deliberate.... Supplies were restored only in early July...


The Real Reason Russia Wants A Ceasefire In Libya

General Haftar’s strength comes from the support of its allies Russia, Egypt, France, and the UAE, which has given him military superiority over its adversaries. However, hardly a week after Turkey sent troops to Libya, Moscow agreed on the ceasefire.…. The underlying motivation for Moscow is energy politics and the supply of natural gas to Europe’s southeastern borders. The discovery of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean is a possible threat to the Russian domination of the European energy market. The construction of the subsea EastMed pipeline could go at the expense of Russia’s market share. By agreeing... Moscow prevents the collapse of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.

Russia invites NATO members to International Army Games exercise

Last year, several European Union countries sent observers and Greece took part in the exercise. The games, which have been held since 2015, usually include former Communist regimes such as China, Vietnam and Angola, as well as Russian allies like Iran. NATO and Russia often spook each other with war games close to the border between Russia and eastern flank NATO allies.


Boris Johnson faces diplomatic dilemma over Russia parade

The pressure to attend the parade increased on Thursday when Mr Putin called for a meeting of the leaders of Russia, France, China, the US and the UK this year “because we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war”…. the event, which was first staged by Joseph Stalin, Russian soldiers will march through Red Square accompanied by tanks and missile launchers to mark the 75th anniversary of the conflict’s end.


EU-Iran Instex trade channel remains pipe dream

The Iran nuclear deal is hanging on by a thread, and the European Union wants to salvage it through a special trade mechanism with Tehran. So far, however, it is proving ineffective…. Since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, the US has imposed a range of sanctions on Tehran that are hurting Iran and countries across Europe. In response, Tehran has stopped complying with the terms of the nuclear agreement. France, Germany and the United Kingdom — or E3 for short — consequently triggered the framework's dispute resolution mechanism in early January.


What’s Next in Trade Now That Trump Has Signed USMCA?

While the USMCA is receiving almost universal praise in the national media, and has garnered strong support from both political parties, little to nothing has been said publicly, by either media or by politicians, about what should be a very serious question: What will be the long-term effect of the USMCA on America’s national sovereignty?


Analysis: Will Turkey's increased role in Libya reduce or inflame conflict?

What began as a maritime boundary dispute is now a puzzle piece in a much larger conflict over the future of the Middle East. Turkey may expand its military support to Tripoli, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a ceremony Sunday December 22 announcing new Turkish submarine development. This would be a major commitment for Ankara above its role in Syria, Iraq and its bases in Qatar, Somalia and its recent lease of a Sudanese island. It’s part of a major Turkish policy shift. It increases the split between Turkey-Qatar on one side and other Gulf states and Egypt on the other. Greece’s diplomatic movie and expulsion of the GNA Libya ambassador is evidence of the major pushback. Once again, as in Syria, Russia seeks to swoop in and play negotiator in Libya.


Give Lebanon's cabinet a chance, say Christian religious leaders

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai had called the summit which gathered patriarchs of Lebanon’s many Christian sects, according to state news agency NNA. The meeting’s communique was read out in live broadcasts on local media. The Christian faith leaders said the government should be given “room to take on its responsibilities”, and called on Arab states and the international community to support Lebanon....The largest Christian party, President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, is close to Hezbollah and has backed the new government, which has yet to issue a policy statement. Lebanon's Shiite-Maronite Alliance of Hypocrisy Dateline - On February 6, 2006, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) Michel Aoun signed a memorandum of understanding, ostensibly to build a consensual Lebanese democracy on the basis of transparency, justice, and equality.. I hate this headline because it doesn't distinguished from the bible believing Christians who support Israel and the Catholic / Orthodox religions who persecuted Jews and the true Christians, as far as they are concerned the Land of Israel belongs to them. Lebanon has several different main religions. The main two religions are Islam (Sunni and Shia) and Christianity (the Maronite Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East).


Iranian factory makes Israeli and American flags to burn

The factory produces about 2,000 US and Israeli flags a month in its busiest periods, and more than 1.5 million square feet of flags a year... In state-sponsored rallies and protests in Iran, demonstrators regularly burn the flags of Israel, US and Britain. LOL


Weather Events

Australia fires: State of emergency declared for Canberra region

Authorities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have declared a state of emergency as massive bushfires rage south of Canberra. A It is the worst fire threat to the territory in nearly two decades, officials said. The main blaze, in the territory's south, is burning over more than 18,500 hectares. Residents in suburbs of Canberra have been urged to "remain alert" for potential evacuations. Australia fires: State of emergency declared for Canberra region


Locust swarms plague East Africa as wildfires burn Australia

From Somalia to DRC, Sudan to Tanzania, heavy rain has fallen across East Africa since October, bringing severe floods that have displaced millions and encouraged locust growth. It is part of a pattern of near-apocalyptic weather events turning lives upside down across the world.


Turkey: Toddler pulled alive from rubble after earthquake kills at least 31 people

Officials say 1,400 people are injured, including 34 in intensive care, while more than 20 people are trapped under rubble…. Hundreds of residents were left homeless or with damaged homes as buildings collapsed in affected towns near the centre of the tremor, which was felt in several neighbouring countries.


Earthquakes today: Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Greece hit by huge quakes

A HUGE magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Jamaica on Tuesday, now more are hitting the area, as well as the Solomon Islands, Puerto Rico and Greece as the USGS records seismicity. Here is the latest on earthquakes around the world today. There have been 114 earthquakes in the Caribbean in the past month


Capital Nur-Sultan under state of emergency as powerful winter storm hits Kazakhstan

Authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital city Nur-Sultan (previously named Astana) have declared a state of emergency on Monday, January 27, 2020, due to a powerful winter storm that has been battering the country since Thursday, January 23, unleashing strong winds and heavy snowfall.


Brazil counts the cost after highest recorded rainfall in 110 years

There have been some notable heavy rainfall and snowfall events recently. Flooding and landslides in south-east Brazil have killed at least 30 people, with a further 17 missing and 2,600 evacuated from their homes.…. Meanwhile in Spain, the effects of Storm Gloria led to 13 deaths last week. The system delivered 86cm of snow over Vilafranca in the Pyrenees on the 22 January. Heavy rain also caused flooding, with some areas of Catalonia receiving more than 150mm of rainfall in 24 hours.


Other News

Pope meets with Microsoft and IBM to push for ethics in Artificial Intelligence

Fabrizio Mastrofini is one of the organizers of the summit to take place in the Vatican at the end of February. The event will bring experts together to better understand ethics in Artificial Intelligence. This technology is already yielding positive results in fields like health, defense and finance. However, it is unknown whether or not the data it compiles will discriminate against users. Catholic priest at Davos on AI and the soul - he explained, heavy investment was going into technologies about how to vastly extend life expectancy and the “transhumanist” movement looking at ways to transfer human consciousness into a digital format…. Last September, Silicon Valley big hitters went to the Vatican to discuss ethics amid talk of a potential papal document on artificial intelligence.


Abp. Hebda Throws Priest Under the Bus Over Muslim Remarks

A priest of the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being forced by his archbishop to apologize for preaching on the dangers of Islam. At the behest of Abp. Bernard Hebda, Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke apologized Wednesday for his Jan. 5 homily in which he said, among other things, "Islam is the greatest threat in the world both to Christianity and to America."


Fresh Scandal Prompts Questions About Vatican Sex Abuse Response

Former members of a disbanded public association of the faithful in Tuscany, Italy are being investigated for sexual abuse, leaving some Catholics wondering why a different Verona religious institute — notorious for a scandal involving priests raping deaf children — remains open…. The Provolo Institute is now infamous for clerical sex abuse scandals involving deaf and mute minors at its locations in Verona, as well as La Plata and Mendoza, Argentina.


Joe Biden: Transgender Rights ‘the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’

Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden seems to be taking a page from Elizabeth Warren's playbook in pandering to the insanity vote, and has provoked a backlash…. "Let's be clear," Biden proclaimed in a tweet, "Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights."


Convicted pedophile released, ‘no longer deemed threat’ because he says he’s a woman

If you were one of those inquiring souls who was wondering just how crazy the transgender phenomenon could get, the answer to that question may have just surfaced in the Des Moines Register under the headline: “Convicted of sex crimes as a man, felon no longer deemed threat because of gender change.”




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