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Netanyahu defends Gaza strikes, says Israel will do
Netanyahu defends Gaza strikes, says Israel will do "whatever it takes to restore order"

Pro-Israel Prayer Page Pulled from Facebook After Radical Islamists Targeted It with Extreme Hate Speech picture
Pro-Israel Prayer Page Pulled from Facebook After Radical Islamists Targeted It with Extreme Hate Speech

Army chaplain punished after Facebook post on transgender military ban appeals reprimand picture
Army chaplain punished after Facebook post on transgender military ban appeals reprimand

'Catastrophic Situation' Grips Police Departments as Cops Quit in Droves Saying 'It's Not Worth It' picture
'Catastrophic Situation' Grips Police Departments as Cops Quit in Droves Saying 'It's Not Worth It'

'A Return to Normalcy': CDC Says Vaccinated Americans Can Ditch the Masks picture
'A Return to Normalcy': CDC Says Vaccinated Americans Can Ditch the Masks

Israeli forces mulling ground invasion as Hamas fires over 1,500 rockets picture
Israeli forces mulling ground invasion as Hamas fires over 1,500 rockets

Disney Plus to Feature Gay Couple in The Proud Family Reboot picture
Disney Plus to Feature Gay Couple in The Proud Family Reboot

Biden FDA Says it May Legalize 'Abortion by Mail' and Reverse Decades-Old Restriction picture
Biden FDA Says it May Legalize 'Abortion by Mail' and Reverse Decades-Old Restriction

Child safety advocates urge Facebook to cancel launch of Instagram for kids under 13 picture
Child safety advocates urge Facebook to cancel launch of Instagram for kids under 13

California Bill Forces Stores to Sell Gender-Fluid Clothes and Toys: 'Let's Get Rid of Labels' picture
California Bill Forces Stores to Sell Gender-Fluid Clothes and Toys: 'Let's Get Rid of Labels'

Parent Pulls First-Grader from Class after Teacher Reads from Book Promoting Transgenderism picture
Parent Pulls First-Grader from Class after Teacher Reads from Book Promoting Transgenderism

The Grisly Story Of Harold Shipman, The British Doctor Who Killed His Patients For Pleasure picture
The Grisly Story Of Harold Shipman, The British Doctor Who Killed His Patients For Pleasure

Prophet leaves wife to ‘pursue his own desires’ picture
Prophet leaves wife to ‘pursue his own desires’

Israel strikes Gaza, Hamas fires rockets after hundreds of Palestinians wounded in clashes picture
Israel strikes Gaza, Hamas fires rockets after hundreds of Palestinians wounded in clashes

Biden admin. bans sexual orientation, gender identity discrimination in healthcare picture
Biden admin. bans sexual orientation, gender identity discrimination in healthcare

Transgender Weightlifter Expected to Compete as Woman in the Tokyo Olympics picture
Transgender Weightlifter Expected to Compete as Woman in the Tokyo Olympics

Theologian denounces contemporary worship: It ‘harms discipleship,’ ‘doesn't mature believers’ picture
Theologian denounces contemporary worship: It ‘harms discipleship,’ ‘doesn't mature believers’

Snow White’s kiss and further proof that the Left has lost its mind - Michael Brown picture
Snow White’s kiss and further proof that the Left has lost its mind - Michael Brown

Afghan 1st vice president says negotiating with Taliban, still
Afghan 1st vice president says negotiating with Taliban, still "shoulder-to-shoulder with al Qaeda," was a mistake

2,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Turns Out To Be A Pregnant Woman In World First picture
2,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Turns Out To Be A Pregnant Woman In World First

The American family is endangered - Richard D. Land picture
The American family is endangered - Richard D. Land

COVID Cases Drop 11 Percent in 1 Week in U.S., but Vaccinations Are Reaching a Plateau picture
COVID Cases Drop 11 Percent in 1 Week in U.S., but Vaccinations Are Reaching a Plateau

Pro-life group celebrates 20,000 babies' lives saved from abortion; over 4,000 during pandemic picture
Pro-life group celebrates 20,000 babies' lives saved from abortion; over 4,000 during pandemic

Two Palestinians Killed After Attacking Israeli Police picture
Two Palestinians Killed After Attacking Israeli Police

Sweden halts use of puberty blockers in gender-confused kids due to serious health risks picture
Sweden halts use of puberty blockers in gender-confused kids due to serious health risks

23 Tornadoes Hit the South, Midwest in 24 Hours, More Dangerous Weather Is on the Way picture
23 Tornadoes Hit the South, Midwest in 24 Hours, More Dangerous Weather Is on the Way

Belgian Farmer Accidentally Redraws Country’s Border By Moving Stone Blocking His Tractor picture
Belgian Farmer Accidentally Redraws Country’s Border By Moving Stone Blocking His Tractor

'Life Is Winning': Over 500 Pro-Life Bills Have Been Introduced, 61 New Laws Enacted in 2021 picture
'Life Is Winning': Over 500 Pro-Life Bills Have Been Introduced, 61 New Laws Enacted in 2021

US Backs Waiving Intellectual Property Rules on Vaccines picture
US Backs Waiving Intellectual Property Rules on Vaccines

Harry Potter event canceled over JK Rowling's comments on gender picture
Harry Potter event canceled over JK Rowling's comments on gender

Trump speaks at pro-life summit, calls Biden one of the most 'radical' presidents picture
Trump speaks at pro-life summit, calls Biden one of the most 'radical' presidents

23 Tornadoes Hit the South, Midwest in 24 Hours, More Dangerous Weather Is on the Way picture
23 Tornadoes Hit the South, Midwest in 24 Hours, More Dangerous Weather Is on the Way

Holocaust Survivor Who Testified Against Eichmann Dies at 91 picture
Holocaust Survivor Who Testified Against Eichmann Dies at 91

Woman from Mali Gives Birth to 9 Babies, She Was Only Expecting 7 picture
Woman from Mali Gives Birth to 9 Babies, She Was Only Expecting 7

Facebook Votes to Keep Banning Trump as Trump Makes Big Announcement About His New Online Voice picture
Facebook Votes to Keep Banning Trump as Trump Makes Big Announcement About His New Online Voice

Chuck Norris Honors His 100-Year-Old Mom for Mother's Day: 'My Mother Has Prayed for Me all My Life' picture
Chuck Norris Honors His 100-Year-Old Mom for Mother's Day: 'My Mother Has Prayed for Me all My Life'

Donald Trump Launches New Communications Platform following Social Media Ban picture
Donald Trump Launches New Communications Platform following Social Media Ban

Record number of people died by physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands in 2020 picture
Record number of people died by physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands in 2020

A ‘Token of Friendship’: Israel Begins Sending Virus Aid to India picture
A ‘Token of Friendship’: Israel Begins Sending Virus Aid to India

Meet Mauro Morandi, The ‘Italian Robinson Crusoe’ Who Lived Alone On A Deserted Island For 32 Years picture
Meet Mauro Morandi, The ‘Italian Robinson Crusoe’ Who Lived Alone On A Deserted Island For 32 Years

Bill and Melinda Gates to divorce after 27 years of marriage picture
Bill and Melinda Gates to divorce after 27 years of marriage

Companies censor shareholder questions about anti-religious liberty law at annual meetings picture
Companies censor shareholder questions about anti-religious liberty law at annual meetings

Canadian dad jailed for objecting to teen daughter taking testosterone is released on bail picture
Canadian dad jailed for objecting to teen daughter taking testosterone is released on bail

Biden Lifts Trump Refugee Cap After Delay, Backlash picture
Biden Lifts Trump Refugee Cap After Delay, Backlash

Millions of Americans to Face Severe Weather Risks Through Tuesday picture
Millions of Americans to Face Severe Weather Risks Through Tuesday

Caitlyn Jenner Endorses Bans on Boys in Girls' Sports: It 'Is a Question of Fairness' picture
Caitlyn Jenner Endorses Bans on Boys in Girls' Sports: It 'Is a Question of Fairness'

‘A valley of death’: Indian pastor says 2nd COVID wave has hit nearly every family picture
‘A valley of death’: Indian pastor says 2nd COVID wave has hit nearly every family

Israelis Attack Palestinian Village After Terror Attack  picture
Israelis Attack Palestinian Village After Terror Attack

Germany Busts Massive Darknet Child Porn Site Used by 400,000 Around the World picture
Germany Busts Massive Darknet Child Porn Site Used by 400,000 Around the World

Netanyahu Offers to Step Aside, Let Bennett be PM First in Rotation Deal picture
Netanyahu Offers to Step Aside, Let Bennett be PM First in Rotation Deal

How do you lovingly terminate staff? picture
How do you lovingly terminate staff?

Democrats call out Biden, Harris for not addressing border crisis picture
Democrats call out Biden, Harris for not addressing border crisis

US State Bans Critical Race Theory from Being Taught In Public Schools, Including Universities picture
US State Bans Critical Race Theory from Being Taught In Public Schools, Including Universities

Donald Trump Says He Is '100 Percent' Considering a 2024 Presidential Run picture
Donald Trump Says He Is '100 Percent' Considering a 2024 Presidential Run

Kanye West Raises 1 Million Dollars for the Family of the Late Rapper DMX picture
Kanye West Raises 1 Million Dollars for the Family of the Late Rapper DMX

Virginia Woman Using Online DNA Service To Find Biological Mother Accidentally Cracks 40-Year-Old Double Murder picture
Virginia Woman Using Online DNA Service To Find Biological Mother Accidentally Cracks 40-Year-Old Double Murder

Russian Defense Minister Announces Plan To Resurrect A 3,000-Year-Old Scythian Army Through Cloning picture
Russian Defense Minister Announces Plan To Resurrect A 3,000-Year-Old Scythian Army Through Cloning

Muslim Countries Should Boycott U.S., West Until They Ban the Insulting of Islam, Pakistan PM Says picture
Muslim Countries Should Boycott U.S., West Until They Ban the Insulting of Islam, Pakistan PM Says

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By Temmy
Fri, April 30, 2021 12:22pm
Muslim Countries Should Boycott U.S., West Until They Ban the Insulting of Islam, Pakistan PM Says

Picture of Imran Khan, Pakistan PM

Pakistan’s prime minister is urging Muslim-majority countries to join together and boycott the West until the United States and other democratic countries criminalize offensive speech against Islam.

Prime Minister Imran Khan made the comments on Monday during a televised address to the nation, comparing opposition to so-called blasphemy laws to Holocaust denial, Al Jazeera reported.

“We need to explain why this hurts us, when in the name of freedom of speech they insult the honor of the prophet,” Khan said, according to Al Jazeera. “When 50 Muslim countries will unite and say this, and say that if something like this happens in any country, then we will launch a trade boycott on them and not buy their goods, that will have an effect.”

Blasphemy laws forbid anyone from insulting or showing a lack of respect for the Muslim prophet Muhammad or the Koran. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in its 2021 annual report that 30 Christians, including seven on death row, were jailed in Pakistan on blasphemy charges in 2020. The blasphemy laws are “frequently abused to levy false accusations,” USCIRF reported.

Pakistan was the “world’s worst offender of blasphemy-related prosecutions and societal violence between 2014 and 2018,” the USCIRF report said.

USCIRF designated Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” for its frequent violations of religious liberty. USCIRF noted that Ramesh Kumar Malhi, a Hindu veterinary surgeon, was accused in 2019 of delivering medicine for animals wrapped in paper text from the Kuran. Although he was acquitted, he “remains in hiding due to continued death threats,” USCIRF reported.

Khan wants Muslim countries to “band together to lobby Western governments to criminalise the insulting of Islam’s prophet,” Al Jazeera reported.

Kahn’s address came as controversy surrounds French President Emmanuel Macron’s defense of free speech following a French magazine publicizing a cartoon of Muhammed, International Christian Concern reported.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#231 

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By Temmy
Fri, April 30, 2021 1:49pm
Updated
Russian Defense Minister Announces Plan To Resurrect A 3,000-Year-Old Scythian Army Through Cloning

Russian Geographical Society - The oldest remains unearthed in the Valley of the Kings date back to the ninth century B.C.
The oldest remains unearthed in the “Valley of the Kings” date back to the ninth century B.C.

Just two decades ago, archaeologists in Siberia made the discovery of a lifetime. Buried in the Republic of Tuva were the remains of 3,000-year-old Scythian warriors with their horses. Not content to let them rest, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has now announced plans to clone them.

Shoigu, a Tuva native, revealed these intentions during last week’s online session of the Russian Geographical Society, according to Ancient Origins. Shoigu not only leads that organization but is one of the strongest allies of President Vladimir Putin — who attended the meeting. Most baffling were Shoigo’s purported goals.

The defense minister spoke of the “potential of the extraordinary 3,000-year-old Scythian burials,” referring to the plethora of DNA that has been preserved in Siberian permafrost. Shoigo had ordered a shaman to be present at the excavations — in order not to anger the spirits — and now apparently plans to build an army of the dead, according to Daily Mail.

“Of course, we would like very much to find the organic matter and I believe you understand what would follow that,” he said. “It would be possible to make something of it, if not Dolly the Sheep. In general, it will be very interesting.”

The Russian Defense Minister stated the current goal is to uncover organic material in the permafrost — and referenced Dolly the Sheep in the same breath.

While this was a formal meeting and Shoigu’s words were rather clear, the announcement may serve a dual political purpose, according to some analysts. Russia recently deployed about 100,000 soldiers to the Ukrainian border, after all, and a fantastic tale about cloning ancient warriors could serve well as a distraction cooked up by the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.

Nonetheless, the remains unearthed in the so-called “Valley of the Kings” are very real — and couldn’t be more remarkable. Excavations here began in 1998, with a team of Russian and German archaeologists beginning to unearth tombs from the “Arzhan 2” mound three years after that.

In 2018, however, Shoigu launched digs headed up by Russian and Swiss experts and brought a shaman in to oversee the recovery of remains. Scythians were nomadic warriors of Iranian descent and held the European steppe from China’s northern borders to the Black Sea between the 7th and 3rd century, B.C.

“The most interesting find was the remains of horse sacrifices with the elements of horse harnesses,” lead archaeologist Timur Sadykov said. “This once again confirms the cultural belonging of the kurgan to the range of monuments of the Valley of the Kings … where traces of ritual horse sacrifices were also found.”

Scythian warriors were commonly buried with their horses. Finding the remains of their trusty steeds wasn’t entirely surprising, although the evidence that the warriors likely sacrificed them was. Most shocking, of course, were the claims that the Russian state might want to clone these warriors back to life — and supplement its modern army.

The third season of the Russian Geographical Society’s expedition, which ended in October 2020, yielded these remains. Although the discovery of fossilized bones is certainly incredible on its own merit, the institution has clearly expressed its goal of finding organic matter in the permafrost for cloning purposes.

“We have conducted several expeditions there already; it is a big international expedition,” Shoigu said according to Sputnik News. “A lot of things have been confirmed, but a lot remains to be done.”

The oldest remains date back to the 9th century, B.C., according to Unilad. The April 14 announcement included a glaring reference to Dolly the Sheep. Famously, Dolly was the first mammal ever cloned and made global headlines in July 1996, when the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, revealed its success.

Ultimately, it’s unclear just how genuine the Russians’ purported efforts to clone an ancient army back to life really are. While only time will tell, a 2017 PBS report may be useful in gauging how skeptical to be of any state-sponsored revelations such as this.

According to that particular research, both the Kremlin and Russia’s media work in tandem to produce both mis- and disinformation in order to muddy the waters as far as the Russian state’s doings on the international stage. Whether media items like this distract from troop maneuvers or are entirely sincere remains thus far unknown.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#232 

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By Temmy
Fri, April 30, 2021 4:08pm
Virginia Woman Using Online DNA Service To Find Biological Mother Accidentally Cracks 40-Year-Old Double Murder

San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office<br>
Pamela Dianne Duffey (left) and William Everette Lane (right) were around 21 and 20 years old when they were killed.
Pamela Dianne Duffey (left) and William Everette Lane (right) were around 21 and 20 years old when they were killed.

It was November 1980 when an archaeologist in Ludlow, California, discovered a shallow grave in the vast Mojave Desert. It contained the nude bodies of a man and woman who had both been beaten and then shot to death, but a lack of IDs at the scene left their murders unsolved for decades — until now.

The 40-year-old cold case was finally cracked when a Virginia woman uploaded her DNA to a genetic testing site in order to locate her biological mother. Her DNA was then matched with a sample from the unidentified woman found in the desert.

The saga began in 2018 when Christine Marie Salley began searching for her biological parents. The Virginia native had always known she was adopted, and that year, she hired a private investigator.

According to ABC News, the investigator first found adoption paperwork that identified Salley’s biological mother as Pamela Dianne Duffey.

When the investigator then uploaded Salley’s DNA to GEDmatch in December 2020, the site suggested that there was a parent-child relationship between Salley and an unidentified DNA sample that was uploaded by authorities on the case of the Ludlow, California, woman.

It appeared as though that woman was none other than Salley’s mother, Pamela Dianne Duffey.

Duffey and Lane were buried in the desert off Highway 66 in Ludlow, California.

San Bernardino County investigators then heard of the successful DNA match, and they realized their 40-year cold case just might be coming to an end.

Salley consequently provided the San Bernardino investigators with what she believed to be her mother’s name and another DNA sample, which the California Department of Justice positively matched only this month to Duffey. The records showed that Duffey was just about 21 years old when she was killed.

But Salley was also able to help identify the unknown male victim.

She remembered that her biological mother had been friends with a man who Duffey called “Digger Lane” before she vanished. Salley also knew that Lane was a Virginian convict who planned a cross-country hitchhike with her mother after serving his time.

While that nickname didn’t match any records, investigators did find a William Everette Lane with similar credentials and a Jacksonville, Florida, address.

His relatives were subsequently tracked down, and they voluntarily supplied authorities with DNA samples that matched those of the murdered man in the desert. Lane was then determined to be around 20 years old when he was killed.

All investigators needed now was to identify the killer. As it turned out, they already had a suspect in mind.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office had long suspected that a now-68-year-old convict named Howard Neal might be the culprit, in part because he had been in the same region where Duffey and Lane were killed — and curiously moved to Mississippi right after.

Imprisoned since 1982, Neal was convicted of raping and then murdering his 13-year-old niece and her 12-year-old friend, as well as killing his own brother.

Neal was initially sentenced to death for those crimes, but an IQ test that suggested he was mentally challenged changed his sentence to three life terms in prison, instead.

Investigators managed to interview Neal about the Ludlow murders in 2017, during which the culprit said that he picked up the couple while they were hitchhiking on a freeway.

He then brought the two to his residence, where San Bernardino investigators say he “became involved in an argument with the male” and “felt the male would probably kill him if he did not kill him first.”

Tragically, Neal also revealed that the woman he killed that day said she had a daughter, strengthening the belief that she was Salley’s mother, Duffey. Investigators believe that Neal shot Lane to death first and then raped Duffey before killing her as well.

The young couple was then transported to a remote section of the Mojave Desert off Highway 66 and left unidentified for nearly half a century.

The sheriff’s department said they are currently in the process of returning the remains of Duffey and Lane to their respective families.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#241 

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By Temmy
Sat, May 01, 2021 10:53pm
Updated
Kanye West Raises 1 Million Dollars for the Family of the Late Rapper DMX

Picture of Earl Simmons aka DMX

Rapper and outspoken Christian Kanye West was recently able to raise one million dollars for late rapper DMX's family.

DMX, who died of a heart attack on April 9, was also a passionate Christian.

To raise money for DMX's mourning family, West, who is also a fashion designer, launched a fundraiser selling limited edition t-shirts. The shirts were designed by luxury brand Balenciaga and included a picture of DMX with his rapper logo and crosses on either side of the shirt. On the back of the shirt, it read, "in loving memory," with the sleeves showing the date he died.

The shirt sold out despite being having a hefty price tag of $200.

A statement posted to DMX's Instagram page noted that Balenciaga was approached about making the tribute design. The statement reads, "Balenciaga has been asked to design a t-shirt in tribute to the late artist Earl Simmons, AKA DMX. A tribute to the artist and his fans with net proceeds benefiting Simmons' family. In Loving Memory."

Photo of DMX T-Shirt

American rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was admitted to the hospital on April 2. Once news broke of his admission to the hospital, hundreds of DMX fans flooded New York's White Plains Hospital's parking lot to pray for him as he went on life support.

Some outlets have alleged that the heart attack was due to a possible drug overdose, though the speculation has not been confirmed.

Before he died, Simmons hosted a series of pandemic Bible studies on his social media accounts, where thousands tuned in to hear the Good News.

According to Faithwire, in 2012, the award-winning artist shared that he was entering into ministry. He became a transitional deacon in the Christian Church and hoped to become a full-time pastor eventually.

His family released a statement calling him a man who loved his family with a legacy that will live on forever. "He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl's music inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever. We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time," the family wrote.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#242 

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By Temmy
Sat, May 01, 2021 11:50pm
Donald Trump Says He Is '100 Percent' Considering a 2024 Presidential Run

Picture of Donald Trump

In a recent interview with Fox News, Former President Donald Trump said he is ‘100 percent' thinking about running for president again in 2024.

Trump's comments were made during an interview with host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning, following President Biden's speech before a joint session of Congress Wednesday night.

According to The Blaze, Trump added that his 2024 presidential platform would probably be centered on immigration, protecting the Second Amendment, tax policy and energy independence. Regarding the border, Trump told Bartiromo that it "has to be brought back to where I had it."

Trump also praised Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership and noted that he would consider him as a possible running mate in 2024.

"He is a friend of mine. Certainly, Ron would be considered," he continued. "I endorsed Ron, and after I endorsed him, he took off like a rocket ship. He's done a great job as governor. They like that. I'm just saying what I read and you read. They love that ticket."

Trump went on to take a shot at Biden for not addressing the present crisis taking place at the border during his speech before the joint Congress on Wednesday.

"He didn't discuss the border and the fact that tens of thousands of people are pouring into our country, many of them criminals, many of them, people from jails, many of them doing acts that you don't even want to know about," Trump said. "The wall is almost completed. It would have been completed if I didn't get sued by Congress and the Democrats every single moment — and we beat those cases. And they just don't want to finish it."

On taxes, Trump pointed out the shift between his administration and the Biden administration.

"You're going from the biggest decrease to the biggest increase in history," he explained. "It's going to be a shock to all people, not rich people, all people."

"Your gasoline prices, look what's happening to them. They're going up, through the roof, in a short period of time," he continued. "I had them down below $2 and we still had a strong energy industry."

In an interview with conservative host Dan Bongino on Wednesday, the former president made similar comments regarding another run for office. Trump told Bongino that "probably the appropriate time" to announce a presidential run would be "right after" the 2022 midterm elections.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#243 

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By Temmy
Sun, May 02, 2021 12:20am
US State Bans Critical Race Theory from Being Taught In Public Schools, Including Universities

students of many races in a classroom

On Wednesday, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a nondiscrimination bill into law, preventing worldviews such as Critical Race Theory from being taught in public schools.

The legislation, House Bill 377, forbids public schools and universities from teaching that "any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior." It also bars teaching that "individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin."

According to The Christian Post, Idaho lawmakers noted that these ideas are "often found in 'critical race theory,'" and they "exacerbate and inflame divisions on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or other criteria in ways contrary to the unity of the nation and the well-being of the state of Idaho and its citizens."

In the bill's transmittal letter sent to Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke, Gov. Little contended that "the claim that there is widespread, systemic indoctrination occurring in Idaho classrooms is a serious allegation."

"Most worryingly, it undermines popular support for public education in Idaho," he continued.

Christopher F. Rufo, a director at the Discovery Institute, praised the bill's signing, calling it a "historic win".

"Idaho becomes the first state in the nation to ban critical race theory indoctrination in public schools," he tweeted. "Governor Brad Little signed the bill into law, which will prohibit schools from promoting race essentialism, collective guilt, and neo-segregation. A historic win!"

Meanwhile, Layne McInelly, the president of the Idaho Education Association, issued a statement to CNN arguing that the bill addresses a non-existent problem.

"The passage of HB 377 and the accompanying insinuations about Idaho teachers are very disappointing," she said. "This is a 'monster under the bed' problem brought about by a false and misleading narrative that some legislators have willfully conflated. They aim to diminish the public's trust in our teachers and schools, just to come back next year and push to privatize education."

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#244 

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By Temmy
Sun, May 02, 2021 11:55pm
Democrats call out Biden, Harris for not addressing border crisis

Unaccompanied minors ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast) in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, June 18, 2014. | Reuters/Jose de Jesus Cortes
Unaccompanied minors ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast) in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, June 18, 2014

Two border-state Senate Democrats have called out President Joe Biden for failing to make policy changes to fix the border crisis a priority in his first 100 days in office.

Vice President Kamala Harris has also been criticized by Republican lawmakers for refusing to go to the border. Instead, Harris will speak with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on May 7 to discuss a tree planting proposal in Central America in an attempt to provide more jobs and reduce migration. This proposal doesn't address the influx of fentanyl, heroin and meth trafficked into the U.S. by drug cartels and illegal border crossings by people from China and other nations.

Harris has also pledged $310 million in additional humanitarian aid for Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The majority of the funds, $255 million, would be allocated to help asylum seekers and disaster relief projects in the region. Another $55 million would go to Guatemala’s farming industry and literacy programs in that country and Honduras.

The Biden administration has yet to speak on the impact the border crisis is having on healthcare, education and public safety in communities most affected by the migrant surge.

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., who's up for re-election in 2022, said Wednesday that Biden had not paid enough attention to the border crisis during his address to Congress.

“While I share President Biden’s urgency in fixing our broken immigration system, what I didn’t hear tonight was a plan to address the immediate crisis at the border, and I will continue holding this administration accountable to deliver the resources and staffing necessary for a humane, orderly process as we work to improve border security, support local economies, and fix our immigration system,” Kelly said in a statement.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, also a Democrat from Arizona, has said the Biden administration needed to address the border crisis and support Arizona border communities.

“She’s spoken directly with administration officials on this,” Sinema’s office told Fox News.

At least 46% of Americans believe the situation at the U.S. border has worsened compared with what it was under former President Donald Trump about two years ago, according to a recent Fox News poll, which revealed that only 15% of Americans think otherwise.

Fox News also reported on Friday that Harris had neither visited the border region nor held a news conference about her border-related duties since she took on a special border assignment from Biden on March 24.

“Today would be a good day for Vice President Harris to visit the southern border,” Republicans of the House Judiciary Committee wrote on social media on Friday.

This comes as police in Houston, Texas, found over 90 people, all men except five women, packed inside a room in what could be a human smuggling case as they were responding to a kidnapping call at a separate location Thursday night, according to Houston Police Assistant Chief Daryn Edwards.

Edwards said it’s “definitely more of a smuggling thing and not a trafficking thing,” according to The Epoch Times. He also cautioned that “there may be some positive COVID-19 cases inside the house.”

In many cases, children have been used to pose as families to get adults into the U.S.

Last month, a 36-year-old Brazilian man was caught crossing the border with an 8-year-old girl he claimed was his daughter.

The man later confessed that he had brought a friend’s daughter in Brazil so that U.S. authorities would be more lenient toward him, The Washington Times reported.

The Times noted that Homeland Security was still not using DNA testing often enough to validate family relationships of adults accompanying children.

Earlier last week, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, pressed the issue of Harris not going to the border. “Vice President Kamala Harris visited North Carolina yesterday. She’s set to visit New Hampshire on Friday. When’s the ‘border czar’ going to visit the southern border?” Jordan asked in a tweet.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#247 

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By Temmy
Mon, May 03, 2021 12:03am
Updated
How do you lovingly terminate staff?

Picture of Sutton Turner
Sutton Turner is the chief operating officer of Vanderbloemen, which serves teams with a greater purpose by aligning their people solutions for growth: hiring, compensation, succession and culture.

For twenty-five years of leading different companies and churches, I have learned the hard way how to lovingly terminate staff. In my role as pastor or as a CEO/COO I would love to say that I have always terminated staff in a loving way. But, I have not.

One of the greatest lessons I learned as an Executive Pastor at Mars Hill Church was to lead as a pastor and not a professional. Over time, Jesus taught me a lot from and with Pastor Dave Bruskas as he led our staff through the pastoral epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus) each week. By the grace of God, in the end, we got closer to getting termination right than we had in the past.

These are some lessons I learned during that time about how to lovingly terminate a staff member.

Termination should never be a surprise to the staff member.

Terminations should fall into two categories: immediate termination for a gross action or termination for not meeting the expectations in their job description. In either case, the termination should never come as a surprise. This is what distinguishes a termination from a layoff. Where a layoff often occurs because of financial reasons and may come as a surprise to the employee, a termination is more disciplinary in nature. It should not come out of the blue. I cover how to lovingly layoff staff in this article.

Immediate Termination for a Gross Action

There is a long list of actions that will lead to a staff member being terminated immediately. Many companies have policies that state that if the staff member breaks a law—stealing, fraud, use of illegal drugs, or other actions—then the staff member will be terminated immediately. In each case, the employee is not surprised if they are terminated for one of these reasons. They acknowledged upfront these company policies that clearly stated they would be terminated for these actions.

Termination for Not Meeting Expectations

Most terminations fall into this category, and this termination should come after a lengthy discussion of unmet expectations. If the staff member is surprised at termination, the supervisor and organization have failed the staff member.

As the supervisor, you must provide a current job description to the staff member. Each time your staff changes job responsibilities, you, as the supervisor, must reproduce their job description and review it with them.

When there is any variance where the staff member is not meeting the expectations of the role, the supervisor must sit down with the staff member and discuss the variance. Most of the time, I have found when a staff member does not meet expectations, it is because they do not clearly know how to meet the expectation or there is another factor that might be inhibiting their performance.

A great tool to use as a leader to assist in reforming an employee that is not meeting expectations is a Performance Improvement Plan or PIP. A PIP helps to communicate the path needed for the staff member to be successful in their current role. I have included a link to the Vanderbloemen PIP to help you build your own.

However, even after using clear communication and Performance Improvement Plans, you may still need to terminate based on performance. You may also have to terminate immediately for cause. The following steps are good advice for the supervisor.

Termination

There should never be a time when terminating a fellow staff member is easy. However, I believe you can do it in a kind and honoring way. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years about how to do so:

• Be certain that the termination is correct and needed. Although many labor laws need to be upheld, the process cannot be rigid, cold, or short. In the past, I have made that mistake and have thankfully learned from it.

• There is a balance between job performance and grace. After you have communicated the desired change, give time for the employee to change their activity and work through a PIP. Then, if the performance has not improved, it is time to terminate the employee.

• Be compassionate with the person and pray through what this will do to their family, their career, and their relationships in the church or organization. Have great empathy for that employee and communicate this empathy to them during your final meeting.

• Have another staff member, preferably your Human Resource professional and, if this is a church, a pastor, in attendance with you during the final meeting.

• Ask for feedback from the terminated employee in the form of an exit interview. This should not be conducted by the supervisor but a Human Resource professional, pastor, or impartial person. Make sure someone follows up with the former employee about the comments they make. This is something I have at times failed to do.

• Pray for the terminated employee at the end of the meeting.

• Depending on your environment and culture, you might want to have your termination meeting at the end of the day or even off-site. This provides the opportunity for the staff member being terminated not to have to face fellow colleagues during office hours.

• Consider a company or church policy that states that once an employee is terminated, they are not allowed to email or communicate with staff regarding company business. And make it a standard practice that their access to email, server, and other technology is immediately eliminated.

• Give severance pay when financially able to do so and extend health benefits when possible. Another option, if the organization is financially able, is to pay for their COBRA insurance for a period of time.

I wish I had followed the suggestions above each and every time I terminated a staff member over my 25 years of leading organizations (church, for-profit, and non-profit). I did not. Thanks be to God for the power of the Holy Spirit which has graciously sanctified me in this area.

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By Temmy
Mon, May 03, 2021 9:24pm
Netanyahu Offers to Step Aside, Let Bennett be PM First in Rotation Deal

In this Feb. 16, 2021 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Leumit Health Care Services vaccination facility in Jerusalem. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool via AP, File)
In this Feb. 16, 2021 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Leumit Health Care Services vaccination facility in Jerusalem.

With just one day to go before his mandate to form a government expires, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he has offered to step aside and allow Yamina Party head Naftali Bennett to serve as prime minister first in a rotation agreement.

“I told Naftali Bennett I am willing to accept his demand for a rotation deal in which he will serve first as prime minister for one year. Yamina party members will enter the government and Knesset with important roles,” Netanyahu wrote on social media.

“I urge him [Bennett] to sign a deal today on the formation of a right-wing government, and to commit that he won’t join any other government,” he added.

Netanyahu has until Tuesday to make a deal with Bennett and form a government. If he fails, President Reuven Rivlin may give Netanyahu’s rival, Yair Lapid from the centrist Blue and White party, the chance to form a stable government and serve as prime minister.

After Netanyahu’s announcement, Bennett denied he asked for the premiership.

“I heard Netanyahu’s offer now, but it’s unclear. I didn’t ask for the premiership, but for a government — and this, unfortunately, he doesn’t have, because [Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich] burned the bridges leading to a right-wing government,” Bennett said, referring to the far-right leader’s refusal to form a government supported by the Islamist Ra’am party.

Both Netanyahu and the bloc of parties who oppose him need the Ra’am party’s support to pass the 61-seat threshold to form a majority government in Israel’s 120-seat parliament. After Israel’s fourth election in two years in March, neither Netanyahu nor his rivals won enough seats to form a government, and Ra’am emerged as an unexpected potential kingmaker.

Because Netanyahu’s Likud Party won the most seats during this year’s, President Rivlin gave Netanyahu the mandate to form a government, but he has been unable to do so.

Bennett said Monday that he prefers to form a right-wing government but refuses to commit to Netanyahu. He also hasn’t ruled out supporting Netanyahu’s rivals.

“If Netanyahu doesn’t manage to form a government, we will form a unity government,” Bennett said, referring to a government coalition with centrist, left-wing and right-wing parties. “The most destructive thing for Israel is more elections.”

As the clock runs out on Netanyahu, Lapid says he expects President Rivlin to task him with forming a stable government after Netanyahu’s mandate expires tomorrow.

“The foundations are ready. We can form a government. In one more day, if nothing surprising happens, we will be faced with two options: an Israeli national unity government, solid, decent and hard-working. Or fifth elections,” he said.

Lapid is also willing to form a government with Bennett and allow the Yamini leader to serve first in a premiership rotation deal.

“There is a historic opportunity. To break down the barriers at the heart of Israeli society. To unite religious and secular, left and right and center. It’s time to choose. Between a unity government or ongoing division. Between unity and rule by the extremes,” he said.

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By Temmy
Mon, May 03, 2021 9:32pm
Germany Busts Massive Darknet Child Porn Site Used by 400,000 Around the World

Image Source: Christian Lue/Unsplash

German prosecutors announced Monday they have busted one of the world's biggest international darknet platforms for child pornography, used by more than 400,000 registered members.

Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement together with the Federal Criminal Police Office that in mid-April three German suspects, said to be the administrators of the “Boystown” platform, were arrested along with a German user. One of the three main suspects was arrested in Paraguay.

They also searched seven buildings in connection with the porn ring in mid-April in Germany.

The authorities said the platform was “one of the world's biggest child pornography darknet platforms” and had been active at least since 2019. Pedophiles used it to exchange and watch pornography of children and toddlers, most of them boys, from all over the world.

Prosecutors wrote that they found “images of most severe sexual abuse of toddlers” among the photos and video material.

A German police task force investigated the platform, its administrators, and users for months in cooperation with Europol and law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the United States, and Canada, the statement said.

The three main suspects were a 40-year-old man from Paderborn, a 49-year-old man from Munich, and a 58-year-old man from northern Germany who had been living in Paraguay for many years, the prosecutors' statement said. They worked as administrators of the site and gave advice to members on how to evade law enforcement when using the platform for illegal child pornography.

A fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is accused of being one of the most active users of the platform having allegedly uploaded more than 3,500 posts.

Germany has requested the extradition of the suspect who was arrested in Paraguay.

No names were given in line with Germany privacy regulations.

After the raids in mid-April, the online platform was shut down.

Germany's top security official thanked the authorities for their success.

“This investigative success has a clear message: Those who assault the weakest aren't safe anywhere," German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. ”That's what investigators work for day and night, online and offline, globally."

“We'll do everything within our power to protect the kids from these disgusting crimes,” he added.

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By Temmy
Mon, May 03, 2021 9:40pm
Israelis Attack Palestinian Village After Terror Attack

Conflict breaks out between Palestinians and Jewish settlers early Monday. Video source: B'Tselem Twitter Screenshot
Conflict breaks out between Palestinians and Jewish settlers early Monday.

Israelis from a settlement community attacked a Palestinian village early Monday morning, setting fires and throwing rocks at residents in an apparent act of revenge for a terror attack the day before, Israeli media reported.

The clashes broke out in the Palestinian village of Jaloud in the West Bank - biblical Judea and Samaria. The alleged attackers were Israelis from the nearby settlement of Shiloh, according to the left-wing human rights group B'Tselem.

The Israeli military confirmed that Israeli civilians and Palestinians hurled rocks at each other outside the village and that “a number of locations were ignited.” The military did not provide details on what triggered the violence.

Soldiers and Israeli Border police attempted to break up the fighting by using riot dispersal tools like rubber bullets. Four people were injured during the clashes.

Police arrested eleven Palestinian residents of the village and no Israelis, The Times of Israel reports.

The violence came hours after Palestinian gunmen opened fire on three Israeli settlers during a drive-by shooting at a bus stop in the West Bank on Sunday. Two of the three victims were seriously injured and a manhunt is underway for suspects.

Radical Israeli settlers have been known to carry out "price tag" attacks against Palestinian communities in response to terror attacks against Jews.

Israeli settlement communities in the West Bank – Biblical Judea and Samaria have been flashpoints for violence and terror attacks. Palestinians envision the territory as part of their future state and an obstacle to peace. Meanwhile, many Israelis consider it to be their biblical inheritance and their return as a fulfillment of the prophecies in the Bible.

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 9:58am
‘A valley of death’: Indian pastor says 2nd COVID wave has hit nearly every family

Family members and ambulance workers in PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of victims who died of the COVID-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi, India, on April 27, 2021. | PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images
Family members and ambulance workers in PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of victims who died of the COVID-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi, India, on April 27, 2021.

Christian groups are calling for prayers and providing aid to India as nearly 400,000 new cases are being recorded daily and over 3,000 are dying every day amid a buckling healthcare system.

“Every Indian has someone or other in their family who has been affected,” the Rev. Moumita Biswas from the Church of North India told Christian Today. “We need support of food, which churches have been helping to provide. And, of course, prayers.”

India recorded 368,000 infections on Sunday, at least 392,000 on Saturday, and more than 400,000 new cases on Friday. The drop in the number of infections on Sunday is due to a lower rate of testing during the weekend, according to The Indian Express.

It is believed that the actual rate of people getting infected with the new coronavirus is about 10 times higher than the official figures, and the number of cases is yet to peak over the next few weeks.

“We have been in a terrible state for the past two and a half weeks,” Biswas shared. “We are in a death-trap now, it has become a valley of death. Before this wave hit, we just knew the numbers, but now it’s our family members, our relatives, our church leaders who have died.”

The Most Rev. P.K. Samantaroy, bishop of Amritsar from the Church of North India, which is part of the Anglican Communion, was quoted as saying that poor healthcare infrastructure and low vaccine supplies were hampering efforts to tackle the crisis.

“Medical facilities in India, especially in the larger cities, have been under severe strain from the flood of patients and the new more virulent variants of the virus,” he said.

Finny Philip, principal of the Filadelfia Bible College in the northern state of Rajasthan, told Evangelical Focus that “dead bodies are lined up for the funeral pier for hours,” as “people are dying in hospitals without oxygen availability and Intensive Care Unit beds.”

He also said the actual death toll is likely to be “much higher” than the official data.

Philip added that in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, “Christians are making a difference.” He also urged believers worldwide to pray for India, the families of the victims, and the Christians in the country.

The Rev. Vijayesh Lal, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, added that most people are not dying because of COVID-19, but because there is no infrastructure.

“They are dying because of the lack of oxygen and hospital beds, because they are not able to get into hospitals,” he said. “Many are dying in their homes, some are dying in their cars, on the roads. It is a very distressing time in India, like a tsunami, like a wave that has hit India. The healthcare system is completely stressed. Many of my doctor friends who were busy on the forefront in treating patients, are now COVID positives. I have lost extended family members and I have lost friends.”

Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore told the UCA News in an interview on Wednesday that Catholic schools and other church-owned properties are being converted into makeshift care centers to take care of non-critical patients.

“This way, we can spare more beds in hospitals for critical patients. Those who have crossed the critical stage can continue to get their care in the temporary centers,” Machafo said, stressing that the most critically ill patients, "especially those in need of a life support," are the ones who need hospital beds.

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 10:07am
Caitlyn Jenner Endorses Bans on Boys in Girls' Sports: It 'Is a Question of Fairness'

Picture of Caitlyn Jenner

Supporters of laws banning biological boys from competing in girls’ sports now have an unlikely ally: transgender activist and California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner.

Jenner, who was born male but began identifying as female in 2015, was asked by TMZ about proposals and laws in multiple states that ban biological boys who identify as transgender from competing alongside girls.

Jenner endorsed the bans.

“This is a question of fairness, and that’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair,” Jenner told TMZ. “And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”

Jenner, in a Sunday tweet, didn’t back down.

“I didn’t expect to get asked this on my Saturday morning coffee run, but I’m clear about where I stand. It’s an issue of fairness and we need to protect girls’ sports in our schools,” Jenner tweeted.Enter the url or any other statement here

Jenner, competing as Bruce Jenner, won the decathlon gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

It’s not the first time someone who typically has been an ally of the LGBT community has endorsed the bans. Martina Navratilova, a professional tennis player who came out as a lesbian in 1981, wrote in a 2019 article for The Sunday Times that it’s not fair to allow biological males to compete alongside females. A man, she wrote, “builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood” that women don’t have.

This year, Navratilova and a coalition of women’s sports activists said they support most of the Biden administration’s plans for the LGBT community but believe that allowing transgender girls and women who “have experienced all or part of male puberty” gives them an unfair advantage.

In Connecticut, two biological boys who identify as transgender won a total of 15 girls’ track state titles.

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 10:12am
Millions of Americans to Face Severe Weather Risks Through Tuesday

(Image credit: Accuweather)

The first week of May is beginning quite active on the severe weather front, with hundreds of millions of Americans across the eastern half of the nation at risk for dangerous thunderstorms.

The severe weather dangers on Monday and Tuesday follow an outbreak of tornadoes across Mississippi to end the weekend, including one large nighttime tornado that struck the city of Tupelo. Potent storms with hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes were also reported across Colorado's Front Range and the central Plains Sunday.

Forecasters expect the storms early this week to pose similar hazards over much broader and even more populated areas.

Even outside of the areas that AccuWeather meteorologists are zeroing in on for more concentrated severe weather risks, any thunderstorm across the Central and Eastern states could turn heavy and gusty on the local level early this week.

Several disturbances high in the atmosphere, coupled with warm, humid air out of ahead of these systems, will be the catalyst for the widespread downpours and thunderstorms anticipated.

Late Monday into Monday night, a system ejecting out of the Rockies is expected to fire up severe thunderstorms from eastern Oklahoma into southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The threat is forecast to extend into the lower Ohio Valley.

"These severe thunderstorms are expected to bring large hail, intense lightning, flash flooding and damaging wind gusts, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 80 mph," AccuWeather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo said, adding that tornadoes would also be possible.

Larger metro areas such as Little Rock, Arkansas; St. Louis and Indianapolis could be in the crosshairs of these dangerous thunderstorms.

AccuWeather meteorologists are urging residents to make sure they have a way to receive severe weather warnings before heading to bed, as the risk of severe weather is expected to continue well after dark.

"Even outside of the main severe weather threat zone, locally dangerous storms and isolated tornadoes can occur in the Southeast states," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

“Severe thunderstorms, including isolated tornadoes, can occur in the swath from central Alabama through central and northern Georgia, middle and upstate South Carolina and part of North Carolina into Monday evening,” Sosnowski added.

Atlanta is among the southern U.S. cities at risk for dangerous thunderstorms, including tornadoes, into Monday evening. During the midmorning hours Monday, radar indicated debris within a tornado-warned thunderstorm just southwest of Atlanta. Radar-indicated debris is a tell-tale sign of a tornado on the ground.

Monday afternoon brought additional tornado-warned thunderstorms in Georgia, as well as in the Carolinas. AccuWeather forecasters urged people to stay vigilant even after one storm hits. More than one severe storm could target some locations in the Southeast into the evening.

"Some communities can be hit by more than one severe thunderstorm and could be under more than one tornado warning into the evening hours," Sosnowski said.

Experts say yet another round of dangerous weather will erupt Tuesday.

A surge of very humid air expanding northward through the Gulf states will collide with a storm moving up along a front from east Texas to the Ohio Valley. This will result in an outbreak of thunderstorms that will likely linger well into Tuesday night, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

The thunderstorms are expected to target cities such as Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Nashville; Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta; and potentially more northern areas as well such as Louisville, Kentucky; Charleston, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh. Tupelo and other Mississippi towns that were devastated by Sunday's tornadoes will be right in the middle of the threat zone.

Storm hazards will include hail, flooding downpours, tornadoes and damaging, straight-line wind gusts with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 75 mph, according to LoBiondo.

"There will also be pockets of flash flooding, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas, but fortunately the storms will be moving along at a decent clip, which will limit the duration of intense rainfall for most areas," Anderson said.

Areas of the South that experienced a very wet month of April will be at greatest risk of experiencing flash flooding issues.

Those with travel plans on the road and in the air across the Central, Eastern and Southern states can anticipate a slow-go amid the stormy pattern.

Even without any flooding problems, the torrential downpours within the storms can lead to problems for motorists in the form of reduced visibility on the interstates as well as an increased risk of hydroplaning.

Thunderstorms packing large hail could stir up more tornadoes across the South as the severe pattern shifts eastward.

The first week of May is beginning quite active on the severe weather front, with hundreds of millions of Americans across the eastern half of the nation at risk for dangerous thunderstorms.

The severe weather dangers on Monday and Tuesday follow an outbreak of tornadoes across Mississippi to end the weekend, including one large nighttime tornado that struck the city of Tupelo. Potent storms with hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes were also reported across Colorado's Front Range and the central Plains Sunday.

Forecasters expect the storms early this week to pose similar hazards over much broader and even more populated areas.

Even outside of the areas that AccuWeather meteorologists are zeroing in on for more concentrated severe weather risks, any thunderstorm across the Central and Eastern states could turn heavy and gusty on the local level early this week.

Several disturbances high in the atmosphere, coupled with warm, humid air out of ahead of these systems, will be the catalyst for the widespread downpours and thunderstorms anticipated.

Late Monday into Monday night, a system ejecting out of the Rockies is expected to fire up severe thunderstorms from eastern Oklahoma into southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The threat is forecast to extend into the lower Ohio Valley.

"These severe thunderstorms are expected to bring large hail, intense lightning, flash flooding and damaging wind gusts, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 80 mph," AccuWeather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo said, adding that tornadoes would also be possible.

Larger metro areas such as Little Rock, Arkansas; St. Louis and Indianapolis could be in the crosshairs of these dangerous thunderstorms.

AccuWeather meteorologists are urging residents to make sure they have a way to receive severe weather warnings before heading to bed, as the risk of severe weather is expected to continue well after dark.

"Even outside of the main severe weather threat zone, locally dangerous storms and isolated tornadoes can occur in the Southeast states," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

“Severe thunderstorms, including isolated tornadoes, can occur in the swath from central Alabama through central and northern Georgia, middle and upstate South Carolina and part of North Carolina into Monday evening,” Sosnowski added.

Atlanta is among the southern U.S. cities at risk for dangerous thunderstorms, including tornadoes, into Monday evening. During the midmorning hours Monday, radar indicated debris within a tornado-warned thunderstorm just southwest of Atlanta. Radar-indicated debris is a tell-tale sign of a tornado on the ground.

Monday afternoon brought additional tornado-warned thunderstorms in Georgia, as well as in the Carolinas. AccuWeather forecasters urged people to stay vigilant even after one storm hits. More than one severe storm could target some locations in the Southeast into the evening.

"Some communities can be hit by more than one severe thunderstorm and could be under more than one tornado warning into the evening hours," Sosnowski said.

Experts say yet another round of dangerous weather will erupt Tuesday.

A surge of very humid air expanding northward through the Gulf states will collide with a storm moving up along a front from east Texas to the Ohio Valley. This will result in an outbreak of thunderstorms that will likely linger well into Tuesday night, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

The thunderstorms are expected to target cities such as Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Nashville; Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta; and potentially more northern areas as well such as Louisville, Kentucky; Charleston, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh. Tupelo and other Mississippi towns that were devastated by Sunday's tornadoes will be right in the middle of the threat zone.

Storm hazards will include hail, flooding downpours, tornadoes and damaging, straight-line wind gusts with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 75 mph, according to LoBiondo.

"There will also be pockets of flash flooding, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas, but fortunately the storms will be moving along at a decent clip, which will limit the duration of intense rainfall for most areas," Anderson said.

Areas of the South that experienced a very wet month of April will be at greatest risk of experiencing flash flooding issues.

Those with travel plans on the road and in the air across the Central, Eastern and Southern states can anticipate a slow-go amid the stormy pattern.

Even without any flooding problems, the torrential downpours within the storms can lead to problems for motorists in the form of reduced visibility on the interstates as well as an increased risk of hydroplaning.

By the middle of the week, there may be a localized risk for severe weather along the mid-Atlantic and Southeast coasts before the front sweeps offshore.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#258 

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 10:25am
Biden Lifts Trump Refugee Cap After Delay, Backlash

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave after stepping off Marine One on the Ellipse near the White House, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave after stepping off Marine One on the Ellipse near the White House, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Washington.

President Joe Biden is formally lifting the nation's refugee cap to 62,500 this year, weeks after facing bipartisan blowback for his delay in lifting former President Donald Trump’s limit of 15,000.

That refugee cap is for people fleeing from problems like religious or political persecution, and they must go through proper channels.

Biden last month moved to expand the eligibility criteria for resettlements, removing one roadblock to refugees entering the U.S. put in place by Trump, but he had initially stopped short of lifting the annual cap, with aides saying they did not believe it was necessary. But Biden faced sharp pushback for not at least taking the symbolic step of authorizing more refugees to enter the U.S. this year and swiftly reversed course.

Biden, in a statement, said the new limit “erases the historically low number set by the previous administration,” adding "the new admissions cap will also reinforce efforts that are already underway to expand the United States' capacity to admit refugees so that we can reach the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions that I intend to set for the coming fiscal year.

“It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin,” Biden added.

Biden said it was a “sad truth” that the U.S. would not meet the 62,500 cap by the end of the fiscal year in September, given the pandemic and limitations on the country's resettlement capabilities.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress on Feb. 12 of a plan to raise the ceiling on admissions to 62,500, but no presidential determination followed.

“Failing to issue a new Determination undermines your declared purpose to reverse your predecessor’s refugee policies,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to Biden.

The new allocation instituted by Biden added more slots for refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Central America and ended Trump’s restrictions on resettlements from Somalia, Syria, and Yemen where radical Islam is an ongoing concern.

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 10:32am
Canadian dad jailed for objecting to teen daughter taking testosterone is released on bail

LGBT activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, in New York City, October 24, 2018. | Getty Images/Drew Angerer
LGBT activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, in New York City, October 24, 2018.

A Canadian father who was jailed after breaking a gag order for publicly objecting to his trans-identifying teenage daughter being prescribed testosterone has been released.

Robert Hoogland of British Columbia was sentenced to six additional months in jail last month after he decided to break a court order that forbade him from identifying himself publicly, voicing his objections to his teenage daughter taking testosterone. Hoogland, who is referred to as "CD" in court documents, was released on bail with several conditions.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal granted Hoogland's application to be released on bail pending the hearing of his appeal on the six months jail sentence that was handed down last month following his entering of a guilty plea to criminal contempt of court.

Sources close to the matter told The Christian Post on Saturday that the terms and conditions of his bail stipulate that he keep the peace and be of good behavior, maintain his employment and remain within the province of British Columbia. Hoogland must also surrender his travel document, pursue the appeal, and abide by the orders that have been made in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in his case.

He is not permitted to directly or indirectly through a third party, publish, broadcast or transmit any information that could disclose his daughter's gender identity, physical and mental health, medical status or treatments of her identity, himself or her mother, and the identities of several other individuals that are relevant to the case. The terms also stipulate that he is to show up at the sheriff's office at the Law Courts in Vancouver on Nov. 1 or on the date that is set for his conviction appeal, whichever comes first.

Sources told CP that Rebel News Network has filed an application for all the parties in the case to vacate the media ban on Hoogland and various aspects of the litigation. This application will be heard in Vancouver Supreme Court in June before Justice Michael Tammen, the same justice that handed down Hoogland's sentence. Hoogland reportedly supports Rebel News' application.

The Canadian father's plight has been among the more visible cases amid increasing scrutiny of the medicalization of gender in minors (the prescribing of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones) worldwide.

On Tuesday, the Texas state Senate approved a bill that would ban genital mutilation surgeries, cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers for youth younger than 18. The bill has now moved to the House Calendars Committee, where it's "making the rounds" among its 11 members who decide which bills will go to the floor for consideration, The Christian Post was told Monday.

Similar legislation was recently adopted in neighboring Arkansas. A handful of other states are considering similar bills.

The legislative push in Texas has emerged, in part, because of the plight of James Younger, a young boy whose mother is intent on chemically transitioning him to look like a girl and name him Luna, despite the objections of his father, Jeff Younger. The pending legislation in the Lone Star state is colloquially known as the "Save James" bill.

The bitter custody battle over the boy — who was 7 years old when the ordeal first began — and his medical care made national headlines in the fall of 2019. A court hearing in the ongoing dispute was scheduled for April 23 but was delayed until early July. Sources say that Jeff Younger might face a similar fate as Hoogland has in light of the legal dynamics of the case.

Curators of the "Save James" Facebook page, which was set up by friends of Younger, said last month that lawyers for Younger's ex-wife intend to argue that Younger should be stripped of his parental rights, lose the ability to be notified when his ex-wife makes medical or psychological decisions for James and his twin brother, Jude, be imprisoned for six months, placed on probation for 10 years, have reduced custody of the boys, and pay for all attorneys' fees.

For his part, Hoogland, the father in Canada, has maintained throughout his ordeal that his daughter's long-term health is in danger, given the lasting effects of cross-sex hormones on the female body. His daughter is said to be 15 years old.

“She can never go back to being a girl in the healthy body that she should have had. She’s going to forever have a lower voice. She’ll forever have to shave because of facial hair. She won’t be able to have children,” he said in a gag order-breaking exclusive interview with the Federalist last year.

One of the known effects of higher-level testosterone use in females is the loss of fertility.

“Sometimes I just want to scream so that other parents and people will … jump in, understand what’s going on.”

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 3:20pm
Companies censor shareholder questions about anti-religious liberty law at annual meetings

Morning commuters are seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, July 30, 2012. | (Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)
Morning commuters are seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, July 30, 2012.

We are now in “proxy season,” the period starting in April in which many publicly traded companies have their annual shareholder meetings. As chief economist for a financial firm that has substantial investments in a broad range of companies, I have been attending these meetings with the particular purpose of asking management about the Equality Act – a proposed law that has been endorsed by a shocking number of publicly-traded companies. The Equality Act is radical in many ways, but most of all in that it directly and explicitly overrules the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As a Christian, and a believer that companies should focus on business and not politics, I was concerned that this extremist piece of legislation had the support of so many corporations. So, I arrived at these meetings well before they started and submitted my questions ahead of time. In every case so far, the question I asked has not been answered on the call. That was disappointing enough in its own right, but in several cases, the companies in question did something particularly egregious: They implied or outright said that there were no more questions to answer, even though my question was never even acknowledged.

First was Exelon, a major energy provider, which implied that all the questions had been answered when (at least) mine was not. Then there was health insurance provider Cigna, which went further than Exelon by stating explicitly at the end of the meeting that there were “no further questions.” (Those who have been paying attention might remember this Washington Examiner report that revealed Cigna’s employee diversity training included descriptions of “religious privilege,” implying that their faith made Christians the beneficiaries of unfair societal advantages.) The same thing happened with Corning Inc., a producer of specialty ceramics and glassware used in advanced optics. At the start of the question portion of the meeting, which is there – in theory – so that shareholders can get answers about how the company they own is being operated, stated there were only two shareholder questions before saying, “That’s it. That concludes our Q&A portion.”

But that was not “it,” just as it was not “it” for any of the other meetings I attended. To be clear, I am not an activist investor – someone who buys a small number of shares in a company just to be able to talk at shareholder meetings. I am involved in the creation of funds based on their qualities as investments. In many cases, our investment in these companies has stood for months or even years and can be measured in millions of dollars. My concern was about what exactly these companies were up to by publicly tying themselves to legislation that could be described, at best, as deeply controversial. It would be more accurate to say the Equality Act strips away legal protections for all traditionally religious Americans.

What exactly caused this apparent breakdown in communication between the investor and the steward of said investor’s money is not clear, but it is conspicuous that they would not answer questions that demanded a defense over a controversial matter, while being more than eager to answer the questions that gave them ample opportunity to broadcast their commitment to secular progressive social ideology.

Flat-out ignoring shareholder questions is bad. Falsely stating that all the questions were answered is a lot worse. I reached out to the Investor Relations departments, by phone and email, of all the companies whose meetings I have attended – namely Exelon, Cigna, Ameriprise, and Corning. Only Exelon, who I spoke with off the record after the annual meeting, has responded as of this writing, so keep in mind that this story is still developing. In addition, the general policy for these companies is that questions that are not answered in the annual meeting will be addressed in writing on their website sometime in the future, generally within a matter of weeks. But the stakes are obviously much higher on the live call than they are several weeks later in a written statement on the website.

I also reached out to Scott Shepard, a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Deputy Director of its Free Enterprise Project, who has been active in corporate engagement for years. He told us by email that “companies have too often misused the virtual shareholder meetings of the lockdowns to ignore shareholder questions that they don't care to answer honestly. They often then compound the problem by pretending that the problems were never submitted. These are the same companies that have signed onto the Business Roundtable's 'Statement of the Purpose of the Corporation,' a rhetorical embrace of 'stakeholder capitalism.' But their treatment of questions they don't like beautifully illustrates how they intend to use this shift: they'll ignore all stakeholder interests other than the ones that fit their own personal policy preferences, and use the facade of stakeholder capitalism to enact their personal preferences at the expense of proper company and shareholder interests.”

A Reuters report in August 2020 highlighted the growing problem of publicly-traded companies exploiting the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced annual meetings entirely online to ignore shareholders questions – over half of them, according to one study. Justin Danhof, General Counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of the Center’s Free Enterprise Project, told Reuters that “companies used the crisis to set up question-and-answer sessions that are a joke.”

Not having to face shareholders in person when they ask their question is certainly beneficial for a corporation that wants to avoid accountability, especially if those questions are about endorsing a piece of legislation that would inspire outrage if people knew what it contained.

There is much to say about the Equality Act, and why so many corporations consider it in their interest to publicly endorse it. You can read more about the legislation here, here, here, here, and here. In brief, if this law were ever passed, it would mean the remaking of our legal landscape in the image of left-wing secular dogma. Of all its radical clauses, the one that should prompt the most concern for the future of religious public life in the United States is that it directly, specifically, by name, guts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which is bipartisan legislation that was passed nearly-unanimously in 1993. The text of the Act is explicit in exempting itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, one of the most important laws protecting religious liberty, as if those who wrote the law anticipated that it would violate religious liberty, and want to pre-emptively rule out any challenges to any aspect of the law on that basis. The Human Right’s Council (an organization as deceptively named as the law they are lobbying for) boasts that the Equality Act has the public endorsement of more than 160 businesses.

All the companies I have put questions to at annual meetings so far are supporters of the Act, by the HRC’s own count. I expected that they would give unsatisfactory answers to my questions, but I did not expect large, well-known companies such as Exelon and Cigna to not answer those questions at all in their annual meetings. Though maybe we shouldn’t be surprised if the kind of company that privately teaches its employees about Christians' unearned privilege doesn’t want shareholders questioning the Equality Act.

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 3:45pm
Bill and Melinda Gates to divorce after 27 years of marriage

Bill and Melinda Gates in 2017.<br>
FREDERIC STEVENS / GETTY
Bill and Melinda Gates in 2017

Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced after 27 years of marriage, the couple announced in a joint statement Monday.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," the statement said.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

Bill Gates, 65, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, is the fourth richest man in the world and has a net worth of $130.5 billion, according to Forbes. Last March, he stepped down from his role on Microsoft's board of directors to focus solely on his work with the foundation.

Bill and Melinda Gates, 56, met in 1987 while working at Microsoft. Melinda, who was 24 at the time, had just started working as a marketing manager. Bill was 31 and the CEO. They married in 1994, and a year later, Bill became the richest man in the world.

In 2000, they started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a philanthropic organization that has spent $53.8 billion in its fight against "poverty, disease and inequity around the world, according to the foundation's website. The charity, which is considered one of the world's largest, has invested more than $1.75 billion to fight COVID-19.

"There is no such thing as a national solution to a global crisis," they said in a previous statement on the foundation's website. "All countries must work together to end the pandemic and begin rebuilding economies."

In a statement late Monday, the foundation said Bill and Melinda would remain co-chairs and trustees and no changes to their roles have been planned. "They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation's issues, and set the organization's overall direction," the statement said.

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By Temmy
Tue, May 04, 2021 4:22pm
Updated
Meet Mauro Morandi, The ‘Italian Robinson Crusoe’ Who Lived Alone On A Deserted Island For 32 Years

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Mauro Morandi, a.k.a. “the Italian Robinson Crusoe.”
Mauro Morandi, a.k.a. “the Italian Robinson Crusoe.”

Mauro Morandi led a comfortable life as a gym teacher in Modena, Italy, before his sense of adventure took him to sea in 1989. But when his expedition failed and he landed on the remote Isle of Budelli off the coast of Sardinia, he decided to become the deserted island’s caretaker — and has voluntarily lived alone there ever since.

Now, however, the 81-year-old hermit has been evicted from the island as officials plan on turning the area into an environmental observatory.

Ever since his fateful landing on the Isle, Mauro Morandi has been dubbed “Italy’s Robinson Crusoe,” although he’s less of a castaway than a purposeful recluse. Tragically, it seems Morandi’s solo journey is coming to a close.

“I have given up the fight,” he said in a Facebook post. “After 32 years here, I feel very sad to leave. They told me they need to do work on my house and this time it seems to be for real.”

Before he decided to introduce some adventure into his life, Mauro Morandi was living in Modena in central Italy, where he spent his days as a physical education teacher. He was 49 years old when he quit his job and left for a solo sailing trip of the South Pacific.

But Morandi hadn’t even left the Mediterranean when the engine of his catamaran failed. He headed for the nearby Isle of Budelli, a pristine 0.62-square-mile stretch of land inhabited only by wildlife and a lonely caretaker who greeted Morandi when his catamaran washed ashore.

A little while later, the two exchanged duties, and Morandi moved into the former caretaker’s quarters, which was a former World War II shelter.

Morandi has warded off trespassers, thrown away garbage, and protected the endangered pink corals of Budelli for decades.

As the years passed, Morandi felt an increasing responsibility for the pink atoll. As he chronicled his allegiance to the land and dutiful work in 2020:

“Just the other day I chased away two tourists who were trespassing on the off-limits pink beach. I clean the rubbish off the sand and stop intruders from coming here to do mayhem at night. Truth is, I’m the only one who has so far taken care of Budelli, doing the surveillance task that the park authorities should do.”

However, in 2015, the isle was absorbed by the La Maddalena National Park of Sardinia. With the island now under public ownership, Morandi’s role had become defunct.

La Maddalena National Park currently plans to turn the island into a center for environmental observatory and education. Though Morandi negotiated with park officials to stay, authorities insisted that he had no legal right to be there.

“All I ask is, if I must be sent away during the renovation works,” Morandi said, “that I can come back after and keep doing what I do each day: guard the endangered pink coral beach, keep tourists at bay, protect the nature. I fear that if I’m gone, it will be the end of Budelli too.”

But as La Maddalena Park president Fabrizio Fonnesu claimed, Morandi’s role as caretaker under this new ownership means nothing. “Nobody wants to chase him away,” Fonnesu said, “but what title does he have to stay since the island is no longer private?”

Officials added that Morandi altered the historic World War II station he’s called home without the required permits. Thus, in 2020, local authorities reportedly had no choice but to “intervene against all illegal constructions inside the park,” which included Morandi’s humble hut.

Yet, as the battle to evict Morandi grew, so did a heartening show of support for him. An online petition was launched that urged officials to let him stay, and it amassed more than 72,000 signatures.

“I’m ready to do all I can to stay here, even that means they’ll have to drag me away,” Morandi said in 2020. “I wouldn’t know where else to go live, certainly not back home in the north, nor what to do — this is my life. I just don’t see myself playing cards or bowls.”

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The humble shack Morandi has lived in for 32 years.
The humble shack Morandi has lived in for 32 years

Unfortunately, things have come to an irreconcilable head since then. Fonnesu and his officials have made it clear to Morandi that his time on the island is up.

And so, after caring for the picturesque island he called home, Morandi has officially announced his departure in a Facebook post. Fortunately, he isn’t going too far, as he has decided to stay on the nearby island of La Maddalena. Hopefully, his new neighbors will care for him as he once did Budelli.

“I’ll be living on the outskirts of the main town… My life won’t change too much. I’ll still see the sea,” he said optimistically.

He concluded, “I will leave hoping that in the future Budelli will be protected as I have protected it for 32 years.”

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By Temmy
Wed, May 05, 2021 12:07pm
A ‘Token of Friendship’: Israel Begins Sending Virus Aid to India

Workers load medical aid onto an Air India plane to be flown to India, at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Menahem Kahana/Pool Photo via AP)
Workers load medical aid onto an Air India plane to be flown to India, at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

Israel sent a shipment of life-saving medical supplies to India on Tuesday to help the country fight a devasting new outbreak of the coronavirus.

"You're witnessing now yet another milestone of the bond, the unbreakable bond between Israel and India,” Gilad Cohen, Deputy Director-General for Asia and Pacific Affairs at Israel's foreign ministry said at Ben Gurion airport. “Israel is standing now by India and sending medical equipment, oxygen generators and oxygen respirators, as well as medical equipment to our great friend. And we hope that this equipment will help (people to) survive and have the Indians recover from this COVID-19 that India is facing right now."

Tuesday’s shipment was the first of many to be flown from Israel to India throughout the week.

"In the coming days, we are going to witness an airlift of Indian airplanes landing here at Ben Gurion Airport and collecting the next shipments that will be sent to India,” said Cohen. "During the first days of the pandemic in Israel early last year, India has sent us much-needed medical equipment, including gloves, masks, and materials for medicines. This is now a small token of friendship and reciprocity from Israel to India."

India is currently experiencing one of the worst outbreaks since the pandemic began. India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months. The country’s hospitals have buckled under the outbreak and many patients are suffocating to death due to a lack of oxygen.

The country’s death toll officially passed 220,000 on Tuesday as crematoriums work about the clock to handle the surge.

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By Temmy
Wed, May 05, 2021 5:34pm
Record number of people died by physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands in 2020

Doctor Stephane Mercier visits a patient at the palliative care unit of the AP-HP Paul-Brousse hospital in Villejuif near Paris. | Reuters
Doctor Stephane Mercier visits a patient at the palliative care unit of the AP-HP Paul-Brousse hospital in Villejuif near Paris.

A record number of people were euthanized in the Netherlands last year.

Some who died suffered from psychiatric issues, according to Dutch News NL. Both the Netherlands and neighboring Belgium are known for their progressive euthanasia laws that have expanded the scope beyond patients suffering from a terminal disease.

Each year, the RTE Regional Euthanasia Review Committees analyze all deaths by euthanasia to check whether they met the six criteria dictated by the law for euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide. In total, 6,938 patients died in this manner in the Netherlands last year. The RTE determined that two cases didn't meet the six requirements.

These requirements stipulate, in part, that the patient's request must be voluntary, their condition is so severe that their body cannot heal, and they are suffering "unnecessarily and this cannot be reduced." The doctor is also required to "perform the euthanasia (or assisted suicide) in a medically careful manner, for example with the right medicines and in the right steps."

2020 saw a 9% increase in deaths by euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide from the previous year, when 6,361 people elected to die amid a culture that, according to RTE chairman Jeroen Recourt, is increasingly accepting of the practice. Before 2020, the previous record of deaths was set in 2017 when 6,585 people were euthanized.

“These figures are part of a larger development,” Recourt told the Dutch daily newspaper Trouw, noting he was not surprised by the uptick.

“More and more generations see euthanasia as a solution for unbearable suffering … and the thought that euthanasia is an option for hopeless suffering brings [many people] peace.”

The majority of those who died by euthanasia last year had terminal cancer. Mirroring the data in previous years, dementia was a factor in 2% of the cases, and psychiatric disorders were a factor in approximately 1% of euthanasia deaths.

Contracting COVID-19 was reportedly a contributing factor for four people who requested to end their lives by doctor-assisted suicide. The RTE chairman stressed, however, that social problems such as loneliness do not meet the criteria for euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

The increasing number of deaths by doctor-assisted suicide in 2020 comes on the heels of proposed plans announced in October in the Netherlands to expand the euthanasia law to allow children ages 1-12 to be euthanized under certain circumstances. The practice was already permitted for youth ages 12 and older and possible for infants during their first year of life.

In 2004, Dutch medical directives stipulated that doctors would be allowed to perform "active ending of life on infants" without fear of legal repercussions — called the Groningen Protocol — provided they have a serious disability or a terminal illness.

While euthanasia is widely accepted in Dutch society, a proposal that would allow people age 75 or older with no severe illness to choose to end their lives through doctor-assisted suicide is considered controversial. A measure permitting elective dying for over-75s was introduced in July after government research published in January 2020 showed that approximately 10,000 people age 55 and older wanted to die.

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By Temmy
Wed, May 05, 2021 6:02pm
Donald Trump Launches New Communications Platform following Social Media Ban

Donald Trump delivering a speech

After months of being banned from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, former President Donald Trump, this week, launched a new communications platform where he will be able to communicate directly with his followers.

According to Fox News, the platform, From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, was launched on Tuesday, where Trump can post comments, pictures, and videos.

On Tuesday, Trump posted a video beginning with the words "In a time of silence and lies," followed by sound bites of news reports describing his permanent suspension from Twitter.

"A beacon of freedom arises. A place to speak freely and safely," the video continues, showing the new platform's name.

While followers will be able to share Trump's posts to Twitter and Facebook, the platform does not have a reply option. People can, however, sign up for alerts for when Trump makes a new post by entering their phone numbers and email addresses.

One source familiar with the new platform told Fox News that the site is "just a one-way communication" that permits the former president "to communicate with his followers."

After the Capitol riot on January 6, Trump was banned from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Following his suspension, Trump has talked about launching his own social media platform.

Jason Miller, a senior advisor to Trump, told Fox News that the new site was not a social media platform, but he plans to launch one in the future.

"President Trump's website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform," Miller explained. "We'll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future."

On Wednesday, Facebook's Oversight Board upheld the social network's ban on Trump indefinitely, Reuters reports.

Despite the decision, the board said that a company review was required because the platform inappropriately imposed an indeterminate suspension without clear standards. The board added that Facebook must establish a response that is consistent with rules applied to its other users.

During a press conference following the decision on Wednesday, Michael McConnell, co-chair of the Oversight Board, said that "Facebook left the indefinite suspension in place and referred the entire matter to the Oversight Board, apparently hoping the board would do what it had not done."

"Indefinite penalties of this sort do not pass the international or American smell test for clarity, consistency, and transparency," he added.

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By Temmy
Wed, May 05, 2021 6:06pm
Chuck Norris Honors His 100-Year-Old Mom for Mother's Day: 'My Mother Has Prayed for Me all My Life'

In this Dec. 2, 2010, file photo, actor Chuck Norris stands following a ceremony in Garland, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
In this Dec. 2, 2010, file photo, actor Chuck Norris stands following a ceremony in Garland, Texas.

Movie and television star Chuck Norris recently paid tribute to his mother who turns 100 years old this week.

In an exclusive article for WND.com, Norris wrote about how his mom Wilma Norris Knight was born into poverty in rural Wilson, Oklahoma on May 4, 1921. It's "where I grew up too," he added.

"I can't believe it, and neither can my mom," the actor wrote. "She turns 100 years young this week on May 4. Wow! I looked at her a few days ago and said, 'You're a centenarian!' She replied in jest, 'I'm not a centipede!'"

Chuck Norris, 81, explains how difficult the first years of his mother's life really were. Living through abject poverty, she became a ward of the state at 8 years of age, and was treated for two years for a rare disease while living in a children's hospital. Then after regaining her health, she raised her family during the Great Depression.

The actor explained his father abandoned their family and his mother had to raise three boys alone, but she was a great example to them.

"Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith her whole life," Norris writes. "She's also endured the deaths of her two husbands, a stepson, two grandchildren, and my younger brother Wieland in the Vietnam War. She's had cancer repeatedly and has gone through roughly 30 different surgeries for a host of issues – and yet she's still here to tell about it."

The actor pointed directly to his mother's active prayer life.

"My mother has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin," Norris explains in the WND article. "When I was born, I almost died from complications. When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood a few decades ago, she was back home praying for my success and salvation. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked. I equally celebrate my wife, Gena, during this Mother's Day week. Gena helps me run all my enterprises and is CEO of our new artesian bottled water company, CFORCE. But most of all she is the mother of our twins, the love of my life, and my best friend."

The former star of the CBS-TV series "Walker, Texas Ranger," a role for which he's still known, explained that without his mother and his wife, he wouldn't be the man he is today.

"I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for these two incredible women's influence in my life," Norris wrote in his Mother's Day tribute.

The veteran actor then recalled a Spanish proverb that says: "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy."

"I love you, Mom! Happy 100th birthday! And Happy Mother's Day, Mom and Gena! I thank God for you both every day! And I thank you for helping God to make me all I can and should be," Norris concluded.

Knight appeared on the Mike Huckabee Show in 2012 where she talked about her son Carlos (Chuck) and the mantle of responsibility for his two brothers he assumed when he was only 14.

During the interview, Huckabee asked her, "What were the secrets that you gave them as a mother?"

"I kept them in church and Sunday school, I taught Sunday school, and we had our prayers all the time," she replied. "Spiritual life was very important to me. Still is."

When asked what advice she would give to young parents in raising their children, she said, "Give them lots of love. Take them to church and Sunday school. But you see God didn't give us our children. He only loaned them to us for a while."

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By Temmy
Wed, May 05, 2021 6:12pm
Facebook Votes to Keep Banning Trump as Trump Makes Big Announcement About His New Online Voice

(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez, File)

Facebook's Oversight Board ruled Wednesday to continue banning former President Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram, a measure put in place against him after the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6.

The board insisted the company "review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform," adding that an indefinite period of time for a suspension "was not appropriate."

For now, the decision will guarantee that Trump remains blocked from posting on the social media sites.

At the time of the attack, Facebook had decided to block Trump "indefinitely," with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying, "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."

The news comes one day after Trump unveiled a new online platform that allows him to directly communicate with his followers.

"From the Desk of Donald Trump" is his new website featuring comments, images, and videos by Trump. It's a one-way communication site so visitors cannot post comments, however, plans are in the works to create a social media platform soon.

Visitors can view a 30-second video highlighting the project.

"In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises, a place to speak freely and safely, straight from the desk of Donald J. Trump," the text reads.

Trump told his supporters earlier this year that he would return to social media, but on his own platform.

"We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future," Trump had said. "We will not be SILENCED!"

Senior Advisor Jason Miller tweeted on Tuesday that debuting the new site is just the first step in Trump's online return.

"President Trump's website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform. We'll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future."

Meanwhile, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley told CBN News that giving a company such as Facebook the power to silence a sitting President of the United States is a threat to free speech and highlights the need for congressional regulation.

"I think that it really is a sad state of affairs when free speech in America depends on the whims of a monopoly corporation," the senator said. "And that's what's happening here. This isn't a court, let's be clear, this isn't a court making a decision – this is a Facebook panel."

"To listen to Facebook talk about it, you'd think this is the Supreme Court of the United States," he added. "The only reason people care is because Facebook is so powerful. Listen, if Facebook had a lot of competitors then President Trump could just go to another platform – say alright, fine, forget you Facebook I'll go over here to this platform. The whole point is Facebook doesn't have any real competitors in the social media space so what they do really matters because they're the only game in town. That's a problem. That's a monopoly, and that's why I think the best thing that we can do is break them up."

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By Temmy
Wed, May 05, 2021 6:16pm
Woman from Mali Gives Birth to 9 Babies, She Was Only Expecting 7

Ain Borja private clinic in Casablanca, Morocco (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)
Ain Borja private clinic in Casablanca, Morocco

A Malian woman has given birth to nine babies after only expecting seven, Mali’s Minister of Health said Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Halima Cisse gave birth to the babies by cesarean section on Tuesday in Morocco after being sent there for special care, the West African country's top health official announced.

“The newborns (five girls and four boys) and the mother are all doing well,” Mali’s health minister said in a statement.

Cisse had been expecting seven babies. Malian doctors, under government orders, sent her to Morocco for the births because hospitals in Mali, one of the world's poorest countries, are ill-equipped to provide adequate care for this extremely rare multiple pregnancy.

The private Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca, where she was treated, confirmed she gave birth there.

The clinic's director Youssef Alaoui told Moroccan state TV that they had been contacted by Malian doctors about the case a month and a half ago. They were not expecting nine babies, he said.

Cisse gave birth prematurely at 30 weeks and is now in stable condition after heavy bleeding for which she was given a blood transfusion. The babies have been placed in incubators, he said.

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By Temmy
Wed, May 05, 2021 6:24pm
Holocaust Survivor Who Testified Against Eichmann Dies at 91

Holocaust survivor Joseph Zalman Kleinman testifies in the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. YouTube screenshot.
Holocaust survivor Joseph Zalman Kleinman testifies in the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann.

Joseph Zalman Kleinman, a Holocaust survivor who survived the Auschwitz death camp and testified against Adolf Eichmann in the Nazi commander's trial in Jerusalem, died Tuesday, Israeli media reported. He was 91.

The cause of death was not immediately released. Kleinman was one of fewer than 180,000 remaining Holocaust survivors in Israel.

Kleinman was born in Slovakia in January 1930 and was deported by Nazi Germany to the camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau at the age of 14. His father, mother and sister were killed at Auschwitz, one of the most notorious Nazi death camps in occupied Poland.

“In the summer of 1944, 3,000 young men aged 14 to 16 were gathered at Auschwitz ... in tough conditions, acute starvation. We were there the whole summer and then at the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur and Simchat Torah (Jewish high holidays), nearly everyone was exterminated,” he said.

Eichmann, one of Nazi Germany’s main organizers of the Holocaust, was captured by Israeli Mossad agents outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1960. He was put on trial in Jerusalem in 1961 and found guilty of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people and war crimes. He was executed the following year.

In testimony during the trial, Kleinman told the court about the conditions in Auschwitz, and how he avoided being executed as ordered by Josef Mengele, the Nazi officer and physician known as the “Angel of Death."

After his liberation by American forces from a concentration camp near Dachau, Germany, Kleinman rode “an enormous train, with two large locomotives pulling it, that started moving southwards” through Europe, he later told archivists at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

“At every train station, Italians would alight from the train, returning to homes they hadn’t seen in years. All the townspeople waited for this train with refreshments, here and there even a welcoming orchestra. Every station, people would get off, but for us Jews — no one was waiting for us."

Kleinman immigrated to Israel after the war.

Earlier this year, he spoke to The Associated Press after receiving his coronavirus vaccine shots. He recounted that he came into repeated contact with disease, both during his time at Auschwitz and after, As the war was coming to an end, Jews were placed in camps for the internally displaced.

Kleinman encouraged others to go get the coronavirus vaccine. “Don’t neglect this thing. It must be done, and the fact is it saves people,” he said.

Kleinman was laid to rest Tuesday in Jerusalem.

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By Temmy
Thu, May 06, 2021 10:23am
23 Tornadoes Hit the South, Midwest in 24 Hours, More Dangerous Weather Is on the Way

Picture of dark cloud

At Least 23 tornadoes ravaged the South and Midwest on Tuesday, causing property destruction across the region.

CBN News reports that people's homes were destroyed as tornadoes struck Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Colorado. Multiple people were also killed.

Among the dead was a 55-year-old woman in Georgia who died when a tree smashed into her home. Another Georgia man was killed as powerlines and a tree fell onto his car.

According to WKRN, more than 30 homes were destroyed in Kentucky, and downed trees and powerlines caused "significant damage," according to Kentucky officials. The Kentucky Tornado touched in Tompkinsville. One woman lost her house. It was the first new house she had purchased in 40 years.

The Associated Press reports at least three people were killed.

Intense storms are also currently hitting the South. Parts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee are all currently at enhanced risk for dangerous weather, the Storm Prediction Center reports. "We'll see all three threats as far as hail, wind and tornadoes on Tuesday," said Mike Edmonston, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mississippi.

ABC News reports that 46 million people are still under a tornado watch. The tornadoes came as the month of April had the fewest number of tornadoes in 21 years. They also remind people that May is tornado season, and more tornadoes could be on the way.

In a bizarre coincidence, 23 tornadoes also hit the South just a month and a half ago, with six people reported dead. Seventeen of the tornadoes hit Alabama and killed five people. Three of the five deaths were from the same family, where a 13-year-old girl lost her mother and grandparents to a tornado. In Georgia, the tornadoes also caused extensive damage. In one of the states, one of the tornadoes ravaged the countryside for 100 miles.

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By Temmy
Thu, May 06, 2021 10:32am
Trump speaks at pro-life summit, calls Biden one of the most 'radical' presidents

President Donald Trump speaks during his speech at the 2018 Campaign for Life Gala hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List. | Facebook.com/SusanBAnthonyList
President Donald Trump speaks during his speech at the 2018 Campaign for Life Gala hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List

Addressing a crowd of pro-life activists, former President Donald Trump reportedly described his successor, President Joe Biden, as one of the most "radical" presidents in United States history.

Trump was one of several rumored 2024 presidential hopefuls who addressed the Susan B. Anthony List’s Pro-Life Leaders Summit in Palm Beach, Florida, this week.

At the event hosted by the prominent pro-life advocacy group, which was closed to the press, Trump criticized the current administration’s policies on abortion and criticized his political opponents.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway summed up the former president’s speech in a Twitter thread Monday.

According to Hemingway, Trump said Biden “is one of the most extreme and radical presidents we’ve had and he’s not even aware of it.”

Additionally, Hemingway said Trump devoted a portion of the speech to “condemning all of Biden’s actions in support of abortion, noting Biden was kept in [the] basement for campaign, kept quiet about what he’d do.”

Hemingway further noted that Trump joked about how large Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s mask was during Biden's address to a joint session of Congress last week. She reported that Trump said it 'hurts vaccine acceptance when Democrats wear bigger and bigger masks after vaccination."

Trump also claimed that the media treated him differently verses how they are handling the Biden presidency. He called the difference in media treatment for the new president "egregious," according to Hemingway.


“He just pointed out that VA Gov. Ralph Northam got in more trouble for blackface than he did for saying babies who are born should be allowed to die if mother chooses, and that he thought that was [the] opposite of [the] way it should be,” she added.

As described by Hemingway, Trump's remarks addressed comments made by Northam during a radio interview in January 2019. Discussing a bill that would allow abortion up to the moment of birth, the Virginia governor expressed support for the measure. He even suggested that women should have the option to abandon their newborn children if they have “deformities.”

Explaining that third-trimester abortions are “done in cases where there may be severe deformities, where there may be a fetus that’s not viable,” Northam outlined a hypothetical scenario:

“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable. It would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother.”

Just days after Northam made those remarks, a decades-old picture of the governor’s medical school yearbook page surfaced. The page featured a picture of two individuals, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan hood. One of the individuals was presumably Northam. While the yearbook page led to calls for Northam to resign, he remains in office more than two years later.

Other speakers at the Pro-Life Leaders Summit, as Fox News reported, included Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.; and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. All of those politicians are rumored to be considering presidential bids in 2024.

The Fox News report included excerpts of the speeches that DeSantis, Cruz and Rubio planned to give.

DeSantis’ speech highlighted his appointment of Florida Supreme Court justices who “respect the rule of law and religious liberty.” In addition, the governor touted his record signing legislation “that empowers families and sends a clear message that we will do everything we can to protect the unborn.”

“Building a culture of life requires us to champion policies that fight for our most vulnerable,” DeSantis argued. “Today is about applauding the tireless work of advocates like the Susan B. Anthony List team who defend life with vigor.”

Cruz, who previously sought the Republican nomination for president in 2016 after being elected to the Senate in 2012, slammed the pro-abortion policies of the Biden-Harris administration.

“Defending the right to life is one of the most important responsibilities an elected official has," Cruz was quoted as saying. "Not only do Joe Biden and Kamala Harris fail to embrace that responsibility, they pander to pro-abortion activists at every turn — even though a large majority of Americans believe abortion should only be legal under certain circumstances or completely illegal.”

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are on the wrong side of history when it comes to abortion, and their views don’t reflect what Americans want,” Cruz continued.

Rubio, who also ran for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, seconded Cruz, alleging that “the Biden administration is dominated by pro-abortion radicals who want to make it easier than ever to deny freedom to the unborn.” The Florida senator vowed that he would “never stop protecting the rights of those yet to be born.”

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By Temmy
Thu, May 06, 2021 10:49am
Updated
Harry Potter event canceled over JK Rowling's comments on gender

The seven-book print set of Harry Potter books autographed by author J.K. Rowling are seen at the National Braille Press in Boston, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007. Rowling rarely signs books, and the copies being auctioned, as part of the nonprofit's annual fundraiser, by the Boston based press are the only known signed complete set in the U.S. | (Photo: AP Images / Bizuayehu Tesfaye, File)
The seven-book print set of Harry Potter books autographed by author J.K. Rowling are seen at the National Braille Press in Boston, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007. Rowling rarely signs books, and the copies being auctioned, as part of the nonprofit's annual fundraiser, by the Boston based press are the only known signed complete set in the U.S.


Organizers of a book festival in New Zealand have canceled an event featuring the popular children's book series Harry Potter over past comments on the transgender debate made by author J.K. Rowling.

The news website Stuff reported that the upcoming Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival, an annual event scheduled to occur this weekend in New Zealand’s Wellington Region, decided to remove a Harry Potter-themed quiz because of the past comments on gender and women's rights made by Rowling.

This action comes as this year’s book festival is slated to focus on the phenomenon of “cancel culture.”

The term “cancel culture” refers to the effort embraced by many in popular culture to silence people with unfashionable views on certain topics by boycotting their products or canceling their engagements with organizations or events.

According to Stuff, this year’s festival “will feature a panel discussion hosted by veteran broadcaster Ian Fraser examining the phenomenon of cancel culture and its impact on New Zealand art and literature.”

In response to the outcry over the inclusion of the Harry Potter-themed quiz in the program, the festival’s board chairman, Peter Biggs, stressed that decision to pull the quiz event was not made “lightly.”

However, the festival elected to nix the segment after consulting with members of the LGBT community, the literary sector and local supporters.

“The overwhelming response was there was a risk around causing distress to particular members of the community and that was the last thing we wanted to do,” Biggs said. “We always thought Booktown should be an inclusive, welcoming place for everyone, so we took the decision not to go with Harry Potter.”

Rowling, a self-described feminist, came under fire last year for comments that critics have deemed transphobic.

Addressing an op-ed that contained the phrase “people who menstruate” in the headline, Rowling sarcastically tweeted: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” The point of that tweet was to highlight that the correct “word for those people” is women.

In a separate Twitter thread sent out on the same day, Rowling pushed back on the idea that “sex isn’t real.”

“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” she wrote.

“I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

Additionally, Rowling has criticized the use of cross-sex hormones.

In an early July tweet, she specifically warned that “the long-term health risks of cross-sex hormones have now been tracked over a lengthy period,” adding “these side effects are often minimized or denied by trans activists.”

In December, Rowling revealed that she had received “heartbreaking letters” from women who regret taking cross-sex hormones.

She stressed that “everybody should be free to live a life that is authentic to them, and that they should be safe to do so.” However, the author illustrated a need to have “a more nuanced conversation around women’s rights and around the huge increase in the number of girls and young women who are seeking to transition.”

While most people who spoke with Stuff about the decision to pull the Harry Potter quiz from Booktown expressed support for the decision, one resident of Featherston held a divergent view.

Jenny Whyte, a lesbian and feminist activist, accused the book festival of “trying to capitalise on the current fad of cancel culture.”

“Featherston Booktown has a session selling tickets to a panel discussing cancel culture, so there’s an irony certainly,” she added.

In addition, Whyte said that she shared some of Rowling’s views, describing them as “quite compassionate and reasonable.” She said that the fact that a “world-famous writer” from London faced pushback in “tiny little Featherston” over her views “encapsulates the whole madness of [cancel culture] quite well.”

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By Temmy
Thu, May 06, 2021 11:27am
US Backs Waiving Intellectual Property Rules on Vaccines

In this March 3, 2021, file photo, pharmacist Madeline Acquilano draws a syringe of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
In this March 3, 2021, file photo, pharmacist Madeline Acquilano draws a syringe of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn.

The Biden administration on Wednesday joined calls for more sharing of the technology behind COVID-19 vaccines to help speed the end of the pandemic, a shift that puts the U.S. alongside many in the developing world who want rich countries to do more to get doses to the needy.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government's position, amid World Trade Organization talks about a possible temporary waiver of its protections that would allow more manufacturers to produce the life-saving vaccines.

“The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines," Tai said in a statement.

She cautioned that it would take time to reach the required global “consensus” to waive the protections under WTO rules, and U.S. officials said it would not have an immediate effect on the global supply of COVID-19 shots.

In a tweet, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John N. Nkengasong, said the Africa CDC welcomed the waiver and called the decision “leadership in action.” He added: “History will remember this decision as a great act of humanity!”

Tai's announcement came hours after WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spoke to a closed-door meeting of ambassadors from developing and developed countries that have been wrangling over the issue, but agree on the need for wider access to COVID-19 treatments.

The WTO’s General Council took up the issue of a temporary waiver for intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines and other tools, which South Africa and India first proposed in October. The idea has gained support among some progressive lawmakers in the West.

More than 100 countries have come out in support of the proposal, and a group of 110 members of Congress — all fellow Democrats of Biden — sent him a letter last month that called on him to support the waiver.

Opponents — especially from industry — say a waiver would be no panacea. They insist that the production of coronavirus vaccines is complex and can’t be ramped up by easing intellectual property. They also say lifting protections could hurt future innovation.

Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said the U.S. decision “will sow confusion between public and private partners, further weaken already strained supply chains and foster the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines.”

Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, chief executive of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization trade group, said in a statement that the decision will undermine incentives to develop vaccines and treatments for future pandemics.

“Handing needy countries a recipe book without the ingredients, safeguards, and sizable workforce needed will not help people waiting for the vaccine," she said.

Pfizer declined to comment on Biden’s announcement, as did Johnson & Johnson, which developed a one-dose vaccine meant to ease vaccination campaigns in poor and rural areas. Moderna and AstraZeneca didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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By Temmy
Thu, May 06, 2021 3:56pm
'Life Is Winning': Over 500 Pro-Life Bills Have Been Introduced, 61 New Laws Enacted in 2021

Photo of a pregnant woman

According to a new report by a pro-choice research organization, more than 500 pro-life bills have been introduced at the state level so far this year.

The Guttmacher Institute, a former branch of Planned Parenthood, published the report on Friday, The Christian Post reports.

Despite the federal government being under Democratic control, there has been a surge of pro-life legislation at the state level in 2021. Additionally, more than 60 have been enacted nationwide.

"2021 is on track to become the most devastating antiabortion state legislative session in decades," Elizabeth Nash and Lauren Cross of the Guttmacher Institute said in a statement.

"Since January, there have been 536 abortion restrictions, including 146 abortion bans, introduced across 46 states," the report explained. "A whopping 61 of those restrictions have been enacted across 13 states, including eight bans."

The report also noted that 28 new restrictions were signed into law between April 26 and 29, which is "almost half (46 percent) of the restrictions passed so far in 2021." The pro-abortion group lamented the findings as "a devastating record."

On the other hand, the findings of the Guttmacher report were praised by Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life grassroots lobbying group Susan B. Anthony List.

"The unprecedented surge of pro-life activity in state legislatures this year proves life is winning in America," Dannenfelser said in a statement.

"Across the nation, state lawmakers acting on the will of the people are taking bold steps to humanize our laws and challenge the radical status quo imposed by Roe v. Wade," she added.

The bills enacted include legislation "to stop late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy, end lethal discrimination against unborn children for reasons like a Down syndrome diagnosis, protect unborn babies from the moment their heartbeat can be detected, safeguard women from dangerous abortion drugs, and more."

"There could not be a stronger rebuke to the Biden-Harris administration, whose pro-abortion agenda is deeply unpopular with Americans of all stripes," Dannenfelser contended. "The states are sending an unmistakable message to pro-abortion Democrats nationwide — and to the Supreme Court — that the pro-life movement will never rest until unborn children and their mothers are protected in the law."

The Guttmacher Institute described the increase in pro-life legislation as part of an effort "testing the limits of what the new U.S. Supreme Court majority might allow." The pro-choice organization also claimed that the bills are "laying the groundwork for a day when federal constitutional protections for abortion are weakened or limited entirely."

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By Temmy
Thu, May 06, 2021 4:25pm
Belgian Farmer Accidentally Redraws Country’s Border By Moving Stone Blocking His Tractor

Facebook/Mayor David Lavaux of Erquelinnes<br>
The historic stone dates back to 1819, when it was originally put in place.
The historic stone dates back to 1819, when it was originally put in place.

A Belgian farmer accidentally encroached on the country of France recently when he moved a hefty stone out of the way of his tractor — and inadvertently grew his country’s border by seven and a half feet.

According to The Daily Mail, the farmer’s mistake only became clear when a local history buff noticed that the 300-pound historic stone, which has marked Belgian’s border since 1819, was out of place while out for one of his routine walks.

The stone served to separate the Belgian border village of Erquelinnes, which is inhabited by about 10,000 locals, and the commune of Bousignies-sur-Roc in the Nord region of northern France.

“He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,” said Erquelinnes Mayor David Lavaux. “I was happy, my town was bigger. But the mayor of Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”

The Mayor of Erquelinnes, the Belgian village seen here, has taken things in stride — but urged the farmer to put the stone back.

The border between modern-day Belgium and France spans 390 miles and was first designated in 1819. The stone is just as old, and it officially established the Franco-Belgian borderline in 1820 according to the Treaty of Kortrijk, which was signed five years after French military leader Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

It’s easy to understand why the farmer made his mistake, however, as the borders between both countries aren’t exactly easy to spot. That’s because ever since 1995, both nations have been a part of the Schengen Zone, an area of 26 countries that officially abolished all types of border control at their mutual borders.

The Zone was established in 1985 and was originally a joint effort on behalf of France and Germany in order to streamline the passage of people and goods between their borders. Its name comes from the small town of Schengen in Luxembourg, where France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands signed the agreement.

According to the European Commission, this has since led to the free movement of more than 400 million European citizens who can travel, work, and live in a European country without restrictive visas or bureaucratic formalities.

Authorities are urging the farmer to return the stone to its original spot or face criminal charges.

But innocent though the farmer’s action might seem, incidents like this are actually fertile ground for military conflict. Following World War I, for example, a violent altercation between Bulgaria and Greece broke out when a Greek soldier was shot for crossing into Bulgaria to retrieve his dog.

Fortunately for the mayors involved in this border conflict, they have both taken things in stride.

“We should be able to avoid a new border war,” joked Bousignies-sur-Roc Mayor Aurélie Welonek.

As it stands, local Belgian authorities have been ordered to contact the farmer and ask him to put the historic border stone back where he found it. The farmer won’t face any legalities for his mistake so long as he complies.

But if he doesn’t, then the farmer will face a hefty fine, and his case will go to the Belgian foreign ministry and require the assembly of a Franco-Belgian border commission — which hasn’t been summoned since 1930 — in order to determine the exact borderlines between both countries.

“If he shows good will, he won’t have a problem,” said Mayor Lavaux. “We will settle this issue amicably.”

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By Temmy
Thu, May 06, 2021 9:22pm
23 Tornadoes Hit the South, Midwest in 24 Hours, More Dangerous Weather Is on the Way

Likely image of a tornado

At Least 23 tornadoes ravaged the South and Midwest on Tuesday, causing property destruction across the region.

CBN News reports that people's homes were destroyed as tornadoes struck Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Colorado. Multiple people were also killed.

Among the dead was a 55-year-old woman in Georgia who died when a tree smashed into her home. Another Georgia man was killed as powerlines and a tree fell onto his car.

According to WKRN, more than 30 homes were destroyed in Kentucky, and downed trees and powerlines caused "significant damage," according to Kentucky officials. The Kentucky Tornado touched in Tompkinsville. One woman lost her house. It was the first new house she had purchased in 40 years.

The Associated Press reports at least three people were killed.

Intense storms are also currently hitting the South. Parts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee are all currently at enhanced risk for dangerous weather, the Storm Prediction Center reports. "We'll see all three threats as far as hail, wind and tornadoes on Tuesday," said Mike Edmonston, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mississippi.

ABC News reports that 46 million people are still under a tornado watch. The tornadoes came as the month of April had the fewest number of tornadoes in 21 years. They also remind people that May is tornado season, and more tornadoes could be on the way.

In a bizarre coincidence, 23 tornadoes also hit the South just a month and a half ago, with six people reported dead. Seventeen of the tornadoes hit Alabama and killed five people. Three of the five deaths were from the same family, where a 13-year-old girl lost her mother and grandparents to a tornado. In Georgia, the tornadoes also caused extensive damage. In one of the states, one of the tornadoes ravaged the countryside for 100 miles.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 9:44am
Sweden halts use of puberty blockers in gender-confused kids due to serious health risks

Sweden's flag is seen near the Stockholm Cathedral in Gamla Stan or the Old Town district of Stockholm, Sweden, June 9, 2010. | Reuters/Bob Strong
Sweden's flag is seen near the Stockholm Cathedral in Gamla Stan or the Old Town district of Stockholm, Sweden, June 9, 2010.

Doctors at a prominent Swedish hospital that treats children suffering from gender dysphoria announced they will no longer prescribe cross-sex hormones or drugs that suppress puberty.

The Karolinska University Hospital said that as of April 1, puberty blockers would no longer be given to youth younger than 16. In the hospital’s statement, first released in March outlining the policy change and later reported to English-speaking media Wednesday, the medical institution noted that the experimental measures have come under increased scrutiny in recent months amid rising numbers of youth patients being treated.

“These treatments are potentially fraught with extensive and irreversible adverse consequences such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased cancer risk, and thrombosis. This makes it challenging to assess the risk/benefit for the individual patient, and even more challenging for the minors and their guardians to be in a position of an informed stance regarding these treatments,” the statement read.

Patients between the ages of 16 and 18 will still be allowed to take cross-sex hormones; however, it's recommended that the physician obtain court approval before administering those drugs. The hospital said a careful individual assessment will be done for patients already taking puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones, taking into consideration each patient's degree of maturity and ability to consent.

The Society of Evidence-Based Gender Medicine called the Swedish policy change a “watershed moment.”

“Sweden’s new policy is consistent with Finland’s recently revised guidelines, which were changed to prioritize psychological interventions and support rather than medical interventions, particularly for youth with no childhood history of gender dysphoria (presently the most common presentation),” SEGM said Wednesday, noting that it's also the first country to depart from the guidance from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

“WPATH has long positioned itself as the world authority in transgender health. However, in recent months, several countries’ health authorities have conducted their own reviews of the evidence and found the evidence insufficient to justify early medical interventions promoted by WPATH’s guidelines,” the organization, which is critical of the experimental medicalization of gender, added.

The Swedish policy change comes about a year after it was reported that between 2008 and 2018, the rate of teenage girls between the ages 13 to 17 being diagnosed with gender dysphoria grew by approximately 1,500% in the Scandinavian country, according to figures from Sweden's Board of Health and Welfare.

In October 2019, an investigative news program highlighted Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital, criticizing the medical facility for performing double mastectomies on trans-identifying females as young as 14.

The March announcement out of the Swedish medical center referenced the legal case of Keira Bell in England, in which the U.K. High Court of Justice ruled late last year against the London-based Tavistock gender clinic in a judicial review that decided youth younger than 16 are not mature enough to give informed consent to the experimental practices under the relevant standard in British law. Bell is a 24-year-old woman who was hormonally transitioned as a troubled teenager in the Tavistock clinic and underwent a double mastectomy as a young adult. She wound up regretting the whole gender-transition ordeal and has said that she was not capable of understanding the long-term repercussions to her health.

Youth ages 16 to 18 must first obtain a judge's approval before taking cross-sex hormones, the U.K. high court also decided. The ruling also cited the medical problems linked with puberty blockers and criticized the clinic for its poor record-keeping practices.

Sweden’s move to halt the use of puberty blockers in youth younger than 16 is the abandonment of what is known as the “Dutch protocol” heavily promoted by transgender activists, which allows for the prescribing of puberty blockers at age 12 and cross-sex hormones at 16.

According to Rocklin, California-based endocrinologist Michael Laidlaw, the first well-documented case report of a puberty-blocking drug being used in a young patient occurred in 1998 in the Netherlands. A pediatric endocrinologist, working together with a psychiatrist, decided to use Triptorelin on a 13-year-old girl suffering from gender dysphoria, he told The Christian Post in a 2018 interview about the dangers of Lupron, a hormone blocker that's being prescribed off-label for gender dysphoria sufferers despite lack of FDA approval for that purpose.

The rationale was that the patient should have the drug because the effects of going through puberty would be too traumatic to endure and that "pausing" pubertal signals in the brain would give the person more time to adjust and then later decide whether to move toward surgical transition, Laidlaw explained at the time.

The Karolinska University Hospital is a teaching hospital affiliated with Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, with two major sites in the municipalities of Solna and Huddinge. The hospital network is the second largest in Sweden after Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 2:21pm
Two Palestinians Killed After Attacking Israeli Police

Weapons seized by Israeli Border police after terror attack. May 7, 2021. Photo Credit: Border Police
Weapons seized by Israeli Border police after terror attack. May 7, 2021.

Israel authorities said on Friday that three Palestinians opened fire on a Border Police base in the northern West Bank – biblical Samaria — not far from the Sea of Galilee.

The Border Police and an Israeli soldier returned fire, killing two of the attackers and wounding a third, who was rushed to a nearby hospital.

“The terrorists fired at the gate of the base. Border Police officers and an IDF soldier responded by firing and neutralizing the three terrorists,” police said in a statement.

There were no reports of any Israeli injuries. Authorities say the attackers used a makeshift submachine gun and knives were found on each of their bodies.

The attack came amid increased tensions in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Border. Earlier this week, a Palestinian man shot three Israeli men near a settlement community. One of them, Yehuda Guetta, died of his injuries on Wednesday.

Tensions also boiled over Thursday night in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The neighborhood has seen protests there all week as dozens of Palestinians face possible eviction from their homes due to an ongoing land dispute. On Monday, a court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions.

The clashes have sparked fears of larger conflict with terrorists in Gaza. Israeli police tightened security in Jerusalem ahead of prayers on the last Friday in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Police are also preparing for any potential violence this weekend.

Sunday night is the “Night of Destiny,” the most sacred night in the month of Ramadan. Worshippers will gather for intense prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. Sunday night is also the start of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday celebrating Israel’s capture of eastern Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 2:35pm
Pro-life group celebrates 20,000 babies' lives saved from abortion; over 4,000 during pandemic

Pregnant woman

A pro-life organization recently celebrated the milestone of rescuing 20,000 preborn babies from abortion since its launch. Over one-fifth of the lives were saved last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Human Coalition, a leading pro-life organization that seeks to rescue abortion-determined mothers and their children from abortion, saved its first preborn child from abortion on June 22, 2010, and saved 14 more babies in that year.

Over a decade later, over 20,000 children have life because of Human Coalition’s intervention in the lives of women seriously considering abortion, and the organization has served over 214,000 women and families.

During the pandemic in 2020, Human Coalition provided a variety of services to 44,131 women and celebrated 4,150 “life decisions” made by mothers considering abortion who instead chose life for their preborn children.

Jeff Bradford, president of Human Coalition, told The Christian Post in an interview that when the pandemic hit, the organization already had technology in place to allow its operations to continue, which was a “Godsend.”

Because the organization had already explored virtual and telecare options in 2018, it was able to adjust at a time when many organizations were forced to shut down during the lockdowns.

“We were able to [continue to] minister to women and just save lives, which was amazing,” Bradford said.

The organization also shifted all of their nurses online within a weekend.

“When the pandemic hit, because we’re a technology-driven company, we were able to move very quickly into a virtual model with all of our brick-and-mortar clinics,” Bradford said.

The virtual telecare model allowed them to serve a greater volume of women and is often more comfortable for the woman seeking help during a vulnerable time.

“This generation and this age of women, 18 to 24, are very comfortable using telecare and are used to that model,” he explained. “And so ... many are even more comfortable with the [discreet aspect] that you have on a call versus showing up in a brick-and mortar-clinic.”

Using the telecare model also decreased the time and barriers in making an appointment, he explained.

“We also were able to get twice as many women through the doors than we were in the traditional brick-and-mortar model, and it really breaks down geographic and transportation issues,” he said. “So we are able to serve a much broader client, get them in faster because we’re counseling them immediately and not having to wait days before they show up.”

Human Coalition has seven brick-and-mortar Women’s Care Clinics in Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh, Raleigh and Charlotte. It also offers two exclusive Telecare Women’s Clinics staffed with nurses and social workers.

The organization works to show women that abortion is not the only option, contrary to what the abortion industry tells them, through connecting them with help, counseling, resources and a continuum of care.

Since the pandemic, the factors that go into a mother's decision to keep her child are “more difficult” with the increased anxiety, uncertainty, isolation and job loss due to ongoing government-mandated lockdowns in many states.

“[The mother's] outlook is not what it was pre-pandemic, and so her situation has gotten even tougher,” he added.

For abortion-determined women, choosing life requires courage, Bradford stressed.

“[Choosing life for her child] is one of the most courageous and brave things a woman can do because you know these women are in tough situations and what we do is help empower them [in what] God’s created them to do,” Bradford said.

“So they just sometimes need somebody to stand in the gap and help them a little bit, these are incredibly courageous, brave and capable women who would choose life and really make a choice for the child’s life, but ultimately for theirs as well,” he continued.

As Mother’s Day approaches on Sunday, the Human Coalition is celebrating that many more children will be able to celebrate their moms because of their life-saving ministry.

“Imagine all the moms who will get to celebrate Mother’s Day with their child in just a few days. Imagine all the families who will get to make a lifetime of memories together. Imagine all the boys and girls who will grow up, attend school, play sports, celebrate holidays, and could go on to have children of their own one day,” Bradford said in a statement. “We thank God for using Human Coalition to help save preborn children and to provide resources, services and hope to women in need.”

Bradford said Human Coalition “fervently believes ending abortion is possible.”

As the organization moves forward, it will continue to support vulnerable women, rescue children from abortion and restore culture to one that values life, he said.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 2:55pm
COVID Cases Drop 11 Percent in 1 Week in U.S., but Vaccinations Are Reaching a Plateau

Nurse preparing to vaccinate someone

There is encouraging news in the war against COVID-19. The numbers of new cases in the U.S. are dropping, the number of those fully vaccinated is rising and research is finding the vaccines may be effective in adolescents.

But the U.S. is not taking its foot off the gas because health officials insist vaccination is the only way to get back to some semblance of normal. Some stats indicate the U.S. death toll from COVID is around 580,000, closing in on 600,000. Advocates say getting vaccinated is still a matter of life and death.

So now, a new army of foot soldiers is going door to door in some communities giving the vaccines a direct voice. This comes as about a third of the country is fully vaccinated.

"This is a campaign, this is a campaign," said Gaylene Kanoyton of Celebrate healthcare. "And we have two candidates. Our candidates are a vaccine for life, and COVID for death."

Both Moderna and Pfizer are reporting research showing their vaccines are safe and effective in adolescents. Researchers say the Pfizer vaccine also appears to be effective against troubling variants.

The goal would be to make sure that the vaccine is available for vaccinating adolescents over the course of the summer and at least before the coming school year," said Moderna President Stephen Hoge.

"Don't be worried, don't be scared," said Ben Dropic, a teen who volunteered for the Pfizer trial. "The people here know what they're doing."

The good news is that the U.S. is reporting daily new infections are down 11% over a week ago. But so are the number of shots, falling by more than a million per day since mid-April. And a new poll shows just 9 percent of unvaccinated Americans are making plans to get the shot.

It's why places like New York City are getting creative, rolling out mobile vaccination sites where they will offer the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to tourists in Time Square and Central Park.

"Come here, it's a safe place to be, and we are going to take care of you," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Along with those efforts comes an easing of restrictions as tickets for Broadway shows for the fall are going on sale. And near the nation's capital, an arm of the National Air and Space Museum has reopened.

"You know, there is something nice about having a museum of intelligence, which is essentially what this is, a museum of creativity and problem solving," said Karim Ani, a museum visitor. "And, you know, maybe this is a metaphor for what we've lost, but hopefully it's a reminder of what we can regain."

This week President Biden set a goal of getting 70% of U.S. adults to receive at least one dose of a COVID vaccine by July 4. As of Wednesday, about 57% of adults had done so.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 3:11pm
The American family is endangered - Richard D. Land

Dr. Richard Land Photo: The Christian Post/Katherine T. Phan)
Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC.

Yesterday was the 69th observance of the National Day of Prayer, which was made an official federal government event on the first Thursday of every May by President Truman’s official act in 1952. The movement for the National Day of Prayer was led by a young Billy Graham as a response to the crises produced by the dawn of the Atomic Age and the Korean War.

This coming Sunday, we observe “Mother’s Day,” the day we set aside in America each year to honor and appreciate our mothers. What better time to discuss the declining status of the American family than in the interval between the National Day of Prayer and Mother’s Day. I am so profoundly grateful that our nation has traditionally been a nation of prayer long before 1952.

Furthermore, I was so profoundly blessed to have a loving, caring Christian mother who had more impact on me during my formative years than any other individual. My mother always taught me that God loves me and He has a wonderful plan for my life. My mother is the one who led me to faith in Jesus when I was a small boy through a backyard “Good News Club.” My father was a World War II Navy veteran who was in the fight from Dec.7,1941 – V.J. Day in 1945.

My father taught me to love America and the value of hard work and being a person of courage and integrity. Truth be known, my parents were probably better parents than they were spouses. What they did do was present their two children (my younger brother and myself) with a safe, secure, stable environment in which we both knew we were loved and cherished. They both parented with dedication and effort in their very different, but complimentary maternal and paternal ways. My parents got married in 1943 in the midst of World War II and they were married for 69 1/2 years.

Increasingly, my family’s collective “nuclear family” experience is evermore rare. In fact, the traditional nuclear family, defined as a husband and a wife and their children living together in an “intact” family, has declined to significant minority status in America with alarming speed.

Currently, the U.S. marriage rate is at an all-time low. Almost ¼ of our minor children now live with just one parent and no other adult. That appalling number is THREE TIMES the rate of ALL the others countries in the world. As Americans we need to understand that what is happening to the family in America cannot be described as “normal” by any method of justification.

Nearly half a million minor children are in foster care across the nation. The illegitimacy rate in America as a whole has risen to 41% and in the Black community it is approaching 75%. In 1960 there was virtually no significant ethnic difference in the nation 5% illegitimacy rate. More than half of our nation’s children have lost at least one parent in the home (usually their father) by the time they are six.

This is true despite the fact that study after study has revealed that the single greatest advantage a child can have in America today is to be born into a home where their parents are married and they stay married to each other.

If a child is born into such an intact family, no matter their affluence or lack thereof, they are far more likely to finish high school, graduate from college, not be sexually or physically abused, not have a child out of wedlock, not have an abortion, not experiment with illicit drugs, and to get married and stay married than their non-intact family cohort.

If a child is born into the bottom 20% of the American class structure, that child has a 4 times higher chance of escaping that class status and joining the top 20% if their parents are married and stay married to each other.

Just in recent days we have seen people who should know better, like major officials who served in former Barack Obama’s administration, say that police should not use lethal violence to quell knife fights among teenagers which are “fairly common.”

That kind of defense of the indefensible is referred to in academic circles as “defining deviancy down.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan correctly labelled this practice back in the 1960’s and pointed out that deviancy was still deviancy.

About two decades ago there was a popular analytical model called “The Frog in the Kettle.” The idea was that if you dropped a frog into a kettle of boiling water he would immediately jump out of the boiling water to safety. However, if you put the frog in a kettle of water and began to heat it gradually to boiling, by the time the frog felt uncomfortable enough to jump, his muscles would be paralyzed by the heat and would be unable to jump.

I am sorely afraid that the parable of the frog and the kettle is being acted out in American society today. We have seen the family and American society in gradual decline for many years now. In other words, the temperature has gradually been rising to the point that it is becoming increasingly disturbing.

Now, as the collapse of the family as the basic building block of human civilization accelerates at an ever expanding rate, are we now paralyzed from leaping out of the boiling water to safety for ourselves and our nation? Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the choice may no longer be up to us, but instead to citizens impacted by this precipitous decline.

I pray to God that this is not the case but the increasing speed of the decline is disturbing.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 3:30pm
Updated
2,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Turns Out To Be A Pregnant Woman In World First

Warsaw Mummy Project Archeologists peer at the female mummy in her coffin.
Archeologists peer at the female mummy in her coffin.

Wrapped in bandages and buried in pyramids, Egyptian mummies often seem like close-lipped envoys of an ancient era, filled with secrets they cannot tell. Recently, researchers found that one mummy held at the National Museum of Warsaw had more secrets than most. Not only was she a woman — but she was between 6.5 and 7.5 months pregnant.

“It’s like finding a treasure trove while you are picking up mushrooms in a forest,” said Dr. Wojciech Ejsmond, an archeologist and co-director of the Warsaw Mummy Project. “We are overwhelmed with this discovery.”

Another archeologist, Marzena Ożarek-Szilke, noted that the team had already wrapped up their research and was preparing to submit their findings when they noticed something peculiar about the mummy in question.

“We had the last look at the images and noticed a familiar image for parents of three children,” she said. “A tiny foot.”

Upon further investigation, the team found that the tiny foot belonged to a tiny fetus. And the mummy — long thought to be a male priest, based on the engravings outside her coffin — was a woman. She was likely between 20 and 30 years old when she died.

Although archeologists have come across burials of pregnant women from ancient Egypt, this is the first-known pregnant mummy.

“It was complete surprise because we were looking for ancient diseases or causes of deaths,” said Ejsmond. “Also, we thought that this is a body [of] a priest.”

Instead, the archeologists determined that the woman was mummified around the first century B.C. She was wrapped in linens and plain-weave fabrics and buried with amulets — suggesting that she enjoyed a high status in Egyptian society. A 3D scan of the body clearly showed long, curly hair and mummified breasts.

But Ejsmonde had good reason for thinking otherwise. Translated hieroglyphs on her coffin revealed the name of an Egyptian priest, Hor-Djehuty. And radiological examinations in the 1990s had suggested to researchers that the mummy was a man.

However, the original team to examine the mummy — when she was donated to the University of Warsaw in 1826 — had labeled her as “the mummy of a lady.” Their note was discarded after the translation of the hieroglyphs.

Researchers in 1826 correctly determined the mummy was a woman, but their notes were lost and scientists only last month realized the truth about the “priest.”

So, how did the pregnant mummy end up in the coffin of an Egyptian priest named Hor-Djehuty?

“This is one of the most complex matters,” said Ejsmond. “We know that in ancient times coffins were reused. Sometimes tombs were robbed and stolen so that they could be reused.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, mummies’ tombs were robbed and antiquity dealers were stealing precious items and replacing bodies.”

This mummy seems to have been a victim of such grave theft. Archeologists noted damage around the mummy’s neck, which suggests that robbers may have stolen some of her amulets. Ejsmond estimates that some 10% of mummies are found in the “wrong” coffin because of grave robbers.

Although they’ve cracked one mystery, archeologists examining the pregnant mummy have uncovered another. Scans of her body showed four mummified bundles — likely to be her lungs, liver, stomach, intestines, and heart. They had been embalmed and placed back in her abdominal cavity.

This was normal embalming practice. But why hadn’t the mummy’s ancient embalmers touched her fetus?

“This whole discovery brought our attention to the question of why [the fetus] was not removed,” said Ejsmond. “We don’t know why it was left there. Maybe there was a religious reason. Maybe they thought the unborn child didn’t have a soul or that it would be safer in the next world. Or maybe it was because it was very difficult to remove a child at that stage from the womb without causing serious damage.”

Researchers at the Warsaw Mummy Project hypothesized that ancient Egyptians viewed the unborn baby as, “still an integral part of the body of its mother since it was not yet born.”

Plus, ancient Egyptians believed that naming was an important part of being human. If the baby had not yet been named, it might not have been considered an individual apart from its mother.

“Thus, its afterlife could only have happened if it had gone to the netherworld as part of its mother,” the researchers stated.

For now, archeologists at the Warsaw Mummy Project are eager to see what the mummy might reveal about life in ancient Egypt — especially about women, prenatal care, and Egyptian ideas about the afterlife.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 3:45pm
Afghan 1st vice president says negotiating with Taliban, still "shoulder-to-shoulder with al Qaeda," was a mistake


Taliban militants parade down a road in Afghanistan's Laghman province in April 2021.

Taliban fighters reportedly captured another district in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday. The siege was part of a wider offensive against Afghan security forces across the country, as U.S. troops pull out.

The second highest ranking political leader in the country told CBS News' Charlie D'Agata that some fundamental mistakes were behind America's decision to withdrawal forces from the country after 20 years of war.

The huge surge in violence across the country is evidence that Taliban militants were never really going to honor assurances given to the U.S. to rein in their attacks.

Can Afghan women cling to freedoms after U.S. withdrawal?

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh believes that was always self-evident.

"Taliban are terrorists. Simple," he told CBS News.

He said he didn't trust the insurgents at all, and believes it was a mistake for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban in the first place.

President Joe Biden's justification for going ahead with the withdrawal initiated by his predecessor was, in part, that the U.S. and its partners had "degraded the terrorist threat of al Qaeda" in Afghanistan.

But Saleh said that, too, was misguided thinking.

"The whole idea of coming to Afghanistan was to teach a lesson to terrorists and their allies: Don't do it again. Have we taught them that lesson? No," he said.

Afghan forces have killed or captured dozens of al Qaeda fighters in the last few days alone, the vice president said.

"If we say the Taliban have separated themselves, decoupled themselves from terrorism, that is absolutely baseless," he told D'Agata. "The Taliban operate shoulder-to-shoulder with al Qaeda today."

Saleh has survived several assassination attempts, including one in which a suicide bomber and gunmen killed 20 people in an attack on his office. Just last fall he was wounded in a roadside bombing in Kabul that killed 10 people. His young son was in the car, but also escaped unharmed.

With the withdrawal of U.S. forces and their NATO allies, Saleh knows Afghanistan is facing a dangerous few months, and that if there's any hope of peace, the Taliban need to stop waging war.

"The Taliban cannot subdue Afghanistan through the barrel of a gun," he told CBS News. "They can kill people. They are killing people every day. But if they are waiting for a moment of surrender from the Afghan people, it won't come."

The vice president said he was grateful to America, for the lives lost in his country and the vast amount of money spent, but he said Afghanistan needs the U.S. "to remain engaged diplomatically, economically, and strategically."

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 4:46pm
Snow White’s kiss and further proof that the Left has lost its mind - Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

In the midst of the constant flood of national and international news, you may have missed this story. There is a problem with Disneyland’s new Snow White ride. A big problem. A really big problem.

As reported on the SF Gate website, “The new grand finale of Snow White's Enchanted Wish is the moment when the Prince finds Snow White asleep under the Evil Queen's spell and gives her ‘true love's kiss’ to release her from the enchantment. A kiss he gives to her without her consent, while she's asleep, which cannot possibly be true love if only one person knows it's happening.”

The prince, previously a hero in the story, is now Harvey Weinstein made for children. He is now Bill Cosby at his worst, yet celebrated rather than condemned.

He is an example of an abusive sexual predator, taking advantage of his drugged female victim. Disney must be stopped!

As the article continues, “Haven't we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue? That teaching kids that kissing, when it hasn't been established if both parties are willing to engage, is not OK? It's hard to understand why the Disneyland of 2021 would choose to add a scene with such old fashioned ideas of what a man is allowed to do to a woman, especially given the company's current emphasis on removing problematic scenes from rides like Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain. Why not re-imagine an ending in keeping with the spirit of the movie and Snow White's place in the Disney canon, but that avoids this problem?”

This is wokeness on steroids. This is the #MeToo movement (with all the genuine good it has done) run amuck.

As Piers Morgan rightly reacted, “The lunatic woke brigade, seemingly oblivious to what's happening in the real world, have spent the past 15 months continuing to bleat about any 'micro-aggression' that upsets them,

“And as we know, that means pretty much everything – from chess being 'racist' (white always starts) to fat-free frozen yoghurt triggering eating disorder distress . . .

“Today though, we've reached the absolute nadir of mind-numbingly stupid wokery, an achievement for which the bar is staggeringly low.

“Extreme illiberal liberals have sparked a furore which even by their standards is so absurd, so pathetic, so indescribably dumb that I can barely believe it's real.”

But it is real, and that’s the thing. And some people are really upset.

Do all of us, as people of conscience, deplore and flatly condemn any person forcing themselves on another person sexually? Absolutely.

Do we utterly and flatly denounce the practice of a man drugging a woman so as to rape her? Of course. That is criminal behavior that should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Do we agree that, to this moment, women in particular are the objects of unwanted sexual advances of men? Yes, without question.

But what in the world does this have to do with Snow White who is rescued from an evil death spell by the prince’s loving kiss?

We might as well ban CPR (let alone feature it in a movie scene), since the person being resuscitated had not given consent immediately prior to being revived, yet there is, after all, mouth to mouth contact.

What makes the current situation even more ridiculous is that, as Morgan noted, “the Prince learns of Snow White's fate and visits what he believes to be her dead body. And he gently kisses her, believing he is saying a final farewell to his beloved.”

In other words, this was not a sexual kiss, let alone an unwanted sexual advance. This was the prince, who truly loved Snow White, kissing her lifeless body goodbye. Yet, because only true love could break the evil spell, the kiss brought her back to life.

To quote Morgan again, “The kiss breaks the spell and awakens her from her trance, and to the delight of the [seven] dwarves, they depart to live happily ever after in his castle.”

But, in order to reach out to the woke community which has raised its voice in protest, I offer this proposal (sarcasm alert): I urge parents to teach their sons, that they should never, ever, force themselves on a girl or woman or coerce or pressure them in any way to engage in any sexual act, however small, against their will. (No sarcasm so far. I mean every word of this.)

The only exception would be: 1) your son is a prince; 2) he is in love with an orphaned princess whose evil stepmother is a queen, jealous of her beauty; 3) the queen gets that princess to eat a poisoned apple that puts her in a death sleep, one from which she can only awaken if kissed by her true love (your son, the prince); 4) and, finally, seven dwarfs then find the sleeping princess (presumed dead) but, rather than bury her, they put her in a glass coffin.

In that case, your son is allowed to gently kiss his beloved, princess, after which the two of them, along with the seven dwarfs, can live happily ever after.

Satisfied?

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By Temmy
Fri, May 07, 2021 4:55pm
Theologian denounces contemporary worship: It ‘harms discipleship,’ ‘doesn't mature believers’

David McWilliams, senior minister of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, Florida, gives remarks at the Gospel Reformation Network conference held May 5-6, 2021, at Briarwood Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Alabama, titled “O Church, Arise: A Passionate Plea for Biblical and Confessional Fidelity.” | Screengrab: briarwood.org/grnstream
David McWilliams, senior minister of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, Florida, gives remarks at the Gospel Reformation Network conference held May 5-6, 2021, at Briarwood Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Alabama, titled “O Church, Arise: A Passionate Plea for Biblical and Confessional Fidelity.”

A Florida Presbyterian Church in America pastor and former professor of theology has denounced contemporary Christian worship, saying that it, among other things, goes against the “reverence and awe” that church services should have for God.

In his remarks, titled “Reformed Doxology: Worship According to Scripture,” David McWilliams, senior minister of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, critiqued popular trends in contemporary worship, especially the music often used, during a speech on Wednesday afternoon at a Gospel Reformation Network conference.

McWilliams read from Hebrews 12:18-29, a passage that includes a verse commanding believers to “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

“We long for a Holy Spirit-induced relish for the truth, a delight in the triune God, a heart moved promptly and sincerely by God’s glory in our private and public worship,” said McWilliams.

The minister added that one of “the main principles of worship” was that it must be done with “reverence and awe,” which can be hindered by “casual attitudes, carnality, certain kinds of music, and even vocabulary.”

“For example, who can think that a service peppered with salsa rhythms will lead the congregation to worship God in reverence and awe? Or rock music. Will sentimental tunes or music that remind one of night clubs lead us to reverence and awe?” he posited.

“Therefore, certain forms of music, attitudes, and actions are immediately excluded from worship by the one principle that we are to worship our God in reverence and awe.”

According to McWilliams, true worship should be like “a different universe” and not include “smokescreens,” “movie clips,” or “changing the color of lights,” saying “style is not neutral.”

He championed the supremacy of the Psalter and traditional hymns, noting that a contemporary song “may say ‘God is awesome,’” yet “hymns tell us why God is awesome.”

McWilliams listed multiple reasons for why it was wrong “for worship approaches to accommodate cultural trends,” among them being that it “misrepresents God,” “devalues church culture,” “harms discipleship,” and “does not mature believers.”

“We have set aside the greatest tool for discipleship next to the Bible, and of course I mean the Psalter, the hymnal,” he said. “Hymnody is part of the catechesis of the church.”

“Setting aside the Psalters and hymnbooks is just not wise. It does not lead to maturity. It also cuts God’s people adrift from church history. Grounding worship in culture, cultural trends, cannot give people a sense of the long and steady growth that is behind the worship of God.”

McWilliams feared that young people “fed on a steady diet” of contemporary Christian worship and music were “not rooted in scriptural worship” and unprepared for when “they go through hard times.”

“What is often the drivel they have, song in worship in times of great need will let them down and let them down hard,” he added.

McWilliams’ speech was part of the GRN conference held May 5-6 at Briarwood Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Alabama, and titled “O Church, Arise: A Passionate Plea for Biblical and Confessional Fidelity.”

GRN Executive Coordinator Jon D. Payne said in an official welcome letter to conference attendees that “we are living in challenging times,” with “worldly hostility against God’s truth” being “on the rise.”

“The PCA has maintained a strong Gospel witness for nearly 50 years, and God calls us today to arise in defense of God’s unchanging Word,” wrote Payne.

“Each generation of Reformed Presbyterians must heed God’s call to biblical and Confessional fidelity, and we hope that our time together this week will encourage us all to stand with and for our Savior and King.”

The debate to what extent congregations should modify their church services to fit contemporary trends has existed for a long time, with some congregations providing only modern worship.

Speaking at the 2016 Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Hillsong Church Senior Pastor Brian Houston spoke in favor of churches being innovative and spontaneous.

“When it comes to influence, predictability is our enemy. Because you never get influence from doing things the way they've always been done,” Houston said at the time.

“You get influence from creating new ways. Stepping out, taking risks. Hoping people will see that there's another way of doing this.”

The leader of the Australia-based multi-church body also told those gathered at Catalyst in 2016 that an example of this constant innovation was found in their musical selection.

"Over the years, we've dared to do things differently. We've dared to take some risks. There are certain things like the Word of God that's unchangeable," he continued.

"You may be shocked to hear we don't sing 'Shout to the Lord' anymore at Hillsong Church. It's not 1993. If you come all the way to Australia and you hope to hear 'Shout to the Lord,' your chances are slight. We don't even sing 'Oceans' much anymore."

Houston believed that “new songs are written that bring new life and freshness,” declaring that he thanked God for “spontaneity,” calling it “our friend in the church.”

According to a 2019 report by LifeWay Research, most congregations had moved past debating issues like musical selections and order of worship for their church services.

The 2019 report noted that only 15% of Protestant pastors listed their congregation's preferences in music as being their biggest challenge, with clergy who oversaw congregations with fewer than 50 regular attendees being the least likely (7%) to report “navigating music preferences” as their biggest challenge.

Additionally, LifeWay reported that 69% of pastors responded that hymnals were still a regular part of the worship experience at their respective church.

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in a statement at the time that this showed that despite some changes, “there are also many similarities between worship services today and those from past decades.”

“Like printed books, hymnals are far from obsolete. Individuals and groups are still leading congregations in singing together each week,” stated McConnell.

Source

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By Temmy
Mon, May 10, 2021 1:22pm
Transgender Weightlifter Expected to Compete as Woman in the Tokyo Olympics

Hubbard lifting weight

According to The Guardian, Hubbard will represent New Zealand during the Olympic games.

Hubbard qualifies for the games after the International Olympic Committee amended the qualification rules because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Zealand wrestling team has not confirmed Hubbard’s spot on the team, but a source with the International Weightlifting Federation confirmed to The Guardian that Hubbard would compete this summer. The team will be formally nominated in June.

Hubbard, 43, will also be the oldest weightlifter to compete at an Olympics. Hubbard is ranked 4th out of 14 qualifiers in the super heavyweight category at the Tokyo Olympics.

Under IOC guidelines, athletes who transition from male to female can compete in the women’s category without surgery as long as their total testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least one year.

Yahoo Sports reports that Hubbard lived as a male for 35 years before transitioning to a female in 2012. Hubbard competed as a man until 2001 and stopped because of “the pressure of trying to fit into, perhaps, a world that wasn’t really set up for people like myself,” the athlete said in 2017.

“To be honest, I had to wait until the world changed before I could really compete again, and I’m grateful that it has,” Hubbard added. “I think even 10 years ago, the world perhaps wasn’t ready for an athlete like myself, and perhaps it’s not ready now. But I got the sense at least that people were willing to consider me for these competitions.

Hubbard has been competing internationally for years and has won a gold medal in the 2019 Pacific Games and a sixth-place finish at the 2019 World Championships. Hubbard won 2nd place in the 2017 World Championships.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#309 

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By Temmy
Mon, May 10, 2021 1:49pm
Births in US fall to lowest total since 1979 amid fear of 'demographic earthquake'

Women sit with their babies in the water during a heat wave at the Astoria Park Pool, New York, July 21, 2011. | (Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
Women sit with their babies in the water during a heat wave at the Astoria Park Pool, New York, July 21, 2011.

The birth rate and fertility rate in the United States fell to a new historic lows in 2020 although some believed the pandemic would lead to a baby boom, according to a provisional report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

The drop is related to the pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic but larger social factors are also contributing to the precipitous decline in births, some say.

The CDC announced last week in a May Vital Statistics Rapid Release that the provisional number of births in the U.S. in 2020 was over 3.6 million, a decline of about 4% from 2019 and the lowest number of births since 1979. Additionally, 2020 marked the sixth consecutive year that the number of births in the U.S. declined after an increase in 2014.

The general fertility rate, the report states, was about 55.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, down 4% from 2019 to a new record low in the U.S.

The provisional total fertility rate (an estimate of the number of births a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would have over their lifetimes based on the age-specific birth rate in a given year) also fell to a new record low in the U.S. in 2020 — 1,637.5 births per 1,000 women, a decrease of about 4% from 2019.

The fertility rate in the U.S. has been “below replacement since 1971 and has consistently been below replacement since 2007,” according to the report. This means that more people are dying than are born each year.

In 2020, birth rates declined for women between the ages of 15 to 44.

The government figures reveal that birth rates among women ages 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 fell by 6% and 4%, respectively, both of which are record lows among those demographics. Birth rates also fell by 4% and 2% respectively among women ages 30 to 34 and 35 to 39, but those numbers are not historic lows.

The pandemic had many people spending more time at home and many believed a baby boom was brewing as a result. Instead, what has happened is a "baby bust," and some assert it portends a demographic winter.

In a Friday explainer, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission — the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention — noted that in most developed nations, the social safety net is structured such that young people function as "old-age insurance."

Thus, with fewer births, eventually, there will be fewer people to pay into the system that allows the elderly to be cared for in society.

"Societies create a pay-as-you-go system that is dependent on there being a greater number of younger people of working age relative to those of retirement age,” the explainer piece reads.

“For instance, Social Security uses the payroll taxes of current workers to directly pay the monthly benefits of older, retired workers. This pay-as-you-go approach works best when there is a high ratio of workers to beneficiaries, such as in 1945, when there were 41.9 workers for every retiree receiving Social Security.”

The commission warned that the system “becomes more difficult to maintain when the ratio is reversed.”

“In 2018 the ratio was 2.8 workers for every retiree, and it’s expected to drop to 2.2 by 2049,” ERCL states. “Because of a falling fertility rate, that number could drop close to 1:1 by the time younger millennials and Gen-Z reaches retirement age."

W. Bradford Wilcox, a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies who directs the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, said the CDC report was “pretty sobering."

He told Catholic News Agency that the U.S. might be "on the cusp of a major demographic shift” or something similar to “a demographic earthquake."

Mainly driving the decline in births are delays in marriage, the prioritization of work and education, and many viewing marriage and parenthood as "anchors," he said.

The current U.S. fertility rate is now lower than Japan's in 1988, Wilcox added.

“We would predict that 2021, this year, is going to be even more dramatic,” Wilcox said about the decrease in births.

Journalist Bethany Mandel wrote in an op-ed for Deseret News that “[w]e are not a civilization confident in its own continuity, which is why more and more Americans are choosing not to bring more children into it.”

"This slow dying can be attributed to countless signs of ill health, our faltering faith and our increasingly atomized families and communities, the latter only made worse by a pandemic that forced us all online and away from each other in person," she wrote.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#310 

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By Temmy
Tue, May 11, 2021 9:43am
Updated
Biden admin. bans sexual orientation, gender identity discrimination in healthcare

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., November 12, 2019. | SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., November 12, 2019.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the agency will interpret federal civil rights law to include a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, leading critics to say it could require hospitals and doctors to perform sex-change surgeries.

In an announcement Monday morning, HHS explained that it will interpret Title IX’s explicit prohibition on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Under the policy, HHS Office for Civil Rights will enforce Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to protect “the civil rights of individuals who access or seek to access covered health programs or activities” and prevent discrimination “against consumers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

As justification, HHS cited the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County. In that case, the high court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against employment discrimination, applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Supreme Court’s conclusion comes even though neither category (sexual orientation or gender identity) is mentioned explicitly in federal civil rights law.

The HHS statement notes that while it will enforce this new interpretation, the agency will still “comply with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act” as well as “all other legal requirements.”

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement that “people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” Becerra continued.

“It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

In 2020 during the Trump administration, HHS reversed Obama-era policies by finalizing a regulation that stated that sex discrimination protections would be determined “according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex' as male or female and as determined by biology.”

Terry Schilling, president of the conservative think tank American Principles Project, said in a statement that the HHS decision Monday vindicated the organization’s claim last year during the 2020 election that Joe Biden would make child sex change operations “official government policy” if elected president.

“At the time, the ad was widely denounced in the media as ‘misinformation,’” stated Schilling. “But now that Joe Biden is president, our concerns have sadly been vindicated.”

Schilling said that the new policy is “about forcing hospitals and medical professionals to adhere to leftist ideology regarding sexuality and gender” and forcing them to “provide sex-change procedures to all comers, including children.”

Schilling argued that such a policy “is not based in science.” He referenced a recent decision by a prominent hospital in Sweden to halt the use of puberty blockers on minors under the age of 16.

“Yet, it is now apparently the policy of the U.S. government that such treatments must be given to children or else healthcare institutions risk losing federal funding and being shut down,” Schilling continued. “This is a travesty and must be opposed.”

Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ & HIV Project, celebrated the HHS decision in a statement.

“With health care for transgender youth under attack by state legislatures, this move to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in health care is critical,” Strangio stated.

“The Biden administration has affirmed what courts have said for decades: Discrimination against LGBTQ people is against the law. It also affirms what transgender people have long said: Gender-affirming care is life-saving care.”

Earlier this year, Biden issued an executive order aimed at combatting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The order instructed the head of each federal agency to review all existing policies and issue new policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In March, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it will enforce discrimination protections for LGBT individuals.

In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it will enforce the Fair Housing Act based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Critics of Biden’s executive order have argued that it could have lasting impacts on people of faith who uphold traditional beliefs on sexuality and marriage.

“Despite the fact that Bostock dealt only with employment law, no doubt Biden administration activists will try to apply it wherever they wish,” Travis Weber, vice president for policy and government affairs at the Christian conservative activist organization Family Research Council, told The Christian Post in March.

In April, the Biden administration filed an appeal of a court ruling against an Obamacare mandate that required doctors and hospitals to perform gender transition surgeries.

“The Biden Admin says it can punish doctors and hospitals for ‘sex discrimination' unless they perform controversial gender-transition procedures," Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a Twitter thread.

"A court struck down this #TransgenderMandate in January … But the Biden Admin just appealed.”

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#316 

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By Temmy
Tue, May 11, 2021 10:30am
Updated
Israel strikes Gaza, Hamas fires rockets after hundreds of Palestinians wounded in clashes

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon AMIR COHEN / REUTERS
Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, on Monday, May 10, 2021.

Israel's army on Monday said it launched airstrikes on Gaza in response to rockets fired by Hamas militants after hundreds of Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli police at a religious site in Jerusalem.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters that Israeli forces had targeted "a Hamas military operative," while Hamas sources in Gaza confirmed to AFP that one of their commanders had been killed.

Palestinian authorities earlier on Monday said the Israeli airstrikes had killed 20 civilians, including nine children.

As of Monday night, roughly 150 rockets had been fired from Gaza, with "dozens" being intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Confrontations between Israeli security forces and protesters have been escalating for weeks. The clashes started at the beginning of Ramadan, almost a month ago, when Israeli police put up barriers to stop people sitting in the Damascus Gate plaza, a popular gathering area during Ramadan. Young Palestinians protested what they saw as Israeli authorities disrupting their religious and social traditions.

Then on April 16, the first Friday of Ramadan, tensions escalated further when Israel imposed a 10,000-person limit on prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were turned away.

Meanwhile, there had been demonstrations over another simmering dispute: An Israeli plan to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, to allow Jewish settlers to move in.

The unrest erupted into serious violence over the weekend, and it got worse on Monday. The Palestinian Red Crescent said 331 Palestinians were injured in a crackdown on worshipers at al-Aqsa mosque on Monday alone. Seven people were left in critical condition, according to the medical group.

Israeli authorities said 30 police officers were injured Monday.

The al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City is one of the holiest sites in Islam, but it has long been under Israeli control. Palestinian protesters put up a makeshift barrier at the entrance, walling themselves in, and threw stones at Israeli police. Officers responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

On Monday, an Israeli car crashed into Palestinian protesters near the mosque. Witnesses said protesters had surrounded the vehicle and pelted it with stones before it veered off the road, but incredibly nobody was killed.

In an effort to calm things down, Israeli authorities announced that Jews would be barred from visiting the area near al-Aqsa, a site that is also sacred to them. The officials were trying to head off more violence on what is an incendiary date: Many Israelis celebrate May 10 as Jerusalem Day, which marks the capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Mideast War. They see it as the day their capital was reunited.

Palestinians, on the other hand, lament it as the occasion of an illegal seizure of land where they one day hope to establish their own capital city. The seizure of East Jerusalem has never been recognized by the international community.

Amid the tension, Israeli police decided on Monday to allow a march commemorating Jerusalem Day to go ahead, but not through the Damascus Gate as planned. The entry point to Jerusalem's Old City has frequently been a flashpoint.

Jordan and other Arab nations in the region have condemned both the planned evictions in East Jerusalem and what they see as a heavy-handed response to the protests by Israeli security forces.

Tunisia called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday to discuss the violence, and Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi was to meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss security in the region, with a focus on the current escalations in Jerusalem, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning "in the strongest terms the bloodied campaign of repression and the continuous crackdown by the Israeli forces against our fellow Jerusalemites, in their attempt to empty al-Aqsa compound from Palestinians."

The ministry called on the UN Security Council "to provide international protection for our people, as a legitimate moral and legal right and duty," and urged President Biden's administration in Washington "to free itself from the frameworks and limitations set by the previous administration in dealing with the rights and suffering of our people."

Other Palestinian factions, however, including armed groups, issued an ultimatum on Monday warning Israel to withdraw its security forces from al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah, and to release all those detained during the recent clashes, or face violence.

Even the other political authority in the Palestinian Territories issued a warning, rather than a plea for international support. Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinian resistance to Israel's occupation would escalate to prevent the evictions in East Jerusalem.

"The resistance is ready and will not stand idle," Haniyeh said. "Our word will be the final word in the battle if the occupation does not back away and put an end to its satanic plans."

Israel appeared to take the threats seriously, and its security forces were bracing for possible attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Source

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By Temmy
Tue, May 11, 2021 1:17pm
Prophet leaves wife to ‘pursue his own desires’

Jeff Jansen (R) and his wife, Jan (L) | YouTube/ Global Fire TV
Jeff Jansen (R) and his wife, Jan (L)

Global Fire Ministries founder Jeff Jansen, who was among several self-styled prophets to wrongly predict former President Donald Trump would win a second term, has left his wife and family to “pursue his own desires" and remains “unrepentant and unremorseful,” his ministry announced.

Last Wednesday, the Tennessee-based evangelical ministry announced that Jansen was asked to step down as co-senior leader of the operation because his “unscriptural” conduct disqualified him from leadership.

Global Fire Ministries is now led by Jansen’s wife, Jan, to whom he has been married for nearly 26 years.

“Due to a pattern of making poor moral choices, and bad coping mechanisms, character flaws became obvious which disqualified Jeff from New Testament leadership. His lifestyle in the home, traveling on the road, and in the House of God, has fallen below Biblical standards laid out for those in leadership. He has been confronted concerning these flaws numerous times over a period of time,” the ministry said in a May 5 statement.

“Rather than submit to the process of healing and restoration, Jeff recently made an intentional decision to leave his wife and family to pursue his own desires.”

While asking supporters for prayers, the ministry also explained that “any pursuit of further ministry on Jeff’s behalf is not under the umbrella and blessing of Global Fire Ministries.”

Jansen, who founded the ministry more than 18 years ago, describes himself on his LinkedIn page as “a revivalist whose ministry of faith, power and revelation has affected the lives of thousands.”

“Jeff’s burning desire is to see churches, cities, regions and whole nations completely transformed by the power of God,” his profile notes. “Jeff flows in a strong prophetic and miracle healing anointing and releases the Glory of God in fresh fire everywhere he goes. … Jeff also has a unique anointing as a musical prophet, often times proclaiming and declaring the directives of the Lord through music. With or without music, he flows in the prophetic stream of the gifts of revelation.”

While other self-styled prophets like Jeremiah Johnson have apologized for incorrectly prophesying a second term for Trump, Jansen maintains that “he is our president.”

“He [Trump] is our president, and I don’t back up from that," he said in an April 25 video post, which he reposted to his social media on Sunday.

"I think we’re going to see very, very quickly many things take place from world economic reform, which is happening right now, [to] the coming down of many, many institutions that have been there for a long time. And the voice of the prophets that really are speaking and standing."

He also asked for prayers for his family and his kids and insisted that he is being attacked by “crazy left-wing radicals.”

“There’s all kinds of crazy things being said about me: defaming and threats and death threats, family. I know where it’s all coming from — crazy left-wing radicals that are spawned through the multiple newspapers,” he said. “God’s gonna vindicate.”

In a post on Instagram last June, Jansen praised his wife for being “incredible.”

“Today Jan and I celebrate 25 years of beautiful marriage, 8 children, 18 grandchildren and thousands of spiritual family,” he wrote. “Thank you baby for being the constant in the ups and downs ... you are incredible!!”

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#318 

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By Temmy
Tue, May 11, 2021 1:40pm
Updated
The Grisly Story Of Harold Shipman, The British Doctor Who Killed His Patients For Pleasure

Getty Images Though Harold Shipman was convicted of 15 murders, it’s speculated that he killed upwards of 250 people.
Though Harold Shipman was convicted of 15 murders, it’s speculated that he killed upwards of 250 people.

Doctors are supposed to give people support when they are at their most vulnerable, but Dr. Harold Shipman used his position to take advantage of his patients – and in a cruelly ironic twist, became one of the most prolific serial killers in English history.

Exploiting their trust, Shipman would first diagnose his patients with illnesses they didn’t have and then injected them with a lethal dose of diamorphine. Unbeknownst to perhaps 250 people, their visit to the office of Harold Shipman would be their last.

Harold Shipman was born in Nottingham, England in 1946. He was a promising student throughout school and excelled in sports, particularly rugby.

But the course of Shipman’s life changed when he was just 17. That year, his mother Vera, with whom Shipman was quite close, was diagnosed with lung cancer. While she lay dying in the hospital, Shipman closely observed how the doctor eased her suffering by administering morphine to her.

Experts would later speculate that this was the moment that inspired his sadistic killing spree and modus operandi.

Following his mother’s death, Shipman went on to marry Primrose May Oxtoby while studying medicine at Leeds University Medical School. The pair had four children together, and from the outside, Shipman’s life was the picture of normality.

He graduated in 1970 and commenced life as a junior doctor, but he quickly moved up the ranks and became a general practitioner at a medical center in West Yorkshire.

It was here in 1976 where Shipman first found himself in trouble with the law. The young doctor was caught forging prescriptions for Demerol, an opioid typically used to treat severe pain, for his own use. Shipman had become addicted.

He was fined, fired from his job, and required to attend a rehabilitation clinic in York.

Harold Shipman seemed to get back on his feet quickly and returned to work at Donneybrook Medical Centre in Hyde in 1977. He would spend the next 15 years of his career here before setting up a one-man practice in 1993. He developed a reputation among his patients and in his community as a good and helpful physician. He was renowned for his bedside manner.

Yet no one knew that at the same time, the “good doctor” was secretly killing his patients.

It was March 1975 when Shipman took his first patient, 70-year-old Eva Lyons. It was the day before her birthday.

At this time, Shipman had got his hands on enough diamorphine to kill hundreds of people, though no one was even aware of his addiction until the next year.

Though Shipman was fired that year for forging prescriptions, he was not removed from the General Medical Council, the doctors’ regulatory body. Instead, he received a warning letter.

According to investigators, Shipman would stop and restart his killing spree many times throughout his decades of terror. But his method of killing always remained the same. He would target the vulnerable, with his oldest victim being 93-year-old Anne Cooper and his youngest 41-year-old Peter Lewis.

Then, he’d administer a lethal dose of diamorphine and either watch them die right there or send them home to perish.

In all, it’s believed that he killed 71 patients while working at the Donneybrook practice and the remainder while operating his one-man practice. Of his victims, 171 were female and 44 were men.

However, in 1998, undertakers in his community of Hyde became suspicious of the number of Shipman’s patients who were dying. The neighboring medical practice further discovered that the death rate of his patients was almost ten times higher than their own.

They reported their concerns to the local coroner and then the Greater Manchester Police were called. This could have been the end of Shipman’s reign of terror – but it wasn’t.

The police investigation failed to carry out the most basic of checks, including whether Shipman had a criminal record. If they’d asked the medical board what was on his file, they’d have uncovered that he had forged prescriptions in the past.

Cunning Shipman had also covered his tracks by adding false illnesses to his victims’ records. As a result, the investigation didn’t find any cause for concern, and the deadly doctor was free to keep killing.

The Shocking Murder That Finally Exposed Him

Shipman’s crimes were finally uncovered after he made the mistake of trying to forge the will of one of his victims, 81-year-old Kathleen Grundy, a former mayor of his town of Hyde.

After Shipman administered a lethal dose of diamorphine to Grundy, he selected the “cremation” box on her will to hide the evidence. Then, he used his typewriter to write her family out of the will entirely, leaving everything to him.

However, Grundy was buried, and her daughter, Angela Woodruff, was notified about the will by local solicitors. Immediately, she suspected foul play and went to the police.

Woodruff said of the situation, "The whole thing was unbelievable. The thought of mum signing the document leaving everything to her doctor was inconceivable. The concept of her signing a document which was so badly typed didn’t make any sense."

Grundy’s body was subsequently exhumed in August 1998 and diamorphine was found in her muscle tissues. Shipman was then arrested on September 7 of that year.

Over the next two months, the bodies of another 11 victims were exhumed. A police expert also checked Shipman’s surgery computer and discovered that he had made false entries to support the fake causes of death he gave on his victims’ death certificates.

Simultaneously, Shipman insisted that Grundy was addicted to a drug like morphine or heroin and pointed to his notes as evidence of this. However, police found that Shipman had written the notes on his computer after her death.

Then, police managed to verify 14 other cases where Shipman had given lethal doses of diamorphine, falsely registered the patients’ deaths, and tampered with their medical history to show that they were dying anyway.

Harold Shipman always denied the murders and refused to cooperate with the police or criminal psychiatrists. When the police tried to question him or show him photos of his victims, he sat with his eyes shut, yawned, and refused to look at any evidence.

Police could only charge Shipman with 15 murders, but it’s been estimated that his kill count is anywhere between 250 and 450.

Harold Shipman’s Gruesome End

In 2000, Shipman was handed life imprisonment with a recommendation that he never be released.

He was incarcerated in a Manchester prison but ended up in Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire, where he took his own life. On the day before his 58th birthday, Jan. 13, 2004, Shipman was found hanging in his cell.

He told his probation officer prior to this that he was thinking about committing suicide so that his wife would receive his pension and lump sum.

With his death looms the question of why he killed. A number of theories have been put forward to explain why Shipman had the urge to murder, some say that he may have been avenging the death of his mother.

Others offer the more charitable opinion that he injected the elderly with diamorphine as a misguided way of offering compassion.

Still, others suggest that the doctor had a God Complex — and simply needed to prove that he could take life as well as save it.

Source

https://www.dailydevotionalsonline.com/generalchatroom.php?alltime=yes#319 

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By Temmy
Tue, May 11, 2021 5:45pm
Parent Pulls First-Grader from Class after Teacher Reads from Book Promoting Transgenderism

teacher smiling a children in the class

A first-grade teacher in Washington State is under fire from parents after reading a book promoting transgenderism to children.

According to an anonymous tip received by Young America's Foundation, a conservative youth advocacy organization, Jennifer Miller, a first-grade teacher at Geneva Elementary School in Bellingham, Washington read to her students from the book I am Jazz.

The book, published in 2014, was co-authored by LGBT activist Jessica Herthel and trans-identified reality TV star Jazz Jennings. It details how a two-year-old biological male named Jazz transitioned to female with the support of his parents.

"From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing," the book's description on Amazon states. "This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way.

"Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience, and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers."

In an email sent on February 16, a concerned parent emailed Miller about the book, writing, "Did you read this book to 1st graders today?"

In response, Miller responded in the affirmative, explaining that the school district is "working hard to support all members of our school community and promote inclusion through understanding and compassion."

In a Friday interview with The Christian Post, YAF spokeswoman Kara Zupkus said that the concerned parent reached out to their tip line this week.

According to Zupkas, the parent was "very angry and … frustrated that he hadn't heard anything from the school board and that his concerns weren't being addressed."

Although Miller showed a desire to "answer any questions" or address concerns from the parent, Zupkus noted that the conversation following the exchange "did not make much headway."

The parent ultimately ended up pulling the child from the class after continued disagreements with the teacher about the book.

Additionally, the parent also reached out to the school board president, Jennifer Mason, who offered a standard form response, such as, 'We have received your response, thank you for your inquiry.' And beyond that, she never returned the parent's email," Zupkus added.

An investigation by YAF later revealed that Mason owns a sex toy shop called "Wink Wink."

Zupkas told The Christian Post that the angry parent also reached out to Bellingham Public Schools Superintendent Greg Baker, who agreed to speak with the parent over the phone after refusing to dialogue through email. When the parent asked if he could record the call, Baker declined, and no conversation was had.

Zupkus argued that teaching first-grade students from a book promoting LGBT ideologies exemplifies the "sad state of affairs for public education" while predicting that the incident would "inspire other students and other parents to push for school choice because we can't allow things like this to keep happening in our public schools."

"It's insanity. They're really pushing a leftist agenda with no apologies," she continued. "And parents need to hold their school board members accountable. They need to hold their teachers accountable, the superintendent, everyone needs to be held accountable. So, it really is up to the parents when it involves children this young to get involved."

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By Temmy
Wed, May 12, 2021 7:08pm
California Bill Forces Stores to Sell Gender-Fluid Clothes and Toys: 'Let's Get Rid of Labels'

cloths hung in a retail store

A California bill that would force retail stores to sell gender-neutral clothes and toys in a separate section sailed through two committees in April and is favored to pass a third committee this week.

The bill, AB 1084, would require stores with 500 or more employees that sell childcare items, clothing or toys to maintain a “gender-neutral section” of the store with gender-neutral items, clothes and toys, according to the text of the legislation.

Stores that fail to comply could be fined $250 for the first violation and $500 for each subsequent violation.

“Unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are displayed closer to one another in one, undivided area of the retail sales floor,” the bill says.

It passed the Judiciary Committee on April 27 by a vote of 7-3 and the Business and Professions Committee on April 6, 11-4. Thus far, all “yes” votes have come from Democrats, according to the California Family Council. Democrats control both chambers. It is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Appropriation Committee this week.

It is authored by Assemblyman Evan Low, who also wrote a bill (AB 2826) last year prohibiting stores from dividing girls’ and boys’ sections. That bill never received a committee vote. The new bill apparently has a better chance of becoming law.

“I like where you are going with this bill,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said during a hearing last month. She asked, “Why don’t you combine all the girls’ and boys’ clothes with no designation?”

Gonzalez added, “Let’s get rid of [gendered] labels while we are at it.”

Low responded that “he would like to go this way” but views the new bill as a first step, according to the California Family Council.

Businessman Rob Smith, the founder of the Phluid Project line of gender-neutral clothes, testified in favor of the bill.

“You have to give Rob Smith credit; he’s found quite an audacious marketing plan in asking Sacramento to force California retailers to make room for his products,” said Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council. “But activists and state legislators have no right to force retailers to espouse government-approved messages about gender. It’s a violation of free speech and it’s just plain wrong.”

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By Temmy
Fri, May 14, 2021 2:44pm
Child safety advocates urge Facebook to cancel launch of Instagram for kids under 13

The Instagram and Facebook logos are displayed at the 2018 CeBIT technology trade fair on June 12, 2018, in Hanover, Germany. | Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
The Instagram and Facebook logos are displayed at the 2018 CeBIT technology trade fair on June 12, 2018, in Hanover, Germany.

Child safety advocates and campaigners against sexual exploitation are urging Facebook to scrap its plans to launch an Instagram platform for children younger than 13.

A cohort of advocates under the banner of the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood are urging Facebook to cancel its plans to launch a version of Instagram designed for pre-teens, highlighting the social ills and perils of overuse of digital technology. The campaigners include advocacy groups from around the world and concerned individuals, including the creators of the 2020 documentary film that scrutinizes social media, "The Social Dilemma."

“In the elementary and middle school years, children experience incredible growth in their social competencies, abstract thinking, and sense of self. Finding outlets for self-expression and connection with their peers become especially important. We are concerned that a proposed Instagram for kids would exploit these rapid developmental changes,” the April 15 letter from CCFC advocates to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reads.

“Excessive screen media use and social media use is linked to a number of risks for children and adolescents, including obesity, lower psychological wellbeing, decreased happiness, decreased quality of sleep, increased risk of depression, and increases in suicide-related outcomes such as suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts. Fifty-nine percent of U.S. teens have reported being bullied on social media, an experience which has been linked to increased risky behaviors such as smoking and increased risk of suicidal ideation,” the letter, which contained footnotes documenting the studies undergirding its claims, continued.

The child safety advocates also noted that the social media platforms are saturated with child sexual abuse materials and exploitation of minors. Last year alone, according to Business Insider, Facebook reported more the 20 million child abuse images. In 2019, as was reported by The Atlantic, Instagram was criticized for failing to respond to reports of exploitation in a timely fashion.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Center of Sexual Exploitation, which is among the CCFC advocates, is voicing similar concerns regarding Facebook’s plans, highlighting the various ways in which children have been sexually exploited on the platform.

“Creating an Instagram app for kids is not only a bad idea, but irresponsible given Facebook’s abysmal track record protecting children on its various platforms. Rather than building a new platform to hook and monetize young children at even younger ages, Instagram should prioritize stemming the rampant sexual abuse and exploitation of minors currently on Instagram,” said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives for NCOSE, in a Thursday statement sent to The Christian Post.

“While the Instagram has recently instituted basic safety standards for its users for which NCOSE and allies have long advocated, Facebook still has a long way to go in making its products safe for kids and it’s unlikely this newest product for children would be completely safe or risk-free,” she added.

Adding legal voices to the effort, more than 40 Attorneys General from U.S. states and territories are petitioning Zuckerberg to abandon the project.

“It appears that Facebook is not responding to a need, but instead creating one, as this platform appeals primarily to children who otherwise do not or would not have an Instagram account. In short, an Instagram platform for young children is harmful for myriad reasons,” a May 10 letter signed by the dozens of state officeholders from the National Association of Attorneys General declares.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 14, 2021 2:48pm
Biden FDA Says it May Legalize 'Abortion by Mail' and Reverse Decades-Old Restriction

The Biden administration said in a court filing last week it may reverse a 21-year-old restriction on the abortion pill

The Biden administration said in a court filing last week it may reverse a 21-year-old restriction on the abortion pill and allow it to be distributed by mail, even after the pandemic ends.

The news came nearly one month after the acting commission of the Food and Drug Administration announced that the FDA would allow the abortion pill to be mailed during the pandemic “under the supervision of a certified prescriber.”

But that temporary lift on the restriction may become permanent. The Clinton administration’s FDA approved the abortion pill in 2000 and required it to be dispensed in person. Every administration since then upheld the requirement.

The Biden Justice Department said in a May 7 court filing that the FDA is conducting a “review of the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy” (REMS) of mifepristone, one of the two drugs involved in a chemical abortion (informally known as the “abortion pill”).

The American Civil Liberties Union celebrated the news.

It is often called “abortion by mail.”

“The FDA’s decision to review these senseless restrictions on mifepristone – though long overdue – is a critical move towards ensuring that patients can access this safe, effective medication without needless obstacles,” said Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to break down in order to kill the unborn baby. Misoprostol sparks contractions and the delivery of the dead baby. The two drugs can be taken only early in the pregnancy, up to 48 hours apart.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, told Life News earlier this year that “abortion by mail” endangers the safety of women.

“Allowing unsupervised chemical abortions via telemedicine, without requiring timely access to medical care, will put women in grave danger,” she said. “Data released in 2018 by the FDA shows thousands of adverse events caused by abortion pills, including 768 hospitalizations and 24 deaths since 2000. Chemical abortions should have more medical oversight, not less.”

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By Temmy
Fri, May 14, 2021 2:55pm
Disney Plus to Feature Gay Couple in The Proud Family Reboot

Disney has announced it will be bringing back its animated sitcom The Proud Family

Disney has announced it will be bringing back its animated sitcom The Proud Family, with the inclusion of some new characters, including two interracial gay dads who are adoptive parents of a teenage racial activist.

The upcoming series, titled The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, follows up from the original show, which ran for two seasons on the Disney Channel from 2001 to 2005.

The entire original voice cast will be reprising their roles, including Kyla Pratt as protagonist Penny Proud, Tommy Davidson as Oscar Proud, Paula Jai Parker as Trudy Proud, Jo Marie Payton as Suga Mama, Karen Malina White as Dijonay Jones, Soleil Moon Frye as Zoey Howzer, Alisa Reyes as LaCienega Boulevardez, and Cedric the Entertainer as Uncle Bobby Proud.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the upcoming series will feature actors Zachary Quinto and Billy Porter, who are both gay in real life. The two actors will play Barry Leibowitz-Jenkins and Randall Leibowitz-Jenkins, respectively. The characters are the adoptive parents to Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins, a 14-year-old black activist voiced by Keke Palmer.

In a post on Twitter, Disney Plus noted that Penny’s best guy friend Michael Collins, voiced by EJ Johnson, will also be making a return to the series.

Proud Family: Prouder and Louder is presently in production by Disney Television Animation and is expected to launch in 2022 on Disney Plus.

The inclusion of a gay interracial couple adds to the growing list of LGBTQ characters presented by Disney. Last month, Pixar Animation Studios, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, released a casting notice for its first transgender character in an upcoming project.

Last summer, as Christian Headlines previously reported, the Disney Channel debuted its first bisexual character in the animated series, The Owl House.

In honor of Pride month in June, Disney launched its Rainbow Disney Collection, featuring LGBTQ+ themed apparel and toys. The company added that it will be sending funds to LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations.

“In celebration of Pride Month 2021 and the company’s Pride collection, The Walt Disney Company is giving funds as part of our ongoing commitment to organizations around the world that support LGBTQ+ communities,” Disney said in a statement.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 14, 2021 3:02pm
Israeli forces mulling ground invasion as Hamas fires over 1,500 rockets

Israel flag | Wikimedia Commons/The State of Israel
Israel flag

Israel’s military is considering the possibility of launching a ground campaign in the Gaza Strip as the Israel Defense Forces claim Iran-backed Hamas has fired over 1,500 rockets into Israel since Monday.

An IDF spokesperson said that plans for a potential ground operation in Gaza would be presented to the IDF General Staff for approval on Thursday as Hamas continues targeting two major cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with rockets, according to Times of Isreal. Before Monday, missiles had not been fired into Jerusalem since 2014.

Hamas launched another round of around 100 rockets on Thursday as the violence and attacks continue to escalate.

IDF has launched airstrikes into the Gaza Strip to retaliate against the attacks and confirmed it has killed as many as 16 Hamas figures. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reported that 87 people have been killed since the fighting began, including 18 children. Over 530 are said to have been injured as of Thursday.

Israel’s Iron Dome has intercepted many of the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. Still, Hamas’ attacks into central and southern Israel have reportedly led to the death of at least seven Israelis.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on Thursday that the IDF has attacked hundreds of targets and will soon surpass 1,000 targets.

"We are continuing to strike Hamas while defending our citizens,” Netanyahu tweeted. “It will take time, but with great decisiveness, both defensively and offensively, we will achieve our goal – to restore quiet to the State of Israel."

Daniel and Amber Pierce, founders of the Glory of Zion Jerusalem and co-authors of a new book, Joy in the War, moved to Israel in 2011 to serve in ministry. The couple shared with The Christian Post how Israelis have learned to adapt to the constant threat of danger and frequent rocket attacks.

“When these things go on in Israel, it’s something the society and community are trained for,” Daniel Pierce said. “They grow up with this, and it’s something that is an unfortunate reality of life there. But there are certain precautions the community takes.”

The Pierces, who now live in Texas and have not been able to return to Israel due to COVID-19 restrictions, remain in close contact with friends and ministry partners in Israel and understand how the situation is often misconstrued.

“We wish so much that Israel would be represented properly,” Amber Pierce said. “I know the devil twists things, but we just want Israel to be represented properly. Israel just has to defend itself and has to make a decision to do what is best for the nation and for the people. If you had over a thousand rockets landing in New York City, we would definitely be doing everything to fight back wherever those rockets were coming from. So, I just think that we want people to pray … and for people to have awareness for what’s really going on and to talk about it.”

Daniel Pierce shared how the conflict is the result of mounting tensions between Arabs and Jews.

Though tensions between the groups are high, Pierce traced this round of violence back to April 24, when a TikTok video went viral showing an Arab hit a Jewish man on a city bus. He also shared how tensions are higher during Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer observed by Muslims, which ended on May 12.

“That began to really stir up the tensions between the Arabs and the Jewish community in Jerusalem,” he said. “Of course, Jerusalem is split almost evenly between Arabs and Jewish. … That also coincided with some decisions made in the court system over a housing district in a neighborhood.”

The conflict was also stirred by a delayed court ruling involving homes occupied by Palestinians in an Old City neighborhood.

The court is deciding whether authorities will evict dozens of Palestinians living rent-free in the homes owned by Jews.

A series of events led to violent clashes on the Muslim-occupied Temple Mount that led to Israeli police intervention this week, where hundreds of rioters and some officers were injured.

Hamas began its attacks on Israel on Monday. A Hamas spokesperson said the attack was in response to Israeli “crimes and aggression” in Jerusalem.

Many have condemned Hamas attacks and supported Israel’s right to defend itself.

Forty U.S. senators led by Republican Marco Rubio of Florida signed a letter Wednesday calling on President Joe Biden to support Israel’s right to retaliate and end sanction relief with Iran, which backs Hamas.

“[Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, who are funded by Iran] … are targeting Israeli civilians and cities, including Israel’s capital Jerusalem,” the letter read. “This is troubling as members of your administration are currently in Vienna negotiating with Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. In light of these recent attacks by Hamas against Israel, the United States should take all steps necessary to hold Tehran accountable and under no circumstances, provide sanctions relief to Iran. This is especially important as Iran is supporting terrorist activity against the United States’ closest ally in the region, Israel.”

The letter pointed out how Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted that Palestinians should unite to “use the tools of their disposal” to attack Israel, which he recently called a “terrorist garrison.”

The U.S. designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997, so it is prohibited from providing funds to Hamas. Iran, however, is a financial supporter of Hamas and the U.S. engages in negotiations with Iran and potentially provides billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

“We call on you to immediately end negotiations with Iran, and make clear that sanctions relief will not be provided,” the senators wrote. “Doing so would demonstrate a firm commitment to our closest ally in the region and to our own security interests.”

“The United States must not do anything to enrich Israel’s enemies, such as by offering sanctions relief to a regime that seeks to destroy Israel,” the letter continued. “As a longtime friend of the Jewish state, we also urge you to unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against any and all terrorist attacks.”

Biden spoke to Netanyahu Wednesday and condemned Hamas’ rocket attacks into Israel. He expressed support for Israel’s security and its right to defend itself.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the Hamas attacks during a press conference Wednesday. He said the administration is trying to achieve de-escalation.

“There is first a very clear and absolute distinction between a terrorist organization Hamas — that is indiscriminately raining down rockets, in fact, targeting civilians — and Israel’s response defending itself,” Blinken said.

“… I think Israel has an extra burden in trying to do everything it possibly can to avoid civilian casualties even as it is rightfully responding in defense of its people,” Blinken continued. “And as I said, the Palestinians have a right to safety and security and we have to all work in that direction. So the single most important thing right now is de-escalation.”

Conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro has criticized the Biden administration for not taking a more heavy-handed response to the violence against Israel.

Blinken tweeted Wednesday that “Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity.”

Shapiro retweeted and rebutted with a response.

“Then Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PA should be removed,” he argued. “Hamas and PIJ are terror groups, the [Palestinian Authority]'s Fatah is a terror group, and Mahmoud Abbas is in the 17th year of a four-year term.”

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Fri, May 14, 2021 3:24pm
'A Return to Normalcy': CDC Says Vaccinated Americans Can Ditch the Masks

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Greg Nash/Pool via A
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control say fully vaccinated people can now safely participate in most indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or social distancing.

"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC said during a White House briefing, Thursday.

President Biden called the news a "great milestone." He credited the massive campaign to quickly vaccinate the American public.

To date, more than 154 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – about 47 percent of the population. Dr. Walensky says the new guidance about masks is based on science. Evidence shows the vaccine is strongly protective, even against mutations of the virus.

Still, there are some exceptions to the CDC's new recommendations. Masks are still required for anyone riding on buses, trains, or planes, and in hospitals.

Experts acknowledge these guidelines are based on the honor system and that there is no failsafe way to prove who is vaccinated and who is not.

"Any time you see someone without a mask, the risk is to the unvaccinated individuals so people can choose to take that risk. But science and good data suggest that the smart move is to get vaccinated," said Dr. Jen Ashton, ABC's Medical Correspondent.

According to a new AP-NORC poll, a wide variety of Americans from different backgrounds have questions and hesitations about the vaccines. A large number of those who remain unvaccinated in the U.S. say they would need to hear their concerns addressed by a credible source before feeling comfortable with the shot.

Kizzmekia Corbett is hoping to be that person, especially for the Black community.

"If I'm going to be a scientist and I'm going to try to create things that help people and benefit human health, then making sure that I translate that to people who are most concerned about it seems to be appropriate," Corbett told the Associated Press.

She helped lead the development of the Moderna vaccine and now spends hours giving plain-spoken answers to counter misinformation.

For example, Corbett told AP that while the clinical trials may have seemed fast to outsiders, scientists have been working on vaccines for earlier cousins of COVID-19 for the last six years.

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are now at the lowest level in 10 months, a milestone health experts say would not have been impossible without the vaccines.

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Fri, May 14, 2021 4:23pm
Updated
'Catastrophic Situation' Grips Police Departments as Cops Quit in Droves Saying 'It's Not Worth It'

It's been a year since tens of thousands of people hit the streets

It's been a year since tens of thousands of people hit the streets demanding an end to police brutality and racism in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

A year later, the effects of those protests are taking a toll on police departments as experienced cops are retiring or quitting in droves.

It's happening from coast to coast.

"Police departments all across the country now experiencing an exodus of officers from the force," said a reporter with NewsNation Now.

In Washington, DC a record 313 police officers have retired or quit since last June.

"I think we're really hurdling towards a catastrophic situation here," Gregg Pemberton with the DC Police Union told WUSA 9 TV.

In Seattle, the police chief faces a staffing crisis after 180 officers walked off the job last year and another 66 handed in their badges this year.

"We've already lost 266 and counting officers since George Floyd for a city that staffing levels are the same, if not less, than they were in the 1980s," said Mike Solen with Seattle's Police Officers Gild.

And it's not just happening in big cities.

"Tonight, more than half the force of a small-town police department has walked off the job in protest," reported Charlotte's FOX 46 TV, after officers with the Catawba Police Department handed in their resignations after a fellow officer was asked to resign.

A year after the push to defund police departments and calls for policing reform, officers are demoralized and demonized.

"Policing right now is just not a profession that is viewed favorably by a large segment of the public," said Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate.

Neudigate's department among those facing a depleted force. The city approved funding for 813 sworn police officers but filling them has been difficult.

Virginia Beach currently has 112 operational vacancies. "It's a huge problem because what it forces us to do is to become very reactive because now we are running from call to call, from service demand to service demand."

Neudigate spent 30 years with the Cincinnati Police Department before moving to Virginia Beach last October.

In the seven months since 50 officers have either retired or quit the force.

"The national narrative, the anti-police sentiment is so strong. There are a lot of folks that were going to extend their careers and it's not worth it to them," Neudigate said. "So, it is not just a recruiting issue, it is very much a retention issue."

Many of those officers leaving with decades of experience.

"You are losing some of our most seasoned, experienced, decision-making folks, they are out the door," said Neudigate.

New data shows the cities most targeted by demonstrators now witnessing a historic exodus in the past year. 233 cops are gone in Louisville, Kentucky, where the shooting of Breonna Taylor sparked months of protests. In Portland, Oregon, 115 officers have left and in New York, 15 percent of the force, a staggering 5,300 officers, have quit.

CBN News was recently invited to the Virginia Beach Police Department's 70th annual academy.

Recruits on this day were learning various tactical exercises.

A year after anti-police protests, Neudigate notes it's harder than ever to recruit and retain officers, particularly those of color.

"We are not where we need to be in representing the diversity of our community," he admitted.

82 percent of his police force is white. The national average is about 72 percent.

"What we are finding is that there is a lot of pressure, especially for people of brown and black, for them not to be part of the policing profession at this time," Neudigate added.

He says even after recruits make it through the rigorous selection process and are hired, some end up quitting weeks later.

"People of color are under an immense amount of pressure that policing is something that they should not include in their resume."

This year's academy started in January with 38 recruits. Six of them have so far dropped out.

As Neudigate met with his command staff on a recent morning, he stressed that building relationship continues to be key in bridging the gap between the badge and the community it serves.

"We have to get back out into our communities, we have to have the face-to-face dialogue, they have to see that the men and women in blue as more than just a uniform or an authority figure, they have to see you as a person that's really out there just trying to be that protector of the community that we all want," Neudigate said.

It's been challenging to do that with the pandemic, but as more get vaccinated and restrictions loosen, Neudigate is eager to get his officers back building a path forward to better trust with the citizens they serve.

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By Temmy
Fri, May 14, 2021 4:29pm
Army chaplain punished after Facebook post on transgender military ban appeals reprimand

U.S. Army soldiers pray on September 11, 2011 during a protestant service at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. Ten years after the 9/11 attacks in the United States and after almost a decade war in Afghanistan, American soldiers gathered for church services in prayer and solemn observance of the tragic day. | John Moore/Getty Images
U.S. Army soldiers pray on September 11, 2011 during a protestant service at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. Ten years after the 9/11 attacks in the United States and after almost a decade war in Afghanistan, American soldiers gathered for church services in prayer and solemn observance of the tragic day.

A decorated U.S. Army chaplain is appealing actions taken against him that could end his career after he voiced support on his personal social media page for a military policy preventing trans-identified individuals from serving in the military.

Chaplain Maj. Andrew Calvert is contesting the reprimand from the U.S. Army after he commented on a Jan. 25 news article about the Biden administration’s intentions of dropping President Donald Trump’s ban on trans-identified men and women serving in the military.

Calvert was issued a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR) on April 22 after anonymous screenshots were sent to the 3rd Forces Assistance Brigade’s Facebook account of his Jan. 25 comments. An investigating officer from the brigade determined that he had violated a Defense Department directive and suspended him from his duties.

The legal nonprofit First Liberty Institute is representing the chaplain and insisted in a Wednesday letter to commanding officer Lt. Gen. Robert P. White that the chaplain did nothing wrong, particularly because his post included a disclaimer indicating that these were his personal opinions and not to be taken as representative of the U.S. Army or Department of Defense.

But Calvert’s attorney argues that the adverse actions taken against Calvert violated Defense Department regulations and the U.S. Constitution as it was a retaliation for expressing a religious viewpoint on a matter of public concern.

“It is wildly inappropriate and offensive for Colonel Trotter, Headquarters Commander for 3d SFAB, to state his personal opinion that this has ‘nothing to do with violating or infringing on [Chaplain Calvert’s] religious beliefs’ as the basis for issuing a GOMOR,” First Liberty Institute General Counsel Mike Berry wrote in the May 12 letter.

“Although Chaplain Calvert’s sincerely held religious beliefs might overlap with what some view as political issues, service members are permitted to express their opinions on such matters. As a reminder, Chaplain Calvert merely expressed his sincerely held religious belief that was, at the time he expressed it, wholly consistent with DoD policy.”

The letter argued that the action is duplicitous given how active duty service members marched in uniform, carrying gay pride and transgender flags in a 2019 parade to oppose the Trump-era prohibition.

“Clearly, if uniformed, active duty service members are permitted to express political opposition to their commander-in-chief’s policy, an active duty chaplain may express support for that same policy,” Berry asserted.

First Liberty requested that the reprimand be withdrawn and vowed to take the legal steps to defend Calvert’s rights if the reprimand is not lifted.

Calvert is a recipient of the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.

In the Facebook post in question, Calvert asked: “How is rejecting reality [biology] not evidence that a person is mentally unfit [ill], and thus making that person unqualified to serve."

“There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary," Calvert wrote in a Jan. 28 comment, according to Army Times.

“The motivation is different but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”

According to First Liberty Institute, the investigation into Calvert's online activities concluded that Calvert violated Army policy banning "online misconduct" for making “disparaging terms to discriminate against transgender persons.” In addition, the investigation found that he violated a Defense Department directive limiting political activity by active-duty troops.

The Army Times, which obtained a copy of the reprimand, reports that the investigating officer pointed to other Facebook comments posted by Calvert. However, it is not clear what he wrote in those posts.

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Yesterday at 1:38pm
Pro-Israel Prayer Page Pulled from Facebook After Radical Islamists Targeted It with Extreme Hate Speech

Israel Flag, Photo Credit: AP
Israel's Flag

A pro-Israel Facebook page, the Jerusalem Prayer Team, has been pulled down after being flooded by anti-Semitic posts from radical Islamists.

The pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel posts had targeted the prayer page which was the largest pro-Israel Facebook site in the world. It was also the largest Facebook site on religion in general with 78 million followers. Michael Evans II, who owns the Jerusalem Prayer Page, reports to CBN that Facebook has taken it down.

Evans had been hosting a global prayer event daily to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. On Thursday, May 13th alone he had 1 million engagements and 43 million impressions with a great number of people posting anti-Israel statements and pictures, attacking the site, including 790,000 comments viewed.

A few examples of their anti-Semitic statements include the following slurs: "Israel is a dirty pig", "Israelis are terrorists", "It's a page of the bastards", and "Israelis are criminal racist gangsters."

A number of people have posted pro-Hitler comments with more than one person posting an image of Hitler with the words, "I will not kill all the Jews because I will allow a few people to live so that I can understand why I killed the Jews." The following anti-Semitic posts are now no longer visible, but we will leave it here in case Facebook reinstates the prayer page:

One anti-Semite named Aamir Afzal posted a photo of Hitler and praised the man who murdered 6 million Jews, writing, "The Hero We Need ATM (at the moment)."

Another post pictured Benjamin Netanyahu standing on a dead child while a cameraman filmed the scene.

Evans told CBN that Facebook, which prides itself in not allowing hate speech on its site, had done nothing to stop the Jew-hating racists' hatefest.

Meanwhile, Evans writes on Facebook that Iran is clearly fueling the conflagration, using the Hamas terrorist group as a proxy to fight its war against Israel and the West. "The media throughout the world is buying into the lie, publishing stories that equate Hamas and Israel with moral equivalency, claiming that Hamas is the victim, that they are simply worshippers in the mosque being attacked and beaten up by Israeli storm troopers. It is a lie out of the pit of hell," he says.

A number of the anti-Semitic attacks on the Facebook page also accuse Israel of stealing the Palestinians' land by reestablishing the Israeli state.

Evans points out that the state of Jordan was actually created as a homeland for the Palestinians. "With this lie comes the myth about Israel robbing the Palestinians of a two-state solution. The Palestinians have never had a state. It's a myth. They have never had a flag or a language, and Jerusalem was never their capital. Jordan is their state. The Palestinians are mostly Jordanians. Yes, the Palestinians need to have a state, and the state is called Jordan," Evans explained.

Jerusalem Prayer Team's mission is to build Friends of Zion to guard, defend and protect the Jewish people and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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By Temmy
Yesterday at 2:10pm
Netanyahu defends Gaza strikes, says Israel will do "whatever it takes to restore order"

Smoke rises after Israeli forces destroyed a building in Gaza City where Al-Jazeera and The Associated Press had their offices, on May 15, 2021.  MUSTAFA HASSONA/ANADOLU AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES
Smoke rises after Israeli forces destroyed a building in Gaza City where Al-Jazeera and The Associated Press had their offices, on May 15, 2021.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday defended his country's continuing airstrikes in Gaza, arguing Israel will do "whatever it takes to restore order" in the region and bring an end to rocket attacks by Hamas.

"I think any country has to defend itself. It has a natural right of self-defense," Netanyahu said in an interview with "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "We'll do whatever it takes to restore order and quiet and the security of our people and deterrence. We're trying to degrade Hamas' terrorist abilities and to degrade their will to do this again. So it'll take some time. I hope it won't take long, but it's not immediate."

Hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians are at their most deadly in years, with the most recent outbreak of violence starting in east Jerusalem earlier this month.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports more than 180 Palestinians have been killed in the clashes, including 52 children, with another 1,200 wounded. Eight Israelis have been killed, including two children. Hamas and other militant groups have fired roughly 2,900 rockets into Israeli territory, and the Israeli military said its air defenses intercepted 1,150 of those rockets.

While diplomatic efforts are underway to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, with the Biden administration sending an envoy to urge de-escalation, Netanyahu said Israel will not allow the militant group to "just fire rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity."

"We are targeting a terrorist organization that is targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians, using them as human shields," he said. "We're doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches and their arms. But we're not going to just let them get away with it. Neither would you. I mean, just imagine what would have happened if you had 2,900 rockets fired on Washington and New York and others. I think you would understand our position."

This weekend saw the deadliest attacks in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, with Israeli airstrikes on Saturday targeting several office and residential buildings in Gaza City, including one tower that housed offices for The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera, as well as apartments. The Israeli military said the building contained Hamas military assets, and journalists received warnings ahead of time, allowing them to evacuate. Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Sunday killed more than three dozen people and flattened three buildings.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Saturday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt and "offered his unwavering support for independent journalists and media organizations around the world." President Biden also spoke with Netanyahu on Saturday, as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the White House said.

The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that Israeli officials showed the U.S. a "smoking gun" proving Hamas worked out of the building, though CBS News has not confirmed that report. Netanyahu told "Face the Nation" that Israel passed the information to the U.S. through intelligence services.

"We share with our American friends all that intelligence and here's the intelligence we had — it's about Palestinian terrorist, an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization housed in that building that plots and organizes the terror attacks against Israeli civilians. So it's a perfectly legitimate target," he said. "And I can tell you that we took every precaution to make sure that there were no civilian injuries. In fact, no deaths, no injuries whatsoever."

Netanyahu said Israel is trying to target Hamas with "as great precision as we can" to limit the civilian casualties and accused Hamas of attacking Israel from civilian neighborhoods, schools, homes and office buildings.

"They're happy with their own civilian casualties because it gets the international community to focus their attacks on Israel instead of Hamas," he said. "That's wrong. It's both wrong and unproductive. Because actually what it does is prolong the conflict and escalate and increase the number of casualties that happen as a result of the continuation of the conflict."

Still, Blinken has said Israel has an "extra burden" to avoid civilian casualties. Netanyahu said he believes Israel is meeting that responsibility.

"There has to be a measure of fairness. There has to be a measure of reasonableness in projecting this kind of criticism against the Israeli army that is second to none in seeking to minimize civilian casualties while protecting our own civilians," he said.

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