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12 O'Clock News

 

Tammuz 02, 5777 • A Service of Box 2 Radio Network • 06/26/17

 

 

UPDATE

 

At least 9 Dead, 28 Missing after Tourist Boat Sinks in Colombia (Fox) A tourist boat packed with about 170 passengers for the holiday weekend capsized Sunday on a reservoir near the Colombian city of Medellin, leaving nine people dead and 28 missing, officials said. Rescuers including firefighters from nearby cities and air force pilots were searching for survivors at the Guatape reservoir where the four-story El Almirante ferry sank. A flotilla of recreational boats and jet skis rushed to the scene, pulling people from the boat as it went down and avoiding an even deadlier tragedy.

 

 

TOP OF THE NEWS

 

Kentucky and 3 more States Added to California’s Banned Travel List (Sacramento Bee) California is restricting publicly funded travel to four more states because of recent laws that leaders here view as discriminatory against gay and transgender people. All totaled, California now bans most state-funded travel to eight states. The new additions to California’s restricted travel list are Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota. They join Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee as states already subjected to the ban.

 

Qatar Told: Sever Ties with Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Shut Down Al-Jazeera (CNS) Saudi Arabia and three allies that have cut ties to Qatar want the small Gulf state to cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and all U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations and shut down the Al-Jazeera TV network, according to a list of demands seen by the Associated Press. The AP says it received a copy of the list of 13 demands from one of the governments involved in the diplomatic standoff. It’s not clear how much it differs from a list of ten Saudi demands, reported on by Al-Jazeera two weeks ago but never confirmed. Accusing Qatar of supporting extremists and Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have suspended diplomatic ties and severed air links, among other measures. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week called on the four countries to present Qatar with a list of “reasonable and actionable” demands it should meet to end the row.

 

 

CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

 

Religious Freedom Defender Blocked from Leaving Cuba (CSW) A religious freedom defender has been blocked from leaving Cuba to attend a conference on human rights and democracy. Felix Llerena López was preparing to board his flight on Saturday 17 June, when state security agents approached him and took him into an office where they informed him that he was barred from leaving the country. While Llerena López was not given a reason for the travel ban, he was told that it had been put in place after he returned from a visit to the United States (US) in May, his first trip outside of the country. In addition, last week, a prominent leader in the Apostolic Movement, Pastor Alain Toledano, was visited by state security agents and Communist Party officials at his home in Santiago de Cuba, who showed him an ‘acta de advertencia’, or a pre-arrest warrant, which he is concerned may also be used to block him from traveling abroad.

 

 

WORLD

 

Netanyahu Warns Iran over Syria Involvement after Golan Exchange (JP) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Sunday that Israel “views gravely” its attempts to set up a military presence in Syria and to arm Hezbollah with advanced weaponry via Syria and Lebanon. His comments at the weekly cabinet meeting came a day after the IDF responded to mortar fire from Syria by attacking Syrian army targets across the border. “Our policy is clear,” he said. “We will not accept any kind of 'drizzle, not of mortars, rockets, or spillover fire [from the Syrian Civil War]. We respond with force to every attack on our territory and against our citizens.”

 

Massive Iranian Funding for Anti-Israel Terror Groups Revealed (JP) Iran’s massive funding of terrorist groups that endanger Israel was exposed in shocking detail by IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj.- Gen. Hertzi Halevi on Wednesday. Speaking at the IDC Herzliya Conference, Halevi revealed that Iran is funding Hezbollah to the tune of $75 million a year, while paying $50m. of Hamas’s budget and approximately $70m. to Islamic Jihad.

 

Politico: Iran Hawks Push Trump on Regime Change (NewsMax) There is a growing group of influential Iran hawks who will lobby President Donald Trump to push for a regime change in Tehran, a divergence from the Obama administration policy, according to Politico. "The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran – I don't see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told Politico. As President Trump's administration formulates its policy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, working with groups opposing Iran for "peaceful transition of that government" is possible. The suggestion brought a tweetstorm from the foreign minister of Iran, concluding "US officials should worry more about saving their own regime than changing Iran's."

 

ISIS Setting Up Support Networks to Move Terrorists to Europe, Asia (Free Beacon) The Islamic State is setting up networks to support the systematic movement of terrorists from the Middle East to Europe and Asia, according to U.S. defense officials. "ISIS has several facilitators in place that assist the flow of fighters to Europe," said one official who noted the group is exploiting travel networks used for large-scale human trafficking in the region. The networks include an organizational structure that has been discovered by U.S. and allied intelligence agencies to be using specific groups to help terrorists reach European soil. ISIS has assigned support personnel to the networks to facilitate the process. No specific numbers were provided by the officials on ISIS fighters moving from strongholds in Syria and Iraq to Europe and Asia.

 

US urges China to Pressure North Korea to Rein in Weapons Programs (DW) A day after the US president said China's efforts on North Korea had failed, his secretary of state has asked for Beijing's help. The situation has been complicated by the death of a US student imprisoned by Pyongyang. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged China to help pressure North Korea to rein in its weapons programs. "[China has a] diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region," he said in Washington. Tillerson said North Korea was the "top security threat" to the US. Tillerson made the comments at a press conference after high-level talks with Chinese officials at the State Department.

 

IBM, Cisco Share Security Secrets with Russia (NewsMax) Western technology companies, including Cisco, IBM and SAP, are acceding to demands by Moscow for access to closely guarded product security secrets, at a time when Russia has been accused of a growing number of cyber-attacks on the West, a Reuters investigation has found. Russian authorities are asking Western tech companies to allow them to review source code for security products such as firewalls, anti-virus applications and software containing encryption before permitting the products to be imported and sold in the country. The requests, which have increased since 2014, are ostensibly done to ensure foreign spy agencies have not hidden any "backdoors" that would allow them to burrow into Russian systems. But those inspections also provide the Russians an opportunity to find vulnerabilities in the products' source code - instructions that control the basic operations of computer equipment - current and former U.S. officials and security experts said.

 

'Russia Wants Closer Cooperation with Israel in Syria' (JP) Russia wants to increase cooperation with Israel regarding Syria, and would like Jerusalem to use any influence it has to get opposition groups there to lay down arms and enter negotiations, Konstantin Kosachev, a senior Russian parliamentarian, told The Jerusalem Post. Kosachev, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, was in the country on Tuesday and Wednesday with Viktor Ozerov, the chairman of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee, for meetings with the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In a late-night interview Tuesday in his Jerusalem hotel, Kosachev said that Russia’s intervention and actions in Syria serve the interests of other countries in the region, including Israel.

 

 

NATIONAL

 

Senate Turns Its Attention to New Election 2016 Scandal (Charisma) The Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Subcommittee on Crime & Terrorism are now investigating a new figure for attempting to influence events surrounding the 2016 presidential election. Rather than looking at a Russian, or a member of the Trump 2016 campaign, however, they're looking at a member of the Obama administration. Namely, former Secretary of State Loretta Lynch. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, announced the investigation Friday afternoon: "Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse sought information about alleged political interference by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the FBI's investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. The bipartisan inquiry comes as the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey as FBI Director."

 

Scalise Leaves Intensive Care Unit (Fox) Rep. Steve Scalise, who was shot and critically injured during a GOP baseball practice last week, was transferred out of the intensive care unit at MedStar Washington Hospital on Friday. He remains hospitalized.

 

Leftist Who Threatened GOP Congressman Gets a Taste of Justice (Free Beacon) An Ohio man has been charged with threatening to “assault, kidnap, or murder a United States official” after authorities said he left a voicemail threatening the life and family of Rep. Steve Stivers (R., Ohio). E. Stanley Hoff, 68, faces a 10-year prison sentence after his arrest for the chilling message left with Stivers’ office in Hilliard, Ohio, which referenced the shooting last week of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) and four others at a Republican baseball practice, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

 

74,531,002 Enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP (CNS) There were 74,531,002 people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program as of April, according to the latest data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That is up 16,705,235 in the 49 states that reported their Medicaid/CHIP enrollment numbers for both the July-to-September period of 2013 (the last quarter before the Obamacare exchanges opened) and this April. The 74,531,002 enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP as of April includes the numbers for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In the 49 states that reported both before the Obamacare exchanges opened in 2013 and in April 2017, enrollment in Medicaid/CHIP climbed from 56,803,091 to 73,508,326.

 

Nebraska Mother Facing Potential Charges for Calling Police to Help Free Toddler Locked in Car (Christian Headlines) A Nebraska mother is facing potential charges for child neglect after calling the police to help free her daughter who was accidentally locked inside a car. In a column for The Federalist, Mary Katharine Ham writes that the toddler in question had been visiting the pool with her aunt. When the woman exited the vehicle at the child’s home and opened the rear door to retrieve her niece, a gust of wind blew the door shut, trapping a toddler and the car keys inside. The child’s mother and aunt first used tools on hand to try to unlock the door, then called a roadside assistance service, who said that it would take 30 minutes for the company to arrive. Out of options, the mother called the police. Police broke the window to free the toddler, and ticketed the mother on suspicion of child neglect.

 

Trump Signs VA Reform Bill, Following Through on Campaign Promise (Fox) President Trump on Friday signed Veterans Affairs reform legislation meant to protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire problematic employees at the department. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly. “Veterans have fulfilled their duty to this nation and now, we must fulfill our duty to them,” Trump said. “So to every veteran who is here with us today, I just want to say two very simple words, thank you.” Under the new law, protections for whistleblowers will be expanded and the VA will be prevented from dismissing an employee who has an open complaint against the department.

 

 

TRUMP NEWS

 

Left-Wing Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Heaps Praise on Trump (TheBlaze) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised President Donald Trump on Thursday, telling an audience Trump listens to opposing views and carefully examines “the ensemble of facts” before making decisions. At an event in Toronto organized by the New York Times and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Trudeau suggested Trump listens to opposing views, a claim that caused many in the left-wing crowd to start laughing. “No, I can understand the laughter but there’s a lot of politicians who have a deep, vested interest in being right all the time and therefore close themselves off sometimes to facts or evidence or differing opinions,” Trudeau said, according to Fox News. “What I’ve found from this president is he will listen to arguments made,” Trudeau continued. “He will look at the ensemble of facts and proposals of impacts you put together, and he will be open to shifting his position.” Trudeau also said Trump has kept the promises he’s made. “I have always found that whenever he has made an engagement to me or a commitment to me on the phone or in person, he followed through on that, and that is someone you can work with,” Trudeau said, according to the New York Times.

 

Trump Hits Dems in Tweet Over GOP Healthcare Bill (NewsMax) President Donald Trump early Saturday criticized Democrats who have come out against the Senate plan to address the nation's healthcare system, tweeting, "Democrats slam GOP healthcare proposal as Obamacare premiums & deductibles increase by over 100%. Remember keep your doctor, keep your plan?"

 

 

CULTURAL WARFARE

 

Trump Administration Rejects UN Human Rights Council’s ‘Safe Abortion’ Text (CNS) What a difference a year makes. Last summer, the Obama administration not only supported a text at the U.N. Human Rights Council that included a call for access to “safe abortion where such services are permitted by national law” but also co-sponsored it, despite not then being a member of the Geneva-based body. On Thursday, when this year’s version of the resolution came around for a vote again, the Trump administration rejected the abortion reference, reminding the HRC that key international documents drawn up in the 1990s did not create a “right” to abortion.

 

Planned Parenthood Wants to Set Up Shop in Pennsylvania High School (CBN) Planned Parenthood is trying to expand its borders by establishing a clinic in a Pennsylvania high school. The pro-abortion group AccessMatters will lobby the Reading, Pennsylvania School Board Wednesday evening to set up a taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood center in Reading High School. While the clinic would not perform abortions within the actual walls of the high school, it would refer pregnant girls to abortion clinics nearby. The clinic would also pass out contraceptives and provide confidential counseling to students.

 

 

OVER THE EDGE

 

Pelosi Claims Republicans Attacking Her Are Really Attacking San Francisco (CNS) “It’s not about me necessarily. They like to target my district, the city of St. Francis,” replied Pelosi. “The song of St. Francis is the anthem of our city. ‘Make me an instrument of their, thy peace where there’s darkness may I bring light, hatred, love, fear, hope.’ You know the song of St. Francis I’m sure. It’s a classic, beyond religion, but just in terms of the value statement.” Pelosi suggested that Republicans do not like the city’s progressive values.

 

Compiled and Edited by Pontolillo News Service for Bethel Fellowship Ministries International and Box 2 Radio Network

 

 

Sivan 29, 5777 • A Service of Box 2 Radio Network • 06/23/17

 

 

TOP OF THE NEWS

 

Appeals Court Upholds MS Religious Freedom Law (1NewsNow) A federal appeals court says Mississippi can start enforcing a law that protects merchants and government employees from being forced to participate in activities that run contrary to their religious beliefs about sexuality. The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act protects citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions from government reprisal for operating publicly according to their belief that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman, that sexual activity is intended only for married couples, and that one’s biological sex cannot change. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law in April 2016 but a federal district court granted a request to block it. In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that those who tried to stop enforcement of the law failed to prove they have been or will be harmed by it. Lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom were part of the legal team supporting Gov. Bryant and the law. In a press release, ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot stated the Mississippi law didn't harm anyone. "The sole purpose of this law is to ensure that Mississippians don’t live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union," the ADF attorney said. "Those who filed suit have not and will not be harmed but want to restrict freedom and impose their beliefs on others by ensuring dissenters are left open to the government discrimination that has already occurred in states without protective laws like this one.”

 

 

CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

 

Religious, Ethnic Minorities Face Persecution in Kurdistan (CH) About 2 million people have fled to Kurdistan, in Northern Iraq, in recent years, escaping conflict, terrorism, and persecution in Syria and Iraq. Along with the Kurdish majority, minorities of Assyrian Christians, Yazidi, Sunni Arabs, Sunni and Shi’a Turks, and other ethnic and religious groups all now occupy the region. Those minorities found a haven with “comparatively robust” religious freedom, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). But only comparatively. Last week, USCIRF issued a report warning religious and ethnic minorities in Kurdistan need greater protection, especially if the recently announced independence referendum, scheduled for Sept. 25, succeeds. In spite of the region’s diversity, discrimination and violence against ethnic and religious minorities persists. They report systemic bias and often live as second-class citizens who endure arbitrary legal decisions. USCIRF also found Yazidis pressured to identify as Kurds, persecution of people who criticize Kurdish authorities, and Kurds seizing land from Christians.

 

 

WORLD

 

North Korea Conducts Another Rocket Engine Test (Fox) North Korea conducted another rocket engine test Wednesday which could potentially be used on a future intercontinental ballistic missile or ICBM, two US officials tell Fox News. It’s the first rocket engine test since the rogue communist regime conducted three in March.

 

Russian Defense Minister's Plane Buzzed by NATO Jet (NewsMax) A plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was buzzed by a NATO F-16 fighter jet on Wednesday while flying over the Baltic Sea, Russian media reported. Video footage of the incident, filmed by a passenger in Shoigu’s plane, shows the F-16 flying in close proximity to the defense minister’s plane. The video was broadcast on a TV channel run by the Russian Ministry of Defense. In the video, a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet can be seen flying out of formation and approaching the F-16, which then maneuvers away from the Russian aircraft and the Su-27 returns to formation. Shoigu was in route to the city of Kaliningrad when the incident occurred.

 

IAF Chief: Israel has 4-5 Times the Power than in 2006 to Strike Hezbollah (JP) The Israel Air Force would “act with full force from the beginning” in any potential next war with Lebanon, IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said Wednesday in a firm warning to Hezbollah. “What we could do in 34 days during the Second Lebanon War, we can now do in 48 hours. The growth of our strength has not been linear,” he told the Herzliya Conference at the Interdisciplinary Center on Wednesday. The IAF has not only improved in the speed with which it can attack, but also the volume said Eshel, noting that the IDF could hit Hezbollah “with four to five times” the bombing power it used during the 2006 war. In addition, Eshel warned civilians in southern Lebanon to leave their homes if war with Israel breaks out, saying, “one in every four or five homes has weapons hidden in it,” leaving the air force no choice but to strike.

 

US Airstrike Kills Yemen Al Qaeda Honcho (Fox) A US airstrike has killed Abu Khattab al Awlaqi, senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, US Central Command announced.

 

ISIS Urges Attacks on Ramadan's Night of Power, Islam's Holiest Day (Fox) Law enforcement officials around the world are on high alert this week as ISIS calls for a surge of civilian attacks during Islam’s “Night of Power,” the holiest day on the Islamic calendar, which this year begins Wednesday evening. Known in Arabic as “Laylat al-Qadr,” it marks the night during the holy month of Ramadan that Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of the Quran.

 

Kushner Meets with Abbas in Bid to Renew Peace Process (JP) “President Trump is committed to working to reach a serious peace deal," Jared Kushner said, according to Wafa, the official Palestinian Authority news site. US President Donald Trump's top advisor and son-in-law, along with Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, met on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the president's residence in Ramallah. bil Abu Rudeinah, Abbas's spokesperson, said that all issues were discussed in-depth including final status issues such as refugees and prisoners and that Abbas affirmed during the meeting his support for a two-state solution with the establishment of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. "The President renewed his commitment to achieving a just and comprehensive peace based on international legitimacy and the Arab peace initiative," Abu Rudeinah told Wafa. Earlier on Wednesday, Kushner, Greenblatt, and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

 

 

NATIONAL

 

Student Detained in N Korea is Mourned at Hometown Funeral (1NewsNow) Celebrating the life of an American college student who was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after returning home in a coma, a packed crowd of mourners gathered Thursday as Otto Warmbier's loved ones shared stories about his affinity for hugs, thrift-store clothes-shopping and little-known rap music. More mourners lined the street, with some holding signs of support and pressing the tips of their thumbs together to form a "W," as a hearse carried away the casket after the public service at a school in Warmbier's hometown of Wyoming, near Cincinnati. A rabbi officiated at the service, which was closed to news media.

 

Senate GOP Unveils Health Care Overhaul as Obamacare Collapses (CBN) Senate Republican leaders released their new plan Thursday to dismantle Obamacare as insurance companies pull out from more states in the unsustainable health care exchanges. They say their proposal would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance, and erase tax increases that former President Barack Obama imposed. Also, unlike the House version of the legislation, the Senate plan would do away with waivers allowing states to let insurers hike premiums on some people with pre-existing conditions. Moreover, it would provide tax credits based on income, making more funds available to lower-income recipients. Tax credits under the House-approved bill were tied to people's ages, something the Congressional Budget Office said would drive up out-of-pocket costs for many lower earners. With the Capitol Hill battle over health care ratcheting up, President Donald Trump called Democrats "obstructionists" at an Iowa rally Wednesday. "If we went and got the single greatest health care plan in the history of the world we would not get one Democrat vote because they're obstructionists. They're obstructionists," he charged. Meanwhile, some Republicans have expressed concerns over whether the bill went far enough in dismantling Obama's signature health care law. "I'm still hoping we reach impasse and we go back to the idea we started with, which is repeal Obamacare," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said. "I'm open to keeping some of Obamacare. I'm not open to Obamacare lite." Senate GOP leaders are hoping to push the measure through the chamber next week.

 

Senate Health Care Bill: 4 Key Republicans Come Out Against GOP Plan (Fox) Key Republican senators came out against the Senate Republican health care plan on Thursday, and their opposition is enough to defeat the package before a vote. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said they would not vote on the Senate Republican plan in its current form.

 

FBI: No 'Wider Plot' Suspected in Michigan Airport Stabbing (1NewsNow) A Canadian man from Tunisia shouted in Arabic before stabbing a police officer in the neck at a Michigan airport, and made reference to people being killed overseas during the attack that's now being investigated as an act of terrorism, federal and court officials said. Amor Ftouhi, 49, of Montreal, was immediately taken into custody. A criminal complaint charging him with committing violence at an airport says Ftouhi asked an officer who subdued him why the officer didn't kill him. The attack Wednesday at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, is being investigated as an act of terrorism, but authorities have no indication at this time that the suspect was involved in a "wider plot," said FBI Special Agent in Charge David Gelios. "At this time we view him as a lone-wolf attacker," Gelios said. "We have no information to suggest any training." The criminal complaint says Ftouhi stabbed airport police Lt. Jeff Neville with a large knife after yelling "Allahu akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is great." According to the FBI, Ftouhi said something similar to "you have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die." More charges against Ftouhi could be filed as prosecutors take the case to a grand jury seeking an indictment, Gelios said. The Flint Journal, citing court officials, said that Ftouhi is a dual citizen of Canada and Tunisia.

 

State Dept. Investigating Clinton, Could Yank Clearance (NewsMax) The State Department is investigating whether Hillary Clinton and her aides mishandled classified material while she was secretary of state, Fox News reported. Clinton could lose her security clearances, which she and her aides still have despite being long gone from the department, Fox reported. The department is formally investigating whether Clinton and her team violated protocols for handling classified information by using a private email server, Fox reported.

 

$95,069,000,000: State and Local Income Taxes Hit Q1 Record (CNS) Americans paid a first-quarter record of $95,069,000,000 in individual income taxes to state and local governments in 2017, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau. That was up $4,190,850,000—or about 4.6 percent-- from the $90,878,150,000 in state and local individual income taxes (in constant 2017 dollars) that Americans paid in the first quarter of 2016. Prior to this year, 2016 held the record for first quarter state and local income tax collections. However, real first quarter state and local income tax collections declined from 2013 to 2014.

 

DNC’s May Fundraising at its Lowest Since 2003 (CNS) A report filed by The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on June 20 revealed that the DNC has had its worst fundraising for the month of May since 2003, some 14 years ago. Records from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show that the DNC raised $4.29 million in May 2017; in May 2016, the DNC raised $12.3 million. Back in May 2003, the DNC raised $2.03 million.

 

 

TRUMP NEWS

 

Trump Announces Hopes for 'Solar Wall' Along US Southern Border (Fox) It was the first time that the President Trump mentioned his plan for a ‘solar wall” publicly. Earlier this month, two congressional Republicans told The Wall Street Journal about the plan after a private meeting with Trump. “Think of it,” Trump told the audience Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “The higher it goes, the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination, right?” The president joked, “This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good. A solar wall. Makes sense.” In March, two experts wrote an opinion article in The Journal about the potential benefits of a solar wall. Vasilis Fthenakis, director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, the director of the Solar institute at George Washington University, wrote that a “massive string of photovoltaic panels could be placed on the Mexican side of the wall. They said a solar wall may be more practical than a traditional wall. We estimate that building a roughly 2,000-mile-long single-row solar wall would cost less than $1 billion, plus site preparation costs such as fencing and road construction,” they wrote.

 

Trump Takes a Dig at Wind Farms: ‘As the Birds Fall to the Ground’ (CNS) President Trump said Wednesday he was supportive of a range of energy sources, from coal to solar to nuclear, but took a dig at wind power. “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories,” he told enthusiastic supporters at a rally in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As the applause died away, he added, “As the birds fall to the ground.” After hailing steps to end “the war on clean, beautiful coal” and announcing that 33,000 mining jobs had been added since he took office, Trump said, “We’re going to have all forms of energy.”

 

Trump: I Did Not Tape Conversations (Fox) President Trump tweeted on Thursday "I did not make, and do not have" any recordings of conversations with ex-FBI Director James Comey.

 

 

CULTURAL WARFARE

 

Woman Sexually Violated in Target Bathroom (CBN) Target's gender-neutral bathroom policy has backfired once again. A woman identified only as Leslie, claims she was sexually violated by a man in the women's bathroom at a Target store in Woodlands, Texas. She says a man came into the restroom, and began videoing her as she tried on different bathing suits. "In the mirror I saw the reflection of the cell phone," she said. She added that the man had a child in a stroller with him. "I was just thinking I have to do something and I have to stop it," said Leslie. But Leslie said she felt helpless. "That man is tall, and I wasn't able to do anything," she recounted. What's worse is that store employees failed to help, even after Leslie screamed. After the incident, Target released a statement. It says, "We want all of our guests to have a safe and welcoming experience whenever they shop at our stores. We will not tolerate this behavior and we are working closely with law enforcement by offering whatever support is needed. Since this is an active investigation, we ask that you direct all further questions to law enforcement."

 

You Could Be Jailed or Fined for Using Wrong Gender Pronouns – (Charisma) Canada passed a law Thursday making it illegal to use the wrong gender pronouns. Critics say Canadians who do not subscribe to progressive gender theory could be accused of hate crimes, jailed, fined and made to take anti-bias training. Canada's Senate passed Bill C-16, which puts "gender identity" and "gender expression" into both the country's Human Rights Code and the hate crime category of its Criminal Code by a vote of 67-11, according to LifeSiteNews. The bill now only needs royal assent from the governor general.

 

 

OVER THE EDGE

 

Oregon: Roadkill can be Harvested for Food (ABC) Some folks in Oregon might not want to ask, when served an elk burger or a venison steak, where the meat came from. Under a roadkill bill passed overwhelmingly by the Oregon Legislature and signed by the governor, motorists who crash into the animals can now harvest the meat to eat.

 

Compiled and Edited by Pontolillo News Service for Bethel Fellowship Ministries International and Box 2 Radio Network

 

 

Sivan 28, 5777 • A Service of Box 2 Radio Network • 06/22/17

 

UPDATE

 

Trump in Iowa: President Calls for Barring Immigrants from Welfare for Five Years (Fox) President Trump announced Wednesday night that he will soon ask Congress to pass legislation banning immigrants from accessing public assistance within five years of entering the U.S. “The time has come for new immigration rules that say ... those seeking immigration into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years," Trump told a campaign-style rally in Grand Rapids, Iowa. Trump's proposal would build on the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which allows federal authorities to deport immigrants who become public dependents within five years of their arrival. Many of that law’s provisions were rolled back during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, but Trump's proposal would make more categories of federal benefits off-limits to immigrants. Currently, states typically have the authority to determine eligibility for local public assistance programs.

 

 

TOP OF THE NEWS

 

Poland Shuts Border to Islamic Migrants to Keep Potential Terrorists Out (CNS) Despite the threat of sanctions from the European Union (EU), the Polish government has decided to not allow any more Muslim migrants into its country to help reduce the risk of radical Islamic terrorism. “We, Poland, are learning from the mistakes of others … and we will not open our doors to Islamic migrants,” said Ryszard Czarnecki, the Polish European Parliament deputy, in early June after the terrorist attack in Manchester, England on May 22.   Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have refused to take in their designated share of some 160,000 migrants, who apparently are overloading Italy and Greece. The EU could take the three states to the European Court of Justice, which could impose heavy financial fines on them. “Other countries have led to a situation in which those trained on Islamic State territory in Syria, Iraq – young people with French, Belgian, Dutch, British, German citizenship – return to Europe … and somehow [the authorities] were incapable of monitoring them,” Czarnecki said after the attack in Manchester, according to Radio Poland. The Manchester attack at an Ariana Grande concert killed 23 adults and children and injured 119 people. “We, Poland, are learning from the mistakes of others … and we will not open our doors to Islamic migrants,” said Czarnecki. According to Breitbart, Czarnecki also stated: “When it comes to reducing the chances of Poland being hit by [Islamist] terror attacks, the only proven method is to not allow in Muslim migrants. “With regards to Britain, we have already told them on several occasions they need to deport, not tolerate, radical migrants. “If a radical Muslim cleric in a mosque calls on his brothers in the faith … to fight the infidels, well, I think that there are grounds to expel such an imam.”

 

Flint Airport Attack: Michigan Officer Stabbed in 'Act of Terrorism,' FBI says (Fox) The stabbing of a police officer at a Michigan airport on Wednesday by a Canadian citizen is being investigated by the FBI as an act of terrorism, officials said. Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, was evacuated after Officer Jeff Neville was stabbed in the neck. He's currently listed as being in stable condition, according to Michigan State Police. Authorities say 50-year-old Canadian Amor Ftouhi yelled "Allah Akbar" as he stabbed a police officer. This is believed to be an isolated incident, authorities also said. A White House official confirmed to Fox News that President Trump has been briefed on the stabbing. Law enforcement agencies in Canada are in touch with their U.S. counterparts and are and assisting in every way possible, Canadian Embassy spokesperson Christine Constantin told Fox News. Constantin said Canada condemns this "heinous and cowardly act," and that "our thoughts and sympathies are with the officer and his loved ones."

 

 

CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

 

Pastor Jailed in Burma Falls ill (Morning Star News) – One of two assistant pastors arrested by the Burma army last Christmas Eve is suffering deteriorating health from malnutrition, sources said. Pastor Dom Dawng Nawng Latt, 65, has become weak, lacks energy and suffers from asthma and diarrhea, according to his wife and a lawyer for Nawng Latt and fellow pastor La Jaw Gam Hseng, 35, who is on trial with him. “He lacks nutrition,” attorney U Brang Di told Morning Star News. “As he is old, it makes it worse. He seems very weak.” The two assistant pastors were arrested in Burma (Myanmar) for helping local journalists cover attacks on a Catholic church building in northern Shan state, in eastern Burma, in November 2016. On Dec. 24 they went to the Byuha Gon military base to negotiate the release of a civilian couple who had complained to army officials about the destruction of their house, but military officials released the couple and detained the clergymen, sources said. Normally suspects can be held for only 28 days without trial under Burmese law, the attorney said. The two pastors finally appeared at a trial hearing in Lashio on May 3.

 

 

WORLD

 

Pro-ISIS Rebels Storm School in Philippines, Students Held Hostage (Fox) About 300 pro-ISIS militants on Wednesday stormed a school in the southern Philippines and are holding students hostage, Reuters reported. Philippine officials say Muslim rebels are engaging troops in a gunbattle in Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato in an attack that may be an attempt to divert the military's focus away from the militants who have laid siege on southern Marawi city. Police Chief Inspector Realan Mamon tells The Associated Press by telephone that gunmen belonging to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters raided the village of Malagakit in North Cotabato province at dawn Wednesday and engaged government forces in a firefight. Villagers have fled to safety.

 

Iranian Missile Barrage against ISIS Misses the Mark (WT) Tehran’s much-heralded ballistic missile strike against Islamic State targets in Syria came up short, with most of the Iranian missiles either missing their marks inside the terror group’s haven in Deir-e-Zour, or missing Syria altogether and landing inside Iraqi territory. Of the seven Zulfiqar-class midrange ballistic missiles fired at safe havens and redoubts belonging to the terror group known as ISIS or ISIL in Deir-e-Zour, only two hit their intended targets, Haaretz reported. Two of the rockets landed inside Syria, miles from their intended targets, while the remaining three landed in Iraq, according to the report citing Israeli military sources.

 

Iran gets North Korean Expertise in Building Up, Testing and Hiding its Ballistic Missiles (WT) Iran has increased production and testing of ballistic missiles since the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. while playing permanent host to scientists from North Korea, which has the know-how to build and launch atomic weapons, a leading Iranian opposition group said Tuesday. The National Council of Resistance of Iran issued a white paper that the dissidents say identifies and documents work at 42 missile centers operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the regime’s dominant security force. A dozen sites had never been disclosed before, said the council, which operates a spy network that has exposed Iran’s hidden nuclear program.

 

Saudi Arabia Names New Crown Prince (Fox) Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Wednesday appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, placing him first-in-line to the throne and removing the country's counterterrorism czar and a figure well-known to Washington from the line of succession. In a series of royal decrees carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the monarch stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from his title as crown prince and from his powerful position as the country's interior minister overseeing security. The all-but-certain takeover of the throne by Mohammed bin Salman awards near absolute powers to a prince who has ruled out dialogue with rival Iran, has moved to isolate neighboring Qatar for its support of Islamist groups and who has led a devastating war in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians.

 

Jared Kushner Arrives in Israel (JP) US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior Middle East advisor, Jared Kushner, visited the mourning family of slain Border Police officer St.-Sgt-Maj. Hadas Malka, shortly after arriving to Israel on Wednesday in a bid to restart peace talks. Malka, 23, was killed Friday evening while guarding the Old City’s Damascus Gate in a terrorist attack carried out by three Palestinian assailants armed with knives and an improvised automatic weapon after illegally entering Jerusalem from the West Bank.

 

Ukraine President Compares President Trump to Ronald Reagan (CNS) Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko declared Tuesday “a very special day” for Ukraine-U.S. relations, and he expressed the belief that President Trump will bring peace to the Ukraine, in the same way President Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War – without firing a single shot. “It was my first meeting with the American president, and I see the real leader,” Poroshenko told Fox News’s Brett Baier Tuesday evening, hours after Porochenko met with President Trump at the White House. “If you’re talking one word, the meeting was great,” he said. “We really enjoy the very strong message (of) support for our territorial integrity, our sovereignty, and our independence and our fight for freedom and democracy. “We really enjoy the full-size support President Trump and Vice President Pence demonstrate to Ukraine, to my 45-million (person) nation,” Porochenko said.

 

 

NATIONAL

 

Scalise Condition Upgraded to Fair (1NewsNow) Medical officials say House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has been upgraded to fair condition as he continues his recovery from a gunshot wound last week. House Speaker Paul Ryan says the congressman grievously injured in last week's shooting at a Republican baseball practice is "on the road to recovery" but it will take some time.

 

FBI: Scalise Shooter Acted Alone (CBN) The FBI has released new details into its investigation of the gunman who nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and hurt four others at a Republican congressional baseball practice. The FBI says 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, acted alone, though investigators say they're still unsure of his exact motive. Tim Slater, the special agent in charge of the Washington FBI office, says Hodgkinson was a troubled man known to have an anger management problem.

 

Jeh Johnson Testifies: Russians Did Not Alter Ballot Counts (CNS) Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Wednesday that the Russian government did not alter ballots, ballots counts, or the reporting of votes in last November's U.S. presidential election. In his written testimony Johnson said, “To my current knowledge, the Russian government did not through any cyber intrusion alter ballots, ballot counts or reporting of election results. I am not in a position to know whether the successful Russian government-directed hacks of the DNC and elsewhere did in fact alter public opinion and thereby alter the outcome of the presidential election."

 

Coroner Still Probing Death of US Student Held by N. Korea (1NewsNow) A cause of death hasn’t been determined for a 22-year-old college student who was detained for nearly a year and a half in North Korea before being sent home in a coma, an Ohio coroner’s office said Tuesday. Hamilton County ’s Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco’s office released a statement saying Otto Warmbier’s family objected to an autopsy so only an external exam of his body was done. It said his medical records from an air ambulance service that brought him to Ohio and from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was hospitalized until his death Monday, have been reviewed, and the treating physicians have been interviewed extensively. “No conclusions about the cause and manner of Mr. Warmbier’s death have been drawn at this time as there are additional medical records and imaging to review and people to interview,” the coroner’s office statement said, expressing “deepest sympathies” for his family and friends.

 

McConnell: ‘Discussion Draft’ of Senate Health Care Bill Coming Thursday Morning (CNS) “We're going to make every effort to pass a bill that dramatically changes the current health care law,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told a news conference on Tuesday. A He said the Senate bill, taking shape behind closed doors, will be a “profound improvement” over Obamacare, which is “simply unsustainable.” “We think we can do better than that. And we fully intend to.” McConnell said after weeks of private discussions, he expects to “lay out a discussion draft” Thursday morning,” and he’ll produce the actual bill once the CBO scores it – “likely next week.”

 

Susan Rice Records 'Off Limits' for Five Years (1NewsNow) A watchdog organization is weighing its legal options after being denied access to material regarding "unmasking" by Barack Obama's national security advisor, Susan Rice. Judicial Watch announced on Monday that the National Security Council (NSC) has denied its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to Rice's unmasking of members of the Trump presidential campaign or transition team. Those documents have been removed to the Obama Presidential Library, where – in accordance with the Presidential Records Act – they will remain closed to the public for five years. Chris Farrell, director of research and investigation at Judicial Watch, says there's going to be further litigation.

 

GOP Wins Georgia Seat: More Proof the Anti-Trump Message Is Losing (CBN) Georgia's sixth district is still in Republican hands this morning after GOP candidate Karen Handel soundly defeated Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff. "Tonight's victory is for you and for every single citizen in the 6th district, it's for every single person with a dream...And a special thanks to the President of the United States of America," Handel said to supporters. The battle to win the seat left vacant by Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, smashed House race spending records. Democrats, including many from outside Georgia, along with Republicans, poured more than $50 million into the campaign. Attack ads flooded the airwaves of the Atlanta suburbs. Democrats have been trying to win a special election since their loss in the race for the White House, hoping to show that the public is turning against the Trump administration. So far they've failed in every attempt. They also lost a less publicized race in South Carolina, Tuesday, as Republican Ralph Norman beat Democrat Archie Parnel. That seat was formerly held by Republican Mick Mulvaney, who is now Trump's director of the Office of Management and Budget.

 

 

TRUMP NEWS

 

Trump Tweets Some Advice for Democrats: ‘Obstruction Doesn’t Work!’ (CNS) President Donald Trump had some advice for Democrats Wednesday, after they lost the special congressional election in Georgia and South Carolina on Tuesday: "Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on Healthcare, Tax Cuts, Security. Obstruction doesn't work!" the president tweeted around 6:30 a.m.

 

 

CULTURAL WARFARE

 

Canadian District Bans Christian School from Teaching 'Offensive' Parts of Bible (CBN) Cornerstone Christian Academy in Alberta, Canada is being told to stop teaching scriptures that may be considered "offensive." Battle River School Division (BRSD) chair, Lauri Skori, told Cornerstone's chair, Deanna Margel, that "any scripture that could be considered offensive to particular individuals should not be read or studied in school." Skori said it would be inappropriate for the school to share "any teachings that denigrate or vilify someone's sexual orientation." Cornerstone, a K-12 school, accepts funding from the Canadian government. It's listed as an "alternate school." They're under an agreement with the BRSD that protects their right to teach their basic tenets. But Skori has been putting pressure on Cornerstone to hide their Christian values for quite some time. Earlier this year, she made Cornerstone remove a passage from 1 Corinthians from their website. The passage read "Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." She even told Cornerstone remove a scripture about immortality written on a wall in the school. Cornerstone has sought legal counsel with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom (JCCF).

 

Teachers Union in Scotland Demands Mandatory LGBT Education for Children - (Charisma) Scotland's largest teaching union has voted for children across the country to be taught about same-sex families and LGBT history. At its annual general meeting in Perth, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) resolved to "affiliate to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign." TIE calls for compulsory teaching on a range of controversial topics including homosexuality and transsexualism. The demands of the TIE campaign include compulsory teaching on: – Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – Same-sex relationships – The Equal Rights Movement, Stonewall and the Gay Liberation Movement – Sexualities and sexual orientation – Transsexualism and gender identity – Pro-LGBT sexual health education. A majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament have signaled support for TIE and, earlier this year, the Scottish Government established a working group to discuss the aims of the campaign and hear recommendations from groups including Stonewall.

 

Mark 'X' for Transgender (CBN) Washington, D.C. will soon offer gender-neutral licenses and IDs. Instead of only offering an 'M' for male and 'F' for female on licenses, there will be an 'X' option for those who identify as transgender. "The 'X' gender marker allows for individuals to have more privacy around their gender," explained Arli Christian, a spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality. "Any individual who chooses to have additional privacy can request an 'X'," she added. Washington, D.C. is the second jurisdiction in the country to approve such a measure. A plan for gender-neutral licenses will be approved in Oregon on July 3.

  

 

OVER THE EDGE

 

In Wurst Case, German Sausage Seller Prepared to Go to Jail (ABC) A German snack bar owner is preparing for the worst — or is it wurst — in a spat with authorities over the sale of sausages at a highway rest stop. Christina Wagner has been battling to sell bratwursts by the Autobahn near the town of Rodaborn for years. Authorities refused to give Wagner a permit to operate at the site, so she passes sausages to her customers through a fence from an adjacent lot. The case has made her a local celebrity and thousands of people have signed a petition in her support.

 

Compiled and Edited by Pontolillo News Service for Bethel Fellowship Ministries International and Box 2 Radio Network

 

 

Sivan 27, 5777 • A Service of Box 2 Radio Network • 06/21/17

 

 

UPDATE

 

Republican Handel Wins Georgia Special House Election (Fox) Republican Karen Handel was projected to win Tuesday's closely watched U.S. House special election in Georgia, defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff in the most expensive congressional race ever. The Associated Press called the election for Handel with 81 percent of the precincts reporting and the Republican holding a 11,000-vote lead over Ossoff.

 

 

TOP OF THE NEWS

 

President Trump: China's Help with N Korea 'Has Not Worked Out' (NewsMax) "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" President Trump wrote in a tweet. It was unclear whether his remark represented a significant shift in his thinking in the U.S. struggle to stop North Korea's nuclear program and its test launching of missiles or a change in U.S. policy toward China. But it was likely to increase pressure on Beijing ahead of a U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue on Wednesday.

 

Iranian and Chinese Destroyers Hold Joint Drill in Persian Gulf (JP) Iran and China began a joint naval exercise in the Gulf on Sunday, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. The military drill comes at a time of heightened tension between the Iranian and US military in the Gulf and is likely to be a cause of concern for Washington. In recent months, the US navy has accused the Iranian navy of sending fast-attack boats to harass warships as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz. An Iranian destroyer and two Chinese destroyers are among the vessels that will participate in the exercise, which will take place in the eastern portion of the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, according to IRNA. Some 700 Iranian navy personnel will be participating in the drill. Two Chinese warships docked at Iran's Bandar Abbas port to take part in a joint naval exercise in the Gulf for the first time in 2014.

 

US Shoots Down Iranian Drone in Syria (Fox) A U.S. jet shot down an Iranian drone flying in southern Syria near U.S.-backed forces on Tuesday, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News.

 

 

CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

 

Evangelical Groups to John Kelly: Don't Deport Iraqi Christians (Worthy News) - A group of evangelical Christian organizations and others have sent a letter to Homeland Security in protest of the potential deportation of Iraqi Christians from the United States. Evangelical leaders, including Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Samuel Rodriguez, and National Association for Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, signed a Monday letter from the Evangelical Immigration Table to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. "We write urgently and with grave concern that Christians will be removed from the United States to face potential persecution, and even death, in the Middle East," reads the letter. "Recent reports ... indicate that a number of these Chaldean Christians face an immediate threat of deportation back to Iraq, a country where, as a result of their faith, they are likely to face oppression, persecution, and possibly even death at the hands of extremists."

 

 

WORLD

 

U.S. tries to Defuse Tensions with Russia after Shooting Down Syrian Fighter Jet (WT) Amid a sharp escalation of tensions among the various parties drawn into Syria’s civil war, the Pentagon’s top military officer tried to defuse a clash with Russia a day after the U.S. military shot down a Syrian fighter jet attacking coalition forces engaged in the battle to defeat the Islamic State group. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. and Russian military had been in contact after Moscow angrily announced that it was shutting down a hotline designed to avoid unintentional clashes between American and Russian fighters operating in the skies above Syria and would even target U.S. and allied planes if they strayed from their zone. “That link is still ongoing here this morning,” Gen. Dunford said at a National Press Club talk in Washington. He said the administration will “work diplomatically and militarily in the coming hours to re-establish deconfliction” with Russian forces in Syria.

 

Armed Russian Jet comes within 5 Feet of US Recon Jet (Fox) An armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea on Monday, two U.S. officials told Fox News. The Russian Su-27 jet had air-to-air missiles under its wings and approached the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet "rapidly," coming within five feet of the American aircraft, the officials said. Once alongside, the Russian jet was “provocative” in its flight maneuvers and flying “erratically,” according to another official. Since June 2nd there have been over 35 interactions in the Baltic Sea region between U.S. and Russian jets and warships, but the incident Monday morning is notable because the U.S. military considered it “unsafe,” according to one official.

 

Brussels Train Station Evacuated After Explosion (Fox) The central train station in the Belgian capital of Brussels was evacuated Tuesday after an explosion was reported and police shot a suspect wearing an explosive belt who shouted "Allahu Akbar," according to local media reports. A spokeswoman for the city's prosecutor's office, Ine Van Wymersch, told VRT network no one else was injured and the damage was limited. It was not clear if the suspect survived. Nicolas Van Herrewegen, an employee at Brussels Central station, told reporters that the suspect had cried "Allahu Akbar" and detonated something on a luggage cart, Sky News reports. Herreweghen described the suspect as a man in his 30s, who was wearing black jeans and a white shirt which has "Visible wires around his waist." Brussels police said via Twitter that there was "an incident with an individual at the station. The situation is under control."

 

ISIS CHIEF CLERIC DEAD (Fox) U.S.-led coalition forces said they have killed Turki al-Bin’ali, ISIS' chief cleric, in Syria airstrike last month. AL-Bin'ali, who called himself "Grand Mufti" was killed in an airstrike on May 31 in Mayadin, Syria, according to a press release from the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. The cleric's main role was recruiting extremists and causing terrorist attacks across the globe. Al-Bin'ali, who has been the terror group's chief cleric since 2014, supplied propaganda encouraging murder and other atrocious acts. He tried to legitimize the formation of the so-called "caliphate" and was a close confidant of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the jihadi group. The cleric's recruiting efforts for the terrorist organization included many filmed lectures trying to condone and provoke the slaying of innocent people.

 

Netanyahu to Iran: We're Watching Your Every Move (JP) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran following its missile strike in Syria Monday that the Islamic Republic should not be threatening Israel. Speaking to his Likud faction at the Knesset, he said Israel is always watching every step Iran takes in the region. He said this included Iran's attempts to entrench itself in Syria and to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah. "We are following their actions and we are following their words," Netanyahu said. "I have one message to Iran: Don't threaten Israel."

 

 

NATIONAL

 

State Department Probes Clinton Handling of Government Emails (Fox) The State Department has opened a formal inquiry into whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides mishandled classified information while she was the nation’s top diplomat, Fox News has learned. Despite being under investigation, Clinton and her staffers still have security clearances to access sensitive government information. The department’s investigation aims to determine whether Clinton and her closest aides violated government protocols by using her private server to receive, hold and transmit classified and top-secret government documents. The department declined to say when its inquiry began, but it follows the conclusion of the FBI’s probe into the matter, which did not result in any actions being taken against Clinton or any of her aides. Depending on the outcome of the current State Department inquiry, Clinton and her aides could have their access to sensitive government documents terminated. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, confirmed to Fox News the department’s formal inquiry.

 

Illinois Careens into Financial Meltdown (Fox) Illinois is grappling with a full-fledged financial crisis and not even the lottery is safe – with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner warning the state is entering "banana republic" territory. Facing billions in unpaid bills and pension obligations, the state is hitting a cash crunch that is rare even by Illinois standards. A top financial official just warned 100 percent of the state's monthly revenue will be eaten up by court-ordered payments. Rauner is calling a special session of the Democrat-led General Assembly in a bid to pass what he hopes will be the first full budget package in almost three years.

 

New Study Supports Trump: 5.7 Million Noncitizens May Have Cast Illegal Votes (WT) A research group in New Jersey has taken a fresh look at postelection polling data and concluded that the number of noncitizens voting illegally in U.S. elections is likely far greater than previous estimates. As many as 5.7 million noncitizens may have voted in the 2008 election, which put Barack Obama in the White House. The research organization Just Facts, a widely cited, independent think tank led by self-described conservatives and libertarians, revealed its number-crunching in a report on national immigration.

 

US Coroner Investigating Death of Otto Warmbier (1NewsNow) A coroner's office in Ohio is investigating the death of a 22-year-old college student who died less than a week after his return to the U.S. after nearly a year and a half in North Korean detention, a spokesman said Tuesday. The spokesman for Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammaraco said the office "accepted the case" of Otto Warmbier, who died Monday in a Cincinnati hospital. Justin Weber told The Associated Press a press conference is expected later to provide more information. Wambier's parents did not cite a specific cause of death, but cited "awful, torturous mistreatment" by North Korea. Doctors had described Warmbier's condition as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" and said he suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause.

 

Sheriff Clarke Withdraws from Important Job Offer (Free Beacon) Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, a critic of the Black Lives Matter movement and supporter of President Donald Trump, has withdrawn himself from consideration for the role of deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Craig Peterson, an adviser to Clarke, said that Clarke notified Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly of his decision to withdraw his acceptance for the DHS position on Friday. “Sheriff Clarke is 100 percent committed to the success of President Trump and believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the president’s agenda in a more aggressive role,” Peterson told the Washington Post.

 

Georgia Democrat’s Fundraising Sources Raises Red Flags for Conservatives (Daily Caller) Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff raised funds from 8.9 times as many donors in California than donors in Georgia between March 29 and May 31, according to his latest campaign finance reporting. Ossoff, a 30-year old documentary filmmaker, faces Republican Karen Handel in a special election Tuesday to replace former Republican Rep. Tom Price who accepted President Donald Trump’s offer to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He reported 7,218 donations from the state of California and 808 donations from Georgia over the past two months, according to the Mercury News. Ossoff had over 3,000 donors in the San Francisco Bay area alone, nearly four times as many donors as he had in Georgia.

 

 

TRUMP NEWS

 

Huckabee on Trump: Better a 'Gruff' Doctor Than a Dead Patient (NewsMax) President Donald Trump is like a doctor with a bad bedside manner – but that's better than one who's nice "but my family member dies in the hospital bed," Mike Huckabee says. In a defense of the young Trump presidency, the former Arkansas governor offered the analogy in an interview Monday on "Fox & Friends." "He can be crude and he can come across sometimes less than people think," Huckabee said. "But by golly, the patient is alive, and I'd rather have this president who gets things done, than one who comes in and he's nice, and he smiles, but my family member dies in the hospital bed." "America needs to say two words to Donald Trump: 'Thank you,'" he declared. Huckabee specifically praised Trump for "creating a new environment with our foreign friends across the world," for "repudiating regulations," and for "creating a market where the stock market is sky high."

 

 

CULTURAL WARFARE

 

Judge Reluctantly Orders Cross to be Removed from Public Park (WT) A federal judge on Monday reluctantly ordered the removal of the Bayview Cross from a public park in Pensacola, Florida, explaining that U.S. Supreme Court precedent left him little choice. Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson gave the city 30 days to remove the cross, which has stood in various forms in a corner of Bayview Park for about 75 years, even though he said the Founding Fathers “would have most likely found this lawsuit absurd.” “I am aware that there is a lot of support in Pensacola to keep the cross as is, and I understand and respect that point of view,” said the judge, a Reagan appointee, in his 23-page ruling. “But, the law is the law.” He also ordered the city to pay $1 in damages to the four residents represented by the American Humanist Legal Center. “Count me among those who hope the Supreme Court will one day revisit and reconsider its Establishment Clause jurisprudence, but my duty is to enforce the law as it now stands,” said Judge Vinson.

 

California University Hit with Lawsuit for Anti-Semitic Behavior (JP) n NGO, a group of San Francisco State University students, and members of the local Jewish community late on Monday filed a lawsuit in a US federal court in California against San Francisco State University for antisemitism. The case alleges that “SFSU has a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students” which has led to students being afraid to wear “Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus." According to the suit, "SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination… which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus." The plaintiffs are represented by the NGO, The Lawfare Project, and the global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP. Defendants in the case include the Board of Trustees of the California State University System, SFSU President Leslie Wong, and several other University officials and employees.

 

 

COMMENTARY

 

John McCain: Warmbier 'Murdered by the Kim Jong Un Regime' (NewsMax) Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared the Monday death of former North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier – just days after the comatose Ohio student was flown home – a murder by the Kim Jong Un regime. "In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture, and murder," Sen. McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said in a statement. "Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong Un regime." "North Korea is threatening its neighbors, destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region, and rapidly developing the technology to strike the American homeland with nuclear weapons," the statement said. "Now it has escalated to brutalizing Americans, including three other citizens currently imprisoned in North Korea. The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers." Warmbier, who was convicted for stealing a propaganda poster at a hotel in January 2016, returned home June 13 after reportedly being in a coma for a year.

 

 

OVER THE EDGE

 

Massachusetts Mayor Sends Man $1 to Settle Parking Dispute (ABC) A Massachusetts mayor has paid $1 out of his own pocket to settle a dispute with a man who complained after unnecessarily paying for parking. Bill Pharmer paid $1 to park in Northampton last week when he and his wife went out for dinner. He put the money in a payment kiosk at 6:15 p.m., not knowing that the city stops parking enforcement at 6 p.m. The Hershey, Pennsylvania, man complained to the city's Parking Division, which passed the problem onto Mayor David Narkewicz. Narkewicz sent Pharmer a dollar along with a handwritten note of apology.

 

Compiled and Edited by Pontolillo News Service for Bethel Fellowship Ministries International and Box 2 Radio Network

 

 

Sivan 26, 5777 • A Service of Box 2 Radio Network • 06/20/17

 

 

TOP OF THE NEWS

 

OTTO WARMBIER HAS DIED (Fox) Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student who was held in North Korea for 17 months before coming home last Tuesday, has died, according to his family. Warmbier suffered a devastating brain injury while being held prisoner and was in an unresponsive state when he was flown home.

 

Russia Cuts Communications with U.S. in Syria, Threatens to Target Coalition Jets (WT) Russia has shut down a vital communication line with its U.S. counterparts in Syria, threatening to target any aircraft operating above Russian and Syrian regime-controlled territory in the country. Moscow outlined the changes in Syria war policy via a terse statement by officials from the Russian Ministry of Defense released Monday, local news reports state. The moves were taken in response to Sunday’s shoot-down of a Syrian military aircraft by a U.S. fighter.

 

Moscow Accuses Trump of Returning to Cold War-Style Rhetoric on Cuba (CNS) Russia has accused the Trump administration of a return to “Cold War-style” rhetoric in rolling back some of its predecessor’s policies designed to normalize relations with communist-ruled Cuba. “The new course announced by the U.S. president towards Cuba returns us to the already almost forgotten rhetoric of the Cold War style,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday, reacting to President Trump’s executive order signed in Miami two days earlier. The ministry said Moscow stands against a policy of embargoes, sanctions and blockades, and that the U.S. approach over five decades had been shown to be futile.

 

 

CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

 

Young Christian Woman Kidnapped Outside Cairo, Egypt (Morning Star News) – A young Coptic woman in a suburb of Cairo, Egypt remains missing after her disappearance last week from an area where Muslim attacks against Christians have surged, sources said. Suzan Ashraf Rawy, 22, left for work by foot from her home in Al Khosous on the morning of June 5 but never arrived at the Coptic Orthodox church where she is employed, they said. The Virgin and Pope Kyrillos Church is walking distance from her home. The abduction is the third kidnapping in the area of Al Khosous, a predominantly Christian town on the outskirts of Cairo, since the accidental shooting of a Muslim on May 30. Two other young Coptic Christian women disappeared without a trace after the May 30 incident. The families of the other women suspected to have been kidnapped have received no communication from alleged kidnappers, the sources said.

 

 

WORLD

 

Van Attack: PM May Condemns as 'Sickening' (Reuters) A van plowed into worshippers near a London mosque in the early hours of Monday, injuring 10 people, two of them seriously, in what Prime Minister Theresa May said was a sickening, terrorist attack on Muslims. The vehicle swerved into a group of mainly North and West African people shortly after midnight as they left prayers at the Muslim Welfare House and the nearby Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, one of the biggest in Britain. The driver, identified as Darren Osborne, 47, of Cardiff, Wales, has been arrested on suspicion of terror offenses. was grabbed at the scene by locals and pinned down until police arrived. After being seized, he said he had wanted to kill "many Muslim people," one witness told journalists. A man, who had earlier suffered a heart attack, died at the scene but it was not clear if his death was connected to the van attack.

 

New Paris Attack: Champs-Elysees Driver had Explosives and Rifle, was Flagged for Extremism (Fox) A suspect who tried to attack security forces on the Champs-Elysees shopping district in Paris Monday afternoon -- when he rammed his car into a police van -- had a rifle and explosives in his vehicle, French investigators said. The attacker died shortly after the incident, the French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. The attacker, a 31-year-old man from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, was badly burned after his car exploded when he deliberately crashed it into a police van. The police van caught fire, but it was quickly contained, officials said. The bomb squad was called to the scene. Authorities discovered a gas tank and an AK-47 rife in the attacker's car, Fox News confirmed. The man had been flagged by investigators earlier for extremism, French police said.

 

ISIS Leader Reportedly Killed in Airstrike near Raqqa (CH) Reports are circulating that the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in an airstrike in late May. According to CBN News, Russia claims the airstrike which killed al-Baghdadi was carried out while a group of ISIS militants were gathered near Raqqa, Syria, the city the terrorist group has claimed as their caliphate, or capital. ISIS continues to lose territory in the Middle East as U.S. coalition forces have increased their offensive.

 

Report: Israel Giving Aid to Syrian Rebels (JP) Israel has been secretly providing aid to Syrian rebel groups in the Golan Heights for years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday night. According to the Journal, Israel has offered rebel groups medical supplies, food, funding and even hard cash in order to safeguard the country's border from the ever-deepening crisis taking place in Israel's northern neighbor Syria, which is suffering from the consequences of the bloody and grueling civil war raging in the country since 2011. Israel has been providing the group with a monthly stipend estimated at $5,000, the Journal reported, citing the group's commander as its source.

 

Refugees Going Home for Holidays in War Zones (Breitbart) Despite claiming to be persecuted in their home countries, more asylum seekers living in Germany are travelling back to their homelands for “holidays.” The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) claim that there have been even more cases of asylum seekers travelling back to the countries they say they are fleeing. A BAMF spokeswoman said that they have become aware of the cases through working with the federal police Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reports. Though BAMF has said they are aware of more cases, they still refuse to keep any statistics on the subject so no exact figures can be known. The Federal Police, who also do not keep any statistics, say that the problem is “not isolated” indicating the phenomenon may be pervasive. BAMF also noted that there are currently no laws in Germany which prevent migrants from travelling back to their home countries once they have achieved asylum status.

 

All Eyes on Venezuelan Military as Country Teeters (AP) President Nicolas Maduro has greatly expanded the military's authority and is leaning on the armed forces as his own grip on power weakens. The military has helped hold up the socialist administration for more than a decade, but never before was it the government's main crutch. And despite the outward loyalty of top officers, cracks are beginning to appear.

 

Kushner, Greenblatt to Visit Israel This Week (JP) Top White House aides Jared Kushner (US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a shadow diplomat in the current administration) and Jason Greenblatt, a special representative for international negotiations, will both travel to Israel this week in pursuit of a peace deal, the White House confirmed Monday morning. Greenblatt is set to arrive on Monday and Kushner on Wednesday. The two are expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in an effort to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

BBC Apologizes for Misleading Headline on Terror Attack (CBN) It's not the first time BBC News has been cited for its decidedly pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel slant in its reporting. This time it elicited a swift response from the Israeli government, as well as President Trump's family. The BBC's most recent anti-Israel perspective was exposed in a headline on Friday's terror attack at the Damascus Gate: "Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem." There was no mention that 1) two of the three terrorists opened fire with automatic weapons near the crowded entrance to the gate, while about 100 yards away, a third jihadist fatally stabbed 23-year-old Border Police Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka. Hers was the seventh terror-related fatality since the beginning of the year. In London, a complaint filed by the Israeli Embassy prompted an apology from BBC and a reworded headline that read, "Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem."

 

 

NATIONAL

 

Supreme Court: 9/11 Detainees Can't Sue Top US Officials (1NewsNow) The Supreme Court says Muslim men detained after the Sept. 11 attacks can't sue top U.S. law enforcement officials. The justices by a 4-2 vote on Monday ended a long-running lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and other top Bush administration officials. The suit was filed by Muslim men who were detained for months in a Brooklyn jail after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They were seeking damages against Ashcroft, Mueller, former immigration chief James Ziglar and the man who ran the federal jail. A lower court still may re-examine claims against the jailer. Only six of the nine justices were eligible to take part in the case.

 

Justices say Law on Offensive Trademarks is Unconstitutional (1NewsNow) The Supreme Court on Monday struck down part of a law that bans offensive trademarks in a ruling that is expected to help the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team name. The justices ruled that the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights. The ruling is a victory for the Asian-American rock band called the Slants, but the case was closely watched for the impact it would have on the separate dispute involving the Washington football team.

 

Swamp Bureaucrats Trying to Escape Trump’s Probes (W. Examiner) Republican hopes that the election of President Trump would open the federal government’s vaults to investigators probing Obama-era scandals including Fast and Furious and the IRS have died as burrowed-in workers try to “wait out” until the president leaves office, said a top House GOP member. In a blunt exit interview, retiring Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the outgoing chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, said stonewalling by agencies is just as bad as it was during the Obama era.

 

Fox News Stumbles (TheBlaze) Left-wing cable news outlet MSNBC enjoyed historic ratings gains in May, and after a brief stumble the first week of June, appears to have found its place back on top of the cable-news mountain in the key 25-54 demographic during primetime on weekdays. According to ratings provided by TV Newser, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow destroyed her competition on Wednesday and Thursday, earning 745,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic and 979,000 viewers, respectively. Her biggest competition at the 9 p.m. hour came from “The Five” on Fox News, which finished with a two-night average of 592,000 in the key demographic. CNN’s Anderson Cooper finished slightly behind “The Five” on Thursday at 9 p.m., earning 591,000 key demo viewers, but Cooper beat all his competition, including Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, at 8 p.m. (Cooper’s show often runs for two hours).

 

 

TRUMP NEWS

 

Trump’s Economy: Here are the Amazing Numbers (Washington Examiner) New applications for unemployment benefits rose a minimal 1,000 to 234,000 in the third week of May, the Department of Labor reported last week, driving the average for the past four weeks down to the lowest it has been in 44 years.

 

New Poll Reveals Remarkable Change in Public’s View of the Trump Presidency (TheBlaze) A new poll tracking President Donald Trump’s approval rating shows American voters’ view of the president has shifted in his favor in recent weeks. Rasmussen Reports, a public-opinion polling organization, reported on Friday that Trump’s approval rating among likely U.S. voters hit the 50 percent mark, the first time Rasmussen has recorded a Trump approval rating at 50 percent or higher since April 24, when Rasmussen found 51 percent of likely voters approved of Trump’s performance.

 

 

CULTURAL WARFARE

 

Pastor's Burned Body Discovered Outside His Oklahoma Church (Charisma) Oklahoma police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a pastor's burned body, which was discovered outside his church Friday morning. First Missionary Baptist Church of Chickasha pastor Michael Dean Walworth was found dead between the church and a residence, police say. They do not yet know what caused the fire or his death. "The thoughts and prayers of the members of the Chickasha Police Department are with the family and friends of Pastor Michael Walworth during this most difficult time," according to a release. Police say it's an isolated incident with no immediate danger to area residents.

 

Delaware Legalizes Abortion Through All Nine Months (CH) Delaware gave pro-abortion advocates a rare but big win last week when Gov. John Carney signed a bill making it legal to kill unborn babies through all nine months of pregnancy. While many states, including Delaware, have adopted more protections for unborn babies, the new law does away with all restrictions on abortion—including an existing parental consent law for minors and a 24-hour waiting period—until viability.

 

UK Supreme Court Upholds Protections for Unborn in Northern Ireland (CH) The UK Supreme Court has upheld a law that prohibits Northern Ireland residents from traveling to England or other places to get an abortion. The Christian Institute reports that pro-life advocates are welcoming the court’s decision as a great victory for the unborn. Abortion is currently illegal in Northern Ireland, except for in cases when the life of the mother is in danger.

 

Supreme Court Strikes Down Sex Offender Social Media Ban (1NewsNow) The Supreme Court struck down a North Carolina law Monday that bars convicted sex offenders from Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites. The justices ruled unanimously in favor of North Carolina resident Lester Packingham Jr. His Facebook boast about beating a traffic ticket led to his conviction for violating a 2008 law aimed at keeping sex offenders off internet sites children might use. The court rejected the state's argument that the law deals with the virtual world in the same way that states keep sex offenders out of playgrounds and other places children visit.

 

Indiana Christian School at Center of LGBT Voucher Debate (1NewsNow) The Lighthouse Christian Academy promises to provide an exemplary education, a caring atmosphere and service to God — but not for everyone. The school says in its admissions brochure that it reserves the right to deny admission to LGBT students because their lifestyle is prohibited by the Bible. As the Trump administration seeks to expand school choice nationwide, the academy was thrust into the national spotlight last month as part of a heated debate over whether schools that receive money from taxpayer-funded vouchers can discriminate against certain groups of students, such as LGBT children or students with disabilities. Lighthouse officials say they've never turned anyone away based on sexual orientation. But at a congressional hearing, Senate Democrats cited it as an example of a school that discriminates against LGBT students. A Lighthouse brochure says the Bible does not allow homosexual, bisexual or "any form of sexual immorality" and if a student's "home life" violates biblical rules, the school can deny them admission or expel them. Pressed on the issue, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an ardent supporter of school choice, told the Senate committee that discrimination is wrong, but that it was up to Congress and the courts, not her department, to intervene.

  

 

OVER THE EDGE

 

Whopping $100 Million Water Bill Shocks North Carolina Man (ABC) The water bill wasn't so bad, but the service charge was eye-popping. Kieran Healy of Orange County in central North Carolina got a water bill for $189.92. The service charge was a dollar shy of $100 million. Healy said he asked Orange Water and Sewer Authority if he could make installment payments. Healy posted later the utility assured him that his bill was wrong.

 

Compiled and Edited by Pontolillo News Service for Bethel Fellowship Ministries International and Box 2 Radio Network

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