14 Mar 2017

Italian Archbishop Suggests Pope Benedict XVI Resigned Under Obama ‘Pressure’
It is “no coincidence” that some Catholic groups “have asked President Trump to open a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the administration of Barack Obama exerted pressure on Benedict,” said Archbishop Luigi Negri in an interview Monday, citing other revelations by Wikileaks regarding efforts by the Democratic Party to sway the direction of the Catholic Church in the United States. “It remains shrouded in mystery for now,” he said to news outlet Rimini 2.0, “but I am sure that those responsible will be found out.”

Benjamin Netanyahu Meets Trump Negotiator to Discuss Mid-East Peace
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s international negotiations adviser, for over five hours in Jerusalem on Monday. They reaffirmed the joint commitment of both Israel and the United States to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel and enhances stability in the region.

As Jerusalem Jubilee Approaches, Knesset Seeks to ‘Reclaim’ Temple Mount
As Jerusalem’s Jubilee celebration approaches, the Israeli parliament has, for the first time, proposed establishing a government body focused on strengthening the connection between the Jewish State and its holiest site: The Temple Mount. This move has generated anger among Palestinian politicians, who believed recent efforts by the UN to erase this Jewish connection were successful.

Russia moving special forces into Libya
U.S., Egyptian and diplomatic sources say that Russia has apparently been moving special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near the border with Libya in recent days, according to a report by Reuters. Russia has shown increasing involvement in Libya in recent months and appears to be taking steps to back Haftar to lead the battle-torn kingdom…

Employers can ban the burka, European court rules
Employers can bar staff from wearing visible religious symbols such as the burka, the European Union’s top court has ruled. The ruling came in its first decision on the issue of women wearing Islamic headscarves at work.

Soros Fellow Flees Country While Wife Arrested For Welfare Scam
A lawyer and recipient of a prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros fellowship for immigrants has reportedly fled the U.S., possibly to Africa, as his wife faces criminal welfare fraud charges in Arlington, Va.

5.5-magnitude Rota quake felt on Guam
A 5.5-magnitude quake struck about 11 miles northeast of Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands before 7 p.m. yesterday, also causing some of the buildings on Guam to shake.

Earthquake rocks Andaman and Nicobar Islands
An earthquake measuring 5.9 in the richter scale rocked the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Tuesday morning, said an official. “The earthquake was experienced at 8.21 a.m,” said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) official.

Revolutionary Guard commander: Hezbollah more prepared than ever to attack Israel
As US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both continue to apply pressure on Iran…an assistant to a commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps revealed…that Hezbollah has raised its level of preparedness and is ready to launch a massive attack against Israel with lethal results. The Iranian commander explained that Iran has opened factories in Lebanon for the purpose of manufacturing long-range missiles as well as other munitions and has recently passed ownership of the factories to Hezbollah.

Netanyahu, Greenblatt meet for five hours on way to move diplomatic process forward
A five hour meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump’s advisor Jason Greenblatt ended Monday evening with a statement pledging commitment to finding a true, sustainable peace agreement and the need to improve living conditions in the Palestinian Authority. According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office, the two affirmed the joint commitment of the US and Israel to advancing a “true, sustainable peace between Israel and the Palestinians that will strengthen Israel’s security and stability in the region.”

Somali pirates suspected of first ship hijacking since 2012
An oil tanker has been hijacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, reports say, the first such hijacking in the region in five years. The ship sent a distress signal on Monday evening, saying it was being approached by high-speed boats. The gunmen have told a local official they are fishermen whose equipment was destroyed by illegal fishing vessels.

EU workplace headscarf ban is legal, says ECJ
Employers are entitled to ban workers from the “visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” including headscarves, Europe’s top court has ruled. But the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to “dress neutrally”, said the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It cannot be based on the wishes of a customer, it said.

Theresa May to insist new Scottish referendum must be held AFTER Britain leaves the EU
Theresa May is today poised to emphatically reject Nicola Sturgeon’s timetable for a second vote on Scottish independence, amid fears it could undermine Brexit. Scotland’s First Minister yesterday declared she will push for another referendum just before the UK leaves the EU. She insisted Scots deserved a ‘real choice’ over EU membership and threatened to throw a grenade into Brexit talks by holding the vote between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

American Citizens: U.S. Border Agents Can Search Your Cellphone
When Buffalo, New York couple Akram Shibly and Kelly McCormick returned to the U.S. from a trip to Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers held them for two hours, took their cellphones and demanded their passwords. “It just felt like a gross violation of our rights,” said Shibly, a 23-year-old filmmaker born and raised in New York. But he and McCormick complied, and their phones were searched.

Estrangement between Europe and Turkey grows as a referendum on Erdogan’s power nears
The unusually bitter dispute between European countries and Turkey over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attempts to hold political rallies in their cities is sharply escalating…After its ministers were barred from giving campaign speeches…the Turkish government stoked the crisis by accusing the German government of “Nazi practices,” calling the Dutch “Nazi remnants,” warning that they will “pay the price” and telling the Dutch ambassador not to return to Ankara.

North Korea warns of ‘merciless’ strikes as U.S. carrier joins South Korea drills
North Korea warned the United States on Tuesday of “merciless” attacks if an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson, which is joining South Korean forces for exercises, infringes on its sovereignty or dignity. North Korea, which has alarmed its neighbors with two nuclear tests and a string of missile launches since last year, said the arrival of the U.S. strike group was part of a “reckless scheme” to attack it.

Rev. Graham: ‘Christianity Honors Women,’ Unlike ‘Islamic Countries Where Women Have No Rights’
In reference to the honoring of women in many countries on International Women’s Day, March 8, evangelical leader Franklin Graham said it was women who stayed with Christ at the Cross and first saw Him resurrected, and added that “Christianity honors women” but this is not evident in some “Islamic countries where women have no rights and are treated as property.”

CBO Report On Trumpcare Is Out: 24 Million More Uninsured By 2026, Deficit Cut By $337 Billion
The CBO scoring of the American Health Care Act, aka “Trumpcare” is out, and among the key highlights are: i) a reduction in the deficit by by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period, ii) 14 million more would be uninsured by 2018, rising to 24 million by 2026. Furthermore, iii) average premiums for single  policyholders in the nongroup market would be 15% to 20% higher than under current law

12 Million Americans Are About To Get An Artificial Boost To Their FICO Scores
Tax liens and civil judgments soon will be taken off people’s credit reports, the latest move to omit negative information from consumer financial scorecards, in the process artifically boosting the FICO score for as many as 12 million Americans. “It’s going to make someone who has poor credit look better than they should,” said John Ulzheimer, a former manager at Experian and credit-score creator FICO.

ISIS is cornered, desperate, and leaving trail of destruction in Mosul
The forces pushing out ISIS in Iraq say the militant group is trapped inside western Mosul. The U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS says they’ve cut off the last road out of the city and it’s only a matter of time before ISIS is “totally defeated.”

Turkey’s Autocratic President Tells NATO Allies, ‘Nazism Is Alive in the West’
In one of the worst diplomatic rows between NATO allies in decades, Turkey’s Islamist president has compared the Dutch government to Nazis after it prevented two Turkish ministers from addressing rallies in the Netherlands in support of the Turkish leader’s attempts to significantly expand his powers.