United Church of God Birmingham, A Christian Fellowship

Be Aware - Watch

Home | Blog | Born To Win Daily Broadcast | Statement of Beliefs | Caring Corner Outreach | Be Aware - Watch | Prayer Requests | Announcements | Annual Holy Days | Calendars | Typical Sabbath Services | Weekly Sabbath Messages | Bible Studies | Holy Day Messages | Reference Material
beawarebanner2011.jpg

 Matthew 24:42  “Therefore be on alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming!"

Anglican Minister Urges Prayers for Prince George to Be Gay

A prominent Anglican cleric and gay rights campaigner known for contentious gestures has urged believers to pray for Prince George - age 4, and third in line to the throne - to find the love "of a fine young gentleman" when he grows up so as to advance the cause of same-sex marriage in church.

From "The New York Times"

 

Saudi Vows New Islamic Alliance "Will Wipe Terrorists From the Earth"

 

The summit is the first meeting of defense ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 countries and identifies as a "pan-Islamic unified front" against violent extremism...The alliance groups largely, although not exclusively, Sunni-majority or Sunni-ruled countries.

 

From "Yahoo"

 

German Domestic Spy Agency Hits Out at Silicon Valley


The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency accused U.S. tech giants like Facebook (FB.O) on Monday of failing to take enough responsibility for content on their sites, undermining democracy by not distinguishing between fact and opinion.

 

From "Reuters"


Robots Could Replace Nearly a Third of the U.S. Workforce by 2030


By 2030, the researchers estimated, the demand for office support workers in the U.S. will drop by 20 percent. That includes secretaries, paralegals and anyone in charge of administrative tasks. During the same period, the need for people doing "predictable physical work" - construction equipment installation and repair, card dealing, security guarding, dishwashing and food preparation, for example - will fall by 30 percent.


From "The Washington Post"

Upsurge in Big Earthquakes Predicted for 2018 as Earth Rotation Slows


Bilham and Bendick found that there had been periods of around five years when Earth's rotation slowed by such an amount several times over the past century and a half. Crucially, these periods were followed by periods when the numbers of intense earthquakes increased. "It is straightforward," said Bilham. "The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes."

From "The Guardian"

 

Eqypt Mosque Bombing:  Scores Killed In Sinai Attack

 

Suspected militants have targeted a mosque in the north of Egypt's Sinai peninsula, with reports of gunfire and explosions. Scores have been killed, according to state media. Militants were reported to have set off a bomb and opened fire at a mosque in Egypt's restive northern Sinai on Friday, apparently targeting supporters of the security forces attending prayers there. State media said at least 180 people were killed in the attack on the Al Rawdah mosque, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the provincial capital, Arish city.

 

From "Deutsche Welle"

 

In Crisis, Angela Merkel Prefers Elections to Minority Rule


Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany faced the greatest crisis of her career on Monday after negotiations to form a new government collapsed, shaking a country that is Europe's political and economic anchor.

The breakdown abruptly raised the prospect of new elections in Germany. It came less than two months after the last elections seemed to assure that Ms. Merkel, an icon of Western democracy and values, would remain Germany's leader for a fourth term.

 

The chancellor said she remained hopeful about forming a majority government. But if forced to choose, Ms. Merkel said, she would prefer to go through new elections rather than try to lead a minority government.

"I don't want to say never, but I am very skeptical, and believe that new elections would be the better way forward," the chancellor told the public broadcaster ARD.

 

At a time when the European Union is facing a host of pressing problems, from Brexit negotiations with Britain, to the rise of right-wing populism, to separatism in Spain's Catalonia region, the possibility of political instability in a normally reliable Germany sent tremors through the Continent.

 

"New York Times"

Pope Rebukes Climate Deniers as "Perverse" in Bonn Message

Pope Francis on Thursday rebuked those who deny the science behind global warming and urged negotiators at climate talks in Germany to avoid falling prey to such "perverse attitudes" and instead accelerate efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Francis issued a message to the Bonn meeting, which is working to implement the 2015 Paris accord aimed at capping global emissions. In it, Francis called climate change "one of the most worrisome phenomena that humanity is facing." He urged negotiators to take action free of special interests and political or economic pressures, and to instead engage in an honest dialogue about the future of the planet.


From "San Francisco Chronicle"

 

Museum of the Bible Set to Open in D. C.


The separation of church and state may be a fundamental concept of U.S. democracy, but beginning Friday the Museum of the Bible will be open just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The $500 million project is the latest addition to Washington, D.C.'s roster of museums. It will feature more than 2,800 artifacts displayed in a 430,000-square-foot building, WCPO reported. The museum's entrance is composed of two 40-foot brass replicas of the Book of Genesis leading to a lobby that features a 140-foot-long digital ceiling with revolving images of landscapes and stained glass, USA Today reported. The privately funded museum will offer free admission although donations will be welcome. The Museum of the Bible will be the largest of its kind dedicated solely to the Judeo-Christian Holy Book. One section is devoted to the Bible in America, and its influence on presidents and the Founding Fathers -- such as Benjamin Franklin, who often urged his fellow founders to abide by the book's wisdom.

From "Fox News"

 

Christian Group Labeled "Extremist" by Parents for Teaching Children About Sin, Hell


Non-practicing Christians sending their children to a church-run school is not unusal. But when those same parents complain that they are being instructed in the basic tenets of Christianity and advocate for the school to bar further such religious instruction, the irony is overwhelming.

 

From "Christian Post"



Saudi Royal Purge: Crown Prince's High-Stakes Gambit

Prince Mohammed's supporters lionise him as an enlightened disrupter of the status quo as he pursues dramatic social and economic reforms to modernize the kingdom and prepare for a post-oil era. His anti-graft campaign follows other bold moves, including a royal decree allowing women to drive from next June and clipping the powers of the religious police. His ambitions were on display at an investor summit in Riyadh two weeks ago, where global business titans were shown blueprints for multibillion dollar projects, including a futuristic megacity with robots and driverless cars.


From "Yahoo/AFP"

 

Texas Church Shooter, 26, Who Killed at Least 26 People - Including Eight Members of One Family - Had Been Dishonorably Discharged From the Us Air Force for Assaulting His Wife and Child


The mass shooter who opened fire during Mass inside a Texas church killing at least 26 - including eight members of one family - has been identified as a 26-year-old former Bible study teacher who was dishonorably discharged from the US Air Force for assaulting his wife and child.


From "The Daily Mail"

 

Blaming Iran, Saudi Says Huthi Strike May Be 'Act of War'


Saudi Arabia and Iran traded fierce accusations over Yemen on Monday, with Riyadh saying a rebel missile attack "may amount to an act of war" and Tehran accusing its rival of war crimes. Tensions have been rising between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shiite Iran, which are opposed in disputes and conflicts across the Middle East from Yemen and Syria to Qatar and Lebanon. On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the "right to respond" to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a "blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war".


From "Yahoo/AFP"

 

The Migrant Crisis Upended Europe


"The migrant crisis is the 9/11 of the European Union... That day in 2001, everything changed in the US. In a minute, America discovered its vulnerability. Migrants had the same effect in Europe. It is not their number that destabilizes the continent... The migration crisis profoundly undermines the ideas of democracy, tolerance and progress as well as the liberal principles that constitute our ideological landscape. It is a turning point in the political dynamics of the European project".

From "Gatestone Institute"

New iPhone Brings Face Recognition (and Fears) to the Masses

 

Apple will let you unlock the iPhone X with your face -- a move likely to bring facial recognition to the masses, along with concerns over how the technology may be used for nefarious purposes.

 

Apple's newest device, set to go on sale November 3, is designed to be unlocked with a facial scan with a number of privacy safeguards -- as the data will only be stored on the phone and not in any databases.

 

Unlocking one's phone with a face scan may offer added convenience and security for iPhone users, according to Apple, which claims its "neural engine" for FaceID cannot be tricked by a photo or hacker.

 

While other devices have offered facial recognition, Apple is the first to pack the technology allowing for a three-dimensional scan into a hand-held phone.

 

Civil liberties groups have sued over the FBI's use of its "next generation" biometric database, which includes facial profiles, claiming it has a high error rate and the potential for tracking innocent people.

 

From "Yahoo.com"

Opinion: Trouble Brewing in Every Corner of Europe

It doesn't seem that long ago that in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the most pressing question in Brussels was simply whether the party winning the European elections should appoint the European Commission president.

 

Today, that issue seems absurdly irrelevant. Now, nary a month passes in which some deeply troubling development doesn't come along to threaten the very foundation of the EU.

 

We have all gotten used to the UK's imminent divorce from Europe. But Brexit alone, and the ramifications thereof, puts the very existence of the EU in doubt. Hungary and Poland have dissociated themselves from the EU's bedrock rule-of-law principles. Spain is in its deepest state crisis in decades as Catalonia pushes for independence. The continued arrival of refugees has split the continent along deep ideological divides that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. And parties that want to curb or do away with the EU for good are gaining new supporters each day.

 

From "Deutsche Welle"

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists Say Universe Shouldn't Exist-and Believers in God Will Love One Question That Stumps Them

Our universe shouldn't exist, according to scientists at CERN - the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Newsweek reported.

And believers in God just might get a kick out of one of the questions that's stumping them.

Why are CERN scientists saying the universe shouldn't exist?

  • Researchers have discovered a symmetry in nature they say shouldn't be possible, the magazine said.
  • After the Big Bang, matter had to form, Newsweek added.
  • But if there were equal measures of particles and antiparticles, the universe wouldn't exist since particles and antiparticles annihilate each other upon contact, the magazine continued.
  • Therefore there must be an imbalance between them, Newsweek noted.
  • But apparently there is no imbalance, the magazine said.

What are their experiments showing?

  • Experiments designed to find this asymmetry aren't finding it, Newsweek said - including the latest ones CERN carried out.
  • "All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the universe should not actually exist," Christian Smorra of Japan's RIKEN institute said in a statement, the magazine noted.

What did the experiments entail?

  • They measured antiprotons using the interaction of two traps that capture them using electrical and magnetic fields, Newsweek said, adding that CERN scientists measured them 350 times more precisely than ever before.
  • Now they're trying to develop even higher-precision measurements to detect asymmetry, the magazine added.

What's one of the questions that stumps them?

  • "An asymmetry must exist here somewhere, but we simply do not understand where the difference is," Smorra said, Newsweek noted. "What is the source of the symmetry break?"

This writer's perspective

  • "What is the source?" Smorra asks. The source. Hmm.
  • "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them ...?" (Psalm 8:3-4)

Why Millennials Are Ditching Religion for Witchcraft and Astrology

 
Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, a study from Pew Research Center released Wednesday found. The percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who "never doubt existence of God" fell from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012. Meanwhile, more than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science.


From "Market Watch"

 

New Site Rates Churches Based On Transparency of LGBTQ Policies


Tim Schraeder, a gay Christian, has always felt torn between his religion and his sexuality. That's something he is now fighting to change.

Schraeder has worked as a marketing consultant for some of the largest megachurches and Christian leaders in the country. In October, he co-founded Church Clarity, a new website that rates churches on how clearly they communicate their policies toward the LGBTQ community. He said many churches don't disclose such policies upfront for fear of how they will be perceived, and this, according to Schraeder, leads some LGBTQ followers to be misled for a prolonged period of time.

From "NBC News"

 

Warning Over iPhone Apps That Can Silently Turn on Cameras at Any Time


Apple has been urged to change the way in which iPhone apps are granted access to the phone's camera after a security researcher demonstrated how apps can secretly record photos and videos without the user knowing. Felix Krause, an Austrian developer who works for Google, built an app that was able to take pictures of its user every second and upload them, without notifying the user. He called it a "privacy loophole that can be abused by iOS apps". 

The iPhone's camera app permissions do not differentiate between the phone's front and back camera. Allowing camera permissions can grant extra access in the latest version of iOS, which has a facial recognition engine that could allow apps to detect emotions. The permissions system is not a bug or a flaw - it works in exactly the way Apple has designed it - but Krause said malicious apps could take advantage of it to surreptitiously record users.


From "The Telegraph"

Most Americans Now Say You Can Be Good Without God


Most people in the US now accept individuals can have morality without religion as, for the first time, a majority of Americans - 56 per cent - say it is possible to be a good person without believing in God.This is according to new Pew Research Center data drawn from two polls conducted among some 5,000 American adults in June and July. Most people in the US now accept individuals can have morality without religion as, for the first time, a majority of Americans - 56 per cent - say it is possible to be a good person without believing in God. This is according to new Pew Research Center data drawn from two polls conducted among some 5,000 American adults in June and July. And even white evangelicals have shifted. In 2011, one quarter of them (26 per cent) said it was possible to have morality without religion. Now, almost a third (32 per cent) say so.'To be sure, most white evangelicals still say belief in God is necessary for morality,' said Smith 'But the share who say belief in God is a necessary underpinning of being moral has declined from 72 per cent to 65 per cent in just six years.'

From "Christian Today"

 

Survey: Most Millennials, Gen Z Adults Prefer Texting Over Talking in Person


If the emoji movie wasn't symbolic enough of today's youth, perhaps this will rattle your foundation: A new survey finds that 7 in 10 millennials and the younger Gen Z prefer to communicate digitally - mostly by text message - than in person. Globally, 65 percent of those surveyed indicated they talk to peers more frequently via texting or a mobile, but that number is even higher in English-speaking nations. In both the United States and in the United Kingdom, about 74 percent of millennials and Gen Z communicate digitally more frequently with others.


From "Study Finds"

 

Quebec Lawmakers Pass Bill Requiring Citizens to Uncover Faces

Lawmakers in the Canadian province of Quebec adopted a religious neutrality law Wednesday that would require citizens to uncover their faces during state services. But critics say the bill unfairly targets Muslim women. The law -- said to be the first of its kind in North America -- calls for a ban on any face coverings for people giving or receiving a service from the state and it also proposes guidelines on how authorities should go about making accommodations based on religious beliefs.Under the law, Muslim women in the province will have to remove their face coverings when riding buses and subways or borrowing a book from a library, the Globe and Mail reported. "To take public transit, you have to have your face uncovered. All through the ride," Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee said, according to the newspaper.


From "Fox News"

Austria's ‘Burqa Ban' Law Comes Into Force


A law known as the "Burqa Ban" took effect Sunday in Austria, the latest European country to wrestle over national security and its effect on the freedoms of Muslim women. The rule forbids any type of full-face covering-niqabs and burqas among them. Wearing a ski mask off the slopes, a surgical mask outside hospitals and party masks in public is also prohibited. The same day the law took effect, police commanded a woman to remove her niqab in Zell Am See, Metro reported. Violations carry a possible fine of nearly $180, and police have the authority to use force if people resist showing their faces. Only a small number of Muslim women in Austria wear full-face veils, but they have become a target for right-wing groups and political parties. France and Belgium have similar laws. The nationalist Alternative for Germany party is calling for one there, too. In December at a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also advocated a burqa ban. "The full veil is not appropriate here, it should be forbidden wherever that is legally possible," she said at the time. "It does not belong to us." "It is every woman's right to always dress how she wants, that is my opinion on the matter," Austria's president, the left-leaning Alexander Van der Bellen, said earlier this year.


From "Fox News"

 

The Lone Las Vegas Gunman, 64, Who Murdered 58 and Injured 515 Concert-Goers With an Automatic Rifle From His Suite on 32nd Floor of the Mandalay Bay


More details are being revealed about the horrific shooting at a Las Vegas music festival that left 58 people dead and 515 injured. Police say 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock used automatic weapons to rain down gunfire on a crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday night, from his room across the street in the Mandalay Bay hotel.


From "Daily Telegraph"

 

California Fires:  Almost 6,000 Buildings Destroyed, 36 People Killed  


Reinforcements from other regions are helping firefighters contain more of the largest wildfires devastating Northern California, though strong winds expected over the weekend could challenge those gains, a fire chief said Friday.

Meanwhile, officials are making grim discoveries -- victims burnt beyond recognition -- as they search blackened ruins of some of the 5,700 homes and business that have been destroyed.

"Some of (the remains) are merely ashes and bones," Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said at a Thursday evening news conference. "And we may never get truly confirmative identification on ashes. When you're cremated, you can't get an ID."


From "CNN"

COULD the world come to an end?  

The Bible is more than clear in its theological claim that Jesus Christ will return to Earth at an undisclosed, future time. In fact, that belief is a central hallmark of the Christian faith.

And the latter point about the timing is essential to highlight, as scripture makes it clear that no one knows exactly when the so-called "second coming" will unfold. Yet, once again, here we are with some Christians setting a specific date - September 23, 2017 - for the purported fulfillment of certain prophetic signs or events.

From "Fox News"

Mexico's Strongest Earthquake In A Century Leaves Dozens Dead  

At least 58 people have died after the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in a century struck off the southern coast.

The magnitude 8.1 quake, which was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, was registered off Mexico's southern coast just as heavy rains from Hurricane Katia lashed the east. The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of the capital and 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast.

President Enrique Peña Nieto said the temblor -- felt by about 50 million people across the country -- was the strongest earthquake Mexico has experienced in 100 years. In September 1985, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake killed an estimated 9,500 people in and around Mexico City.

From "CNN"

How the Strongest Solar Flare in a Decade Is Affecting Earth

Early Wednesday morning, the sun unleashed two monster solar flares, the second of which was the most powerful we've seen in more than a decade. The burst of radiation was so intense, it caused high-frequency radio blackouts across the daytime side of Earth that lasted for about an hour.

Solar flares are giant explosions on the surface of the sun that occur when twisted magnetic field lines suddenly snap and release massive amounts of energy. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center, the sun began unleashing its fury on Wednesday at 5:10 a.m. ET, with an X2.2 flare. Just three hours later, the sun produced a second flare measuring a whopping X9.3-the most powerful on record since 2006.

 From "National Geographic.com"

Hurricane Irma Skirts Puerto Rico, Leaves 1 Million Without Power

 Hurricane Irma carved a merciless path of destruction through the Caribbean, killing at least 12 people, leaving thousands of others homeless and plunging more than 1 million residents of Puerto Rico into darkness. As the eye of the Category 5 storm passed north of Puerto Rico early Thursday, a string of Caribbean islands grappled with flattened homes, flooding and widespread devastation. Irma battered the tiny island of Barbuda and the island territories of St. Bart and St. Martin, where local officials said about 95 percent of the island was completely demolished after Wednesday's thrashing.

From "NBC News"

Pope Francis, Christianity Threatened in ISIS Propaganda Video That Vatican Aide Calls Worrying  

Pope Francis' top aide said a propaganda video released by Islamic State group militants in the Philippines threatening the pontiff is worrying but notes Vatican security was already at a high level.

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See's No. 2 official, said he has seen the video of militants desecrating Christian statues and threatening the pope by saying they'll come to Rome, as they tear in half photos of him and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

The video was mostly filmed in the Philippines, where ISIS has been clashing with government forces for control of the city of Marawi, MailOnline reported.

From "Fox News"

Rescuers Pluck Hundreds From Rising Floodwaters in Houston

Volunteers joined emergency teams to pull people from their homes or from the water, which was high enough in places to gush into second floors. The flooding from Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm, was so widespread that authorities had trouble pinpointing the worst areas.

They urged people to get on top of their houses to avoid becoming trapped in attics and to wave sheets or towels to draw attention to their location.

From "Associated Press"

Canada Introduces 'X' as a Third Sex Category for Passport Holders

 
"By introducing an 'X' gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression," Ahmed Hussen, the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, said in a statement on Thursday.

From "The New York Times"

A Striking Rise in Serious Allergy Cases

The increase could be related to the increasing use of antibiotics, rising rates of C-sections that affect the microbiomes of babies, and an increasingly sterile environment, says Hugh Sampson, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. All have altered the good bacteria in our intestinal tracts, which alters the programming of our immune systems.


From "The Wall Street Journal"

How My ‘Sex Change' Was Doomed to Fail from the Start

Recently, during a radio show on which I appeared as a guest, a caller posed a question I frequently get asked: "Do the administration of cross-gender hormones and genital surgery change a boy into a girl or a girl into a boy?"

The answer is simple: biologically, not at all.

From "CNS News.com"

Are Far Left and Far Right Equivalent?

President Trump has committed the unpardonable sin of implying that the far left is as violent as the far right.  This can be a career-ender.  New York Times domestic affairs correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg may have learned this the hard way.  "The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding 'antifa' beating white nationalists being led out of the park," Stolberg wrote.  She was immediately set upon.  She had contradicted the progressive narrative.  Perhaps she can be forgiven because her comments were made early in the dispute.  The progressive narrative is that this was a demonstration by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKK protesting the removal of statues of slaveholders.  They were opposed by "civil rights protesters," defenders of the American Way.  In Stolberg's revised comments, the protesters were "standing up to hate."


From "American Thinker.com"

Kids as Young as 4 Find Safe Space at Transgender Day Camp


Gender specialists say the camp's growth reflects what they are seeing in gender clinics nationwide: increasing numbers of children coming out as transgender at young ages. They credit the rise to greater openness and awareness of LGBTQ issues and parents tuning in earlier when a child shows signs of gender dysphoria, or distress about their gender. "A decade ago, this camp wouldn't have existed. Eventually, I do believe, it won't be so innovative," camp founder Sandra Collins said. "I didn't know you could be transgender at a very young age. But my daughter knew for sure at 2."

From "NBC News"

Prof Lets Students Choose Own Grades for 'Stress Reduction'


A University of Georgia professor has adopted a "stress reduction policy" that will allow students to select their own grades if they "feel unduly stressed" by the ones they earned. According to online course syllabi for two of Dr. Richard Watson's fall business courses, he has introduced the policy because "emotional reactions to stressful situations can have profound consequences for all involved."

From "Campus Reform"

Alcoholism Epidemic: More Than 1 in 8 Americans Are Now Alcoholics


The largest change was in the most severe alcohol use category. The number of people who had received a diagnosis of alcoholism over the period of the two studies shot up by 49%, affecting 12.7% of the total population. This means 1 in 8 Americans received a diagnosis of alcoholism in the year before the latest survey.

From "International Business Times"

Saudi Arabia Says King's Contact With U.S. Helped Ease Al-Aqsa Mosque Tensions

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday King Salman had been in contact with the United States and other world powers to try to prevent Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City being closed to Muslims and to defuse political and religious tensions.

Israel overnight removed all security infrastructure it had put in place this month at Muslim entrances to the al-Aqsa mosque compound and on Thursday Muslim elders urged worshippers to return there to pray.

"The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, has held contacts with many world leaders over the past few days," the announcement from the Saudi royal court, published by state news agency SPA, said.

Saudi Arabia is custodian of Islam's most revered places in Mecca and Medina while Jordan is the custodian of Al-Aqsa mosque, its third holiest site, which is also revered by Jews.

King Salman contacted the U.S. government and called for an end to restrictions on entry to the mosque, the statement said, saying that developments showed this push had been successful.

The king "stressed the need for the return of calm," and called for respect for the sanctity of the compound, it said.

From "Reuters.com"

 

Sweden Is Moving Away From Cash, And Some Businesses Will No Longer Accept It  

Back in 1661, Sweden was the first European country to introduce paper money as bank notes. Now that Scandinavian country has almost done away with it and is on course to be the first nation to go completely cash-free.

In Sweden, you can no longer use cash on trams or buses and many shops and cafés don't accept cash. Cash is even becoming rare in banks. Out of Sweden's 1,600 banks, 900 don't do cash- you can't deposit it or withdraw it. The number of bank robberies has declined steeply in consequence.

At Stockholm's Abba: The Museum, you can't use cash either. Its CEO, Joanna Madsen, is one of the many Swedes who now never carry any cash.

 "I am totally cashless," she said. "I haven't had any cash in Sweden for at least two or three years."

For small payments, Swedes like Madsen often use a Swedish app that transfers money using people's phone numbers. Even panhandlers sometimes use it, writing their cell phone numbers on bits of cardboard.

Another Swedish invention is a card terminal that fits onto your smartphone that is popular with street vendors, allowing their customers to forgo cash.

But Bjorn Eriksson, head of the campaign group Cash Uprising, is worried about where all this is leading.

"I think you're leaving a lot of people behind," said Eriksson. Some 10 percent of the Swedish population-including many elderly people-are still highly dependent on cash.

Worse, said Eriksson, "the private big banks are doing their best to kill the possibility to use cash and the reason is very simple-they don't earn money on cash."

Cecilia Skingsley, deputy governor of Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, said she's neutral on giving up cash, but saw a drop in illegal activity-from drug trafficking to illegal employment-as a benefit of a cashless society.

"The disadvantage is, for instance, that many people like making transactions without it being traced," she said. "The upside of going cashless is that it's more difficult to do informal transactions or evade taxes."

Riksbank predicts that cash will totally disappear in Sweden by 2030. Plenty of time to get used to the idea that your banker will know how many beers you had last night.

From "Marketplace.com"


UN Chief Fears Jerusalem Attack Could Ignite More Violence

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that an attack that killed two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem could ignite more violence and said all sides must avoid escalation.

Three attackers opened fire near the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday, killing the officers, and the police immediately shot them dead in one of the most serious incidents in the city in recent years. Guterres condemned the attack, adding: "This incident has the potential to ignite further violence. All must act responsibly to avoid escalation."

 

The UN chief praised Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for swiftly condemning the violence and offering assurances that the holy sites in Jerusalem will be respected. "The sanctity of religious sites should be respected as places for reflection, not violence," Guterres said.

Security forces locked down the area and the Al-Aqsa mosque was closed to Friday prayers after the attack in a highly unusual move.

From "Yahoo.com"

Berlin ‘Dismayed and Furious' Over Murder of German Woman in Egypt

German officials said on Saturday they had been left "dismayed and furious" by the stabbing of two German women at an Egyptian beach resort, calling it a deliberate attack on foreign tourists.

An Egyptian man stabbed the two German tourists to death and wounded at least four others on Friday at a popular seaside vacation spot on the Red Sea, officials and witnesses said.

The knifeman killed the two German women and wounded two other tourists at the Zahabia hotel in Hurghada, then swam to a neighboring beach to attack at least two more people at the Sunny Days El Palacio resort before being caught by staff and arrested, officials and security sources said.

It was the first major attack on foreign tourists since a similar assault on the same resort more than a year ago, and comes as Egypt struggles to revive a tourism industry hurt by security threats and years of political upheaval.

"We now have the sad certainty that two German women were killed in the attack in Hurghada," a German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

"According to what we know, the act was a deliberate attack on foreign tourists - a particularly devious and criminal act that leaves us sad, dismayed and furious," she added.

From "Reuter.com"

This Silicon Valley Company Wants to 'Make Better Humans' Through Biohacking

The co-founder said he anticipated a shift wherein people who did not have a diagnosed medical need for pharmaceuticals regularly seek cognitive enhancements. "You're seeing this broad consumer excitement around 'human body' as a platform and around biohacking," Brandt said. "Healthy people want to be optimized versions of themselves ... You just want to have a better day. You want to be a better version of yourself."
 


From "CNBC"

Vatican Rocked: Police Raid Drug-Fuelled Gay Orgy at Cardinal's Apartment


Police entered an apartment at the former palace of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (or Holy Office) last month, not far from the Vatican City. The occupant of the apartment is alleged to be a priest who serves as a secretary to cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and a personal adviser to the Pope.

From "The New Zealand Herald"

It's Summer, and Washington Smells Like Weed. Everywhere, All the Time.


Walking her dog on a Monday night in Adams Morgan, Brianne Molloy said that she usually catches a whiff around here in the evening. She didn't know who was doing the smoking, but just a block away, Mark Bebawy, the owner of Funky Piece Smoke Shop and Glass Gallery, was hosting a potent party in a basement restaurant that was closed for the evening. A man wearing a rubber whistle in the shape of a seashell emerged onto the street, holding a plastic baggie containing what he said was exactly the legally permitted two ounces of weed. "It's the District of Cannabis," he shrugs.

From "The Washington Post"

Enter supporting content here

Powered by Register.com