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

Expelled Gunman in Gas Mask and Armed With Smoke Grenades 'Set off Fire Alarm So He Could Draw Students Into Halls for Maximum Devastation' Before Shooting Dead 17 and Injuring 50

Police said the gunman started firing before he entered the school building and left behind a deadly trail. Twelve of the people shot dead were found dead inside the school building, two more were killed just outside the school and another in a nearby street. Two other people died later after being rushed to hospital.

From "The Daily Mail"


Free Speech on Campus: Some Students Want Schools to Limit What's Said

More than 40 percent of students believe the First Amendment does not protect hate speech, according to a Brookings Institute poll taken of 1,500 students nationwide last year. Almost 20 percent believe using violence is an acceptable means to stop such speech, the poll found. In all, 53 percent of students - 61 percent Democrat and 47 percent Republican - believe colleges and universities should prohibit offensive speech, according to the survey.

From "The Orlando Sentinel"


A.I. Will Be 'Billions of Times' Smarter Than Humans and Man Needs to Merge With It, Expert Says

"The fact is that AI can go further than humans, it could be billions of times smarter than humans at this point," Pearson said. "So we really do need to make sure that we have some means of keeping up.

From "CNBC"


False Alarms Highlight Weaknesses in National Alert System

Weather junkie John Grosso knew it was highly unlikely a monster wave was barreling toward the Connecticut coast. Still, when a tsunami warning appeared out of the blue on his phone Tuesday, he felt a twinge of fear. His co-workers, who got the same alert, asked whether they should evacuate. It turned out to be a false alarm, a computer glitch. The damage? An erosion of trust. "Now I have to check every single time, God forbid, there's a tornado warning, a tsunami alert, pick your poison," said Grosso, 25, a social media manager from Stanford. "I have to look at it and go, 'Is it a test? Was it sent in error?' And I could be wasting precious time in case it was real."

From "Associated Press"

Clergy Gather To Bless One Of The Only U.S. Clinics Performing Late-Term Abortions

When clergy gather at an abortion clinic, it's usually in protest, outside the building. Rarely are they huddled inside the clinic, not to condemn but to bless the procedures that happen there.


Yet that was the Rev. Carlton Veazey's task as he led a prayer in Bethesda on Monday. "God of grace and God of glory, in whom we move and live," he said, as he opened a prayer for the well-being of the doctor and nurses who facilitate abortions at a clinic here and for their patients. "Keep them safe and keep them strong. And may they always know that all that they do is for Thy glory."


From Washington Post

'Italy Will Be First to Break Ranks' Brussels Mutiny - EU States Demand 'Pragmatic Brexit'

The European Union held together a united front during the first phase of Brexit talks, but cracks are beginning to emerge as the talks turn to trade. The Italian expert said the European Union has seen a "clear shift" on Brexit as governments noticed how a punishing approach towards Britain could harm their own economies.

From "The Express"


Not Just Boy and Girl; More Teens Identify as Transgender

Far more U.S. teens than previously thought are transgender or identify themselves using other nontraditional gender terms, with many rejecting the idea that girl and boy are the only options, new research suggests...Nearly 2,200 identified as transgender or gender nonconforming. The study found that these kids reported worse mental and physical health than other kids, echoing results seen in previous research.

From "Yahoo/Associated Press"


Us Troops in Kurdish Uniform May Be Targeted by Olive Branch Forces - Turkish Deputy Pm

US troops fighting alongside Syrian Kurdish militias in the same uniform may be targeted by the Turkish army due to the difficulty of distinguishing them in the heat of battle, Turkey's Deputy PM has warned. The unambiguous warning comes at a time when Turkish troops are making further advances into the Kurdish-held Syrian province of Afrin as part of 'Operation Olive Branch'. Previously, Ankara complained that the American troops' embedding with Kurdish militias - regarded as terrorists in Turkey - is unacceptable for the US-Turkish alliance.

From "RT (Russian Today)"


Government Set to Borrow Nearly $1 Trillion This Year, an 84 Percent Jump From Last Year

It was another crazy news week, so it's understandable if you missed a small but important announcement from the Treasury Department: The federal government is on track to borrow nearly $1 trillion this fiscal year - President Donald Trump's first full year in charge of the budget. That's almost double what the government borrowed in fiscal year 2017.

From "The Chicago Tribune"

U.S. Says Syria May Be Developing New Types of Chemical Weapons

The Syrian government may be developing new types of chemical weapons, and U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to consider further military action if necessary to deter chemical attacks, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday.


President Bashar al-Assad is believed to have secretly kept part of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile despite a U.S.-Russian deal under which Damascus was supposed to have handed over all such weapons for destruction in 2014, the officials said.


Assad's forces have instead "evolved" their chemical weapons and made continued occasional use of them in smaller amounts since a deadly attack last April that drew a U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base, the officials told reporters in a briefing.


Characteristics of some of those recent attacks suggest that Syria may be developing new weapons and methods for delivering poison chemicals, possibly to make it harder to trace their origin, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, but they declined to provide specifics.


From "Reuters.com"



Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Team Up to Try to Disrupt Health Care


Three corporate behemoths - Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase - announced on Tuesday that they would form an independent health care company for their employees in the United States.




The alliance was a sign of just how frustrated American businesses are with the state of the nation's health care system and the rapidly spiraling cost of medical treatment. It also caused further turmoil in an industry reeling from attempts by new players to attack a notoriously inefficient, intractable web of doctors, hospitals, insurers and pharmaceutical companies.




It was unclear how extensively the three partners would overhaul their employees' existing health coverage - whether they would simply help workers find a local doctor, steer employees to online medical advice or use their muscle to negotiate lower prices for drugs and procedures. While the alliance will apply only to their employees, these corporations are so closely watched that whatever successes they have could become models for other businesses.


From "New York Times"



German Leader Merkel Says the Current World Order Is Under Threat

At the start of her address, Merkel referenced both world wars in the 20th century, saying that the "political actors involved had almost sleepwalked into a horrendous situation." She said there was a danger that the world had not learned the lessons from history.

From "CNBC"


Kentucky School Shooting: Two Dead After Attack at Marshall County High School

Two students were killed Tuesday and 18 other people were wounded when a 15-year-old boy armed with a handgun opened fire inside a Kentucky high school, the authorities said.

From "NBC News"


Super Blue Moon to Coincide With Lunar Eclipse for 1st Time in 150 Years

These three lunar events separately are not uncommon, but it is rare for all three to occur at the same time. The last time that there was a blue moon, a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse at the same time for North America was on March 31, 1866.

From "AccuWeather"


Scientists Say Rash of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions on 'Ring of Fire' Not Connected

At least five different events occurred on the Ring of Fire on Monday and Tuesday, including a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that rattled the town of Kodiak, Alaska, and the eruption of Mount Kusatsu-Shirane near a ski resort northwest of Tokyo.

From "ABC News"


With More Islamic Schooling, Erdogan Aims to Reshape Turkey

Erdogan has said one of his goals is to forge a "pious generation" in predominantly Muslim Turkey "that will work for the construction of a new civilisation." His recent speeches have emphasised Turkey's Ottoman history and domestic achievements over Western ideas and influences. Reviving Imam Hatip, or Imam and Preacher, schools is part of Erdogan's drive to put religion at the heart of national life after decades of secular dominance, and his old school is just one beneficiary of a government programme to pump billions of dollars into religious education.

From "Reuters"








Church of England Urges Anglican ‘Baptism' Service As Way to Celebrate Gender Transition


The Church of England's House of Bishops voted Tuesday to block the creation of a new liturgy to celebrate gender transition but urged bishops to use the existing baptism rite as a way to mark the passage.

"On the matter of whether a new service is needed, the House of Bishops has decided that the current service that is used to affirm baptism can be adapted," Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James said in a statement issued by The Church of England's House of Bishops.

Last July, the General Synod, the Church of England's governing body, officially passed a motion welcoming and affirming transgender people into the church. Being LGBT was also declared "not a sin" by a top bishop.

"The Church of England welcomes transgender people and wholeheartedly wishes for them to be included in the life of the Church," James said in the statement.

From "The Blaze"


The New Witches of Salem: Feminist, Empowered and Anti-Trump


Witches are real and their ranks are growing. Amid the rise in political activism across the country, young American women have been drawn to witchcraft as a sign of feminism and community building. Salem, Massachusetts, is engrained in the mythos of witches and draws many women curious about the movement.

Some of these witches come from families that have practiced witchcraft for generations, while others are new to the world of spells. But one thing they all have in common: they see it as a feminist practice.

From "NBC News"


Persecution, Violence Against Christians Significantly Increased Worldwide in 2017

One out of every 10 Christians is living under the threat of the loss of their life when they wake up in the morning, either by government action or government approval. If you go through the list of nations, almost all of them - except for one notable exception - these are Islamic nations where the radical militant Islamic fascist that is government use of power is constantly being brought to bear.

Notably, in places like Pakistan, there were about 100 plus incidents of churches being attacked last year; Afghanistan, where we have troops, actually, fighting this war on terror; the northern part of African sub-Saharan Africa; the most notable exception is North Korea.

From "Yellow Hammer News"


Erdogan: We Will 'Strangle' U.s.-Backed Force in Syria 'Before It's Even Born'

The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad responded on Monday by vowing to crush the new force and drive U.S. troops from the country. Assad's ally Russia called the plans a plot to dismember Syria and place part of it under U.S. control. But the strongest denunciation came from Erdogan, who has presided as relations between the United States and its biggest Muslim ally within NATO have stretched to the breaking point

From "Reuters"


Missile-Alert Mistake Feeds Doubts About a Real Emergency

"My confidence in our so-called leaders' ability to disseminate this vital information has certainly been tarnished," said Patrick Day, who sprang from bed when the alert was issued Saturday morning. "I would have to think twice before acting on any future advisory."

From "Associated Press"


Trust in News Media Takes a Hit During Trump Presidency

Interviews across the polarized country as well as polling from Trump's first year suggest people seek out various outlets of information, including Trump's Twitter account, and trust none in particular..."It has made me take every story with a large grain, a block of salt," said Lori Viars, a Christian conservative activist in Lebanon, Ohio, who gets her news from Fox and CNN. "Not just from liberal sources. I've seen conservative 'fake news.'"

From "Associated Press"



Food Riots Grip Western Venezuela, Mob Reportedly Slaughters Cattle in Field

Hungry mobs ransacked a food collection center, and a supermarket in Venezuela's western Andean state of Merida on Thursday and reportedly even slaughtered cattle grazing in a field as unrest over food shortages spread through the country. An opposition lawmaker from Merida, Carlos Paparoni, said four people had died and 10 were injured in the chaos over the last two days, but he did not specify the circumstances.

From "Reuters"


New California Declares Independence From Rest of State

With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood. To be clear, they don't want to leave the United States, just California.

From "CBS Sacramento"


7 Ways Alexa and Amazon Echo Pose a Privacy Risk

This might come as a surprise, but you know that Amazon Echo device across the room? It's a networked microphone feeding data back to a massive central location, which might come with some privacy risks. Whether you weren't aware or buried your head in the sand when presented with the privacy risks of using Alexa, it's something important every Echo owner should consider. Here are seven privacy invasions possible when you own an Amazon Echo device.

From "Make Use Of"


Days After Hawaii Alert Gaffe, Japan Issues False Alarm About a Missile Launch

Japanese public broadcaster NHK issued a false alarm about a North Korean missile launch on Tuesday, just days after a similar gaffe caused panic in Hawaii, but it managed to correct the error within minutes.

From "Yahoo/Reuters"

Is Angela Merkel Done For?

Meanwhile, the country yearns for a comprehensive approach to migration, a strategy for digitalization, educational reform and a long list of infrastructure upgrades. Instead, moving from one crisis to another, the biggest economy in the European Union has lost track of the path of modernization.

From "The New York Times"


California Governor Signs Bill Requiring Schools to Teach Gay History


Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he had signed a bill that will require public schools in the state to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The bill, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, will also require teachers to provide instruction on the role of people with disabilities.


"History should be honest," Brown said in a statement.


"This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books. It represents an important step forward for our state, and I thank Senator Leno for his hard work on this historic legislation."


From CNN


Upstart Parties Write New Political Playbook in Europe

From Germany to the Netherlands, voters have abandoned mainstream parties and thrown their support to upstart groups, making for a political landscape so fragmented that it becomes difficult to create new governments. That is leaving many European countries with an unpalatable choice: assemble minority governments that will struggle to make bold policy choices, or form cross-party coalitions of mainstream groups that feed resentment toward those parties.

From "The Wall Street Journal"

Pope Likens Muslim Migrants ‘driven from their land' to Joseph and Mary

Pope Francis was Monday to give his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas address, after urging the world's 1.3 billion Catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants "driven from their land" because of leaders willing to shed "innocent blood".

"So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary," the Argentine pontiff, himself the grandson of Italian migrants, told worshippers at Christmas Eve mass in Saint Peter's Basilica.

"We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones."

Many engulfed in the ongoing migration crisis were forced to flee from leaders "who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood", said the 81-year-old....

From "Russian News Now"


Is the United Nations Fulfilling Ancient Biblical Prophecy  

On December 21, 2017, the UN united as one to stand against one city on the planet: Jerusalem. Twenty-five centuries earlier, the prophet Zechariah wrote these words from the Lord, "I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle" (Zech. 14:2) Did the UN just move us one step closer to fulfilling this ancient prophecy? Before answering this question, let's look at the events on the ground.

First, the UN once again distinguished itself for hypocrisy by targeting Israel for its criticism - specifically, America's support of Israel - while remaining silent on so many issues of world importance.

What has it been doing during the horrific war in Syria? Where has the UN been during the attempted genocide of Christians in the Middle East? Decades earlier, what did the UN have to say about Tiananmen Square in China or Saddam Hussein's chemical warfare against the Kurds? Yet when America recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the UN is in an uproar.

From "Townhall"









None of America's 100 Largest Churches are LGBTQ-affirming, New Report Says

None of America's 100 largest churches have LGBTQ-affirming policies, according to recent data published by Church Clarity, an organization that ranks U.S. churches by how clearly they communicate their policies regarding the LGBTQ community.


"An affirming policy means much more than 'welcoming' LGBTQ+ people," Church Clarity notes on its website. "It means that the church will ordain, hire, marry and baptize LGBTQ+ people.


"Tim Schraeder, an openly gay Christian and the co-founder of Church Clarity, said his organization chose megachurches churches for this new report, because, "We know people look to these churches for influence."


In order to identify which churches to include in the report, Schraeder said his organization turned to Outreach Magazine's popular annual list of America's largest 100 churches. Most of the churches are nondenominational Evangelical, but all of them have more than 5,000 weekly attendees, with the largest, Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama, having more than 40,000.


From "NBC News"


A Year of Historic Change in Saudi Arabia, With More to Come

The kingdom will begin issuing its first tourist visas next year and announced plans to build a semi-autonomous Red Sea destination where strict rules of dress need not apply. In a bid to attract even greater foreign investment, the crown prince held a massive investment conference days before the anti-corruption sweep.


The prince said the kingdom needed to return to a "moderate Islam" that is open to all religions, and even went so far as to lay some blame on previous Saudi rulers for reacting improperly to the rise of a more religious, Shiite-ruled Iran. He also announced plans for a $500 billion "Neom" project envisioned as a hub for technological innovation.

From "Associated Press"

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