Ladane Nasseri – December 12, 2017
Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani says his nation is ready to support Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip, days after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Soleimani, commander of the Al Quds force, made the offer in a phone call late Monday with leaders of groups in Gaza, according to the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ website, Sepah News, which didn’t give details of the assistance proffered. Other forces in the region are ready to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Soleimani also told the Gaza faction leaders, without identifying them. The mosque is Islam’s third-holiest shrine and a frequent flashpoint for tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinians claim Jerusalem’s eastern sector, where the mosque stands, as the capital of a future state, and they oppose the U.S. move. Hamas has called for another uprising against Israel in response, though so far protests have been limited.
Soleimani spoke a day after the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, called on all “resistance” groups in the region to come up with a unified strategy to take back Jerusalem.
Amber Randal – December 12, 2017
Two organizations that worked with Planned Parenthood to distribute the parts of aborted fetuses to researchers admitted to breaking fetal tissue laws in a lawsuit settled with the Orange County District Attorney’s office Friday.
DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences, two sister companies, agreed to a settlement that comes with an admission of liability after the district attorney’s office brought a civil lawsuit against the companies in 2016, prosecutors announced.
The settlement terms dictate that the two companies must close and stop operating their businesses in California within a two to four-month period. The companies also must pay out $7.8 million in the form of donations and biological materials to a medical school’s scientific teaching institution as well as paying $195,000 in civil penalties.
The DA said the settlement seized all profits from DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences, which they got by illegally selling fetal tissue.
Samuel Smith – December 12, 2017
A Christian student group is suing the University of Iowa after it claims it was kicked off campus for requiring its leaders to sign a statement of faith that forces them to live out their careers in the organization without engaging in “sexual immorality.”
The legal nonprofit Becket announced Monday that the student organization Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the University of Iowa.
According to a press release, the school’s dean of students, Lyn Redington, told BLinC, which was founded three years ago, that “it must ‘revise’ its religious beliefs and submit an ‘acceptable plan’ for selecting its leaders” if it wants to regain its status as an official student group recognized by the school.
Mac Slavo – December 12, 2017
Indonesia is seeing an outbreak of diphtheria which is scaring civilians and government officials alike. The disease continues to spread as officials desperately work to contain the bacteria before it becomes a pandemic.
The bacteria that causes diphtheria ravages the human body. It causes a thick covering in the back of the throat and it has so far, infected hundreds in Indonesia. The disease is spreading quickly and not only to regions with limited health service but also to the country’s capital Jakarta, where health services are much better.
Between January and November 2017, the government has recorded 593 diphtheria cases, spread across 95 regencies in 20 provinces. The death toll has reached 32. The World Health Organization data on diphtheria shows that the number of cases in Indonesia has fluctuated since the 1980s. –Medical Xpress
Diphtheria is a life-threatening communicable disease that spreads through air containing Corynebacterium diphtheriae, which can lead to breathing difficulties, heart failure, paralysis, and even death if left untreated.
NZ Herald – December 11, 2017
Two tremors detected in North Korea yesterday were likely to be aftershocks from the hermit nation’s reckless nuclear test in early September, a US Geological Survey official confirmed.
The mild 2.9 and 2.4 magnitude aftershocks were confirmed as “tectonic” in origin by the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty executive secretary Lassina Zerbo.
The USGS official claimed the tremors originated near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site – the location where North Korea carried out its largest nuclear test to date on September 3.
The official said: “They’re probably relaxation events from the sixth nuclear test. When you have a large nuclear test, it moves the Earth’s crust around the area, and it takes a while for it to fully subside.
“We’ve had a few of them since the sixth nuclear test.”
Yonah Jeremy Bob – December 11, 2017
The IDF responded to rocket fire from Gaza late Monday with tank fire and air strikes on Hamas positions in southern Gaza.
Earlier Monday night, a rocket was launched from Gaza that fell in an open area of the Eshkol Regional Council. No one was wounded in that attack.
The IDF issued a standard statement that said it considered Hamas solely responsible for any fire that comes from Gaza. But as of press time, it had not been determined whether the rockets were fired by Hamas, Islamic Jihad or a smaller terrorist group.
Often, the discovery of which group was directly involved in a rocket attack has had an impact on whether altercations between the IDF and Gaza escalate.
On Sunday, the IDF destroyed a Hamas attack tunnel that reached into Israeli territory, leading to threats of retaliation from Hamas.
REUTERS – December 11, 2017
BEIRUT – Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will hasten the country’s destruction, Iran’s defense minister said on Monday, while a top Revolutionary Guards commander phoned two Palestinian armed groups and pledged support for them.
Leaders of Iran, where opposition to Israel and support for the Palestinian cause has been central to foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution, have denounced last week’s announcement by the US president, including a plan to move the US embassy to the city.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
“(Trump’s) step will hasten the destruction of the Zionist regime and will double the unity of Muslims,” Iran’s defense minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, said on Monday, according to state media.
The army’s chief of staff, General Mohammad Baqeri, said Trump’s “foolish move” could be seen as the beginning of a new intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
Virginia Hale – December 11, 2017
An NHS health survey given out in schools is asking children aged ten whether they are “comfortable in their gender”, as well as whether they are a boy, a girl or “other”.
While the questionnaire has traditionally been used to monitor pupils height, weight and fitness, forms sent to schools across Lancashire by the county’s NHS foundation trust asks Year 6 pupils: “Do you feel the same inside as the gender you were born with? (feeling male or female)”.
Children are also offered a choice of “other”, in addition to male and female, in a question asking them to confirm their gender, according to the Daily Telegraph, which reported that it is unclear whether trusts outside Lancashire have adopted the initiative.
Parents were given the option of having their child opt out of the survey, which the NHS said would help healthcare workers and teachers devise “better ways to understand and support” children who may be confused about their gender.
Mark Martin – December 10, 2017
Can Islamic religious sharia law override a country’s domestic law in Europe? That’s a question the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights is weighing.
The Court heard a case this week that involves applying sharia law to a disagreement between citizens of Greece who are Muslims.
Christian Concern, a non-profit organization based in London, intervened in the case “because of the importance of the case in European law and its implications for countries across Europe, including the UK,” according to a news release from the organization.
“We intervened in the case in order to make clear that sharia law is fundamentally incompatible with human rights,” wrote Tim Dieppe, head of public policy of Christian Concern, on the organization’s website. “We hope and pray that the judges will see this and act accordingly.”
Mac Slavo – December 7, 2017
A Siberian super-volcano is worrying scientists after it’s shocking and sudden eruption flung hot ash six miles into the sky. This volcano is one of the most active in Russia.
Scientists working at the geophysical department of the Russian Academy of Science in north-eastern Russia’s Kamchatka Krai region have confirmed the giant eruption took place at the site of the Shiveluch Volcano yesterday over a 20 minute period. They also verified and saw the volcano spew piping hot ash 10 kilometers (6 miles) into the sky. So far, no locals or villages have been affected by this volcano’s eruption, but it’s sparking fears that a larger and more powerful explosion could occur in the very near future.
This eruption comes just days after Mount Agung in Bali in Indonesia began erupting, causing thousands to flee. The head of the volcano station, Yuri Demyanchuk, said the eruption was powerful. “It was a powerful outburst, although it wasn’t accompanied by pyroclastic flows. There was much lightning in the ash column,” according to Demyanchuk.