RT – April 29, 2017
The US kicked off joint naval exercises with South Korea as the US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson entered the Sea of Japan through the Tsusima Strait. The war games got underway on the heels of North Korea’s unsuccessful missile launch.
“South Korea and US strike forces began a drill in the East Sea from 6pm (09:00 GMT) today against the backdrop of the current security situation,” South Korean Navy officials announced, referring to the Sea of Japan, as cited by Yonhap news agency.
Apart from the USS Carl Vinson, the group also includes the USS Lake Champlain, a guided-missile cruiser, as well as two destroyers, the USS Michael Murphy and the USS Wayne E. Meyer.
The drill, which is expected to last through next week, will focus on monitoring, tracing, and intercepting any intercontinental ballistic missiles that could be potentially launched by North Korea, Yonhap reports.
Michael Snyder – April 28, 2017
Those that were predicting that the U.S. economy would be flying high by now have been proven wrong. U.S. GDP grew at the worst rate in three years during the first quarter of 2017, and many are wondering if this is the beginning of a major economic slowdown. Of course when we are dealing with the official numbers that the federal government puts out, it is important to acknowledge that they are highly manipulated. There are many that have correctly pointed out to me that if the numbers were not being doctored that they would show that we are still in a recession. In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com has shown that if honest numbers were being used that U.S. GDP growth would have been consistently negative going all the way back to 2005. So I definitely don’t have any argument with those that claim that we are actually in a recession right now. But even if we take the official numbers that the federal government puts out at face value, they are definitely very ugly…
Economic growth slowed in the first quarter to its slowest pace in three years as sluggish consumer spending and business stockpiling offset solid business investment. Many economists write off the weak performance as a byproduct of temporary blips and expect healthy growth in 2017.
Space Daily – Apr 27, 2017
A new study indicates that the number of plant and animal species at risk of extinction may be considerably higher than previously thought. A team of researchers, however, believe they’ve come up with a formula that will help paint a more accurate picture.
The maps describing species’ geographic ranges, which are used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to determine threat status, appear to systematically overestimate the size of the habitat in which species can thrive, said Don Melnick, senior investigator on the study and the Thomas Hunt Morgan Professor of Conservation Biology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B) at Columbia University.
“Concerned about this issue, we aimed to determine how far off those maps were. In doing so, we found there is an enormous amount of freely available data on many species around the world that can be employed to get a better picture of exactly how many species are truly under extreme threat. This picture, grim as it may be, is necessary if we are going to accurately plan the steps needed to stem those threats, locally and globally.”
Lin Noueihed and Crispian Balmer – April 28, 2017
Pope Francis arrived in Cairo on Friday hoping to mend ties with Muslim leaders, just as Egypt’s ancient Christian community faces unprecedented pressure from Islamic State militants who have threatened to wipe it out.
In an address to the Egyptian people this week, Francis said he hoped his visit would help bring peace and encourage dialog and reconciliation with the Islamic world.
But it comes at a painful time for Egypt’s Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian community, three weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed 45 people in twin church bombings.
Those attacks followed a cathedral bombing that killed 28 people in December and a spree of murders that has forced hundreds of Christians to flee North Sinai, where the group is most active.
“Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace,” read posters plastered along the road leading from the airport to central Cairo, showing a smiling pope, his hand raised above the Christian cross and the Crescent moon of Islam.
Michael Patrick Leahy – April 27, 2017
The barbaric practise of female genital mutilation — a procedure made unlawful by the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 — has been thrust to the fore of public debate in the United States following the arrests of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, and Attar’s wife Farida in Michigan this month.
According to reports, several young Somali girls were brought from Minnesota, one of twenty-four states that have passed legislation to make female genital mutilation (FGM) illegal according to state laws, to Michigan, one of twenty-six states in which FGM has not been made illegal in state law, where Dr. Nagarwala, with assistance from Mrs. Attar, performed the procedure outlawed by federal law in a medical office owned by Dr. Attar.
“Since 1996, there have been specific federal criminal penalties for performing FGM/C in the United States on anyone under 18 years old, including fines, up to 5 years in prison, or both.
DEBKAfile – April 26, 2017
The US early Wednesday, April 26, began moving the THAAD missile defense system to central South Korea opposite the border with the North – months ahead of schedule. A South Korean military official said two road-mobile launchers had arrived at the Osan Air Base. One THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) unit includes six launchers.
Tuesday, the USS Michigan nuclear submarine docked in South Korea, after the North began a large-scale, long-range artillery fire drill in Wonsan on the east coast. More than 4,000 artillery guns are reported to be taking part in the “exercise.”
The Michigan is in place ready to join the USS Carl Vinson carrier and its strike group which are steaming towards the peninsula, along with two Japanese destroyers.
Later Wednesday, all 100 US senators are scheduled to gather at the White House for a briefing by US security and military chiefs on the North Korean crisis, as the buildup to meet North Korean belligerence continues apace.
Facing US steps to meet the Korean crisis, China made ready to launch its second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, also known as the Type 001A. The new vessel, the first to be manufactured from prow to stern in China, is bigger than the Liaoning, China’s first Russian-made aircraft carrier.
Nate Madden – April 28, 2017
Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, around 58 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion in America. Of that statistic, Planned Parenthood is responsible for over 300,000 per year. Statistics like these are so familiar to pro-life activists and politicians that they can sometimes lose its meaning and power.
But what if politicians – if all of us – were confronted with the harsh reality of those statistics? What if the same politicians who once again are poised to continue PP’s tax dollar stream had to look directly at the concrete results of what continuing the group’s federal funding means for America’s pre-born population?
On Wednesday, in front of the Capitol building, a group of dedicated pro-lifers made that happen.
Students for Life of America, a college pro-life organization, delivered almost 200,000 baby socks to Congress. Their message? That Planned Parenthood alone is responsible for the death of the children who should be filling those socks.
Brett T. – April 27, 2017
As Twitchy reported Wednesday, the Texas House had taken up debate on Senate Bill 4 and was working its way through more than 180 amendments, a process which looked like it would continue well into the early morning.
It did, and after 16 hours of debate and plenty of tears, the Texas House passed #SB4 on a party line vote Thursday afternoon, 94 to 53.
The legislation outlaws sanctuary jurisdictions throughout the state, imposes civil penalties for entities in violation of the law, and makes it a misdemeanor for sheriffs, constables, police chiefs, and local leaders not to cooperate with federal authorities and honor requests from immigration agents.
Anthony Gockowski – Apr 27, 2017
A Northern Arizona University student was recently asked to stop reading his Bible prior to the start of one of his classes, according to audio obtained by Campus Reform.
In a recording of the February incident, provided to Campus Reform by Kevin Cavanaugh for Congress, Mark Holden explains the situation to History Department Chair Derek Heng, who had been called in by the instructor, Dr. Heather Martel, after Holden had refused her request that he put his Bible away.
“So, will you, will you, will you, put your Bible away?”
Holden tells Heng that he had arrived early to his U.S. history course and, as usual, used the spare time to read his Bible, but claims that Martel had objected to the routine because she didn’t want to see a Bible in front of her.
“So Prof. Martel says that she doesn’t want you sitting in front of her because you put, you know, a Bible out, right?” Heng can be heard explaining to Holden, adding that while he doesn’t “know what the dynamics [are] going on in the classroom,” the “real key is to make sure that, you know, the class is able to go on and that you are in the classroom.”
RT – April 28, 2017
A 6.8 earthquake has struck south of the Philippines island of Mindanao, triggering a brief warning of “hazardous tsunami waves” for the country’s coastlines, according to the US Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that tsunami waves could reach 300km from the epicenter of the earthquake, which was recorded at 6.8 on the Richter scale.
Waves reaching up to 1 meter above normal tide levels are possible in the Philippines, while some coastlines in Indonesia, Malaysia and Palau could expect waves up to 30 centimeters higher than usual, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The warning was lifted roughly an hour later, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center saying that “the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed.”