Josh Delk – December 30, 2017
North Korea promised on Saturday to continue preparing “pre-emptive attacks with nuclear force” in the face of U.S. “blackmail,” according to The Associated Press.
“Do not expect any change in its policy,” the state’s official media arm, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Saturday. “Its entity as an invincible power can neither be undermined nor be stamped out.”
KCNA said North Korea has been working toward “bolstering the capabilities for self-defense and pre-emptive attacks with nuclear force,” in response to ongoing “nuclear threat and blackmail and war drills” by the U.S.
North Korea has tested missiles at least 16 times in 2017, and threatened the use of a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit on a missile. More than one North Korean missile flew into the air space of neighboring Japan, and new models have flown to heights that some military analysts predict could reach the mainland U.S.
Chris Tomlinson – December 30, 2017
Former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Charlotte Knobloch claims that Jews are increasingly under threat in public and may require police protection to lead a normal life without harassment and violence.
Ms Knobloch, who is now the President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said that Jews are increasingly under threat, Die Welt reports.
“Aggressive anti-Semitism, from verbal hostility on the Internet and in the analogue world to desecration and destruction to physical attacks are commonplace in Germany,” she said.
“Jewish life can only take place in public under police protection and the strictest security precautions, or it must be completely cancelled for security reasons,” Knobloch added.
Liam Deacon – December 29, 2017
Approaching a third of German and French people want the European Union (EU) to become a single country, or ‘United States of Europe’, but only 10 per cent of Brits agree.
The plan to turn the bloc into a federal superstate by 2025 was put forward by Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament and a contender for German chancellor, earlier this month.
He called for an EU constitution and for the bloc to rapidly expand its power and erode the sovereignty of nation-states, as well as demanding that any country standing in the way must be ejected.
In a survey conducted before Christmas and published Thursday, YouGov found that 30 per cent of German respondents favoured the idea, making Germany the country that was most supportive of the plan among the seven European nations surveyed.
French respondents were also comparatively supportive of the idea, with 28 per cent endorsing the proposal of a United States of Europe.
Rachel Ohm – December 29, 2017
Outbreaks of influenza are getting an early start this year in part because of cold weather gripping much of the USA and low efficacy associated with this year’s flu vaccine.
It’s still too early to say whether this winter will be a bad season for the flu, but epidemiologists in 36 states already have reported widespread influenza activity to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in data released Friday. Twenty-one of those states show a high number of cases.
“It’s just one of those years where the CDC is seeing that this strain of flu is only somewhat covered by the vaccine that was given this year,” said Jennifer Radtke, manager for infection prevention at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. “They’re seeing that it’s anywhere from 10% to 33% effective, so any time there’s a mismatch between the vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu, you’re going to see more cases.”
Peak flu activity in the U.S. usually occurs around February.
Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D. – December 29, 2017
An Illinois Circuit Court judge rejected an attempt to block House Bill 40, which requires Illinois residents to pay for abortions regardless of their moral convictions in the matter.
The bill forces Illinois state residents to fund abortions of Medicaid recipients and state employee health insurance beneficiaries and sets no expense ceiling nor a limit on the number of abortions that Medicaid will cover.
On Thursday, a conservative, pro-life law firm filed for an emergency injunction concerning a recent lawsuit — Springfield Right to Life v. Norwood — in which the plaintiffs are seeking a restraining order and injunction against the bill.
Associate Judge Jennifer M. Ascher of Illinois’s Seventh Judicial Circuit Court heard the case Thursday and denied the request for an emergency injunction.
Patrick Knox – December 26, 2017
A NORTH Korean soldiers who defected this year may have been vaccinated against Anthrax – sparking fears Kim Jong-un’s henchmen have weaponized the killer disease.
South Korean authorities have revealed he was found to have antibodies in his bloodstreams which may suggest he has developed an immunity.
The soldier’s identity has not been revealed but it is believed he was either exposed to anthrax or directly vaccinated against it, reports UPI.
South Korean news network Channel A reported a South Korean intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said: “Anthrax antibodies have been found in the North Korean soldier who defected this year.”
John Hayward – December 29, 2017
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Iran over the past few days, speaking out against both the “hardline” government of the ayatollahs and the supposedly “moderate” secular government of President Hassan Rouhani.
“Death to the dictator!” and “Death to Rouhani” are chants heard in at least eight Iranian cities, and the movement appears to be spreading.
The UK Daily Mail reports protesters surrounding an Iranian mullah, a powerful member of the theocratic ruling class, and changing “Mullahs, be ashamed and leave Iran!” in his face.
One of the big protests was held in Mashhad, which is considered one of the holiest sites in Iran and in all of Shia Islam, as it contains the shrine of a revered 9th Century imam.
On Friday afternoon there were reports of protesters filling the streets of Qom, Iran’s spiritual center, and chanting: “We don’t want an Islamic republic!”
DW – December 29, 2017
A gunman opened fire outside a church on the outskirts of Cairo before attempting to storm the building, leaving five people dead, including two police officers.
Earlier reports by security sources said at least two attackers were involved. One was shot dead and another fled the scene. The interior ministry did not explain the reason for the different accounts.
The so-called “Islamic State” terror group later claimed responsibility for the attack, via its Amaq News Agency propaganda outlet.
Egypt has witnessed an increase in attacks against the country’s Coptic Christian community and its places of worship over the past year.
- At least nine people were killed in the attack, including one gunman, according to the health ministry
- No group has claimed responsibility, but the “Islamic State” militant group’s Egyptian network has targeted and urged attacks against Christians in the country
- Coptic Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 93 million people
The US embassy in Cairo condemned the attack, saying Washington “stands steadfastly with the people of Egypt in the face of such cowardly attacks.”
Newsmax – December 29, 2017
Russia has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu on a farm in the Kostromskaya Oblast region, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Friday.
The disease was detected on Dec. 17 and led to the culling of more than 660,000 birds, the OIE said, citing a report from the Russian ministry of agriculture.
It did not specify the type of birds that were infected.
WND – December 28, 2017
While there may not be a Third Temple at which Israeli Jews can worship atop the Jerusalem Temple Mount, there is a brand-new synagogue under the foundation of the holy site – and it’s open for prayer.
The new center of worship is the result of 12 years of construction at a cost of $50 million, and it is located directly under the Western Wall, where Jews have gathered for centuries to pray at the retaining wall for the Temple Mount.
“The unique design of the prayer hall combines rare art and unique lighting, creating a wonderful contrast between ancient and modern,” said a statement by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.