News Briefs for August 8, 2022
Past Issues of News Briefs at www.lofj.wordpress.com
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:8-12)
Praise Reports: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
After five years of litigation and a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Christian flag finally flew on the Boston City Hall Plaza public forum flagpole Wednesday as an enthusiastic crowd cheered to celebrate the first day free of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. In 2017, Shurtleff and Camp Constitution filed a permit application with the City of Boston to celebrate Constitution Day in September. Boston had a longstanding practice and policy to open a flagpole for private speakers to temporarily raise a flag during their events. In the city’s own words, Boston created a “public forum” open to “all applicants.” But after 12 years, 284 applications, no denials and virtually no review, Boston censored Camp Constitution’s application because of one word in the application – Christian.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has announced residents can now claim unborn children as dependents on their tax returns amounting to a $3,000 benefit. It’s all due to the “Living Infant and Fairness Equality (LIFE) Act” which has now taken effect in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. “The Department will recognize any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat…as eligible for the Georgia individual income tax dependent exemption,” the guidance read.
Three Nigerian Christian women kidnapped as teenagers by Boko Haram Islamist terrorists from a school in Chibok eight years ago have been found. They and their three children were recovered with their children by the Nigerian Army during operations against Boko Haram in Borno State. Boko Haram abducted 276 girls, mostly Christian, from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in April 2014. Around 165 girls have subsequently escaped, been rescued or released.
The Demise of America: The first was like a lion (Britain) and had eagle’s wings (America). I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. (Daniel 7:4)
Two GOP senators have urged the Department of Defense (DoD) to immediately investigate whistleblower allegations that hundreds of Afghan evacuees who appeared on official watchlists were not properly vetted before they were released into the United States. According to the DoD whistleblower, the Biden administration failed to properly vet 324 Afghan evacuees who appeared on the DoD’s Biometrically Enabled Watchlist (BEWL), which includes known suspected terrorists, said U.S. Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Thursday.
Our nation’s power grid is fragile. Much more so than most Americans know, or that the government is disclosing, reports Intercessors for America (IFA). Recently IFA hosted experts on the threats and vulnerabilities of the grid on a Pray With America’s Leaders webcast. What they shared was astounding. The threats against the grid are many: hackers, solar flares, sabotage, and an EMP.
Politics: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1-2)
Last-minute changes to a package of economic spending bills won over key votes Sunday, like that of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. The Senate passed Democrats’ omnibus spending, prescription drug, and climate bill along party lines. The budget reconciliation process allowed the bill to avoid a GOP filibuster, and Vice President Kamala Harris broke the 50-50 tie. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants the House to vote on it when Congress reconvenes next week.
- Contradicting claims from Senate Democrats, a report from the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicates that the measures in the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) would have a marginal to negative impact on inflation.
- Republicans say this bill includes $740 billion in funding to hire 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, which they say will target Americans. However, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “These resources are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans. As we have been planning, our investment of these enforcement resources is designed around Treasury’s directive that audit rates will not rise relative to recent years for households making under $400,000.”
Senators delivered overwhelming bipartisan approval to NATO membership for Finland and Sweden Wednesday, calling expansion of the Western defensive bloc a “slam-dunk” for U.S. national security and a day of reckoning for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine. Wednesday’s 95-1 vote — for the candidacy of two Western European nations that, until Russia’s war against Ukraine, had long avoided military alliances — took a crucial step toward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its 73-year-old pact of mutual defense among the United States and democratic allies in Europe. Formal approval from all member nations — currently, 30 — is required.
Persecution: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
For the fourth time in nine months, a Muslim man has been found shot to death in Albuquerque. The man killed Friday night was in his mid-20s and from South Asia. Police, who discovered his body after receiving a report of a shooting, declined to say whether the killing was done in a way similar to the other slayings, which have shaken the Muslim community in New Mexico and drawn condemnation from President Biden. “There is reason to believe this death is related to those shootings,” Police Chief Harold Medina said in a news conference Saturday.
Back in May, 20 Nigerian Christians were brutally martyred by the Islamic militant group ISIS. In June, 40 more Christians died in Owo, Nigeria, in a terrorist attack against a church. Though it is not clear who is responsible for that attack, what is clear is that Christians continue to be severely persecuted in this West African nation. The persecution, which has been ongoing for years, is part of a long history of conflict with Islam. In 1953, Christians made up only 21.4% of the population in Nigeria. Today, about half of the country’s population, about 96 million people, are Christians. To put that number in perspective, Germany, the largest country in Europe, has a total population of less than 84 million.
Muslim extremists on July 29 came to the home of an evangelist who had held open-air events in eastern Uganda and killed him, Christian Headlines reports. Sozi Odongo was killed in a knife attack at his home in Omorio cell, Agule Town Council, Pallisa District, while his wife and four children hid in a room. Odongo was 45. The previous week, sources said, Odongo had received threatening text messages, including one from Nasuru Ongom, a Muslim sheikh (teacher) in Palissa town, that read, “Please stop preaching to our people using the holy Koran, or else you risk your life.”
The prosecution of four Christian converts from Islam under an apostasy law abolished two years ago seems to confirm concerns about a return to Islamism by the government in Sudan. The four young men were charged with apostasy from Islam under Article 126 of the Sudanese Penal Code, and could now face the death penalty in line with sharia (Islamic law). Sudan’s apostasy law was abolished in July 2020 by the reforming government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The government formalized separation of religion and state two months later. Now it seems that the reforms that had improved the lives of Christians – and especially Muslim-background believers – are being rolled back and these four Christian converts face the death penalty.
Protests: Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Protests continue at justices’ homes, in violation of state and federal law! On Wednesdays, Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts were targeted; Thursday, Justice Barrett; Friday, Justice Thomas; and Saturday, Justice Alito. Organizers call the scheduled events ‘resistance marches’ and also organize pop-up events at random times, which they call “surprise home demo” (most recently at Justice Gorsuch’s house). These random events circumvent the authorities–they advertise that they have 10 minutes before cops will show up. Some of these justices have young children at home. Can you imagine how distressing this is for them?
Abortion: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Just as the surge of terrorism and hate crimes against pregnancy resource centers (PRC) and churches appeared to be slowing down in recent weeks, two more churches were targeted in Lawrence, Kans. over the weekend. With this ongoing violence and with the rhetoric surrounding PRCs continuing to heat up on Capitol Hill, pregnancy center staff are increasingly finding themselves having to divert valuable resources away from helping vulnerable women in need in order to bolster security measures for their buildings.
President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that laid the groundwork for Medicaid to enable women to travel to another state for an abortion. This is his second pro-abortion executive order since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The first created the so-called Reproductive Rights Task Force on July 12. Wednesday’s order also encourages healthcare providers to provide data to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kansans voted last Tuesday against an amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed lawmakers to protect unborn babies either completely or partially. The referendum failed by about 20 percentage points. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that abortion is a “fundamental” right. The amendment would have said the constitution does not protect the right to abortion, giving lawmakers the ability to pass more pro-life laws.
- This was a real shocker in a state which Trump carried by 15% in 2020.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Enrolled Act 1 into law last week, banning most abortions in the state. It is the first state to do so since the United States overturned Roe v. Wade in late June. The new law provides exceptions for cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal deformity, and serious health emergency for the mother.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday against Idaho’s law that protects babies in every case except to save the life of the mother or in the case of rape or incest. The new law, which is scheduled to go into effect Aug. 25, makes performing an abortion without proof that it was one of these cases punishable by two to five years in prison. This is the first major action by the DOJ challenging a state law protecting babies since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The DOJ said the Idaho law conflicts with the federal 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act that requires medical facilities that accept Medicare to stabilize and treat any patient. That treatment includes providing abortions, the department argues.
Three pro-life activists, including a Catholic priest, were sentenced to three months in jail yesterday following a rescue effort at an abortion facility during which they counseled women to choose life for their preborn children. The three men were given the maximum sentence by White Plains City Court Judge John Collin for the misdemeanor charge of third-degree criminal trespass. The men spoke to the women inside the abortion mill, offering each a red rose, which had a Miraculous Medal and a note attached that read, “You were made to love and be loved … Your goodness is greater than the difficulties of your situation. Circumstances change. A new life, however tiny, brings the promise of unrepeatable joy.”
Suicide/Assisted Suicide: No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. (Ecclesiastes 8:8 ESV)
The European Court of Human Rights rejected an urgent legal application from the parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee Wednesday to delay the removal of their son’s life support. In a letter sent to Battersbee’s parents, ECHR stated it would not interfere with the decision of previous judges who agreed with the hospital’s assessment that removal of care was in Archie’s “best interests.” The boy’s mother, Hollie Dance, said the news was another “heart-breaking development” in her son’s case and questioned why he couldn’t be given a chance if doctors in other countries are willing to treat him. The parents have now submitted an application to a United Kingdom high court seeking to move their 12-year-old son to a hospice so he can receive palliative oxygen. However, the boy died shortly after life-support ended.
- Once again, the culture of death wants to take life and death decisions out of the parents’ hands.
Pestilence (Covid and other diseases): For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)
Covid-19: The number of new cases of Covid-19 per day in the U.S. over the past two weeks has dropped by 8% down to 117,564/day. These are reported cases, not including those who test positive at home and don’t report it. Hospitalizations remained flat at 42,275 with deaths climbing 11% to 494/day.
One in eight people who get coronavirus develop at least one symptom of long COVID one of the most comprehensive studies on the condition to date suggested on Thursday. A new study published in The Lancet journal asked more than 76,400 adults in the Netherlands to fill out an online questionnaire on 23 common long COVID symptoms. Between March 2020 and August 2021, each participant filled out the questionnaire 24 times. About 12.7 percent of those who had COVID — around one in eight — suffered from long-term symptoms, the study said. It found that common long COVID symptoms include chest pain, breathing difficulties, muscle pain, loss of taste and smell, and general fatigue.
Monkeypox: The Biden administration declared a public health emergency for monkeypox on Aug. 4 in a bid to unlock funding and more powers to deal with the virus, which officials say is primarily spreading among homosexual males. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra issued the declaration, saying in an Aug. 4 conference call with reporters that the move will allow for quicker distribution of the monkeypox vaccine. In the United States, there are “1.6 to 1.7 million” people who are at the “highest risk” of contracting monkeypox, according to the CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. She reiterated that homosexual men, namely those who are HIV-positive, appear to have the highest likelihood of getting monkeypox. So far, 95% of the cases are gay men.
- If we follow God’s laws, we don’t have to worry about Monkeypox, AIDS and STDs.
Vaccines – Harbinger of the Mark of the Beast: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)
A trove of documents released last week by America First Legal obtained from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked with Big Tech companies to censor what the agency deemed “misinformation” about COVID vaccines. The documents show emails between the CDC and officials from Twitter, Facebook and Google in which the CDC flagged what it deemed as “misinformation”. The emails also show that the CDC coordinated with the companies for the suppression of any dissent from the mainstream COVID narrative and had regular meetings about “misinformation” related to the vaccines. The CDC also helped to develop language used to control the narrative around the vaccines.
A recent study available in the prestigious Lancet peer-reviewed journal reveals COVID-19 vaccine booster shots may be harmful to the immune system and cause significant adverse reactions. The study also shows that eight months after a two-dose regimen, the injected have lower immune function than the unvaccinated. Dr. Kenji Yamamoto, a cardiovascular surgeon who has authored or co-authored thousands of papers available on NIH’s PubMed website, highlighted not only the well-known waning effectiveness of the experimental coronavirus gene-based injections, but that the shots may actually cause harm to their recipients’ immune systems as well.
A researcher who queried the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) discovered a 10,661.4% increase in cancer reports as a result of experimental COVID-19 gene-base vaccines as compared with all FDA-approved vaccines over the last 30 years. Brian Shilhavy, who is the editor of Health Impact News, also made note of the significant number of the cancer cases in the database that were of young people, from age 12 up through many young adults in their 20s. Last October, a Swedish lab study found that the spike protein associated with the COVID-19 illness, and its experimental vaccines, enters the nucleus of cells and significantly interferes with DNA damage-repair functions, compromising a person’s adaptive immunity and perhaps encouraging the formation of cancer cells.
- In March 2021, board-certified pathologist Dr. Ryan Cole reported that he was seeing a massive “uptick” in various autoimmune diseases and cancers in patients who have been COVID-vaccinated.
Violence/Murder: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)
Crime, murder and mass shootings have dominated headlines this year. Just over the weekend, a shooting in Cincinnati wounded nine people, and another in Detroit killed one and wounded four. Overall, however, nationwide shootings are down 4% this year compared to the same time last year. In big cities, murders are down 3%. If the decrease in murders continues for the rest of 2022, it will be the first year since 2018 in which they fell in the U.S.
Tragedy: In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
A thunderstorm passed over a Cuban crude oil storage facility and lightning caused fires and explosions, killing at least one firefighter and injuring more than 100 people. Crews from three countries worked to battle the blaze. A second tank collapsed and another explosion rocked Cuba overnight Sunday as the Matzanas oil farm fire worsened.
Justice (or lack thereof): Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. (Jeremiah 23:5)
The father and son who are serving life in prison for Ahmaud Arbery’s murder were again sentenced to life in prison Monday on federal hate crime charges. Travis McMichael, who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery, will serve his federal sentence of life plus 10 years. His father, Gregory, will serve life in state prison plus seven years. They both will serve the federal sentences concurrently with the state time. The family of Arbery, a young Black man shot in 2020 while on a neighborhood jog, had asked that the men be sent to state, rather than federal, prison. Legal experts say the outcome of the second trial marked a historic moment in Georgia in acknowledging racist motivations.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit due to neglect of duty. The Governor has the authority to suspend a state officer under Article IV, Section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Florida. The Governor has appointed Susan Lopez to serve as State Attorney for the period of suspension. She has most recently been serving as a Judge on the Hillsborough County Court. “State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. Warren had said he would not prosecute abortions despite it being state law.
- This is the first time a liberal State Attorney (or Attorney General) has been removed from office because of allowing criminals back onto the streets with no bail. There’s been far too much of this in the U.S.
Law Enforcement: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
Four officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death have been charged with federal crimes two years after the fatal shooting occurred in Louisville. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that four current or former Louisville police officers have been charged. The charges include falsifying information on the search warrant that led to the raid in which Taylor was killed and attempting to cover up the false information after the fact. Garland said the alleged wrongdoing “resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death …. Breonna Taylor should still be alive.”
Over 1,000 New York City police officers have filed to leave the department in 2022, raising doubts about the city’s ability to maintain a substantive police force and maintain safety and security. Many officers are joining in the exodus and leaving before receiving their full pensions. Former NYPD detective Jason Caputo says the city is “steering away” from encouraging officers to apprehend criminals, adding that city and NYPD leaders are “putting victims and police in jeopardy.”
Racism/Discrimination: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
More than half a century after the Fair Housing Act was signed into law in 1968, not only is the homeownership gap between white and Black Americans wider than it was in 1960 , the homeownership rate of Black Americans is expected to be lower (40%) in 2040 than it was in 2020 (41%), according to a study by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., based research organization focused on upward mobility and equity. Issues including financial education and awareness can still limit homeownership for lower-income households (a disproportionate share of whom are Black and Hispanic) or trap them into exploitative transactions.
A racist text message sent by a police officer has prompted officials in Vincent, a small Alabama town to disband their police department and fire the police chief and assistant chief. There was only one other officer in the department. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office condemned the two officers’ actions and said Friday that it stands with the city “in providing emergency law enforcement related service to the citizens (of Vincent) at this time.”
Health: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22) Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3John 1:2)
A daily hamburger might raise the risk of developing heart disease, but not necessarily for the reasons people often think, new research suggests. The study of nearly 4,000 older Americans found what many have before: People who ate a lot of red meat had a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke. But there was no evidence that the link was due to a traditional culprit: elevated blood levels of “bad” cholesterol. Instead, researchers traced the risk, in part, to particular substances produced by the gut microbiome — the trillions of bacteria that reside in the digestive tract. When those bacteria digest red meat, they produce a chemical called TMAO, which can spur inflammation and blood clotting.
Education: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
In the past two years, a mass exodus of over 1.2 million students has left the public-school system as parents seek alternative education routes, such as public charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling, especially in large cities. New York City is experiencing “massive hemorrhaging of students,” according to Mayor Eric Adams. Having lost upward of 64,000 enrollments since the start of the pandemic, the city is forecasting the loss of an additional 30,000 students this upcoming fall semester. Michigan is 56,000 students shy of its pre-pandemic public school enrollment numbers. Orange County, Denver, Kansas City and Chicago, are just a few of the many more cities around the country realizing nose-diving numbers.
Marriage/Family: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
The abusive “child bride” situations in the U.S. will be unleashed if the U.S. Senate passes the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act.” “HR 8404 will do SO MUCH MORE than just codify the Supreme Court ruling on marriage, notes Mat Staver, CEO of Liberty Counsel. Our team has been shocked by what we have learned. We were unaware of the large number of tragic child bride cases. I am sure many members of Congress are also unaware, and that’s why we must educate them about the impact of HR 8404. What is happening now with little girls being abused in child bride ‘marriages,’ if this bill passes, also will happen to little boys who will be ‘married’ off to homosexual pedophiles. Suddenly, it would be legal for a 50-year-old man to ‘marry’ a 15-year-old boy in Mississippi. A 14-year-old boy in North Carolina. Or a boy of any age in California!”
Homosexuality: For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise, also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26-27)
Members of a community, described as “politically conservative,” voted to gut the library’s funding because the library promoted an “LGBTQ-themed” graphic novel. Voters in Jamestown Township, a politically conservative community in Ottawa County, Michigan, rejected renewal Tuesday of a millage (mill rate, or property tax) that would support the Patmos Library. That vote guts the library’s operating budget in 2023 — 84 percent of the library’s $245,000 budget comes from property taxes collected through a millage. Without a millage, the library is likely to run out of money sometime late next year, said Larry Walton, library board president. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this,” Walton said.
Election Integrity: He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known… The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. (Proverbs 10:9,11:3)
An election official from an Arizona county has resigned after allegations of voter irregularities and a ballot shortage on primary elections day. The Pinal County government confirmed that “David Frisk is no longer in the position of Elections Director and is no longer employed by Pinal County” in a statement on Thursday–two days after Arizona’s primary election day—after a shortage of ballots on primary election day and thousands of early ballots were sent to the wrong voters leading up to the primaries. Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer was asked if the volume of ballots were sufficient to impact any results of the race. Volkmer said it is a “difficult question,” noting that only 10 votes separated winners and losers in some municipal races.
Immigration: He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)
For weeks now, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been dispatching buses loaded with illegal aliens to Washington, D.C., because it is government officials in that location who could take action to prevent the crisis that Joe Biden’s policies have created at the southern border. Now he’s started sending them to New York City, too, as that city’s mayor, Eric Adams, had boasted about the “sanctuary city’s” services and housing programs. So the mayors of those two cities are now crying out for help. Washington’s mayor, regularly “championed accepting migrants entering the country illegally as a human rights issue,” but she now wants the D.C. National Guard activated on a continuing basis to help with the “humanitarian crisis” of illegals in town.
Travel: The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:8)
Airline delays and cancellations continued Monday after a weekend full of weather-related issues. As of noon Monday, more than 2,000 flights in, out of and across the U.S. have been delayed, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. Another 500 flights were canceled. Although airlines are still batting staffing issues, delays and cancellations were particularly heavy all weekend due to extensive thunderstorm activity and weather ground stops.
British flight attendant Kris Major serves as chair of the European Transport Workers Federation’s Joint Aircrew Committee, representing European flight attendants and pilots. He says flight crew are struggling. “It’s completely unsustainable as a job.” As global travelers return to the skies in droves after a pandemic-enforced pause, airlines and airports across the world are grappling to match supply with demand. The result is flights canceled left right and center, luggage mislaid, and travelers losing confidence in the aviation industry as a whole.
Business: Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8)
In June, Toyota issued a warning to owners of its BZ4X electric SUV that they should stop driving the vehicle and have it transported to a dealership because of a severe problem: the wheels could fall off while driving even after just a short time on the road. Toyota did not know why this was happening, but the automaker said it would investigate and have the problem corrected once engineers understood why the wheels were coming loose. Now, over a month later, Toyota has not yet identified the issue and is offering to simply buy back the SUVs from customers who no longer want to wait for the problem to be resolved.
Science: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so the are without excuse… who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. (Romans 1:20,25)
The Earth is spinning ever so slightly faster. A report at Phys.org confirmed that scientists at the National Physical Laboratory in England recorded the shortest day ever on June 29 – nearly 1.5 milliseconds shorter than usual. While that’s barely noticeable, they are concerned about the cause. Speculation includes melting or freezing glaciers, winds triggering shifts in the Earth’s weight, earthquakes pulling the Earth’s mass toward its center, or the molten core actually shifting.
Economy – Depression/Shortages: When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)
U.S. employers added a booming 528,000 jobs in July as the labor market now has recovered all 22 million jobs lost in the pandemic and continued to defy soaring inflation, rising interest rates and a slowing economy. The unemployment rate fell from 3.6% to 3.5%, matching a 50-year low reached just before the pandemic began in early 2020. July’s payroll increases were broad-based. Leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants and bars, the sector hit hardest by COVID-19, led the job gains with 96,000. Professional and business services added 89,000 jobs; health care, 70,000; construction, 32,000; manufacturing, 30,000; and retail, 22,000 jobs. Federal, state and local governments added 57,000 jobs.
- However, 384,000 of the jobs are part-time, according to WND.com.
Last week, initial jobless claims – a gauge of layoffs – rose to the highest level since November based on a four-week moving average. Tech giants such as Oracle, Amazon, Netflix and Robinhood have all announced significant job cuts recently. Also, hiring has been expected to downshift now that the U.S. has recouped all 22 million jobs lost in the health crisis.
- More jobs added, but more jobless claims. It appears the economy is quite a confused state right now. If we are indeed in the early stages of the end-times, the economy will tank. If not, business as usual.
U.S. household debt increased to a record $16.15 trillion in the second quarter, driven mostly by a $207 billion jump in mortgage balances, with credit card and auto loan debt also rising as consumers lifted their borrowing to deal with soaring inflation. The New York Fed said credit card balances were up 13 percent in the second quarter of 2022, compared with 12 months earlier, the biggest increase in more than 20 years.
Gas prices have been trending downward for more than 50 consecutive days, giving drivers some much-needed financial relief at the pump. Prices at the pump might be lower now – the average cost of a gallon of gas is down almost a dollar since the June peak – but the longer-term outlook for oil suggests low inventories that will keep prices elevated. “Russia-Ukraine is a factor but… we had tight supplies coming into this,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. The unwillingness – or inability, according to some oil analysts – of members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to significantly increase production is limiting how much additional oil is coming onto global markets.
In Lebanon there are long queues to buy bread, and cooking oil is virtually unobtainable. Fuel is so costly that some dare not eat food items which require lengthy cooking. People have died because they could no longer afford the medication they depended on.
Middle East: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)
The IDF has successfully eliminated the Islamic Jihad’s senior commanders in the Gaza Strip, a major achievement of Operation Breaking Dawn, because the terror organization had continued its attacks on Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and the Jerusalem area. However, a 5-year-old Palestinian girl was also killed in two initial air strikes on Friday, which injured 44, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The attacks followed several days of days of threats from militants in Gaza after Israel arrested an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank earlier in the week. Over 1000 rockets were fired at Israeli cities in the south and then towards Holon, Rishon Lezion and Bat Yam in the center of the country. About 95% of the rockets fired at Israeli population centers were destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome defense. One projectile struck a family home in Sderot, whose inhabitants had secured themselves in a shelter and were uninjured. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live within 50 miles of Gaza were ordered to remain in their homes within close proximity to bomb shelters. The IDF called up 25,000 reserves to assist in the military effort.
- A ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect late Sunday in a bid to end nearly three days of violence that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis. The flare-up was the worst fighting between Israel and Gaza militant groups since Israel and Hamas fought an 11-day war last year, and adds to the destruction and misery that have plagued Gaza for years.
Israeli forces made nearly two dozen arrests overnight in Gaza as the death toll in the West Bank rose to 32 on Sunday. All those arrested were allegedly members of the Islamic Jihad militant group, which has lost two of its senior commanders to Israeli strikes in recent days. The Palestinian Ministry has also alleged that Israeli airstrikes have killed 32 people, including six children. The IDF argues the children were killed by rocket attacks from Gaza militants that fell short of their targets in Israel, however.
The Turkish government has stepped up its lethal drone attacks against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria ahead of a threatened full-scale invasion. On Sunday, a Turkish drone attack was reported to have killed 4 people in a town on the Syria-Turkey border. The latest attack drew criticism from the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), a U.S. allied force that helped defeat ISIS. The force is predominantly made up of Kurds. Last week in a joint statement after a four-hour meeting between Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, the two strongmen “reaffirmed their determination to act in coordination and solidarity in the fight against all terrorists organizations” in Syria.
- This is now the second ‘proxy’ war between the U.S. and Russia, with the U.S. supplying weapons and guidance to the Syrian Kurds and to Ukraine.
The Biden administration has approved on Tuesday massive arms sales in two separate deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The weapons that were approved for the sales are meant for defensive purposes, as the two Gulf nations have faced recurring rocket attacks against their territories from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The approved sales can provide Saudi Arabia with weaponry worth about $3.05 billion and the UAE with weaponry worth about $2.245 billion.
Wars & Rumors of Wars: And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:6-7a)
The Biden administration will send another $1 billion in ammunition, weapons and vehicles to Ukraine, the Pentagon announced Monday. The latest military aid package includes ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, that Ukraine has used to destroy Russian ammunition depots and command posts dozens of miles behind the front line in eastern Ukraine. Defense officials have credited the weapon and stiff Ukrainian resolve with slowing the Russian advance there. The package also includes conventional artillery ammunition, armored ambulances and anti-tank weapons.
The Russian-appointed leader of Ukraine’s occupied Zaporozhye region on Monday signed an order to hold a referendum on “reunification” with Russia that could take place as soon as next month. Russian combat losses include 42,340 killed or wounded troops, 1,811 tanks and 4,070 armored vehicles destroyed the Ukraine military estimated. Neither combatant releases its own losses.
“Suicidal” shelling of Europe’s largest nuclear plant must be halted and international inspectors must be granted access to ensure its safe operation, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Monday. Moscow and Kyiv blamed each other for a series of rocket attacks at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station that the International Atomic Energy Agency said has created “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster.” Ukraine’s state nuclear power company, said that the plant was still operational, and no radioactive discharges had been detected. Two of the six reactors are still operating.
Amid heightened tensions following the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei, the communist Chinese regime on Thursday fired ballistic missiles over Taiwan’s northeast and southwest coasts. At least five missiles landed in Japanese territory to the north and east of Taiwan, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. It’s the first time a Chinese missile has struck inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which affords exclusive rights to fishing and other enterprises.
- A furious China has announced that it will cut all communications with the U.S. on numerous international issues including climate change, military issues and anti-drug trafficking systems as a direct consequence of Pelosi’s “reckless” one-day visit to Taiwan this week.
- Taiwan officials said Chinese aircraft and warships rehearsed an attack on the island on Saturday, another part of Beijing’s retaliation for Pelosi’s visit. China’s military announced fresh military drills on Monday in the seas and airspace around Taiwan – a day after the scheduled end of its largest ever exercises.
The United Nations chief warned the world Monday that “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gave the dire warning at the opening of the long-delayed high-level meeting to review the landmark 50-year-old treaty aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and eventually achieving a nuclear-free world.
Terrorism: My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me… But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You. (Psalm 55:4-5.23)
The al-Shabab extremist group has exploited Ethiopia’s internal turmoil to cross the border from neighboring Somalia in unprecedented attacks in recent weeks that a top U.S. military commander has warned could continue. The deadly incursions into Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country and long seen as an anchor of security in the Horn of Africa, are the latest sign of how deeply the recent war in the northern Tigray region and other ethnic fighting have made the country more vulnerable. Ethiopia has long resisted such cross-border attacks by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, in part by deploying troops inside Somalia, where the extremist group controls large rural parts of the country’s southern and central regions. But the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and its security forces have struggled with unrest at home especially since the Tigray conflict began in late 2020. Experts say al-Shabab, also emboldened by instability under Somalia’s previous administration, is seizing the chance to expand its footprint and claim the killing of scores of Ethiopian security forces.
The Biden administration is touting the CIA operation that killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri as a monumental strike against the global terror network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001. But there’s a downside, too. The drone strike also is putting into stark relief the mounting evidence that after 20 years of America’s military presence — and then sudden departure — Afghanistan has once again become an active staging ground for Islamic terror groups looking to attack the West. The operation spent at least six months monitoring movements by al-Zawahri and his family. The strike came just weeks before the one-year anniversary of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from the country.
- The Biden administration is making the case that the operation shows Americans at home and allies abroad that the United States hasn’t lost focus — or the ability to strike terrorists in the region — and validates its decision to end two decades of fighting in Afghanistan with its withdrawal. The Taliban claimed they were not aware that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was residing in the capital of Kabul, which is extremely unlikely.
- In the aftermath of the drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri, a report from Foreign Desk News says that Biden has paid, over the last year, about $1 billion to the Taliban. “Now,” the report said, “humanitarian aid to the Afghan people is lining the pockets of the Taliban at the expense of innocent Afghans and American taxpayers alike.”
Environment: And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it will conduct “flyovers” of the Permian Basin region in Texas and New Mexico to “survey oil and gas operations to identify large emitters of methane” amid the Biden administration’s climate policy initiative. “The flyovers are vital to identifying which facilities are responsible for the bulk of these emissions and therefore where reductions are most urgently needed,” said Earthea Nance, an EPA official, in an Aug. 1 news release. The flyovers, which will use infrared cameras, will be conducted until Aug. 15, the agency said.
Earthquakes: And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7b) I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. (Revelation 6:12)
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Philippines last Wednesday morning damaging buildings and causing landslides. At least four people are dead with dozens more injured.
Wildfires: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)
The amount of area in the U.S. that has experienced wildfires through 8/8/22 has grown to 5,847,353 acres, up from 3,540,703 acres in 2021 over the same time period, and way up from 2,288,770 acres in 2020. The actual number of fires is not up much, but the acres per fire has increased from 90 acres per fire in 2021 to 145 acres so far this year.
- The number of fires in Alaska has decline from 56 a couple of weeks ago to 27 as of 8/8/22
End-Time Weather Will Continue to Grow More Severe: (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)
Precipitation in the U.S. West continues to lessen the severity of the longstanding megadrought. The percent of the West in severe to exceptional drought has decline over the past three months from 73% to 55%, according to the weekly Drought Monitor. However, the relief differs widely on a state by state basis. California has actually gotten worse, with 97.5% now in severe to exceptional drought, up from 95.2% three months ago. Utah has also worsened slightly, up from 99.4% to 99.6%. Nevada is down just a tad from 100% to 99.5% and Arizona declined a little from 62% to 60%. However, New Mexico improved from 96% to 71%, while Colorado improved from 48% to 30%.
- In the Northwest, Oregon improved from 69% to 54%, while Washington did even better and is now down to 0% from 24%, although 30.5% still have moderate drought. Idaho improved a lot from 57% to 17% while Montana also had a big drop from 66% to 15%, with 39% still in moderate drought. Wyoming declined from 56% to 25%.
Some of the world’s richest men are funding a massive treasure hunt, complete with helicopters and transmitters, on the west coast of Greenland. Greenland’s ice is melting down at an unprecedented rate, which – in a twist of irony – is creating an opportunity for investors and mining companies who are searching for a trove of critical minerals capable of powering the green energy transition. A band of billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, among others, is betting that below the surface of the hills and valleys on Greenland’s Disko Island and Nuussuaq Peninsula there are enough critical minerals to power hundreds of millions of electric vehicles.
Two people are dead following lightning strikes near White House Thursday night, police say. Two others remain in critical condition. The lightning strike occurred in Lafayette Square.
Death Valley is known for heat and virtually no rain. However, record rainfall Friday trigged flash floods at Death Valley National Park that swept away cars, closed all roads and stranded hundreds of visitors and workers. There were no immediate reports of injuries but roughly 60 vehicles were buried in mud and debris and about 500 visitors and 500 park workers were stuck inside the park. The park near the California-Nevada state line received 1.46 inches of rain at the Furnace Creek area. That’s about 75% of what the area typically gets in a year and more than has ever been recorded for the entire month of August.
Climate change isn’t a partisan issue in many countries. In general, both right-leaning and left-leaning parties favor policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if they fight over the specifics of those policies. This consensus allowed the European Union to cut emissions sharply over the past few decades, as the threat of global warming became clearer. In the United States, however, climate is a partisan issue. Nearly all elected Democrats favor actions that slow climate change. Almost no Republicans support such policies.
This news brief contributed by Pastor John Jacobsen, author of a number of exciting Christian fiction novels about the End Times (see www.johnajacobsen.com and www.gofg.org). You can contact him on Facebook or purchase his books at Amazon.com at: https://www.amazon.com/End-Beginning-John-Jacobsen-ebook/dp/B005DTO2SO