Beijing house churches investigated, shut down

(Worthy News) – Two house churches in Beijing reported that authorities in the past week have investigated churches and pressured landlords to cancel the leases on houses of worship.

One of the churches chose to remain anonymous, though a member of this church named Yin said that on Sunday, May 6, the leader of the national security brigade of the Xicheng District Public Security Bureau brought a team of several dozen officers to the church’s service. Though the service was not disrupted, the officials took pictures and investigated the proceedings. On May 8, the national security brigade pressured the church’s landlord to revoke their lease.

“The police called us today,” Yin said, “and forbade us from organizing religious activities in any form. In the morning, the government forced the [Christian] brother who rented the building to sign a letter guaranteeing that he would not participate in any religious activities. We haven’t met with any representatives from the religious affairs bureau yet, and we don’t know how to handle all of this.” [ Source: China Aid (Read More…) ]

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Following US lead, Guatemala moves embassy to Jerusalem

(Worthy News) – Guatemala has opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the second country to do so after the United States.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales dedicated the embassy Wednesday just two days after a high-powered American delegation also marked the transfer of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it’s fitting since Guatemala also followed the U.S. to be the second country to recognize Israel 70 years ago. [ Source: Fox News (Read More…) ]

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Maryland Becomes the 11th State to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors

(Worthy News) – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed a bill into law that bans sexual orientation conversion therapy for youth, making it the eleventh state to do so.

Governor Hogan signed Senate Bill 1028 into law on Tuesday, joining California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York via executive action, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State, as well as the District of Columbia.

Also called the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, SB 1028 was introduced in February and passed in the Senate by a vote of 34-12 and then in the House by a vote of 95-27. [ Source: Christian Post (Read More…) ]

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‘I gave the US trucks and ammunition to Al Qaeda’: The chaotic US effort to arm Syrian rebels

(Worthy News) – U.S. military equipment and ammunition, sent to Syria as part of a failed Obama administration plan to find and arm moderate forces to defeat ISIS, were instead simply handed over to an Al Qaeda group, according to the man who said he himself brokered the deal.

“I communicated with Al Qaeda’s branch, Al Nusra, to protect and safely escort me and my soldiers for two hours from North Aleppo to West Aleppo,” Maj. Anas Ibrahim Obaid, better known on the battlefield as Abu Zayd, told Fox News from his home in the western Aleppo area. “In exchange, I gave them five pickup trucks and ammunition.”

Those trucks and ammo were issued to him by the United States in 2015, part of a $500 million Department of Defense effort to “train and equip” a new “ideologically moderate” force to battle ISIS. The program, one of at least two designed to funnel arms to so-called moderate Syrian rebels, proved to be a spectacular failure for the Obama administration. [ Source: Fox News (Read More…) ]

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Turkey expels Israeli consul in spat over Gaza violence

(Worthy News) – Turkey has ordered the Israeli consul general in Istanbul to return to Israel “for some time”, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday (May 16), in a diplomatic spat which follows the killings of 60 Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces.

Turkey has been among the most vocal critics of the Israeli use of deadly force against protesters at the Gaza border and of the US decision to open its new embassy in a ceremony attended by President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

President Tayyip Erdogan described Monday’s bloodshed, the deadliest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict, as genocide and called Israel a terrorist state. The government declared three days of mourning. [ Source: Channel News Asia (Read More…) ]

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Judge overturns California’s assisted suicide law

(Worthy News) – A California judge on Tuesday overturned the state’s assisted suicide law on grounds that the state Legislature illegally passed the measure two years ago.

California’s End of Life Option Act allows terminally ill patients with six months or less to live to obtain medication that will kill them. But groups that oppose euthanasia sued the state over the law, arguing that its passage was unconstitutional because it was done during a special session back in 2015 that was supposed to be dedicated to health care funding.

The bill was placed in that special session after a state House committee pulled it from getting an open vote due to pressure from various religious, medical and disability rights groups. [ Source: UPI (Read More…) ]

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Federal judge rejects Manafort’s bid to dismiss Mueller indictment

(Worthy News) – A federal judge on Tuesday rejected an attempt by Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, to get an indictment against him dismissed by claiming that special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment was flawed.

In a blow to Manafort’s defense, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Mueller’s prosecution of the longtime political consultant on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine was “squarely” within the authority that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted to Mueller last May.

“The indictment falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel that Manafort finds unobjectionable: the order to investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign,’” Jackson wrote. [ Source: Politico (Read More…) ]

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South Korea: Military exercises with U.S. to continue despite angry reaction from North Korea

(Worthy News) – South Korea’s Defense Ministry says the military exercises between Washington and Seoul will go on despite an angry reaction from North Korea that broke off a high-level meeting between the Koreas.

The ministry’s spokeswoman Choi Hyunsoo said Wednesday the Max Thunder drills are chiefly about improving the skills of pilots and aren’t attack exercises.

The drills, which began Monday and reportedly include some 100 aircraft, will continue through May 25. [ Source: Washington Times (Read More…) ]

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North Korea cancels talks with South, threatens to pull out of U.S. summit

(Worthy News) – North Korea sent shock waves through the Trump administration’s hope for a history-making summit with Kim Jong-un, angrily canceling a planned meeting with South Korean officials Wednesday to protest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and calling into doubt President Trump’s announced meeting with Mr. Kim in Singapore in less than a month.

The threat was issued via the North’s state-controlled news service despite assurances from Pyongyang that it did not object to the military drill and included a blast of old-style North Korean rhetoric denouncing “U.S. imperialist aggressor forces” and the “madcap North-targeted war and confrontation racket being kicked up” by Seoul.

The harsh rhetoric continued Wednesday morning in Korea, with the North saying via its official Korean Central News Agency that it will never engage in trade with the U.S., a carrot Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had dangled at the weekend, and may reconsider its denuclearization pledges. KCNA also said Mr. Trump would become known as a failed leader if he follows in the footsteps of previous U.S. presidents. [ Source: Washington Times (Read More…) ]

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Devin Nunes: Congress has seen no ‘credible evidence’ justifying the Russia investigation

(Worthy News) – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Monday that Congress has yet to see any solid rationale for the Justice Department’s decision to launch the Russia investigation against President Trump, and said he’s hoping to see more when he meets with officials Wednesday.

“We have yet to see any credible evidence or intelligence that led to the opening of this investigation,” the California Republican said on Fox News.

Nunes has been pushing the Justice Department to explain how it justified the launch of the special counsel investigation that has hounded Trump for a year now. He and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., are keying off a statement from Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson, who said a source within the Trump campaign provided information for the controversial Trump dossier. [ Source: Washington Examiner (Read More…) ]

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