‘Seize a British Oil Tanker,’ Says Iranian Official in Response to Iranian Ship Taken in by British

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Iran is calling for the detention of a British oil tanker in retaliation for an Iranian ship carrying crude oil to Syria that was detained in the British territory of Gibraltar.

The 1,000-foot Grace 1 vessel was boarded by British Royal Marines Thursday near the western extremity of the Mediterranean, with the 28-man crew taken in for questioning, as British authorities said its anticipated route led to the Banyas oil refinery in Syria in violation of EU embargoes on the war-torn country.

“If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the (Iranian) authorities duty to seize a British oil tanker,” Mohsen Rezaee, former head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, said on Friday.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell claimed the ship had been taken in by the British at the behest of the US, a theory echoed by Iranian officials increasingly champing at the bit to throw off the bonds of the 2015 nuclear accord and escape the clutches of crushing US sanctions, which they said in recent days European partners had failed to satisfactorily circumvent.

To voice its dissatisfaction, Iran this week announced that it had breached the 661-pound uranium stockpile limit stipulated by the 2015 deal, with enrichment quotas to be broken as early as Sunday, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said on Wednesday that Iran would soon begin to enrich uranium to “any amount that we want.”

The US has requested an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors to address the issue, with the meeting slated to be held July 10th.

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Christian Student in U.K. Wins Appeals Court Ruling After Declared ‘Unfit’ to Practice Social Work by University

(Worthy News) – A Christian student at the University of Sheffield in the U.K., who was dropped from his MA program for a Facebook post defending traditional marriage in 2016, won his court of appeals complaint this week following a high court decision in 2017 that originally supported the university’s decision.

Felix Ngole, who was attempting to qualify as a social worker in the U.K., was brought before a University of Sheffield Fitness to Practice (FTP) Committee for his post in an online debate about Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who had refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

A spokeswoman for the University of Sheffield explained the school’s decision by saying free speech conflicted with the fitness to practice guidelines of Ngole’s chosen profession.

“The University of Sheffield supports the rights of students to hold and debate a wide range of views and beliefs,” she said, but “fitness to practice committees use national professional guidance and often need to consider a student’s insight and consideration about their chosen profession.”

“This case was therefore not part of the university’s standard disciplinary procedures or about its support of freedom of speech,” she explained.

Chief executive Andrea Minichiello Williams of the Christian Legal Center, who represented Ngole’s case before the high court in 2017, said the decision ultimately meant Christians would be disbarred from other social and legal professions for their views.

“For religious people who believe now what most people used to believe, it can be a bar to office,” Williams noted at the time.

Ngole himself was optimistic about the ruling by appeal court justices Irwin, Haddon-Cave and Beatson this week.

“As Christians, we are called to serve others and to care for everyone,” he said, sharing that four years of his life had been unceremoniously robbed from him for a private discussion.

“Yet publicly and privately we must also be free to express our beliefs and what the Bible says without fear of losing our livelihoods.”

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‘The Truth Will Set You Free’: Pastor Refutes Ocasio-Cortez Portrayal of Border Conditions

(Worthy News) – On Monday the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who toured the same Texas border facility maligned by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, disputed the freshman congresswoman’s characterization.

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, who served as an immigration adviser for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama before Trump, went to the El Paso Station with a team of 7 pastors shortly after a delegation of 14 Democrats joined by Ocasio-Cortez made the same trip.

“Even as a veteran of immigration advocacy in the U.S., I was shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border,” Rodriguez told Fox News.

Far from the communist-style detention camp depicted by the freshman congresswoman—which in her rendition involved Iron Curtain-era torture methods such as sleep deprivation and forced consumption of toilet water employed by agents against migrants—Rodriguez said the facility was not lacking in necessities or sanitation, with Pastor Tony Stewart, who joined the delegation, adding that many of the largely Hispanic border agents were in tears over the mischaracterization.

“Pastor Sam, what they’re saying about us is completely false. We care about these kids and have a passion for our calling,” the immigration officers reportedly told Rodriguez.

Reports surfaced about Ocasio-Cortez’s infamous trip to the facility this week, which, according to her, unearthed evidence of border agents forcing a migrant woman to drink out of a toilet.

Former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Tom Homan told Fox News the misimpression could have come from a joint sink-and-toilet unit present in many facilities, which nevertheless was designed to save space, not to humiliate detainees, and had separate water lines.

[T]hey are designed that way to try to save space and make it more comfortable for the people who are in those facilities,” he explained.

Rodriguez opined that, despite the scurrilous caricatures of Ocasio-Cortez, no one, right or left, was justified in allowing the immigration crisis to unfold the way it has.

“What’s heart-wrenching is that we have both Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress, who can’t come together for the purpose of doing the right thing and finding a solution to our immigration crisis,” he concluded, calling on both parties to humble themselves and “address the system they created.”

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Banners Promoting Atheist Event Offend Fort Worth Residents

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – City officials in Forth Worth, Texas received around 100 complaints from residents after banners with the phrase “In No God We Trust” were hung along Main Street promoting an atheist event.

The banners, which the city issued a statement defending, advertise a speaking event slated to be held at the Forth Worth botanical gardens by the Metroplex Atheists July 14th, a Texas-based atheist advocacy group.

“The City of Fort Worth Banner Policy and Procedures allows a non/not-for-profit to place banners within the public right-of-way for the purpose of promoting the organization or special event held by the organization,” a statement issued by the City of Forth Worth July 2nd read.

Mayor Betsy Price said that although she too disagreed with the content of the messages, the signs met city legal standards—which it said applied equally to religious messaging, with a Kenneth Copeland event due to be advertised shortly after the “In No God We Trust” banners are taken down—and illustrated the religious freedoms hard-won by patriots.

“We must respect freedom of speech. As we approach the Fourth of July, we must remember that many Americans have fought and died for the freedoms we cherish today,” Price tweeted.

The July 14th event will be headlined by Aron Ra, Texas regional director of American Atheists, and will attempt to garner support for a campaign seeking to change the national motto from “In God We Trust” to “E Pluribus Unum.”

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Fort Worth Allows ‘In No God We Trust’ Banners to Fly Downtown, Says They’re Legal

(Worthy News) – A series of anti-God banners in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, is drawing criticism from citizens and even the mayor, but city officials say they have the legal right to be there.

The banners read “In NO God We Trust” and are sponsored by Metroplex Atheists, which is holding an event July 14 at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

The City of Fort Worth released a statement July 2 saying the banners “meet the criteria necessary” to be permitted. The city also acknowledged it had received “several phone calls and complaints.” [ Source: Christian Headlines (Read More…) ]

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Appeals court rejects Trump’s request for border wall funding

(Worthy News) – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected the Trump administration’s allocation of $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense to pay for construction of physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The appeals court ruled 2-1 against the lifting of a lower court’s decision to block President Donald Trump’s move to use money allocated for Army personnel needs on border wall construction stating, “the use of those funds violates the constitutional requirement that the Executive Branch not spend money absent an appropriation from Congress.” [ Source: UPI (Read More…) ]

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Netanyahu: Israel preparing for wide-scale campaign in Gaza

(Worthy News) – Israel wants to restore calm to the South, but at the same time is preparing for a wide-scale military campaign inside the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu’s comments came after he convened a security cabinet meeting at the IDF Gaza Division headquarters to discuss the situation in the Strip, followed by a meeting with local and regional council heads, some of whom left the meeting in protest.

“Our policy is clear: we want to restore the calm, but at the same time we are preparing for a large-scale military operation, if such an action is required,” Netanyahu said. “Those are my instructions to the army.” [ Source (Read More…) ]

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HIV completely removed from mice in groundbreaking study

(Worthy News) – Mice infected with HIV ended up virus-free after US researchers were able to remove it from their cells for the first time, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications this week.

Researchers at Temple University in Pennsylvania and the University of Nebraska developed a two-step approach to eliminate the AIDS-causing virus from the genomes of the mice.

In the first part of the treatment, a special slow-release form of antiretroviral medication (known as LASER ART) was administered. The drugs halt the progress of HIV by targeting the virus’ lifecycle, but they do not eliminate it. [ Source (Read More…) ]

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Pope Francis and Putin meet at Vatican, discuss Syria, Ukraine

(Worthy News) – A day before he is scheduled to meet with Ukranian Catholic leaders, Pope Francis welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday, speaking with him for just under an hour about a variety of issues.

Francis and Putin, who met at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, discussed “various questions of relevance to the life of the Catholic Church in Russia,” the Vatican said in a statement, adding that they also covered “the ecological question and various themes relating to current international affairs, with particular reference to Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.”

The pair also expressed their satisfaction at the development of bilateral relations during the “cordial discussions,” the Vatican said. [ Source: Fox News (Read More…) ]

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Strongest Earthquake in 20 Years Rattles Southern California

(Worthy News) – The strongest earthquake in 20 years shook a large swath of Southern California and parts of Nevada on Thursday, rattling nerves on the July 4th holiday and causing injuries and damage in a town near the epicenter, followed by a swarm of ongoing aftershocks.

The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 10:33 a.m. in the Mojave Desert, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles, near the town of Ridgecrest, California.

Multiple injuries and two house fires were reported in the town of 28,000. Emergency crews were also dealing with small vegetation fires, gas leaks and reports of cracked roads, said Kern County Fire Chief David Witt. [ Source (Read More…) ]

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