Firefighter dies battling Calif. blaze, now 4th-largest in state history

Firefighter dies battling Calif. blaze, now 4th-largest in state history

(Worthy News) – A Cal Fire engineer died Thursday while battling the Thomas fire in steep terrain in the hills outside Fillmore, officials said.

The firefighter’s death is the second confirmed fatality linked to the Thomas fire. Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula, was found dead last week at the site of a car accident on Wheeler Canyon Road, which was under a mandatory evacuation order.

Since the blaze started near Santa Paula on Dec. 4, Santa Ana winds have helped it spread. It has burned more than 242,500 acres, making it California fourth-largest recorded wildfire, unseating the Zaca fire, which scorched 240,207 acres. [ Source: USA Today (Read More…) ]

Federal Reserve raises interest rates for third time in 2017

Federal Reserve raises interest rates for third time in 2017

(Worthy News) – With the labor market strengthening and economic activity rising at a solid rate, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced the third rate-hike of the year.

The announcement explains that jobs gains are solid, unemployment rates have further declined, household spending is expanding and business investment is up.

The expected move raises rates by a quarter point to a range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent. [ Source: UPI (Read More…) ]

FBI made a ton more edits to water down James Comey’s statement on Clinton email probe

FBI made a ton more edits to water down James Comey’s statement on Clinton email probe

(Worthy News) – The FBI did far more editing of former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on their probe of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email server than previously known, edits that erased serious concerns the FBI initially had, according to a key senator.

In documents provided by Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, there were three major edits to Comey’s statement that seemed to absolve Clinton.

The changes included reducing Clinton’s “culpability” in the scandal, removing references to the intelligence community’s role in the probe, and downgrading the likelihood that spies had penetrated Clinton’s private server stuck in the basement of her New York home. [ Source: Washington Examiner (Read More…) ]

Christians in India Arrested, Beaten by Hindu Extremists After Praying for Sick Man

Christians in India Arrested, Beaten by Hindu Extremists After Praying for Sick Man

(Worthy News) – Seven Christians in India have been booked on charges of hurting religious feelings after Hindu extremists savagely beat them when they gathered to pray for a sick man at his home, sources said.

Police in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh state on Dec. 4 charged the six Christian men and one woman with “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings” after a mob of about 20 Hindus led by members of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) entered the house porch and attacked those present.

The six Christian men were taken into custody, while the woman was not immediately arrested due to the absence of female police required to detain her, sources said. [ Source: Gospel Herald (Read More…) ]

Islamic State got U.S. weapons meant for Syrian rebels: study

Islamic State got U.S. weapons meant for Syrian rebels: study

(Worthy News) – Sophisticated weapons the U.S. military secretly provided to Syrian rebels ended up with the Islamic State, a study said Thursday.

Conflict Armament Research, a British-based organization, examined 40,000 weapons and other items recovered from the Islamic State from July 2014 to last month — time which the U.S.-led coalition removed militants from Iraq and Syria.

The 201-page report concludes that “international weapon supplies to factions in the Syrian conflict have significantly augmented the quantity and quality of weapons available to IS forces — in numbers far beyond those that would have been available to group through battlefield capture alone.” [ Source: UPI (Read More…) ]

President Trump outpaces Obama with 19 federal court judges confirmed

President Trump outpaces Obama with 19 federal court judges confirmed

(Worthy News) – The Senate confirmed President Trump’s 19th federal judge Thursday, approving James Ho for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and further bolstering the judicial army that conservatives wanted to build.

Mr. Ho, confirmed on a 53-43 vote, becomes the first Asian-American on that appeals court. Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota joined Republicans in voting for Mr. Ho.

He’s the third federal appeals court judge the Senate confirmed this week, and the 19th judge overall. That’s well ahead of the 14 that President Obama had won by the end of his first year, but behind the pace of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. [ Source: Washington Times (Read More…) ]

EU agrees to extend sanctions against Russia

EU agrees to extend sanctions against Russia

(Worthy News) – The European Union agreed Thursday to extend sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the 28 EU leaders were in favor of extending the sanctions for another six months during their summit in Brussels.

“EU united on roll-over of economic sanctions on Russia,” Tusk said. [ Source: UPI (Read More…) ]

India, China and Russia Refrain From Recognizing East Jerusalem as Capital of Palestine in Joint Statement

India, China and Russia Refrain From Recognizing East Jerusalem as Capital of Palestine in Joint Statement

(Worthy News) – Foreign ministers from India, Russia and China notably refrained from recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine at their annual meeting in New Delhi this week – seven days after the US recognized the holy city as the capital of Israel.

The decision not to restate the position on Jerusalem long-held by all three countries was in marked contrast to their joint call at last year’s meeting in Moscow for a “sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.” At this year’s 15th annual meeting, their statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stressed support for “an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders,” without mentioning the issue of Jerusalem.

The absence of Jerusalem from Tuesday’s statement is particularly striking given the strident opposition to the US move in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Turkey and Iran, both of whom retain close diplomatic and security ties with all three countries, have led the denunciation of the US announcement on Jerusalem. [ Source: Algemeiner (Read More…) ]

R.C. Sproul, Theologian and Founder of Ligonier Ministries, Has Died

R.C. Sproul, Theologian and Founder of Ligonier Ministries, Has Died

(Worthy News) – Theologian and founder of Ligonier Ministries, R.C. Sproul, 78, passed away Wednesday afternoon.

“The Sproul family has shared the sad news with us that our founder, Dr. R.C. Sproul, went home to be with the Lord this afternoon. Please pray for the Sprouls,” Ligonier Ministries announced on its Facebook page.

A story on the Ligonier Ministries web page says Sproul’s wife and family were with him when he passed in his hospital room in Altamonte Springs, Florida. [ Source: CBN News (Read More…) ]

US peace plan not finalized, but efforts ‘serious,’ says Saudi’s Jubeir

US peace plan not finalized, but efforts ‘serious,’ says Saudi’s Jubeir

(Worthy News) – The US administration is serious about getting a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, but its proposed plan is still being put together, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said.

US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and eventually move the US Embassy in Israel there has angered the Palestinians, who question Washington’s role as a sponsor of Middle East peace.

Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is leading efforts to restart negotiations, though his bid has shown little public progress so far. [ Source: Jerusalem Post (Read More…) ]