President Trump Was on a Diplomatic Call. He Paused It to Single Out a Female Reporter

(Donald ‘the creepy’ Trump)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

US-IRELAND-POLITICS
President Donald Trump waits to speak on the phone with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office on June 27, 2017.  Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images

President Trump Was on a Diplomatic Call. He Paused It to Single Out a Female Reporter

Jun 27, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has come under criticism for singling out a female reporter while speaking by phone with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, telling him the journalist “has a nice smile on her face.”

Caitriona Perry, the U.S. bureau chief for Ireland’s RTÉ News, was called over to Trump’s Oval Office desk just after he told Varadkar that “we have a lot of your Irish press watching us right now,” the Hill reports.

“Come here, come here. Where are you from? We have all of this beautiful Irish press,” Trump said, pointing at Perry and signaling for her to approach his desk. “Caitriona Perry. She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well,” the President said to Varadkar.

Perry later tweeted a video of the exchange, describing the encounter as “bizarre.”

Video of the bizarre moment when President @realDonaldTrump called me over during his call with Taoiseach @campaignforLeo Varadkar. @rtenews

Social media users were quick to cry foul, some calling Trump’s behavior “creepy,” others saying the remarks amounted to sexual harassment.

“She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well” Trump said creepily about the Irish reporter 

Needless to say, male reporters are not told that they have a “nice smile” https://twitter.com/goldengateblond/status/879837869107322880 

Security Clampdown in Far-Western China Exacts Toll on Businesses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES AND REUTERS)

URUMQI, China — The economy of the vast Xinjiang region in far western China is officially growing at a robust pace, faster than the country as a whole. That is largely thanks to big investments in infrastructure from Beijing as the region – with its links to much of central Asia – is critical to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s new Silk Road initiative.

But traders, business owners and residents in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, are seeing little benefit from the central government’s cash injection, according to about 20 interviews with people in the city.

One major reason for that, they say, is due to tightened security as the Chinese government seeks to control one of its biggest domestic threats. Beijing accuses separatist extremists among the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority of plotting attacks on the ethnic Han majority in Xinjiang and other parts of China, following a series of violent events in recent years.

As a result, there are roadblocks and stringent security checks across the region, including at restaurants, hotels and shops, making it slow and frustrating to move around.

The new Silk Road, officially known as the Belt and Road initiative, is Xi’s signature foreign and economic policy which aims to increase economic and political ties through roads, railways and other projects that link China to Central Asia and beyond. But the contrast between that ambition and the views at street level in Urumqi reflects the difficulty Beijing faces in trying to balance security against its other top priorities.

This is particularly the case as China is determined to avoid any trouble ahead of a critical Communist Party congress in the autumn at which Xi is expected to consolidate his power, and as it faces the threat from some Uighurs who have become battle-hardened Islamic State fighters in the war in Syria and Iraq and may return home.

DELIVERIES DIFFICULT

The impact of the clampdown is clear at the Frontier International Trade Centre in Urumqi,  where padlocked stores outnumber traders.

“Business became really bad last year. I’ve got nothing to do except a stock-take,” said Wei Chun, a shoe trader, surrounded by piles of high-heels.

She blames poor sales partly on the impact of sluggish economies in neighbours Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, among the eight countries with which Xinjiang has borders.  But she also says the Chinese authorities’ obsession with keeping Xinjiang secure at all costs is making it tough to do business here.

“It’s very difficult to send and receive deliveries because of the security crackdown,” she said, complaining that authorities will often shut down the delivery system for “security reasons”.

The Xinjiang government declined to make officials available for comment for this article. It also did not respond to a series of faxed questions.

Xu Bin, the head of the Xinjiang government’s statistics bureau,  told reporters in February that its growth – which was 7.6 percent last year – is mostly fuelled by fixed asset investment. But he then added: “Xinjiang faces slowing economic growth, falling industrial prices, companies are feeling the pain of falling profits and the growth rate of our tax revenue has dropped off.”

Xinjiang’s trade with other countries fell in the first quarter of this year, according to the customs bureau, and is still below the level it recorded in the first quarter of 2013, the year that Belt and Road launched.

Much of that drop was because a slump in the rouble in 2014-2015 hurt Xinjiang’s neighbours, and following the 2015 establishment of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). That aims to develop Central Asia and lessen its reliance on Chinese goods.

EVENTS CANCELLED

People here point to many disruptions in ordinary life as one reason the economy doesn’t feel buoyant at street level.

Group gatherings, whether for charity fun runs or trade expos, are often banned or cancelled at the last minute, they say. Phone lines sometimes go dead, and there’s no 4G internet because the authorities fear high-speed internet would help militants organize.

While Belt and Road has created opportunities, small businesses complain these projects often reward large state-owned enterprises.

“The Belt and Road Initiative doesn’t help small businessmen like me,” said Zhou Bangquan who sells men’s shoes in Urumqi.

“It helps big state-owned enterprises that do energy or have big infrastructure projects.”

Among the projects financed are a highway to Pakistan and a network of high-speed railroads connecting cities in Xinjiang and the rest of China, with 1.5 trillion yuan (171.69 billion pounds) in capital investment expected in the region this year alone.

But it is unclear how much of the money is used to buy materials from factories outside the region or ends up being sent to other provinces by workers brought in temporarily from elsewhere in China.

It’s not just heightened security measures that concern businesses. People are required to attend flag ceremonies and other patriotic education, instead of working, say locals. Such events are meant to encourage Uighurs to become patriotic Chinese citizens but can also be used to monitor their behaviour.

    PATRIOTIC EDUCATION

    “I’m losing my mind, I’ve already had six staff sent back to their home towns this past month for study,” said a restaurant manager in Urumqi who, like many people Reuters spoke to in Xinjiang, declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

His Uighur staff were required to return home to southern Xinjiang for one month’s study of Mandarin Chinese, another month learning about China’s legal system and a month of vocational training, he said.

“We all spend so much time doing things that aren’t our actual jobs. I have to take my staff to watch a flag-raising forty weeks of the year. If I don’t, I will be taken away for thirty days of study,” he said.

As well as the time spent on such matters, Uighurs – who represent just over 45 percent of the population – are being increasingly marginalized by the Han Chinese, undermining the overall economy.

Three Han Chinese entrepreneurs told Reuters local authorities had told them not to employ Uighurs. And a Han Chinese real estate agent in Urumqi said he had been told not to sell properties to Uighurs from southern Xinjiang.

There has been a change in attitude towards balancing stability and economic growth in Xinjiang since Chen Quanguo became its new Communist Party boss last August in what analysts say was an implicit endorsement of his previous hard-line management of ethnic strife in Tibet.

“Xinjiang used to have a policy of ‘with one hand we maintain stability, with the other hand we grow the economy’ but now it’s just ‘maintain stability with both hands, at all costs’,” said a local businessman and former government official.

Chen said in a speech last September that “all our work in Xinjiang revolves around maintaining a tight grip on stability.”

(Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Additional reporting by the Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Martin Howell)

India: PM Modi, Sir India Is Not A Democracy If You Do Not Have Religious Freedom

To India’s Prime Minister Modi:

This article is in regard to a story I read earlier today from the Christian Post. In several regards this article if it is true shows that India is not yet a true democracy. For any country to actually be a democracy there are many issues that must be addressed, in this article I am only going to try to address a few of these ideals. In a true democracy there has to be equality in areas of their caste system where anyone can move up, or down in the financial arenas depending on their own abilities. All adults must be allowed to vote for whomever they chose at least as long as they are not convicted felons who are in jail at the time of the elections. This last issue I have with your government is in regard to India not having true honest religious freedom.

 

I do believe that India is a great country right now yet it could be so much more if the political will is there. The article today in the Christian Post said that six Christian adults were arrested last month for taking 72 Christian children of Christian parents to a ‘vacation Bible school’. A State can not prosper for all of its citizens if they cannot worship their God as they see fit. The only exception to this rule should be if the religion is telling people to go into the population and attack and or kill people who don’t agree with them and their ‘God’s’ teachings. If a person actually knows anything about the New Testament Scriptures of the Bible then they know that the Scriptures do not teach violence toward anyone. As you well know Mr. Modi there are some ‘Religions’ that do teach such violence and not even as arbitrarily, but as a requirement. Mr. Modi, is the Hindu Religion really one of these Demonic Cults? I believe that the Nation of India can be the greatest Democracy size wise on this planet in about 20 or 30 years and you may think it is now but with these glaring flaws that is not so, not yet. If the politicians in your country do not fix these serious issues I believe your future will look like a mixture of Iran and China except not Islamic or Atheist but a horrible debased Hindu State that will end up having no semblance of Democracy or freedom.

Time Magazine: Donald ‘The Egotistical Stolen Glory ‘FAKE NEWS’ Fraud’ Trump’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

A Time Magazine with Trump on the cover hangs in his golf clubs. It’s fake.

June 27 at 2:08 PM
Breaking down Trump’s fake TIME magazine cover
The Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold breaks down a fake TIME magazine cover that is displayed in at least two of President Trump’s golf resorts. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

This article has been updated.

The framed copy of Time Magazine was hung up in at least four of President Trump’s golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland. Filling the entire cover was a photo of Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” the big headline said. Above the Time nameplate, there was another headline in all caps: “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!”

This cover — dated March 1, 2009 — looks like an impressive memento from Trump’s pre-presidential career. To club members eating lunch, or golfers waiting for a pro-shop purchase, it seemed to be a signal that Trump had always been a man who mattered. Even when he was just a reality-TV star, Trump was the kind of star who got a cover story in Time.

But that wasn’t true.

The Time cover is a fake.

There was no March 1, 2009, issue of Time Magazine. And there was no issue at all in 2009 that had Trump on the cover.

In fact,the cover on display at Trump’s clubs, observed recently by a reporter visiting one of the properties, contains several small but telling mistakes. Its red border is skinnier than that of a genuine Time cover, and, unlike the real thing, there is no thin white border next to the red. The Trump cover’s secondary headlines are stacked on the right side — on a real Time cover, they would go across the top.

And it has two exclamation points. Time headlines don’t yell.

“I can confirm that this is not a real TIME cover,” Kerri Chyka, a spokeswoman for Time Inc., wrote in an email to The Washington Post.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Time said that the magazine had asked the Trump Organization to remove the phony cover from the walls where it was on display.

So how did Trump — who spent an entire campaign and much of his presidency accusing the mainstream media of producing “fake news” — wind up decorating his properties with a literal piece of phony journalism?

The Trump Organization did not respond to questions this week about who made the cover and why it was displayed at Trump clubs. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to say whether Trump had known the cover wasn’t real.

“We couldn’t comment on the decor at Trump Golf clubs one way or another,” Sanders wrote in an email.

The cover seems to fit a broader pattern for Trump, who has often boasted of his appearances on Time’s cover and adorned his Trump Tower office with images of himself from magazines and newspapers. Trump has made claims about himself — about his charitable giving, his business success, even the size of the crowd at his inauguration that are not supported by the facts.

In this case, Trump’s golf clubs might seem like a place where he wouldn’t need to stretch the truth. Reality is flattering enough. The clubs are monuments to Trump’s success — they bear his name and are filled with his images. But, still, his staff added an extra trophy that was phony.

It is not clear who created this fake Time cover — or why.

Its date might be a clue: March 1, 2009, was the season debut of Trump’s show “The Celebrity Apprentice.” But a transcript of that show offers no answers. In that episode, various B-list celebrities competed to sell cupcakes, and Trump fired comedian Andrew Dice Clay for poor performance. Nobody mentioned Time Magazine.

While it’s not difficult to mock up a fake cover using graphic-design software, whoever made this one actually sought out real Time headlines, to add to the fake.

There are secondary headlines on the Trump cover that tout stories on President Barack Obama, climate change and the financial crisis. Two of those are taken from a real March 2, 2009, issue of Time, which featured actress Kate Winslet on the cover. But the issue makes no mention of Trump.

The Post found that the fake cover had been hung in at least four of Trump’s 17 golf clubs.

At Trump’s resort in Doral, Fla., outside Miami, the fake image hangs in two prominent spots.

In the pro shop, it shares a wall with 11 other framed magazine pages — all of them highlighting Trump, another member of the Trump family or a Trump golf course.

Among the covers with Trump’s face on them, the Time cover looks like one of the most impressive. The others are old — such as a 1984 cover of GQ — or from less prominent titles, such as “Fairways + Greens” magazine and TV Guide Canada. Those two publications are out of print.

A copy of the fake cover also hangs in Champions, the Doral resort’s sports bar. It faces a framed cover of Fortune magazine from 2004, showing Trump’s face with the headline “Trumped.” That one is real.

In Virginia, the phony Time cover hangs on the wall of the member’s dining room at the Trump golf course in suburban Loudoun County, near Washington. Trump has visited that club more frequently since moving into the White House. In early June, the president ate lunch in that dining room with football star Peyton Manning and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn).

A photo taken during their lunch shows that Trump’s chair faced the fake Time cover.

At the same club, Trump’s staff put up a historical marker declaring that there had been a Civil War battle on the site — and that the adjacent Potomac River became a “River of Blood.” Historians say this battle never happened. The marker was first reported by the New York Times.

The Time cover also appears to have been hung up at Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg, in western Ireland. Trump bought the club in 2014. Photos posted on TripAdvisor show it on the wall of a dining room. But when a reporter visited the club this past weekend, it was gone.

A bartender later found it in the manager’s office. Officials at the club could not explain why it had been moved.

And at Trump’s Turnberry club in Scotland, employees said they recognized the cover. It had been added after Trump bought the course in 2014, said the employees, who spoke to The Post on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment to the media. One employee said the fake cover had previously hung in the resort’s pub, called “The Duel in the Sun” after a famous golf match played at Turnberry in 1977.

But, she said, the cover was taken down a few weeks ago.

“We used to have a Time Magazine cover up — aye, it was there for ages and ages, as long as I’ve been here. I know the one you’re on about,” the employee said. “But they came and took it down a while back.”

In its place, the club had hung up an old-timey photo of the course.

Club officials did not respond to queries about why it was taken down. The employee said it was part of a general reduction in photos of Trump.

“We certainly have been hearing more grumbling about all the stuff like that up on the walls since his election,” the employee said. “From Americans, mostly, funny enough. That’s why we all assumed they started taking some of his photos off the walls.”

“But it was just a guess. I don’t actually have a Scooby,” the employee added, using an expression that means, “I don’t have a clue.”

The Post also looked for the fake cover at two Trump courses in the United States that are open to the public, in the Bronx and in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. It was not on display at either. The rest of Trump’s courses are members-only, making it difficult to get inside to look at the decor.

The image does not appear to be among the many framed magazine covers that adorn Trump’s old office in Trump Tower, based on photos of the office.

One thing that is clear, from the president’s past statements, is that he views the cover of Time as a significant honor.

Trump has bragged that he’s been on more Time covers than anyone. “I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time Magazine,” he said during a January speech at CIA headquarters.

That is wrong. Richard Nixon has appeared on far more than Trump.

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In a 2016 interview, when Trump was a candidate, he offered a mental tally of how many times he had appeared on the magazine’s cover.

“I think I was on the cover of Time Magazine twice in my life and like six times in the last number of months. So you tell me, which is more important, real estate or politics, okay?” Trump said. “I have six for politics and I have two for real estate or whatever they put me on for.”

But that count was wrong.

According to Time Magazine’s tally, Trump had been on the cover only once before he got into politics. That was in January 1989.

Francisco Alvarado in Doral, Nash Riggins in Turnberry, Yvonne Gordon in Doonbeg, Philip Bump in New York, Rob Kuznia in Rancho Palos Verdes and Alice Crites in Washington contributed to this report.

Senate Republicans postpone health care vote amid growing opposition

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Senate Republicans postpone health care vote amid growing opposition

Senate Republicans postpone health care vote amid growing opposition
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the health care vote is postponed.
Source: Carolyn Kaster/AP

A vote on the Senate’s proposed health care bill has been postponed until after the July 4 recess, after a growing number of senators announced they would not support the bill in its current form, multiple outlets are reporting.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as well as Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) had been adamant that a vote on the bill would happen before the Senate recessed for Independence Day.

However that’s no longer the plan after at least four Republican Senators announced they would not vote to begin debate on the legislation.

MCCONNELL tells senators: He will delay the health care vote until after the recess to solicit more support from GOP senators

 The news comes after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced Monday that the Senate’s plan would lead 22 million more people to become uninsured over the next 10 years, with big cuts coming to poor Americans who receive Medicaid. The CBO also projected that out-of-pocket costs could rise even for those with insurance through exchanges or employers, as plans would not be required to cover as many health services.

This is a breaking news article and will be updated

US Jews plan campaign to get Israelis in their corner, reverse Western Wall ‘sucker punch’

After meeting with Netanyahu, Federations head Jerry Silverman outlines two-pronged strategy to unfreeze pluralistic pavilion; will also fight conversion bill

Source: US Jews plan campaign to get Israelis in their corner, reverse Western Wall ‘sucker punch’

India: 6 Christians Charged With Kidnapping For Taking Their Christian Kids To VBS

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

6 Christians Charged With Forced Conversions in India After Taking 72 Children to Vacation Bible School

Six Christians who were arrested in May for taking 72 children to a Vacation Bible School camp in Madhya Pradesh state, India, have reportedly been charged with kidnapping and forcible conversions as police refuse to recognize the children as Christians.

(Photo: Reuters/Babu) Women attend a mass inside a church to celebrate Easter in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 31, 2013. Holy Week is celebrated in many Christian traditions during the week before Easter.

Sources told Morning Star News in a report published June 23 that along with the six Christians, a 15-year-old boy was also held in a juvenile detention center for nearly a month, before finally being released last week.

“I missed my home so much — I cried every day, and prayed and prayed,” Akash Gundia said. “Finally, the Lord heard me. I am happy to be back home.”

Gundia was reportedly one of the 72 children detained by Ratlam Railway Police on May 21 as they traveled to the VBS camp in Nagpur. Eight supervisors were also arrested, and despite explanations that all the children had Christian parents, they were accused of trying to convert the children.

Authorities claimed at the time that the parents hadn’t followed the proper procedures in converting to Christianity, and insisted that the children will be treated as Hindus under the law.

“For changing to another religion, one needs to submit a written application to the district collector and only after the stipulated process, a person can change religious identity, which didn’t happen in the case of any of the parents claiming to be Christians,” police superintendent Krishnaveni Desavatu said at the time.

“This is why the children and their parents will be officially treated as Hindu tribals and not Christians,” he added.

Morning Star News noted that the children had permission from their Christian parents to go to the Bible camp program, however.

“I told the police I am a Christian by birth, and we are going to attend the VBS, but they did not listen to me and took us to the police station,” the 15-year-old boy said.

“Children as young as 6 were also in police custody, but when their parents came, the police handed them over to the parents. I was produced in court a day later, and from there was sent to a juvenile detention home,” he added.

Hartesh Singh Gundia, the boy’s father, insisted that Hindu extremist groups put pressure on officials to punish Christians, and blamed them for his son having to spend 25 days in judicial custody

Attorney Anand Nagarkar added: “The charges were framed based on malice and suspicion, and on this basis there can be no conviction, but the police have been taking it slow to file the challan [charge sheet]. They are under pressure by the Bajrang Dal and RSS activists.”

Nagarkar noted that that parents of the 72 children have submitted an affidavit before the court declaring that all the children were born to Christian parents, and that the volunteers came from the Sunday schools of their respective churches.

Christians, who are a growing minority in India, have found themselves attacked by Hindu radicals but also persecuted by authorities antagonistic to their faith, watchdog groups like International Christian Concern have warned.

ICC reported in February that a Christian evangelist fell into a coma following heavy harassment by a group of Hindu radicals in Hyderabad, who were angry at him for distributing copies of the New Testament.

Ronald John, state president of Telangana Christian Joint Action Committee, said at the time that such treatment of Christians is “unacceptable.”

“Even the responsible, so-called law protectors don’t go by the constitution that guarantees religious freedom. This shows how minorities are being treated in this nation,” John said.

Mega-Church Pastor Todd Coontz Indicted On Tax Fraud: 1.5 mil Condo Fleet Of Luxury Cars As Business Expences

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

After North Carolina televangelist Todd Coontz was indicted on tax fraud charges last week, claiming that his $1.5 million condo and luxury cars were “business expenses,” a group that monitors ecclesiastical fraud has warned that some preachers are “raping” the Christian community.

“It’s time the IRS started looking into these people that are raping the Christian community,” Trinity Foundation President Ole Anthony told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Monday.

Anthony, whose Texas-based group reports on fraud committed by pastors and televangelists, said people who scheme others out of their money are not leading Christian lives.

“They are cheating the people of knowing the mystery of God,” he said.

As The Charlotte Observer reported last week, Coontz was indicted on three counts of failure to pay taxes and four counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.

The televangelist and author of several books on the topic of seed giving that he says can make people rich, claimed as business expenses his family’s $1.5 million condo, along with a fleet of luxury cars, including three BMWs, two Ferraris, a Maserati and a Land Rover.

The federal criminal bill of indictment further states that Coontz provided no proof that his Regal 2500 boat, 400 charges at movie theaters, $228,000 in clothing purchases and $140,000 in meals and other entertainment were all business expenses.

U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said when announcing the charges: “This is a classic example of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.'”

“As a minister, Coontz preached about receiving and managing wealth, yet he failed to keep his own finances in order. Coontz will now receive a first-hand lesson in ‘rendering unto Caesar’ that which is due,” Rose added.

Coontz, who was the minister of Rock Wealth International Ministries from 2010 to 2014, says on his website that others describe him as a “pastor, evangelist, television host, author, humanitarian, philanthropist, businessman.”

His lawyer, Mark Foster of Charlotte, said in a statement that Coontz “unequivocally asserts his innocence … and will vigorously defend himself against these charges.”

“Todd Coontz has always endeavored to follow the law and to be a good citizen, father, and minister. He trusted others to manage his finances and taxes for him and was shocked to find out he was under criminal investigation by the IRS,” Foster said, outlining his expectation that the jury will find his client not guilty after hearing the evidence.

Anthony told CP, however, that he’s “very thankful that the IRS finally took some action,” both on Coontz and on televangelist Benny Hinn.

Hinn, who has asked his supporters in the past to step up to “higher seed-level giving” by donating $1,000 to his ministry, basing his request on Coontz’s financial teachings, admitted back in April that criminal investigators from the IRS and inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service had raided his offices in Grapevine, Texas.

Hinn said he’s “cooperating fully with the governmental entities” who are “reviewing certain operations of the Church,” but did not provide further details.

Anthony added that televangelists such as Hinn and Coontz like to “give each other credit,” and build their own ego.

“There is more fraud committed in the name of God than any other fraud in the world,” he said.

“We just found out that there’s now more clerical fraud, ecclesiastical fraud than there is money given for missions. And now, this year, it’s in the neighborhood of $55 billion for fraud, and about $49 billion for missions,” he explained.

“They are not feeding the hungry or clothing the naked or housing the homeless, they are building themselves mansions and multiple jet planes,” he said of televangelists who commit fraud.

“It’s heresy that’s worse than almost any heresy that I know of,” the Trinity Foundation president continued. “Jesus warned of it. The only time I’m aware that He said He hated something [was] the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of Nicolaitans in the book of Revelation.”

Anthony noted that while the doctrine of Balaam talks about mixing religion with politics and money; the doctrine of Nicolaitans preaches success in the world in the name of God.

“There’s no End Times revival — it’s an End Times apostasy, and we’re now seeing the greatest apostasy that the world has ever known,” he positioned.

The Trinity Foundation, he said, has submitted 38 reports to the Senate Finance Committee on abuses to the tax code and on ecclesiastical fraud that is being committed.

Anthony said that while the committee promised that there would be hearings, at the end nothing was done. He claimed that many politicians are afraid of those in the Christian community who preach “the success theology.”

“They hire the nation’s best attorneys, and ex-IRS directors,” he said of fraud suspects.

“It just infuriated me,” he said of the committee’s inaction.

The Trinity Foundation also sent CP Anthony’s unpublished comments in an interview with WSOC-TV Charlotte four years ago when when Coontz asked viewers to send him a $273 ‘Recovery Seed’ donation to experience a “supernatural change in 90 days.” The number 273 is also the number to his $1.5 million condo.

“There are many thousands that are victims that are giving their money under false pretenses, false promises. It’s a sham. In any other society it would be criminal. But in religious broadcasting it’s the soup du jour.

“There is no accountability for the ministers. They get by with anything they want to do because prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in this country do not want to go after religious figures,” Anthony said.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/televangelist-todd-coontz-indicted-tax-fraud-claims-1-5-million-condo-ferraris-business-expenses-189752/#Mpdp6JjhAbtg63s5.99

Why Iran’s brightest young graduates are leaving their country behind

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Brain drain to the West

Why Iran’s brightest young graduates are leaving their country behind

Updated 7:20 AM ET, Tue June 27, 2017

Tehran, Iran (CNN) Sporting earbuds and sagging backpacks, students lounge on patches of grass, shaded by trees from the harsh sun. They sit in the library, hunched over laptops, massaging their temples, cramming for tests or bashing out lines of code.
It could be a college campus anywhere in the world, but Sharif University of Technology sits in the shadow of the Azadi tower in Iran’s capital, Tehran.
SUT represents the aspirations of a generation of Iranian policy makers who, in the wake of the 1979 revolution, were determined to put their country on the science and technology map.
It is often called the MIT of Iran — re-imagined after austere beginnings, based on the example of that American powerhouse, Sharif President Mahmud Fotuhi Firuzabad told CNN on a recent spring morning in Tehran.
“I don’t want to exaggerate the situation,” says Professor Jawad Salehi, tongue far from cheek, but “MIT is the Sharif of the U.S.”
Be that as it may, Iran’s educational leaders must also brace themselves for the fact that Sharif is a conduit out of the country.

Tehran's Sharif University of Technology was founded to help put Iran on the science and technology map.

The university cites as a point of pride the mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, an alum who in 2014 became the first woman to win a Fields Medal, the Nobel Prize of mathematics. Now, though, she’s a professor at Stanford University, not Sharif.
“The computer engineering department in this university — they call that the airport,” says 19-year-old civil engineering student Kiarash. “Our main reason for joining this university is for going abroad.”

Knowledge, technology ‘fundamental’

Iran’s 1979 revolution swept aside a Western-backed monarch, and with it a system of outward dependency.
“Going back really to (the) early stages of the revolution, but it continues, the government has really invested in education, partly to address inequality,” says Arang Keshavarzian, associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU.
That investment took on new importance after the bloody Iran-Iraq war launched by Saddam Hussein, says Salehi.
The war “showed the core of our system — that knowledge and technology is very fundamental for our survivability in the future.”

What's life like inside Iran?

What’s life like inside Iran?
The lesson, says Salehi, was broad. MIT “helped to advance the American society,” he says. “Iranian society at the time was in need of engineers, more than anything else.”
“Our society would have to advance itself based on knowledge, on science, and know-how.”
The resemblance between Sharif and major Western universities doesn’t extend much beyond the groups of students chatting beneath the trees outside — the buildings are heavy on breeze block and concrete. There are no starchitect-built theaters here, but faculty members and students speak of the place with pride.
“If you gave us the MIT budget,” says Salehi, ” and you gave us the facilities and laboratories, but here in the Sharif campus, I am sure that — I mean, I don’t want to exaggerate this — but I am sure that we would be at par with some of the best of the world.”
SUT staff would not allow CNN to chat to students on campus, but we spoke to several on the streets nearby; they are identified here only by their first names, as some of their comments could be considered controversial.
The university is “the best in the country,” says 25-year-old electrical engineering student Mehdi.
But he says Western sanctions — some now lifted in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal — have limited students’ access to scientific papers, equipment, and the ability to “reach the technology. It’s heavily affected us.”

Influence of Western culture

Walking to campus with four friends, Kiarash says that the “university atmosphere is way better” than most other Iranian institutions.
Kiarash’s generation lives in a different world to that of their parents; through the internet, Western culture reaches Iran like never before.
Though many social media websites, such as Facebook and Reddit, are officially blocked, simple workarounds mean they are easily accessible. Encrypted messaging apps like Telegram have taken off, and allow of a form of communication completely out of the government’s sight; even Iran’s presidential campaigns have embraced Telegram.
Students like Kiarash and his friend Pegah, 20, recognize their privilege, but expect more.

With students lounging beneath the trees on campus, at first glance, SUT could be a college anywhere in the world.

“It’s known to be the best university of Iran, but we don’t have much facilities,” says Pegah.
“We have something,” Kiarash chimes in. “A device for mixing some kinds of concrete. It’s (from) the former king of Iran’s era.”
And there are bigger, more fundamental issues.
“I wear whatever I like,” says Kiarash. “But, for example, my friend here, she has to wear hijab.”
Their clothing would fit it in at any Western university — jeans and T-shirts. But Pegah, who is female, must adhere to Iran’s rules mandating conservative clothing for women.
Several times, Pegah says, she’s been reprimanded for her clothing. “For example, they say your jeans are too tight. But it’s not tight!”
“The MIT of Iran?” laughs Satya, a 20-year-old in her senior year studying physics. “It is the best university in Tehran, I guess. It’s hard. But I am doing it.”

Tug-of-war over lifestyles

The strictures placed on students are not just a matter of personal annoyances, says Iranian economy and education specialist Nader Habibi, of Brandeis University in the U.S. “The government imposes an Islamic lifestyle,” he says, but for many urban families, “their vision of a good lifestyle is more liberal.”
One way around this, Habibi says, would be to “create small areas where (a) more diverse lifestyle is tolerated” — think Dubai, an outpost of liberal excesses in a fundamentally very conservative country, the United Arab Emirates. That model has been successful in attracting foreign investment, and convincing multinationals to set up shop.

Women in Iran are expected to conform to strict rules on dress, wearing headscarves and modest clothes.

In Iran, there is a constant tug-of-war between politicians like President Hassan Rouhani — reform-minded, at least by Iranian standards — and the conservative, revolutionist clergy, with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at the helm.
It’s evident everywhere in Tehran, where you’re as likely to pass a woman covered head to toe in a flowing black chador, as a woman made up to the nines, with coiffed hair, designer clothes, and a scarf half-way back on her head, barely conforming to rules requiring female head coverings.
The Iranian government, says Habibi, has thus far resisted implementing any Dubai-style system in Iran.
As far as Kiarash is concerned, that inflexibility is driving away Iran’s brightest students. “They only wait (for) their main civil rights,” he says. “And when they don’t give them, they have to go.”

Seeking greener pastures

Ramtin Keramati is one of those who left the country. On the phone from California, the SUT graduate recalls the first time he saw Stanford University’s campus. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is gorgeous! This is amazing!'”
Keramati says the transition was difficult, but he had company — in the form of roughly 8,700 Iranian students studying in the US, according to a 2014 study by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. They’re among as many as 50,000 Iranians studying around the world.

Capturing everyday life in Iran

Capturing everyday life in Iran 
Stanford even has a Persian Students Association, which Keramati says picked him up from the airport and helped him get acclimatized to life on a US campus.
“It’s really hard,” he says. “I didn’t know what to expect … everything was a surprise.”
There is a rich history of Iranians seeking greener pastures — at least temporarily — abroad.
President Rouhani studied in Scotland. His foreign minister, Javad Zarif, studied in California. SUT’s Salehi got his bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Irvine and his PhD at the University of Southern California before working at Bell Labs in New Jersey, which he calls “one of the best periods of my life.” Firuzabad, the president of SUT, got his master’s degree and PhD in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Rouhani, Zarif, Salehi and Firoozabad all came back to Iran, but what of those who don’t return? Some leave because of what they see as a lack of basic civil rights. Others see little hope in an economy in which the real — as opposed to official — unemployment rate could be well over 20%.

‘Significant’ brain drain

The “brain drain is significant,” says Brandeis’ Habibi; he says Iran’s government has tried to stem it, using economic incentives.
Anyone who receives a government scholarship to study abroad can have that loan written off if they return to Iran to work for a certain number of years, but “that’s only a small fraction of Iran’s brain drain,” Habibi says.
Much more significant are the students or professionals who move abroad for better opportunities. Once someone has completed their mandatory military service, Habibi says, the government can do nothing to stop them from leaving.

Many students leave Iran for work overseas once they have completed their degrees, prompting fears of a brain drain.

The brain drain is a “very sensitive question,” Salehi acknowledges. Everyone has the right to emigrate, he says, “but we can influence their choice.”
“It is the duty of the government, or the society, to give so many opportunities in our country that a young person who was thinking of leaving would have a bit of a doubt,” he says.
The government often reaches out “to educated professional Iranians in … Western countries, to encourage them to come back,” Habibi says; he estimates that the Rouhani government, aided by the lifting of some sanctions, has convinced 100 to 200 Iranians a year to return to work in their homeland.
And the desire to leave is by no means universal.
Aerospace engineering student Mohammed, 21, says his faculty members have “good connections with the industry to get a job later,” adding: “I just want to stay here.”

Mohammed, an aerospace engineering student at SUT.

But a very unscientific survey found that the call of foreign countries resonates with plenty of Sharif’s students. That’s certainly the case with physics student Satya.
As far as she’s concerned, “every one” of the university’s students goes abroad.
“That’s the goal when we come here,” she says. “This is why Sharif is important, and very famous, because we can apply and we can go and never come back, maybe.”

‘Trump-Modi nexus’ could spell disaster for regional peace: AJK president

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWSPAPER DAWN)

Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Mohammad Masood Khan in a statement on Tuesday warned that a “Trump-Modi nexus” could spell disaster to regional peace.

The statement follows a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the run-up to which the US State Department had designated Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist and slapped sanctions on him ─ a move slammed by the Foreign Office today as ‘completely unjustified’.

Read more: Unjust to designate supporters of Kashmiri struggle as terrorists: FO

The White House had called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries, a statement from the White House said.

Sardar Khan, who retired from the foreign service of Pakistan as a career diplomat, claimed that the US had always deceived Pakistan and its latest decision was yet another example of it.

“The US has never acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices despite the latter’s being a frontline state in the war against terrorism,” he said.

Khan questioned the justification of the US decision, claiming that the Hizbul Mujahideen had been struggling solely for freedom of India-held Kashmir (IHK), and was neither linked to any terrorist group nor had resorted to any action outside IHK.

“In fact, it’s the Indian army committing terrorism in occupied Kashmir. Ignoring the genocide of Kashmiris by Indian army and declaring freedom fighters as terrorists is a criminal departure from international humanitarian and democratic norms by the US,” he claimed.

Kashmiris protest US move

Hundreds of people from different walks of life staged a rally in the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to condemn the US administration’s decision of designating Salahuddin a terrorist.

Demonstrators started the rally from Muzaffarabad’s famous Burhan Wani Chowk, named after a Hizbul Mujahideen commander who was killed by Indian forces in IHK last year.

Just in front of them, a large Indian tricolour flag was also placed on the ground with two young children standing on it.

Amid loud anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, it was later torched by the demonstrators.

Representatives of separatist groups and political parties took strong exception to the decision which they termed a reprehensible attempt by the Trump administration to please India.

Speaking at the rally, Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, a senior leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and a former AJK minister, claimed it was the weak foreign policy of the PML-N led government in Islamabad that had encouraged the Trump administration to take this step during Modi’s visit.

“If you are serious in your avowals of extending diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris, then you should show some strength and as a first step summon the US and Indian envoys in [the] Foreign Office to lodge [a] protest over this unfair decision,” he said, addressing the federal government.

Ahmed also asked the AJK government to give a strike call on both sides of disputed Kashmir, like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had given for February 28, 1974, to express rejection of the US decision.

“All political parties and mujahideen groups should be taken on board to make this strike a historic one,” he said.

PPP leader Shaukat Javed Mir and several others also spoke on the occasion.

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