Death Toll in Egypt Attack on Christians Rises to 29

The death toll in the attack by gunmen on a bus transporting Christians to a monastery south of Cairo rose to 29, Egyptian authorities said Saturday.

The Egyptian Cabinet said in a news release that 13 victims of Friday’s attack remained hospitalized in Cairo and the southern province of Minya where the attack took place. Authorities had previously said 28 were killed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group. The bloodshed came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Read more from “Death Toll in Egypt Attack on Christians Rises to 29” HERE)

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Tillerson Apologizes to Britain After Intel Agencies Leak Manchester Bombing Details

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson apologized to the United Kingdom Friday after details of the Manchester bombing were leaked to U.S. media outlets.

“We take full responsibility for that and we regret that that happened,” Tillerson said in a joint appearance with U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. He continued, “This special relationship that exists between our two countries will certainly withstand this particular unfortunate event.”

The U.K. temporarily suspended Manchester bombing intelligence sharing with the U.S. Thursday after photos of the crime scene appeared in The New York Times. British Prime Minister Theresa May considered the leak so serious that she said she would raise the matter with President Donald Trump to stress that information shared between the two allies must remain secret. (Read more from “Tillerson Apologizes to Britain After Intel Agencies Leak Manchester Bombing Details” HERE)

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British Police Arrest New Suspect in Manchester Bombing, Tighten Security

British police investigating the Manchester Arena bombing made a new arrest Friday while continuing to search addresses associated with the attacker who killed 22 people.

Seven other men are in custody in connection with Monday’s blast, all are being held on suspicion of offenses violating the Terrorism Act. Their ages ranged from 18 to 38.

A 16-year-old boy and a 34-year-old woman who had been arrested were released without charge, police said. (Read more from “British Police Arrest New Suspect in Manchester Bombing, Tighten Security” HERE)

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Militants Attack Christians in Egypt, Killing at Least 28

Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group. The attack came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Islamic militants have for years been waging an insurgency mostly centered in the restive northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, although a growing number of attacks have recently also taken place on the mainland. (Read more from “Militants Attack Christians in Egypt, Killing at Least 28” HERE)

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The Possible Reasons Big Corporations Are So Eager for Trump to Break His Promise on Paris Climate Deal

European countries and major corporations are pressuring President Donald Trump to remain in the Paris climate agreement despite his promises on the campaign to withdraw the United States from the Obama-era deal that never gained congressional approval.

The Trump administration so far is sticking with being undecided—at least until Trump returns to the United States from his first foreign trip, where on Friday, he’s meeting with Group of Seven ally countries, which support the agreement.

Back home, the pressure is growing from multinational corporations, even the energy sector, which have opposed stricter limitations on carbon.

Exxon Mobil Corp., once run by Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP are urging the administration to remain in the agreement. Meanwhile, coal mining company Cloud Peak Energy urged the administration to remain.

European countries and major corporations are pressuring President Donald Trump to remain in the Paris climate agreement despite his promises on the campaign to withdraw the United States from the Obama-era deal that never gained congressional approval.

The Trump administration so far is sticking with being undecided—at least until Trump returns to the United States from his first foreign trip, where on Friday, he’s meeting with Group of Seven ally countries, which support the agreement.

Back home, the pressure is growing from multinational corporations, even the energy sector, which have opposed stricter limitations on carbon.

Exxon Mobil Corp., once run by Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP are urging the administration to remain in the agreement. Meanwhile, coal mining company Cloud Peak Energy urged the administration to remain.

“BP and Shell are European companies and it’s impossible to do business in Europe without towing the political line,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Signal. He added that for oil and gas companies, “the only way to get the price of gas back up is to kill coal. The Paris Agreement kills fossil fuels, but it kills coal first.”

Ebell was part of Trump’s transition team overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute sponsored an ad showing Trump during the campaign saying, “We are going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”

While corporate support might seem surprising, it’s very much the same old story for large companies seeking an advantage over smaller competitors, said Katie Tubb, a policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation.

“Big business and big government often go hand-in-hand. Big businesses generally can absorb and adapt to the costs of complying with burdensome regulation, of which Paris is a wellspring,” Tubb told The Daily Signal. “Smaller companies have a much harder time complying, which means less competition for big business. This is especially true if big business can influence the substance of regulations to favor themselves or freeze out competitors. I think in other cases; these large companies are just looking for PR points.”

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry led the United States into the Paris climate change agreement, along with 170 other countries. The agreement commits member countries to shift their energy industries away from fossil fuels and toward green energy.

Two dozen major U.S. companies—including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, the Hartford, Levi Strauss, PG&E, and Morgan Stanley—sent an open letter to Trump published in The New York Times and other newspapers across the country, urging him to remain in the deal. The letter says:

By requiring action by developed and developing countries alike, the agreement ensures a more balanced global effort, reducing the risk of competitive imbalances for U.S. companies … By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth. U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets.

U.S. business is best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response. The Paris Agreement provides such a framework. As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort.

Generally, larger energy companies have an advantage under the climate deal, said Fred Palmer, senior fellow for energy and climate at the Heartland Institute.

“Follow the money,” Palmer told The Daily Signal. “There are companies that want to game the system of using [carbon dioxide] as a currency to make money.”

After meetings at the Vatican earlier this week, Tillerson said, “The president indicated we’re still thinking about that, that he hasn’t made a final decision.”

Ahead of the G7 meeting, Trump chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, told a pool reporter Friday that the president is weighing both sides.

“I think he’s leaning to understand the European position. Look, as you know from the U.S., there’s very strong views on both sides,” Cohn said. “He also knows that Paris has important meaning to many of the European leaders. And he wants to clearly hear what the European leaders have to say.”

Ebell warned that if the administration seeks to make a deal to stay in the agreement, perhaps with a lower commitment than the Obama administration pledged, then a future president could simply increase the U.S. commitment. That’s why, Ebell said, it’s best for the United States to get out.

“Obviously foreign leaders don’t care what Trump promised voters in the campaign,” Ebell said.

To be sure, many U.S. business groups oppose the Paris Agreement, such as the Industrial Energy Consumers of America—which represents manufacturers and other larger energy-using businesses—that wrote an April 24 letter to administration officials. The letter said:

We are the ones who eventually bear the costs of government imposed [greenhouse gas] reduction schemes. At the same time, we are often already economically disadvantaged, as compared to global competitors who are subsidized or protected by their governments.

Given the above concerns, IECA fails to see the benefit of the Paris Climate Accord. And, the long-term implications of the Paris Climate Accord, which includes greater future [greenhouse gas] reduction requirements, raises serious competitiveness and job implications for [energy-intensive, trade-exposed] industries.

(For more from the author of “The Possible Reasons Big Corporations Are So Eager for Trump to Break His Promise on Paris Climate Deal” please click HERE)

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Did Trump Threaten to Stop German Car Imports?

President Trump took his characteristically tough talk on trade to Brussels, complaining “bitterly,” according to Spiegel, about the country of Germany’s trade surplus with America.

“The Germans are bad, very bad,” Trump said of Germany’s trade policies.

“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the U.S. It’s horrible. And we’ll stop that,” the president said.

President Trump was in Brussels Thursday, speaking at NATO’s headquarters and chastising other NATO allies for not paying their “fair share” of the organization’s budget.

His comments on German trade policy came during a meeting with European Union officials, Spiegel reported.

German-manufactured cars sold in the U.S. include Audi, BMW, Ford-Werke GmbH, Mercedes-Benz, Opel, Porshe, Volkswagen, and A-C.

Impeding German car imports through tariffs would raise the price of these very popular car brands on American consumers. (For more from the author of “Did Trump Threaten to Stop German Car Imports?” please click HERE)

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Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Mandate Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

Taiwan declared today that disallowing same-sex “marriage” is discriminatory. It will therefore amend its Constitution to allow gmarriage. Gmarriage is government-defined marriage, as opposed to actual marriage.

Taiwan’s Judicial Yuan announced that the current Constitution did not protect gmarriage, which they called “a major falsehood.” They said it will take two years to amend the Constitution and change civil laws. The Stream predicted this move last December.

The Judicial Yuan said that Taiwan’s Civil Code does not now “allow two persons of the same sex to create a permanent union of intimate and exclusive nature for the committed purpose of managing a life together.” The government did not say why they choose “two persons” and not some other number. Divorce is legal in Taiwan, so the “permanent” nature of marriage is also flexible.

The press release claimed that gmarriage will not “alter the social order.” This goes against the experience of all nations that have thus far instituted gmarriage. Forced participation has instead been the rule.

Taiwan’s Justification

Taiwan’s government justified the move with ideology. “Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic that is resistant to change,” it said. “Major medical associations have stated that homosexuality is not a disease.” They also say that “homosexuals … have been a discrete and insular minority in the society,” a fact which is unlikely to change even under legal gmarriage.

The Judicial Yuan anticipated criticisms by those who hold to the actual definition of marriage. It said the Civil Code’s “Marriage Chapter does not set forth the capability to procreate as a requirement for concluding an opposite-sex marriage. Nor does it provide that a marriage is void or voidable, or a divorce decree may be issued, if either party is unable or unwilling to procreate after marriage.”

Marriage as means to creating and nurturing families in support of society is not accepted as a valid point.

As in other countries, gmarriage in Taiwan becomes what the government says it is: two people coming together for whatever length of time suits their purpose. There’s no hint in the government’s announcement what penalties people who do not agree with gmarriage will face.

How Did Taiwan Get Here?

How did this Asian and once deeply conservative country become like any other Western nation? One clue comes from the makeup of the Taiwanese Government, which is a democracy. The country’s President Tsai Ing-wen has a Masters from America and a PhD from England. She has long expressed public support of “gay rights.” The Vice President Chen Chien-jen was schooled in Taiwan, and is Catholic. But he said he supported gay “rights,” though he waffled on his beliefs on gmarriage. He said publicly last year that it needed “further debate.” The official Catholic position is, of course, that gmarriage does not exist.

Closer to the point, the Chief Justice of the Judicial Yuan had his graduate education in Germany. Seven other Justices have graduate degrees from Western universities. Every foreign-trained Justice except one voted for gmarriage.

A minority of six Justices were educated in Taiwan. Four of these voted for gmarriage, with one other Justice dissenting. Reuters reports one additional Justice recused himself from the case because “he is married to a lawmaker who backs gay rights.”

Exposure to Western education is thus highly predictive of support for gmarriage.

The two dissenting Justices are Huang Horng-Shya and Wu Chen-Huan. (I could not discover the dissenting opinions on the official site.) In a 2015 interview with ET Today, Wu cautioned that “same-sex marriage has a great impact on society.” He has also been quoted warning about the expansion of powers and the “changing of tradition” by the government.

Justice Huang was quoted by China Times saying that families are derived from marriage, and that same-sex “marriage” does not consider the right of families. She also pointed out that same-sex “marriage” involves more than just the two people undergoing the ceremony. She echoed Justice Wu that gmarriage will influence all of society.

Taiwan’s move is similar to that of the United States Supreme Court, which in 2015 “discovered” a previously hidden “right” to gmarriage. The matter in both countries was not put to a vote. In March, polls indicated a healthy majority of Taiwanese were against gmarriage, with opposition rising further from the cosmopolitan capitol of Taipei. (For more from the author of “Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Mandate Same-Sex ‘Marriage'” please click HERE)

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Political and Economic Chaos in Brazil Highlights Need for Reforms

There is not much good news coming out of Brazil these days.

Political corruption scandals continue to rock the country, and the political instability has caused the nation’s stock market to crash.

Judge Sergio Moro, who presides over the biggest corruption scandal of them all (dubbed Operation Car Wash), has become something of a folk hero to the millions of Brazilians who are eager to see an end to the cronyism and corruption that has dogged the country for decades, both in the public and private sectors.

Brazil’s current center-right president, Michel Temer, who succeeded former President Dilma Rousseff after her impeachment and removal from office last year, is now facing calls for impeachment himself amid allegations of corruption.

But surely another big reason why Brazilian leftists are trying to remove Temer is that he is pushing two big efforts to reform their costly statist programs.

As the Financial Times reports, “Brazil has 17,000 unions compared with 168 in the U.K. and 100 in Argentina, a country known for its contentious labor relations.”

Brazil’s labor law, which dates from 1943, makes it too easy for workers to sue their employers. It increases the cost of doing business, hurting Brazil’s ranking in worldwide investment climate studies such as the World Bank’s “Doing Business” survey.

Temer is also pushing for reforms to change the country’s fiscally unsustainable pension system, which currently gives everyone the right to retire in their early to mid-50s and provides luxurious defined benefits packages for public sector retirees.

Temer’s proposed revisions will raise the minimum retirement age to 65 for men and 62 for women—much closer to the average in member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S. retirement age, by comparison, is 67.

The fact that many politicians in Brazil across the spectrum have been touched by corruption allegations does not alter the fact that the country must reform its economy.

The sad news for Brazilians is that these corruption scandals could have been anticipated—maybe even avoided.

Brazil’s scores in the annual Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom deteriorated for years during the long rule of former leftist-populist Presidents Dilma Rousseff and “Lula” da Silva.

So, even if Temer is forced out, his successor will still have to confront these enormous problems—and somehow solve them. (For more from the author of “Political and Economic Chaos in Brazil Highlights Need for Reforms” please click HERE)

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The Jihad Playbook: Why Terrorists Attack Children

The attack in Manchester, England, that has so far killed at least 19 and wounded at least 50 is ghastly. That it targeted children is as unforgivable as it is consistent with the jihadist playbook.

Conservative Review’s Jordan Schachtel has the full story from Monday night, and details are still coming out at the time of this writing.

Among of the bigger observations that has been made about this attack, however, is that it was waged against young adults, teenagers, and children attending a pop concert.

“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people,” Prime Minister Teresa May said in a statement, “but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”

One such victim – eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos – was confirmed dead by the Telegraph Tuesday afternoon.

During a Facebook live broadcast this morning, a viewer asked why terrorists would do such a thing. This is a more detailed response to that question.

Targeting the innocent is common; sadly, perhaps even commonplace by now. Targeting innocent youth brings the horror of the attack to a whole new level. But horror is the whole point, and it goes back decades. One only has to understand the playbook.

ISIS, its followers, and its sympathizers are ideological adherents to the jihadist tactical theories of Abu Bakr Naji. If you want to understand most of the political Left in America, you should start by reading Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” If you want to understand how Islamist terrorist operate, you should start with Naji’s “The Mastery of Savagery.”

In his book, the 20th-century Islamist theorist says that societies and nations of infidels should be brought to submission to Allah by a three-phase plan of savagery

These phases, as explained by Trump advisor Dr. Sebastian Gorka in 2015, are:

Vexation.

Spread savagery.

Administer savagery.

A talk Gorka gave at the Heritage Foundation in 2015 further illuminates how this strategy works. Here’s a synopsis of the lecture from the Institute of World Politics:

Phase 1, “vexation,” is comprised of operations to distract and exhaust the infidel enemy and his allies. It puts emphasis on smaller dramatic operations (as opposed to dramatic transnational attacks) and is used to prepare fighting units for phase 2. Phase 2, as Dr. Gorka explained, is the “spread savagery” stage, which ISIS has already begun. In this phase, leaders of the insurgency coordinate unconventional warfare to “dislodge” nations from local control. Phase 3, “administer savagery/consolidate/expand,” is designed to out-govern the government. In this phase, the leaders stabilize held areas, unite the population as a fighting community, and implement sharia law and government as a means to establish a base-state. This base-state is a new type of hybrid caliphate used to attack and expand into neighboring countries.

This is the big picture that it is so important to keep in mind when it comes to these sorts of terror attacks. It’s vexing enough for people in the West to worry whether a small explosion will make their trip to the market a fatal one. It’s more vexing when those same kinds of attacks become a monthly occurrence. And it’s even more vexing when those attacks are focused on a society’s children.

The bloodier and more horrific, the better. If ISIS is indeed responsible for this attack, as it has claimed, this is completely consistent with its tactics.

In short, that the Manchester bombing was aimed at killing children is shocking and barbaric indeed, but barbaric – for jihadists – is just part of the playbook. (For more from the author of “The Jihad Playbook: Why Terrorists Attack Children” please click HERE)

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Tillerson Says Tel Aviv Is ‘Home of Judaism.’ It’s Not

Before his plane even touched down in Israel Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson managed to insult the people of Israel — and Jews worldwide — by referring to Tel Aviv as the “home of Judaism.”

On the flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel, during a Q & A session with reporters, Tillerson commented: “On to the second stop, Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.”

Tel Aviv is not the home of Judaism. Though a popular tourist destination and the centerpiece of Israel’s bustling entrepreneurial environment, Tel Aviv does not have the religious significance that Jerusalem has. Jerusalem is home to the holiest sites in Judaism.

Tillerson had no government experience before becoming secretary of state, and his lack of basic knowledge on geopolitical issues has acted as a detriment to the Trump administration’s foreign policy.

During his conversation with reporters, Tillerson, refused to recognize that the holiest site in Jerusalem is part of Israel. The Western Wall is “in Jerusalem,” Tillerson told reporters, stating the obvious geographic fact, but refusing to note Israel’s sovereignty over it.

The secretary of state has been perhaps the most hostile Trump cabinet member to the Jewish state.

Last week, Tillerson appeared to renege on the administration’s campaign promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Instead of recognizing Israel’s sovereign capital, Tillerson used the embassy dilemma as a bargaining chip for a future “peace initiative” with the Palestinians.

“Well, the president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have,” Tillerson said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” last week.

His hostile comments generated a response from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who reminded the world that Jerusalem is indeed Israel’s capital, and that not recognizing it empowers radical extremists.

During the NBC interview, Tillerson referred to a nonexistent “Palestine,” instead of correctly stating that there are Palestinian territories — not an independent state of Palestine.

Tillerson’s State Department refuses to even recognize that Israel has a claim to Jerusalem, its capital city.

“Since 1948, every administration has taken the official position that no state has sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem. The status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians,” a State Department official told Conservative Review last week.

Secretary of State Tillerson is reportedly part of a contingent that is advising President Trump not to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The former oil executive is very friendly with the Arab regimes in the Middle East, particularly the autocracies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. (For more from the author of “Tillerson Says Tel Aviv Is ‘Home of Judaism.’ It’s Not” HERE)

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