Country Set to Criminalize Sex Outside Marriage

Indonesia’s government is pushing through a sweeping new penal code aimed at cracking down on behavior determined to be offensive to the country’s majority-Muslim culture, and is set to outlaw consensual sex outside marriage as part of the package. . .

Reuters reported that four parliamentarians confirmed the new criminal code “is due to be adopted in the next week,” and the final version includes a law that would make it illegal for citizens to have sex with a person other than their spouse. Violators could be sent to prison for up to one year.

According to the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, millions of Indonesians could face prosecution under the pending law. The organization pointed to a study showing that 40 percent of adolescents in the country have had pre-marital sexual relations — and that’s just the young people in a country with a population of more than 250 million.

The Associated Press reported last year that the revisions to Indonesia’s criminal code were pushed by the country’s Islamic political parties, who are using “moral conservatism’ to “rouse their base.” (Read more from “Country Set to Criminalize Sex Outside Marriage” HERE)

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If U.S. Claims of How the Saudi Oil Attack Went down Are True, Then the Failure to Prevent It Is a Huge Embarrassment

By Business Insider. . .The version of events being advanced by US officials, however — that most of the damage was from cruise missiles launched from Iran — raises the embarrassing question of why the US military was unable to do anything about it.

The airspace around Iran and Saudi Arabia is some of the best-defended and most intensively monitored on earth, thanks to the decades-long buildup of US assets there. But on Saturday those defenses failed to prevent what US officials have said were at least 17 separate strikes. . .

One former US Navy officer, who deployed to the Persian Gulf region twice to operate air-defense systems, said it would be nearly impossible for the US not to notice the attack as it happened or attempt to intercept the weapons.

“It’s very hard to imagine a salvo of 17 shots from Iranian territory not being picked up via some land and sea radars,” said the former officer who asked not to be identified discussing US military capabilities in the region. . .

There has been no evidence that US or Saudi radar systems picked up the incoming attack or that either military attempted to intercept the missiles before they struck the facilities. (Read more from “If U.S. Claims of How the Saudi Oil Attack Went down Are True, Then the Failure to Prevent It Is a Huge Embarrassment” HERE)

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U.S. Satellites Detected Iran Readying Weapons Ahead of Saudi Strike, Officials Say

By NPR. U.S. surveillance satellites detected Iran readying drones and missiles at launch sites in Iran before Saudi oil facilities were attacked on Saturday, according to two Defense Department officials.

The imagery has not been publicly released. The officials tell NPR that U.S. intelligence views the activity as “circumstantial evidence” that Iran launched the strike from its own soil.

Saudi Aramco has said the attacks on its plants in Abqaiq and Khurais were “a result of terrorist attacks with projectiles.” Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, but U.S. officials have accused Iran of playing a key role.

Iran has denied any involvement.

The two officials say the U.S. Defense Department has sent a forensic team to Saudi Arabia to examine wreckage of drones and missiles used in the attack. Intelligence experts say the outcome of those examinations could provide “compelling and convincing” evidence that Iran was behind the attack. (Read more from “U.S. Satellites Detected Iran Readying Weapons Ahead of Saudi Strike, Officials Say” HERE)

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Iranian Weapons Used in Saudi Oil Attack

President Trump on Monday stopped short of directly blaming Iran for a major attack on Saudi Arabian oil installations, allaying, at least for the moment, fears of a military conflict between the United States and Iran.

Officials in Washington and Riyadh spent the day analyzing satellite photos and other intelligence that they said indicated that Iranian weapons were used in the assault on the Saudi Aramco facilities. But they presented no new information that would conclusively show that Iran directed or launched the attack, which Saudi officials said led to a 50 percent reduction in oil production. . .

For their part, Saudi officials affirmed that Iranian weapons were used in the attack but also stopped short of singling out Iran in statements that appeared to reflect fears across the Persian Gulf of a wider and more violent conflagration.

Col. Turki al-Malki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, said initial investigations into the strikes on the oil facilities had found that “these weapons are Iranian weapons.” He added that the attacks “did not originate in Yemeni territory as claimed by the Houthi militias.” (Read more from “Iranian Weapons Used in Saudi Oil Attack” HERE)

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Trump: U.S. ‘Locked and Loaded’ After ‘Iranian’ Attack on Saudi Oil Sites

By Daily Wire. President Donald Trump suggested on Sunday that the U.S. military could be used to respond to the terrorist attacks on oil sites in Saudi Arabia, for which U.S. officials say Iran was responsible.

“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked,” Trump tweeted. “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” . . .

The Saturday attacks knocked out over 5% of global oil supply and it could take Saudi Arabia months to recover from the attack, which a senior U.S. official told Reuters potentially involved cruise missiles.

“The U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said there were 19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities and that evidence showed the launch area was west-northwest of the targets — the direction of Iran — not south from Yemen,” Reuters added. “The official added that Saudi officials had indicated they had seen signs that cruise missiles were used in the attack, which is inconsistent with the Iran-aligned Houthi group’s claim that it conducted the attack with 10 drones.”

(Read more from “Trump Suggests Action Over ‘Iranian’ Attack on Saudi Oil Sites” HERE)

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Trump Approves Use of Emergency Oil Reserves and Says U.S. Is ‘Locked and Loaded’ After Attack on Saudi Facilities

By Washington Examiner. President Trump authorized the use of emergency oil reserves after a series of drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities disrupted the country’s crude oil output and indicated that the U.S. is “locked and loaded depending on verification” of the “culprit.”

“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

“I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States,” he continued. (Read more from “Trump Approves Use of Emergency Oil Reserves and Says U.S. Is ‘Locked and Loaded’ After Attack on Saudi Facilities” HERE)

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President Trump Confirms Osama Bin Laden’s Son Was Killed

President Donald Trump on Saturday confirmed that Hamza bin Laden, the son of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, “was killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.”

“The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father but undermines important operational activities of the group,” the White House said in a statement. “Hamza bin Laden was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups.” . . .

Earlier this year, the State Department offered a $1 million reward for any information that lead to Hamza bin Laden, Fox News reported. Although he was not the leader of Al-Qaeda, he quickly followed in his father’s footsteps and climbed the ranks of the Islamic State, a rival terrorist organization. (Read more from “President Trump Confirms Osama Bin Laden’s Son Was Killed” HERE)

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Russia to Begin Peace Talks With Taliban

A Taliban negotiating team arrived in Russia on Friday, less than a week after President Trump announced that peace talks with the Islamic militant group in Afghanistan were essentially “dead.” . . .

The Russian state news agency Tass, citing the Taliban’s Qatari-based spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, reported that the delegation had met with Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to Afghanistan. A Taliban official confirmed the visit to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Russia has been accused of aiding the Taliban as a safeguard against a burgeoning affiliate of the Islamic State (ISIS) that has close ties to the Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, a militant group in Central Asia. Russia has stepped up its defenses in Central Asia and has claimed thousands of ISIS fighters were in northern Afghanistan. . .

On Saturday, Trump announced he had called off secret meetings with Afghan government leaders and Taliban officials that were to take place at Camp David. The president noted that the Taliban had claimed responsibility for a recent attack in Kabul that left 12 dead, including an American soldier.”

“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” Trump asked in a statement on Twitter, before adding that if the Taliban cannot agree to a cease-fire, “then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway.” (Read more from “Russia to Begin Peace Talks With Taliban” HERE)

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U.S. Sanctions on Iran Leave Pension Funds on Brink of Collapse

Crippling sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran since President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal last year have left pension funds throughout the country on the brink of collapse, according to documents reviewed by National Security Council officials and obtained by Fox News. . .

“They have fewer resources. We can see it with the Shia militias in Iraq. They’re scrambling for resources. We think the Iranian government will shrink, that their GDP will shrink by as much as 12 or 14 percent this year,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday,” speaking to the economic impact. “This will reduce their capacity to purchase the things they need, the equipment they need, the materials they need, to inflict terror around the world.”

The impact has been so severe that of the 18 existing retirement funds in Iran, 17 are in the red, according to these documents. That includes the pension funds for all of Iran’s armed forces.

As much as 80 percent of Iran’s retirement funds rely on government subsidies, which the documents refer to as unsustainable for not just pensions but for food products, drugs and fuel. . .

The details from the pressure campaign come amid reports that Trump is now considering throwing support behind a plan crafted by French President Emmanuel Macron that would extend a $15 billion line of credit to the regime in Tehran if leaders agree to come back into compliance with terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement. (Read more from “U.S. Sanctions on Iran Leave Pension Funds on Brink of Collapse” HERE)

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Watch It: Video Shows U.S. Bombing ISIS-‘Infested’ Island; Military Leaders Warn of ISIS Insurgency in Iraq

By Fox News. U.S. jets bombed an ISIS-“infested island” in northern Iraq Tuesday, according to new video and a statement from the U.S.-led coalition battling the terrorist group.

More than 80,000 pounds of laser-guided bombs were dropped on the island located on the Tigris River south of Mosul, according to U.S. Army Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, based in Baghdad.

U.S. officials called the island a “major transit hub” for ISIS fighters going in and out of Syria.

“We’re denying [ISIS] the ability to hide on Qanus Island,” said Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill, the commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. “We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region.”

A tweet from OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins, which aired the video, said: “Here’s what it looks like when @USAFCENT F15 and F35 jets drop 36,000kg of bombs on a Daesh [ISIS] infested island.”

(Read more from “Watch It: Video Shows U.S. Bombing ISIS-‘Infested’ Island” HERE)

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Military Leaders Tell David Muir There Is an ‘Isis Insurgency’ in Iraq, Warn of Breeding Ground Across Syria Border

By ABC News. . .Nearly 16 years since the United States went into Iraq to eliminate Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir got exclusive access with American troops now fighting an enemy intent on resurging: ISIS.

Mere months after losing their territorial hold across Syria and Iraq — and after President Donald Trump declared ISIS had been “defeated” — the reality on the ground paints a still grim picture of recalcitrant ISIS fighters forming an enduring insurgency.

“We have seen, since the collapse of the caliphate, that ISIS has repositioned a lot of its capabilities,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich told Muir.

“They’re trying to garner resources, extort the population, do low level attacks. There’s certainly an insurgency going on, on the ground right now,” said Grynkewich, the deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, the joint coalition fighting ISIS on the ground. . .

For months, there have been warnings of a resurgence — at least two Pentagon reports this year, including one from August, cautioned ISIS was far from eradicated. A report from the lead inspector general for Operation Inherent Resolve, which fights ISIS, warned that from April to June, ISIS “solidified insurgent capabilities in Iraq” and established “resurgent cells” in Syria to “expand its command and control nodes in Iraq.” (Read more from “Military Leaders Tell David Muir There Is an ‘Isis Insurgency’ in Iraq, Warn of Breeding Ground Across Syria Border” HERE)

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Watch: Hong Kong Police Teargas Peaceful Shoppers Without Warning

By PJ Media. Former Hong Kong Parliamentarian Ray Chan reports on what looks like a nearly random teargas attack by local police, on people who weren’t even protesting. Chan tweeted on Sunday that the attack took place “in the heart of #HongKong’s shopping, district, Causeway Bay, there were no protesters, just reporters, shoppers & bystanders.” Erin Hale, a freelance journalist and Hong Kong correspondent for the German Press Agency confirmed to Chan that “no warnings had been given” by police before firing.

. . .

But it’s this last item that really must give Beijing the night sweats.

(Read more from “Watch: Hong Kong Police Teargas Peaceful Shoppers Without Warning” HERE)

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Avoid Irresponsible Remarks on Hong Kong, China Warns UK MPs

By The Guardian. China’s ambassador to the UK has accused British politicians of exhibiting a “colonial mindset” when they express support for demonstrators in Hong Kong or raise concerns about Huawei or freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Liu Xiaoming said British MPs were free to express their opinion about the Hong Kong crisis but needed to recognise there were limits. Critical comments were not a problem “as long as you do not interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs,” he said.

At the same briefing, China’s military attache in the UK, Maj Gen Su Guanghui, said the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier or any other British warship could face an armed response if it sailed through disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Liu said some UK politicians “still have a colonial mindset” and argued it was a problem if they made “irresponsible remarks to show support” for what he described as “demonstrators and rioters” in Hong Kong. (Read more from “Avoid Irresponsible Remarks on Hong Kong, China Warns UK MPs” HERE)

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Biblical Town Linked to Jesus’ Resurrection May Have Been Found

Archaeologists in Israel may have discovered the Biblical town of Emmaus, which is linked to Jesus’ resurrection and the Ark of the Covenant.

Haaretz reports that archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a 2,200-year-old fortification at Kiriath-Jearim, a hill on the outskirts of Abu Ghosh, a village near Jerusalem.

The fortification dates back to the Hellenistic period when ancient Greek influence in the region was strong. Tel Aviv University Professor Israel Finkelstein told Haaretz that the walls were repaired during the later period of Roman rule in the first century A.D.

Finkelstein and his fellow researchers suggest that the site could be the famous Biblical town, or village, of Emmaus. According to Christian tradition, Jesus appeared to two of his apostles on the road to Emmaus after his crucifixion and resurrection.

In Luke 24:13-35 Emmaus is described as being about 7 miles from Jerusalem. This corresponds with the distance between Kiriath-Jearim, Abu Ghosh and Jerusalem. (Read more from “Biblical Town Linked to Jesus’ Resurrection May Have Been Found” HERE)

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