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I have highlighted the Presidential Prayer Team previously in a Pray.Network Spotlight.  I'm adding this discussion to feature alerts sent out by the PPT for prayer.  Please join in praying for our country!

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Dec. 27: Israel Curbs Ties with Some UN Nations as Trump Warns Thin...

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his nation's Foreign Ministry to temporarily limit all working ties with the embassies of the 12 UN Security Council members who voted in favor of Friday's resolution on West Bank settlements and who have diplomatic relations with Israel.

According to senior Israeli officials, business with the embassies of those countries – Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand – will be suspended.

Israel was furious at the passage of Security Council resolution 2334, which says its settlements in the West Bank "had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security." The United States, a Security Council member, abstained on the resolution.

President-elect Donald Trump lashed out at the United Nations on Monday over the Security Council vote, saying that the UN has “such great potential,” but has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”

Trump also issued a stark warning, saying “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th," referring to the day he takes office.

The president-elect has taken a more pro-Israel stance than President Obama, saying the Palestinians have been "taken over" by or are condoning militant groups.

The Obama administration abstained from Friday’s vote, brushing aside Trump’s demands that the U.S. exercise its veto power and providing a climax to years of icy relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Sources: (CNN, Fox)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For improved relations between the U.S. and Israel under President Trump
• For Prime Minister Netanyahu as he leads the nation of Israel
• For the peace of Jerusalem and Israel as they face enemies on all sides
• For a less hostile stance from UN nations toward Israel

Dec. 30: Catholic Diocese Files Lawsuit Against Obama's Transgender...

An organization representing over 60 Catholic archdioceses has filed a claim in federal court against a new Obamacare regulation that will force religious hospitals, religious orders and faith-based employers to perform or insure sex reassignment procedures and abortion services.

A new Department of Health and Human Services regulation outlining Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act will take effect for many health plans on Jan. 1 and require all health care providers, insurance providers and employers to cover or offer a broad range of transgender reassignment surgeries and procedures.

Despite concerns issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during the public comment period, HHS passed the regulation in May without giving religious exemptions to faith-based hospitals or religious employers who object to the regulation because of their deeply-held religious convictions.

Institutions that fail to comply with the regulation could face ruinous consequences, such as loss of Medicaid or Medicare funding, triple compensatory damages, or civil penalties. Plaintiffs say that the regulation could cause many Catholic organization's existence to be at stake.

The complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief was filed Wednesday in the United States District Court of North Dakota and pressed by the Diocese of Fargo, Catholic Charities of North Dakota and the Catholic Benefits Association, an organization that represents over 880 Catholic employers, 5,000 parishes and 90,000 employees.

It should be noted that both Medicare and Medicaid are exempt from the regulation, as their HHS researchers found that "clinical evidence for gender reassignment surgery was inconclusive for the Medicare population at large."

Sources: (Christian Post, Crux)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For the lawsuit to stop the Department of Health and Human Services mandate
• For Americans to realize the moral implications of gender reassignment surgery
• For the Trump Administration as they formulate a new healthcare plan

Dec. 29: Rare Coast-to-Coast Cold Snap to Engulf Lower 48 Late Next...

Frigid air will grip an unusually large portion of the Lower 48 states in just over a week’s time. The cold is predicted to consume almost the entire nation, from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast, sparing only Florida.

While some parts of the country are forecast to experience temperatures 30 to 50 degrees colder than normal, the cold snap will be most remarkable for the amount of real estate it is predicted to cover.

Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist based in Alaska, noted Thursday that the National Weather Service’s six- to 10-day temperature outlook (below) projected the nation’s largest area with high confidence (90 percent probability) of below-normal temperatures in 15 years of issuing such outlooks.

The cold will take the better part of next week to reach the East Coast, first arriving in the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies this weekend.

The nation also experienced such coast-to-coast cold air during the winter of 2013-2014. But that cold was more intense than what is predicted for next week.

This kind of pattern happens more frequently during La Niña events like we’re seeing now, according to Michael Ventrice, a meteorologist with the Weather Company. But he cautioned that it would not be a “permanent fixture” of the winter. He concluded: “This winter will be a winter of extremes, with violent swings between Arctic cold and much-above-average temperatures for the eastern two-thirds.”

Sources: (Washington Post, The Weather Channel)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For those who may be affected by the cold weather
• For safety on the nation’s roadways during winter driving conditions
• For first responders, utility workers and others who must work outside during extreme weather

Dec. 30: Coast Guard Search Launched After Plane Vanishes in Ohio w...

U.S. Coast Guard crews in Ohio have searched for hours on Friday but found no debris after a small plane vanished shortly after takeoff with three adults and three children on board.

The Columbus-bound Cessna Citation 525 departed Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland late Thursday night and disappeared from radar about two miles over Lake Erie, north of the airport. Why remains unclear.

The group on the plane apparently had just left the Cleveland Cavaliers game, officials told Fox 8.

Air traffic control reported to the Coast Guard at about 11:30 p.m. on Thursday that the plane had just taken off from Burke Lakefront Airport in downtown Cleveland and "dropped off radar about two miles when it was over Lake Erie," Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Yaw told CNN.

The missing Cessna has room for up to 11 people, but the plane's flight plan indicates it had six people on board, Yaw said.

The plane was headed to Ohio State University Airport northwest of downtown Columbus. Cox said the plane is kept at a hangar at the airfield, but the six people aboard – apparently from two families – aren't affiliated with OSU. Their names weren't released, pending notification of their relatives.

Weather prevented a boat search overnight, but a U.S. Coast guard helicopter and a Canadian air crew were searching. A ship also was headed from Detroit to help.

Sources: (Fox News, CNN, AP)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For the missing passengers to be found alive
• For the families of the missing passengers
• For safety of Coast Guard and Search and Rescue members

Dec. 31: Hello, 2017! Cities Around the World Ring in Start of New ...

Revelers rang in 2017 across the globe with dazzling fireworks displays at midnight, draping skylines from Sydney to Singapore and Bangkok to Berlin with sparkling bursts of color hours before the ball dropped in New York's Times Square.

Thousands packed New York City's Times Square to watch the ball drop and signal the end 2016, under the watchful eye of police following a gun attack on a nightclub in Istanbul that occurred a little more than an hour after the start of the New Year there.

Sydney used its New Year's Eve showstopper to say farewell to 2016's fallen icons, honoring the late singer David Bowie and late actor Gene Wilder, among others, and become the first major city to bid a bittersweet adieu to a turbulent year.

Pope Francis called on the faithful to help young people find a place in society, and said during vespers on New Year's Eve that young people have been "pushed to the margins of public life, forcing them to migrate or to beg for jobs that no longer exist, or fail to promise them a future."

President-elect Donald Trump threw a New Year's bash at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, and when asked about his resolution he smiled and replied "Make America great again, OK? I'll do that one!"

Sources: (Fox News, NBC News, CNN)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For 2017 to be a great year for Americans
• For peace throughout the world
• For America to be great again in 2017

Dec. 31: 35 Killed and 40 Wounded in New Year's Attack on Istanbul ...

An armed assailant who is believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's celebrations, killing at least 35 people and wounding 40 others, according to Istanbul's governor and Turkey's state-run news agency.

Governor Vasip Sahin said the attacker, armed with a long-barreled weapon, killed a policeman and a civilian outside the club before entering and firing on people partying inside. He did not say who may have carried out the attack.

"Unfortunately (he) rained bullets in a very cruel and merciless way on innocent people who were there to celebrate New Year's and have fun," Sahin told reporters.

Footage from the scene showed at least six ambulances with flashing lights and civilians being escorted out. NTV said police had cordoned off the area and an operation to capture the assailant was ongoing.

The attack occurred shortly after midnight in the club where an estimated 600 people celebrated New Year's eve. Several shocked revelers were seen fleeing the scene after the attack and the music fell silent.

The club is located close to recent suicide attacks that killed dozens near a soccer stadium.

Sources: (Fox News, CNN, Huffington Post)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For the families of those who were killed
• For the wounded to recover quickly
• For Turkish authorities as they investigate the shooting

Dec. 31: Vermont Utility Finds Alleged Russian Malware on Computer

A code associated with a broad Russian hacking campaign dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected on a laptop associated with a Vermont electric utility but not connected to the grid, the utility said on Friday.

“We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding,” the Burlington Electric Department said in a statement.

“Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.”

The Department of Homeland Security alerted utilities on Thursday night about a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the Burlington Electric Department said.

“We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems,” it said.

The matched malware code on the laptop may have resulted from a relatively benign episode, such as visiting a questionable website, a source familiar with the matter said, suggesting Russian hackers may not have been directly involved.

It was not clear when the incident occurred.

Sources: (CNN, Huffington Post, Washington Post)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For U.S. utility companies to improve computer security
• For federal officials to capture the hacker or hackers
• For safety of computer systems of American utility companies

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