Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
This discussion will continue the posting of Presidential Prayer Team alerts for 2017. I encourage you to post prayers or pray on your own in response to the alerts. Many Christian leaders believe that we are at a crossroads in the path of the United States - will we once again become a country that God uses for his purposes in the world, or will we continue down a path that takes us further away from God's purposes? This is not primarily a political question - it's a spiritual question. And prayer is our best spiritual weapon. Please join in praying for our country!
Five people were arrested Sunday – including the assailant's father and brother – in connection with the attack.
"This is part of the same ongoing battle against the global scourge of terrorism," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. "We can only fight it together, but we'll fight it."
Netanyahu said the truck's driver had been identified and appeared to be "a supporter of the Islamic State." Speaking at the scene of the slaughter, Netanyahu added there "definitely could be a connection" between Sunday's horrific attack and similar ISIS truck attacks that took place in France and Germany in recent months.
Images on social media showed some Palestinians handing out sweets to children in celebration of the attack.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called on residents to be wary but carry on with their everyday life.
"Unfortunately, there is no limit to the cruelty of terrorists who spare no means in killing Jews and disrupting their way of life," he said. "Those who incite and support terror must pay a heavy price."
The combination of heavy rain on mountain snow led to flood conditions in the valleys of the Reno-Sparks area. The results were dramatic as several ditches in the Reno area failed, sending residents to evacuation centers at local high schools. Flood projection maps from Washoe County forecast the most severe flooding along the Truckee River in downtown Reno and in the Hidden Valley area south of Interstate 80, along with the industrial areas of Sparks near the river.
“We were well prepared overall but had a lot of challenges,” Washoe County Manager John Slaughter said Sunday night. “Flooding was widespread and roads were closed. We faced things like Mount Rose Highway washing out and ditches have been a challenge. There were things that we couldn’t predict ahead of time.”
The Truckee River began leveling off in Reno and is expected to crest sometime between 6 a.m. and noon PT in Sparks, according to Washoe County.
Rising floodwaters prompted the closure of several bridges over the Truckee River in downtown Reno and off-ramps from Interstate 80 in Sparks on Sunday. The Washoe County School District, Truckee Meadows Community College and the University of Nevada, Reno all announced closures for Monday and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said non-essential state workers in northern and western Nevada should stay home.
“It’s good to be home,” Obama said in his speech to the thousands gathered at Chicago's McCormick Place. “Tonight it’s my turn to say thanks.”
Voicing regrets about rising partisanship and frayed race relations as he prepares to transfer power next week to President-elect Donald Trump, Obama used the speech to warn of an increasingly divided nation, saying "we’re not where we need to be, and all of us have more work to do" to solve racial and economic inequality in particular.
However, he told the crowd that after eight years as president, he still believes in “the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government.”
"I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours."
Faced with the President-elect Donald Trump's vows to roll back many of his policies, the president spent much of his speech defending his legacy.
“If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history," he said, before listing off a series of other achievements, "...you might have said our sights were set a little too high."
He called on Americans to be vigilant about democracy and not to take it for granted. Obama issued a rallying cry to his supporters, saying: “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life.”
In response to a question Wednesday morning during his first news conference as president-elect, Trump said he will make the announcement of his choice to replace Antonin Scalia as soon as possible, “probably within two weeks” of being sworn into office on January 20.
Prior to Trump’s appearance at the news conference, future Press Secretary Sean Spicer addressed reports from BuzzFeed late Tuesday alleging improprieties by Trump, calling it “Outrageous and irresponsible” and something that was dismissed by most news organizations such as the New York Times. The decision to publish by CNN and BuzzFeed was a “sad and pathetic attempt to get [reader] clicks,” Spicer added.
The president-elect thanked “a lot of the news organizations here today for “coming out so strongly against fake news.”
On the ongoing issues involving the Veterans Administration Trump said as president he plans to set up a group of top-of-the-line hospitals to work with the VA, and announced that he has picked VA undersecretary David Shulkin to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
On the economy, Trump said, "We're going to create jobs. I said that I will be the greatest jobs producer that god ever created. And I mean that."
He also announced plans to turn his business empire over to his sons, Eric and Don.
Senators voted 51-48 to approve a budget resolution that Republicans will use as a vehicle to speed through repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. House leaders plan to take up the measure on Friday.
Senators began voting on 19 amendments to the resolution about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before passing the budget measure about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
Republicans say the 2010 health care law is broken and must be repealed and replaced with something better – although just what that replacement plan will look like has not yet been revealed by congressional leaders. Critics of the law cite sky-rocketing premiums, high deductibles and fewer health care choices for patients as insurers pull out of the program.
“When Obamacare’s supporters forced their partisan law on our country, they promised an easy-to-use system; one that would lower premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs; one that would foster choice and allow families to keep the plans and doctors they liked," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "But it didn’t take long for the American people to discover the truth about Obamacare. Too many have been personally hurt by this law. Too many feel they’re worse off than they were before Obamacare."
Democrats say repealing the law will strip millions of Americans of insurance, leave people with pre-existing medical conditions unable to find coverage.
But they're in it together, and the two appear to be taking steps together against U.S. global hegemony.
The countries released a joint statement this week voicing their opposition to U.S. and South Korean plans to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, according to both Russian and Chinese state media.
They also plan to take countermeasures, but what exactly they consist of was not specified, according to state-run Xinhua news.
"We think the U.S.-South Korean decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense system has seriously threatened China's security interest. For the region, it will also break the strategic balance. So it's completely understandable to see countries in the region firmly oppose this decision," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Friday. "China and other countries have to address our own legitimate security concerns and take necessary measures to safeguard our security interest."
The announcement comes as the country's National Security Office Chief, Kim Kwan-jin, met with incoming U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
According to Korean government representatives, the two reaffirmed that THAAD's deployment will be moving ahead as planned.
The missile system is designed to take out incoming projectiles – and has been cited as a way to potentially stop a North Korean nuclear attack.
But Russia and China worry that the system is capable of much more than that and is a threat too close to their borders.
The Joplin School District announced last week that they ended the Bible study, which was held at multiple sites in the school district, due to a complaint from the American Humanist Association.
"Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder said Friday that a district review found the [Bible study] was a student-initiated activity that complied with other requirements set out in board policy: Participation was voluntary, it was not led or promoted by a district employee, it didn't interfere with educational activities and it didn't use public funds," reported the Joplin Globe.
"But the one area of the policy in which it didn't comply: Student-initiated groups are restricted to the secondary level. The policy, which was revised in March, further defines 'secondary' to mean students in grades nine through 12, in accordance with state statute."
Monica Miller, senior counsel at the American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center, told The Christian Post that her organization became aware of the Bible study courtesy a concerned parent.
"As a public school district, Joplin Schools is required to remain neutral on religious matters and cannot play favorites," said Miller.
"Community groups that wish to host activities such as this, or other types of events or activities, at our schools may do so by complying with our facilities use," said the school district.
"We will continually seek to improve our processes and communication. We encourage parents and our community to reach out to us anytime they have questions or concerns."
"It's very clear that we have to be prepared to immediately be able to neutralize the impact of a measure of that nature," economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Friday on a Mexican news show.
Guajardo also predicted that Trump's threat of a 35 percent tariff against Mexico, if carried out, would result in a "global recession" because it would inhibit companies from producing outside the U.S.
"It would be a problem for the entire world," Guajardo warned. A Trump tariff "will have a wave of impacts that can take us into a global recession," Guajardo said, speaking in Spanish.
And during his first press conference Wednesday since winning the election, Trump doubled down on his threat.
"There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder," Trump said Wednesday.
Guajardo noted that Toyota has extensive U.S. operations and employs a lot of American workers.
"If I were Mr. Trump, I'd treat them with more respect," Guajardo said.
Trade experts on both sides of the border warn that stiff tariffs would risk jobs in both countries.
Guajardo didn't say exactly how Mexico would hit back.
"There are ways – it's very clear how – to take a fiscal action that clearly neutralizes it," Guajardo said.
Trump's threats have already weighed on Mexico. The peso plunged after the election and remains near an all-time low. Mexico's central bank dimmed its economic forecast this year, citing the U.S. election outcome.
The move caused a major fallout between the United States and Israel, a notion Obama demurred while speaking to CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
"I don't think it caused a major rupture in relations between the United States and Israel. If you're saying that [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu got fired up, he's been fired up repeatedly during the course of my presidency, around the Iran deal and around our consistent objection to settlements. So that part of it wasn't new," Obama said in his final interview as president.
Israelis have continued to settle on Palestinian property since peace talks first began in 1993. West Bank settlers then numbered 100,000. Today, they total around 400,000.
The increase of those settlements, Obama told "60 Minutes," has "gotten so substantial" that it is inhibiting the possibility for an "effective, contiguous Palestinian state.”
“Because of our investment in the region, and because we care so deeply about Israel, I think (the U.S.) has a legitimate interest in saying to a friend, 'This is a problem,'" Obama said. "It would have long-term consequences for peace and security in the region, and the United States."
Trump declined to reveal the pertinent details of the new healthcare plan in an interview with the Washington Post but said that drug companies will be forced to negotiate on Medicare and Medicaid prices. He also plans to fight pharmaceutical companies over drug prices.
The president-elect insisted that his plan for replacing the Affordable Healthcare Act is all but finished, and added that care would have “lower numbers, much lower deductibles.” He went as far to say that he’s ready to reveal it alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet but we’re going to be doing it soon,” Trump said during the interview with the newspaper.
He added that he’s still waiting for Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be confirmed as his secretary for health and human services. A hearing for his confirmation has yet to be scheduled.
Congressional Republicans took the first big step last week in their seven-year trek to dismantle President Obama’s health care law, passing a budget that would ease the passage of a bill that would replace Obamacare. The budget – which the Senate approved on Thursday – bars Democratic senators from blocking that future legislation with a filibuster.
Some 4,000 U.S. soldiers have been deployed as part of troop rotations to Europe that the Pentagon has said are intended to bolster ties with NATO allies and send a clear message to Russia.
Russia has criticized the continuous deployments as a threat to Russian security.
"It's a great day today when we can welcome, here in Zagan, American soldiers who represent the best, the greatest army in the world," Szydlo said at the ceremony in the snowy western town of Zagan.
Speaking after the Polish leader, Paul Jones, the US ambassador to Poland, said the troops arriving in Poland were "America's most capable force," embodying an "iron-clad commitment" to defend NATO allies.
Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said the U.S. troops would help ensure "freedom, independence and peace in Europe and the whole world" and that Poland was proud of "joint efforts that guarantee the security of Europe and of the eastern flanks of NATO."
American soldiers "stand united on Polish soil to deter and defend," said Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire, deputy commander of U.S. Land Forces in Europe. He added that the troops' arrival was a "concrete sign of the continued US commitment to the defense of Poland and the NATO alliance."
To maintain combat readiness, the soldiers will conduct "realistic exercises" with allies in locations across Poland and Europe, McGuire added.
Organizers say they expect thousands of New Yorkers to attend the event, put together by groups including Greenpeace and the liberal activist organization MoveOn, on Trump's home turf.
The demonstration is intended as a kick-off to organizing opposition to Trump's policies and support for cities taking their own approach on immigration, climate change, health care, workers' rights and other issues.
"We are sending a message to Washington that we will fight, at every step, discrimination and harmful policies, today, tomorrow, and every day," Ruffalo said in a statement. He said participants "are coming together to stand up for one another, as we will do every day, to protect the values we hold dear."
The demonstration also aims to spotlight actions that cities can take locally, such as working on their own to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Demonstrators plan to rally outside the Trump-developed Trump International Hotel and Tower. It's a half-mile from Trump Tower, the president-elect's home.