Thursday, December 21, 2017


JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

LUKE 21:28-29
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)

JOEL 2:3,30
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)

47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE

As Christmas nears in Bethlehem, Trump’s Jerusalem shift looms large-Locals in the West Bank birthplace of Jesus say protests against the US recognition of Israel's capital have driven away tourists-By AP and TOI staff-DEC 20,17

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital looms large in Christmas festivities this year in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.Some food vendors, sellers of holiday trinkets and a leading hotelier in biblical Bethlehem say Palestinian protests, triggered by what many here view as a provocative show of pro-Israel bias, have hurt their Christmas business.Yet Bethlehem also offers a stage for a Palestinian rebuttal: Banners proclaiming Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Palestine have been draped over facades on Manger Square as a backdrop for Christmas TV broadcasts to a global audience.The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is keenly felt — perhaps even more so at Christmas — in Bethlehem, just a few miles (kilometers) south of contested Jerusalem.Israel’s West Bank security barrier — built by Israel to thwart a strategic onslaught of Palestinian suicide bombers in the Second Intifada 15 years ago — cuts into Bethlehem and a segment of it has become a tourist magnet in its own right. Its cement slabs are covered with works by international graffiti artists such as Banksy and pro-Palestinian slogans left by visitors.While Palestinians try to draw attention to the barrier when foreigners pour in for Christmas, Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem two weeks ago has emerged as the dominant theme this year. It went against an international consensus that the fate of the city should be determined in negotiations. Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem houses major Jewish, Christian and Muslim shrines, and Palestinians seek it as a future capital.In an address December 6 from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue. He described his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.The move was hailed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. But the declaration was condemned worldwide, and triggered clashes in the Palestinian territories between stone-throwers and Israeli soldiers.The Hamas terror group, which seeks Israel’s destruction, called for a new intifada against Israel and allowed thousands of Gazans to clash with Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence in the days that followed the announcement. Eight Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, most on the Gaza border, and scores were wounded during the clashes.In Bethlehem, the fallout was felt immediately.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was to have received US Vice President Mike Pence, a devout Christian, in Bethlehem, but canceled after the US pivot on Jerusalem. The snub came as Abbas shifted from cooperating with the US to rejecting Washington as a peace broker.Meanwhile, Bethlehem’s flagship luxury hotel, the 250-bed Jacir Palace, closed because of frequent nearby clashes.General manager Marwan Kittani said the hotel had been fully booked for Christmas, but that he is now assessing day by day if he can reopen.Palestinian activists have called for more protests.In Manger Square, next to the Church of the Nativity built over Jesus’ traditional birth grotto, some merchants blamed Trump for a drop in business.Two souvenir shop owners selling nativity scenes and tree decorations carved from olive wood said they hadn’t had any customers by early afternoon.Mahmoud Salahat, who sells pomegranate juice on the square, said his main source of income — Arab citizens of Israel — largely stayed away from Bethlehem during the past two weeks, apparently fearing trouble on the roads.Palestinian officials took a more upbeat view.The Christmas season caps a banner year for tourism in the Palestinian territories, with 2.7 million visitors in 2017, compared to 2.3 million in 2016, said Tourism Ministry official Jiries Qumsieh. Despite some cancellations, Bethlehem’s 4,000 hotel rooms were more than 90 percent booked for Christmas, he said.Christmas also offers an annual opportunity for Abbas to court international sympathy for longstanding Palestinian demands for statehood in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war. Abbas rival Hamas, which dominates Gaza, seeks a state in all of historic Palestine, including what is now Israel.The vast majority of Palestinians are Muslims, but Abbas — like the late Yasser Arafat before him — values close ties with the Christian minority, regularly attending Christmas Eve mass at the Church of the Nativity, which is broadcast live.This year, TV footage will likely show two large banners hanging from roofs in Manger Square, reading: “Jerusalem will always be the eternal capital of Palestine.”Activists also plan to circulate a petition to Christmas visitors in support of Palestinian claims to Jerusalem and distribute stickers reading: “We (heart) Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine,” said organizer Munther Amira.Earlier this week, two dozen protesters assembled near the square’s towering Christmas tree, holding white candles and photos of Pence and Jason Greenblatt, a member of Trump’s Mideast team.“Bethlehem welcomes the messengers of peace, not the messengers of war,” read the captions under the photos.The protesters the held the candles to the photos and burned them.Amira said it was a protest against US policy, not the American people.Some tourists seem baffled by the politics and are mainly drawn to the Nativity basilica, currently under renovation and partly covered by scaffolding.German pilgrim Ludmilla Trifl said she reserves judgment because she doesn’t know enough about the conflict.The security barrier at the entrance to Bethlehem “does not look good,” she said. Israel says the barrier is to keep out Palestinian terrorists, while Palestinians call it a land grab.Along the barrier, a different type of tourism has emerged.The area around the Walled-Off Hotel, a Banksy-linked guesthouse that opened in March, has become a center for political street art. A recent wall piece said to have been created by Banksy shows two angels, one with a crowbar, on either side of a gap between cement slabs, each trying to widening the opening.A nearby shop called “Wall-Mart” offers stencils and spray paint — with prices for slogan sizes ranging from $14 to $26 — to help visitors to leave their mark.On a recent morning, Australian Farzanah Fazli shook spray cans, filling in a stencil she had taped to the wall. Slowly, the words “Once upon a time, there was humanity” emerged — meant to express her view that Israeli policies have dehumanized the Palestinians.Fazli, 30, a London-based accountant, said leaving that message was the highlight of her Middle East trip, even if it is eventually painted over by others.Graffiti shop employee Wanda Handal, 21, said artists have transformed her neighborhood.“Back in the day, it was the creepy street,” she said. Now, “the street is alive, art everywhere.”

800 Palestinians riot in West Bank over Jerusalem recognition-Another 'day of rage' called over US declaration on Israel's capital; heaviest clashes take place near Qalandiya-By Marissa Newman-TOI-DEC 20,17

3:22 pm-800 Palestinians riot in West Bank over Jerusalem-Some 800 Palestinians are taking part in violent demonstrations across the West Bank, following calls by Palestinian leadership for another “day of rage” in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.“Over the past few hours, riots have erupted across Judea and Samaria,” an army spokesperson says, using the biblical name for the West Bank.The largest demonstration is taking place at the Qalandiya Crossing, outside Jerusalem, where hundreds of the Palestinians are clashing with Israeli troops.In the riots, protesters are throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at troops and set tires on fire. The soldiers are responding with less-lethal riot dispersal weapons, like tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. The army spokesperson says soldiers have not fired live rounds at protesters.As a result of the Qalandiya clashes, the crossing — the West Bank’s largest — has been shut down, the army says.— Judah Ari Gross-3:00 pm-Egyptian forces clash with jihadists near Sinai airport-Egyptian officials say security forces have clashed with jihadists near the airport of the northern Sinai city of el-Arish, killing five of them a day after a missile hit the facility during a visit by the defense and interior ministers.The officials say an army captain was killed in Wednesday’s fighting in olive orchards near the airport. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.The clashes came a day after a missile hit the airport during a previously unannounced visit to el-Arish by Defense Minister Sedki Sobhy and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar, who is in charge of police.— Agencies-2:54 pm-Abbas meets Saudi king in Riyadh over Jerusalem-Palestinian Authority President meets with the Saudi King Salman in Riyadh to discuss the recent decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.“During their meeting, the president briefed [Salman] on the latest developments and contacts being made by [Abbas] to protect Jerusalem from the dangers posed by the announcement by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the PA’s official news site Wafa says of the meeting.After the private summit, a luncheon meeting was held between Saudi and Palestinian delegations, the report says.Abbas was also slated to meet with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman later, according to Wafa.— Dov Lieber-2:36 pm-Ahmadinejad’s VP sentenced to 63 years in prison-Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says a former vice president has been sentenced to 63 years in prison over misuse of public funds while in office.The sentence against Hamid Baghaei is the longest for a former official in Iran in decades. Tehran’s Justice Department says the verdict was reached on Tuesday.Baghaei was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vice president in charge of executive affairs. He was briefly detained in 2015, and his trial on corruption charges began later that year but he wasn’t in custody.In May, Baghaei applied to run for president but was rejected. He has 20 days to appeal.The verdict comes against the backdrop of frequent criticism by Ahmadinejad and his allies against the judiciary.Ahmadinejad on Tuesday called Iran’s chief justice, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, “incompetent.”— AP-2:19 pm-Turkey slams UAE over ‘forefathers’ jab-Turkey’s president is railing against the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister, who retweeted a post that accused the Turkish leader’s Ottoman “forefathers” of mistreating Arabs and stealing manuscripts from the holy city of Medina.Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday calls on UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan to “know (his) place!” without naming him directly.Erdogan says the Ottoman pasha who governed Medina between 1916 and 1919 was protecting the holy city and its treasures, adding: “O you poor (man) who is slandering us, where were your ancestors at the time?”The squabble comes at a time when Turkey has sided with Qatar in a diplomatic dispute with the UAE and other Gulf nations over Doha’s alleged support for extremists and overly warm ties to Iran.— AP-2:03 pm-Vatican envoy: Unilateral moves on Jerusalem threaten peace-The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land says the status of Jerusalem should not be altered by “unilateral decisions,” amid protests over the US recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa says in a statement that “unilateral decisions will not bring peace, but rather will distance it. Jerusalem is a treasure of all humanity. Any exclusive claim — be it political or religious — is contrary to the city’s own logic.”— AP-2:02 pm-Turkish FM will travel to UN to vote on Jerusalem resolution-Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says he will travel to New York with his Palestinian counterpart to attend the UN General Assembly vote seeking to reject US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Cavusoglu tells reporters in Baku, Azerbaijan, that Turkey wants the United States to reverse its “wrong and unacceptable” decision.Cavusoglu says he and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki will depart from Istanbul later in the day for the vote on a non-binding resolution on Jerusalem, which is due on Thursday.The General Assembly session was called after the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have required the Trump administration to rescind its Jerusalem decision.Ankara has been among the most vocal critics of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem.— AP.

Child labor encouraged as Israeli teens excavate 1,500-year-old Byzantine church-Ahead of Ramat Beit Shemesh expansion, discovery of wonderfully preserved compound that was 'swept under the carpet' by later Islamic-period agriculture-By Amanda Borschel-Dan-TOI-DEC 20,17

Contrary to the statement in the Book of Ecclesiastes, in the world of Israeli archaeology there is much new under the sun — under the House of the Sun, the literal translation of the name of central Israel city Beit Shemesh, that is.In the course of salvage excavations in the central Israel city of Beit Shemesh, archaeologists discovered a massive Byzantine-era church complex of unprecedented size and apparent wealth for the region. Used from circa 150 CE, it was abandoned during the 7th century and eventually used as farm land by early-Islamic period farmers.Prior to routine test trenching ahead of planned construction during the expansion of the Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood, archaeologists “had absolutely no clue” that the compound lay beneath the surface, said Israel Antiquities Authority director of the excavations Benyamin Storchan on Wednesday.As the archaeologists began uncovering massive stone walls, “we knew we had something big,” Storchan said, adding, “The smoking gun was when we uncovered the decorative mosaic floor.”While the excavation is still in early stages, the site’s significance can be seen in its enormous size along with the presence of imported marble from Turkey. Hundreds of coins were uncovered, as were rare materials, such as glass, which were also used for decorations. Additionally, the structure had a surprisingly large number of windowpanes and ceramic roof tiles, which indicates its high status as a public building, Storchan said.All of these riches were “swept under the carpet” and preserved when the structure was covered with earth by farmers who obliterated the Christian presence and went on to cultivate the land following the church’s abandonment, he said.Storchan’s ongoing dig, funded by the Construction and Housing Ministry and implemented by the CPM Corporation managed by Anatoly Snider, is being conducted with the help of over 1,000 teenagers.For the past three years, the IAA has made a major effort “to make use of teenagers as the manual labor force,” said the US-born Storchan, half-jokingly. Since the current excavation began this summer, it has been “completely staffed by teens, groups from schools, volunteers, summer job kids and pre-army kids. They’ve done all the digging. I haven’t found anything, I’m just putting it together,” he laughed.-Unprecedented preservation-Storchan’s dig is being conducted ahead of a controversial Ramat Beit Shemesh expansion, which has been marked by clashes between ultra-Orthodox residents, developers and environmental groups, as well as archaeologists.In 2013, the discovery of ancient Jewish graves and fear of their desecration led to violent protests in the city and Jerusalem. A fringe group of ultra-Orthodox extremists beat up Haredi businessman Aryeh Golobinzitz, one of the project’s managers, in his Jerusalem home.Although they can slow the construction of the neighborhood, discoveries such as the 2014 find of an ancient Christian church and oil and wine presses a 10-minute walk to the west from Storchan’s site have been met with less controversy, and plans are underway to display the archaeology within the residential development.Excavation and research are ongoing at Storchan’s site, but preliminary findings are promising for future recognition of the site’s importance to the heritage of the Land of Israel.“We were surprised by the wonderful state of preservation of the ancient remains, and the richness of the finds being uncovered. During the excavation, we uncovered before our eyes the remains of walls built of large worked stone masonry and a number of architectural elements including a marble pillar base decorated with crosses and marble window screens,” said Storchan in an IAA press release.“The marble artifacts were brought from the region of Turkey and further inland by wagon. In one of the rooms we uncovered a beautiful mosaic floor decorated with birds, leafs, and pomegranates,” said Storchan.A number of ancient churches and monasteries have been discovered in the Judean Shephelah region, including during the Ramat Beit Shemesh expansion. This compound is significant for its “outstanding preservation” and massive size.“The artifacts found in the large building, which seems to be a monastic compound, may indicate that the site was important and perhaps a center for ancient pilgrims in the Judean Shephelah region,” said Storchan.Ahead of further excavation, the archaeologists are now able to draw up a reconstruction of the main building’s plan based on their findings and other similar structures throughout the Byzantine Empire.“In the ancient Byzantine period, we can typify two types of churches: local community and larger, possible pilgrim sites which were not just the day-to-day [churches] to serve the community,” said Storchan.The east-west orientation of the Ramat Beit Shemesh church and the discovery of two side aisles also point to plans typical of important structures such as those found in large regional seats Caesarea, Jerusalem, and Ashkelon.-Unexpected cross-cultural connections-Among the 1,000 students working on the site, some were using their salaries to fund a class trip to Poland to learn about the Holocaust and the decimation of the historic Jewish communities there.Along the way, the students began encountering firsthand a period of Israeli history little taught in public schools.According to 16-year-old Hadas Keich, a student at the Sde Boker Field School, “Little by little we uncovered here exciting finds, which helped to connect us to our country and its history. It is amazing what is hidden here beneath our feet.”Archaeologist Storchan said that as the excavations proceeded, “I realized that much of the Israeli youth, when it comes to after the Roman period, the history of Israel is basically a vacuum until the Ottoman period.”As the students dig up their homeland, the hands-on work has connected them to a culture and religion that, while not their own, are now part of their national narrative.“The finds here have been so exquisite, and the students are so excited, that week after week as we’ve uncovered more, I’ve realized that they’ve really related to it as the history of their country,” said Storchan.

EU: Brexit transition period to finish at end of 2020-Chief negotiator says free immigration for EU nationals, subservience to European Court of Justice must continue until deadline-By Danny Kemp-DEC 20,17-TOI

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — The European Commission said on Wednesday that a Brexit transition period during which Britain must obey EU rules should last until the end of 2020.The development comes after EU leaders last week signed off on the first stage of Brexit negotiations, ending more than a year of stalemate over Britain’s bill for leaving the bloc, as well the fate of the Irish border and EU expatriates.Unveiling the EU executive branch’s new negotiating guidelines, chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that during the transition period, Britain would remain part of the bloc’s single market, which includes freedom of immigration for EU nationals.It would also be subject to the European Court of Justice, while playing no role in decision-making in the bloc during the transition period lasting from the day Britain leaves the union on March 29, 2019.Britain had indicated that it wanted a longer transition period of around two years — three months longer than the new EU deadline.“The transition period is useful and will enable Britain to get prepared for the kind of challenges that they will have to face, and to prepare also for the complications of the new relationship,” Barnier told a press conference in Brussels as he unveiled new Brexit negotiating guidelines.Formal talks on a transition period are due to start in January, with negotiations on the future relationship between Britain and the EU, including steps toward an eventual trade deal, in March.The guidelines spell out in detail how Britain would be required to follow EU rules, including new laws, and for the first time spell out exactly how long the commission believes the transition should last.“The transitional arrangements should apply as from the date of entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement and should not last beyond 31 December 2020,” the guidelines said.As she presses for the quick transition deal, Prime Minister Theresa May faces opposition from hardline euroskeptics in her Conservative Party over the EU’s terms.May has already accepted in theory the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and that London will have no legal basis to conclude its own trade deals during the period.Influential pro-Brexit lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg slammed this demand as “rather hostile,” leaving the UK “no more than a vassal state, a colony, a serf of the European Union.”May insisted to British lawmakers on Monday that the transition is necessary as it would provide continuity for businesses and individuals until the future relationship could be resolved.She repeated that Britain would be leaving the EU’s single market and customs union, but said the transition arrangements were “a practical matter that most people will understand and appreciate.”The next phase comes as Barnier ruffled feathers in London on Tuesday with a warning that any ties after Brexit would inevitably result in Britain’s financial companies losing full rights to trade across the bloc.This was a consequence of “the red lines that the British have chosen themselves. In leaving the single market, they lose the financial services passport,” Barnier told a group of European newspapers.

9,000-plus died in battle for Mosul — nearly 10 times more than thought-NGO figures show Iraqi or coalition forces responsible for at least 3,200 civilian deaths in war against Islamic State-By SUSANNAH GEORGE, Qassim Abdul-Zahra, MAGGIE MICHAEL and Lori Hinnant-DEC 20,17-TOI

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — The price Mosul’s residents paid in blood to see their city freed was between 9,000 and 11,000 dead, a civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than what has been previously reported. The number killed in the nine-month battle to liberate the city from the Islamic State marauders has not been acknowledged by the US-led coalition, the Iraqi government or the self-styled caliphate.But Mosul’s gravediggers, its morgue workers and the volunteers who retrieve bodies from the city’s rubble are keeping count.Iraqi or coalition forces are responsible for at least 3,200 civilian deaths from airstrikes, artillery fire or mortar rounds between October 2016 and the fall of the Islamic State group in July 2017, according to an Associated Press investigation that cross-referenced independent databases from non-governmental organizations.Most of those victims are simply described as “crushed” in health ministry reports.The coalition, which says it lacks the resources to send investigators into Mosul, acknowledges responsibility for only 326 of the deaths.“It was the biggest assault on a city in a couple of generations, all told. And thousands died,” said Chris Woods, head of Airwars, an independent organization that documents air and artillery strikes in Iraq and Syria and shared its database with the AP.“There doesn’t seem to be any disagreement about that, except from the federal government and the coalition. And understanding how those civilians died, and obviously ISIS played a big part in that as well, could help save a lot of lives the next time something like this has to happen. And the disinterest in any sort of investigation is very disheartening,” Woods said, using an alternative acronym for IS.In addition to the Airwars database, the AP analyzed information from Amnesty International, Iraq Body Count and a United Nations report. AP also obtained a list of 9,606 names of people killed during the operation from Mosul’s morgue. Hundreds of dead civilians are believed to still be buried in the rubble.Of the nearly 10,000 deaths the AP found, around a third of the casualties died in bombardments by the US-led coalition or Iraqi forces, the AP analysis found. Another third of the dead were killed in the Islamic State group’s final frenzy of violence. And it could not be determined which side was responsible for the deaths of the remainder, who were cowering in neighborhoods battered by airstrikes, IS explosives and mortar rounds from all sides.But the morgue total would be many times higher than official tolls. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi told the AP that 1,260 civilians were killed in the fighting. The US-led coalition has not offered an overall figure. The coalition relies on drone footage, video from cameras mounted on weapons systems and pilot observations. Its investigators have neither visited the morgue nor requested its data.What is clear from the tallies is that as coalition and Iraqi government forces increased their pace, civilians were dying in ever higher numbers at the hands of their liberators — from 20 the week the operation began in mid-October 2016 to 303 in a single week at the end of June 2017, according to the AP tally.Abdel-Hafiz Mohammed, who kept his job as undertaker throughout the militants’ rule, has carved approximately 2,000 headstones for the al-Jadidah graveyard alone since October 2016, the month the battle began.After the city fell to IS in 2014, undertakers like him handled the victims of beheadings and stonings. There were men accused of homosexuality who had been flung from rooftops. But once the operation to free the city started, the scope of Mohammed’s work changed yet again.“Now I carve stones for entire families,” Mohammed said, gesturing to a stack of four headstones, all bearing the same name. “It’s a single family, all killed in an airstrike,” he said.-Dying at home, on the front-Mosul was home to more than a million civilians before the fight to retake it from IS. Fearing a massive humanitarian crisis, the Iraqi government dropped leaflets or had soldiers tell families to stay put as the final battle loomed in late 2016.Thousands were trapped as the front line enveloped densely populated neighborhoods.Blast injuries, gunshot wounds and shrapnel wounds killed thousands as the Mosul operation ground westward, according to morgue documents.When Iraqi forces became bogged down in late December, the Pentagon adjusted the rules regarding the use of airpower, allowing airstrikes to be called in by more ground commanders with less chain-of-command oversight.At the same time, Islamic State fighters took thousands of civilians with them in their retreat west. They packed hundreds of families into schools and government buildings, sometimes shunting civilians through tunnels from one fighting position to another.They expected the tactic would dissuade airstrikes and artillery. They were wrong.As the fight punched into western Mosul, the morgue logs filled with civilians increasingly killed by being “blown to pieces.”By early March, Iraqi officials and the US-led coalition could see that civilian deaths were spiking, but held the course. The result, in Mosul and later in the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, was a city left in ruins by the battle to save it.Most of the civilians killed in west Mosul died under the weight of collapsed buildings, hit by airstrikes, mortars, artillery shells or IS-laid explosives. The morgue provided lists of names of civilians and place of death. Names often included entire families.The coalition has defended its operational choices, saying it was Islamic State that put civilians in danger as it clung to power.“It is simply irresponsible to focus criticism on inadvertent casualties caused by the Coalition’s war to defeat ISIS,” Col. Thomas Veale, a coalition spokesman, told the AP in response to questions about civilian deaths.“Without the Coalition’s air and ground campaign against ISIS, there would have inevitably been additional years, if not decades, of suffering and needless death and mutilation in Syria and Iraq at the hands of terrorists who lack any ethical or moral standards,” he added.Civilian deaths in the second half of the battle reflected the looser rules of engagement for airstrikes and the sheer numbers of trapped residents. From October 17 to February 19, the AP tally found at least 576 deaths by coalition or Iraqi munitions.From February 19 — when the fight crossed the Tigris River — to mid-July, there were nearly 2,400 civilian deaths. That total is in addition to the 326 confirmed by the coalition in the city. The US and Australia are the only two coalition countries to acknowledge civilian deaths, although France had fighter jets and artillery and the UK also carried out airstrikes.Of the nearly 10,000 names listed by the morgue, around 4,200 were confirmed as civilian dead in the battle. The AP discarded names that were obviously those of Islamic State fighters, and casualties brought in from outside Mosul. Among the remaining 6,000 are likely some number of Islamic State extremists, but the morgue civilian toll tracks closely with numbers gathered during the battle itself by Airwars and others.Neither toll includes thousands of people killed by Islamic State who are believed to be in mass graves in and around Mosul, including as many as 4,000 in the natural crevasse known as Khasfa.Imad Ibrahim, a civil defense rescuer from west Mosul, survived the battle to retake the city and is now tasked with excavating the dead. He mostly works in the Old City, where on a recent day the streets still reeked of rotting flesh.“Sometimes you can see the bodies, they’re visible under the rubble; other times we dig for hours and suddenly find 15 to 30 all in one place. That’s when you know they were sheltering, hiding from the airstrikes,” Ibrahim said.Behind him, an excavator dug through jagged cement blocks, searching for the body of a woman who was hiding in her home when it was hit by an airstrike.Ibrahim said he spent years waiting for liberation, but that the victory itself was hollow.“Honestly, none of this was worth it.”-Digging into death-By dawn, dozens of Mosul families begin to line up outside the civil defense office each day. One by one, they flatly describe their personal tragedies. “We buried my cousin’s body in the garden under the tree.” “My mother was hiding in the back of the house, near the kitchen, when the airstrike hit her home.” “We buried my father in the street in front of our home after he was shot.”Radwan Majid said he lost both his children to an airstrike in May.“There were three Daesh in front of my house, so when the airstrike hit it also killed my children,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.“We can see their bodies under the rubble, but we can’t reach them by ourselves,” he said. “All I want is to give them a proper burial.”Reports of civilian deaths began to dominate military planning meetings in Baghdad in February and early March, according to a senior Western diplomat who was present but not authorized to speak on the record.After allegations surfaced that a single coalition strike killed hundreds of civilians in Mosul’s al-Jadidah neighborhood on March 17, the entire fight was put on hold for three weeks. Under intense international pressure, the coalition sent a team into the city to investigate.Iraq’s special forces units were instructed that they were no longer allowed to call in strikes on buildings. Instead, the forces were told to call in coalition airstrikes on gardens and roads adjacent to IS targets.A Whatsapp group shared by coalition advisers and Iraqi forces coordinating airstrikes previously named “killing daesh 24/7” was wryly renamed “scaring daesh 24/7.”“It was clear that the whole strategy in western Mosul had to be reconfigured,” said the Western diplomat.But on the ground, Iraqi special forces officers said that after the operational pause, they returned to the fight just as before.The Whatsapp group’s name was changed back to “killing daesh.”The Pentagon investigation into the March strike concluded that a US bomb resulted in the deaths of 105 civilians but ultimately blamed secondary explosions from IS-laid bombs.The 500-pound (227 kg) bomb, the investigation concluded, “appropriately balanced the military necessity of neutralizing (two IS) snipers.” Witnesses and survivors told AP that IS had not set any explosives in the house that was hit, which was packed with families sheltering from the fighting.At the time, just two American officers were fielding all allegations of civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria from a base in Kuwait. The team now has seven members, though none sets foot inside the city or routinely collects physical evidence.The Americans say they do not have the resources to send a team into Mosul. An AP reporter visited the morgue six times in six weeks and spoke to morgue officials and staffers dozens of times in person and over the phone.Because of what the coalition considers insufficient information, the majority of civilian casualty allegations are deemed “not credible” before an investigation ever begins.Col. Joseph Scrocca, a coalition spokesman, defended the coalition figures in an interview in May, saying they may seem low because of a meticulous process designed to “get to the truth” and help protect civilians in the future.“I do believe the victims of these strikes deserve to know what happened to their families. We owe them that,” Scrocca said.Daoud Salem Mahmoud survived the fight for the Old City by hiding with his family in a windowless room deep inside their home.With the fight over, Mahmoud now returns to his neighborhood daily to retrieve the dead. He has recovered hundreds of bodies of extended family members and neighbors.A large, imposing figure, Mahmoud breaks down in tears when asked to describe specific days or events at the height of the violence. But without a moment of hesitation, he said he believes the fight to retake the city was worthwhile.Despite the death and destruction, he said he now feels like his family has a chance at a future brighter than his own.“Everything can be rebuilt, it’s the lives lost that cannot be replaced,” he said, then shaking his head, added, “this war, it turned Mosul into a graveyard.”


7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse:(CHLORES GREEN) and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth,(2 BILLION) to kill with sword,(WEAPONS) and with hunger,(FAMINE) and with death,(INCURABLE DISEASES) and with the beasts of the earth.(ANIMAL TO HUMAN DISEASE).

15 And the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels were loosed,
18 By these three was the third part of men killed,(2 BILLION) by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.(NUCLEAR ATOMIC BOMBS)


34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other shall be left.(half earths population 4 billion die in the 7 yr trib)
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.(Christians have new bodies,this is the people against Jerusalem during the 7 yr treaty)(Christians bodies are not being eaten by the birds).THESE ARE JUDGEMENT SCRIPTURES-NOT RAPTURE SCRIPTURES.BECAUSE NOT HALF OF PEOPLE ON EARTH ARE CHRISTIANS.AND THE CONTEXT IN LUKE 17 IS THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION OR 7 YR TREATY PERIOD.WHICH IS JUDGEMENT ON THE EARTH.NOT 50% RAPTURED TO HEAVEN.

37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken,(IN WW3 JUDGEMENT) and the other left.
42 Watch therefore:(FOR THE LAST DAYS SIGNS HAPPENING) for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

North Korea testing biological warheads for its missiles — report-Japanese newspaper says Pyongyang's research focused on ensuring deadly anthrax spores will survive extreme heat during long-range missile strike-By Stuart Winer-TOI-DEC 20,17

North Korea is carrying out tests toward arming its long-range missiles with deadly anthrax spores and other biological weapons, the Japanese Asahi newspaper reported Wednesday, citing a a South Korean intelligence source.The source, who was not identified in the report, said that Pyongyang is conducting heat and pressure experiments to find ways of protecting biological agents in the intense conditions a warhead experiences during reentry. As long-range missile warheads plummet back from space through the atmosphere toward their targets, they can experience temperatures of over 7,000º C, the paper said.An unconfirmed intelligence report suggested some of the tests have been successful.The South Korean intelligence source assessed the North Koreans are looking at developing biological weapons as they do not yet have the ability to hit all of the US mainland with nuclear weapons.On Monday US President Donald Trump released his first National Security Strategy, declaring that “North Korea is also pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile.”According to the Asahi report, the US has known about North Korea’s anthrax research for a while. As a precaution, US troops serving in South Korea have been vaccinated against smallpox and anthrax since around 2004.At the end of November, nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired a new ICBM, which it says brings the whole of the United States within range.The isolated and impoverished North has staged six increasingly powerful atomic tests since 2006 — most recently in September.The North has boasted that the Hwasong 15 ICBM it tested is capable of delivering a “super-large” nuclear warhead anywhere in the US mainland.Analysts agree that the latest test showed a big improvement in potential range, but say it was likely achieved using a dummy warhead that would have been quite light.They say a missile carrying a much heavier nuclear warhead would struggle to travel as far.The North’s widely-condemned nuclear and missile programs have made significant progress under leader Kim Jong-Un, who has overseen four nuclear tests and dozens of missile launches since taking power in 2011.A months-long nuclear standoff between Kim and Trump — as well as their trading of personal insults — has fueled concerns of another conflict, more than six decades after 1950-53 Korean War that left much of the peninsula in ruins.But even some Trump advisers say US military options are limited when Pyongyang could launch an artillery barrage on the South Korean capital Seoul — only around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the heavily-fortified border and home to 10 million people.AFP contributed to this report.

Europe plays 'vital' role in Trump geopolitics By Andrew Rettman-EUOBSERVER

BRUSSELS, 19. Dec, 19:30-Europe is a "vital" US ally in its rivalry with China and Russia, according to Donald Trump's geopolitics.But the US president's "America first" vision is anti-European on climate change and reduces the EU to a footnote.Trump's ideas were laid out in a National Security Strategy on Monday (18 December) which said "a strong and free Europe is of vital importance to the United States.""The United States is safer when Europe is prosperous and stable, and can help defend our shared interests," it said.The paper designated "the revisionist powers of China and Russia" as the main threats to US supremacy.It said the Chinese military "seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region" and that Russia "seeks to restore its great power status and establish spheres of influence near its borders".It noted that China was using state investments to gain a "strategic foothold" in central and eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa.It also said Russia was "using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments"."With its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region," it said."Russia, too, projects its influence ... through the control of key energy and other infrastructure throughout parts of Europe," it added.In response, the Trump document said "the United States and Europe will work together to counter Russian subversion and aggression"."The Nato alliance of free and sovereign states is one of our great advantages over our competitors, and the United States remains committed to Article V of the Washington Treaty," it added, referring to Nato's mutual defence clause."We will work with our allies and partners to diversify European energy sources to ensure the energy security of European countries," it said.-Reading Trump-US officials wrote the 68-page paper over the past 11 months based on Trump's public statements.The president, in a break from normal practice, launched it with a speech on Monday, standing beside a fighter jet and a giant American flag."From this day forward, it's going to be only America First, America First," he said, repeating his campaign slogan. "America is coming back strong," he said.The Chinese foreign ministry reacted in wounded tones on Tuesday, saying: "We urge the US to stop intentionally distorting China's strategic intentions and to abandon the ... Cold War mentality".The Kremlin bemoaned the "imperialist character" of Trump's "unipolar" world view.But parts of the document might also make sad reading for European governments.The paper excluded any mention of climate change as a US priority, in a blow to EU efforts to lead world action on global warming.Instead, it said Trump wanted the US to be "an energy-dominant nation" by "unleashing abundant energy resources", referring to fossil fuel exports.It also described "climate policies" as "an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to US economic and energy security interests".Trump withdrew the US from the Paris accord on climate change earlier this year. He also binned a free trade treaty with the EU in favour of protectionism.The paper called Europe America's "most significant trading partner", but its bulky economic section focused on combatting "unfair foreign trade practices" and on rebuilding "our [US] economic strength".It envisaged world affairs as being conducted by "strong, sovereign, and independent nations", not by multilateralism.In that spirit, the paper relegated the EU to just one mention, saying: "The United States will work with the European Union ... to ensure fair and reciprocal trade practices and eliminate barriers to growth."-Realism-Commenting on the text, Carl Bildt, a former Swedish foreign minister who works with the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank in London, said: "The previous US National Security Strategy in 2015 favoured a 'rules-based international order'. That concept is totally absent from the new document".He said the Trump paper "argues that sovereign states competing with each other is the best hope for a peaceful world. It can be argued that history speaks otherwise."But Dmitri Trenin, a Russia expert with the Carnegie Europe think tank in Moscow, said the Trump doctrine "recognises the reality of return of great-power rivalry and the demise of Pax Americana … The document is realist rather than isolationist."The paper's omissions on climate and multilateralism aside, it also said nothing explicit on Russia's help in getting Trump elected last year.It warned that "Russia uses information operations as part of its offensive cyber efforts to influence public opinion across the globe. Its influence campaigns blend covert intelligence operations and false online personas with state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or 'trolls'."Those words described what Russia did to help Trump win, amid an ongoing probe by the FBI into whether he colluded with Moscow to do it.

Fierce California winds expected as crews fight to tame wildfire-[Reuters]-By Steve Gorman-YAHOONEWS-December 20, 2017

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Crews battling a devastating California wildfire that now ranks as the state's second-largest on record may face another round of fierce winds on Wednesday after they made progress corralling the flames.Wind gusts were expected to whip back up to 50 mph (80 kph) on Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning as the so-called Thomas fire burned in the coastal mountains, foothills and canyons of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles, the National Weather Service said in an advisory.On Tuesday, officials scaled back evacuation orders, cut firefighting personnel to 6,800 from about 8,500 and reported improved air quality.Higher humidity combined with diminished winds and temperatures to ease the firefighters' job since Sunday. But the region remains "critically dry," a group of agencies said in a statement.More than 1,000 homes and other buildings have gone up in flames and about 18,000 structures remained listed as threatened from a late-season firestorm that has kept crews on the defensive for the better part of two weeks.One firefighter died last Thursday near the town of Fillmore in Ventura County.Still, fire managers were "cautiously optimistic" that they have gained sufficient ground this week to protect populated areas against the return of the high winds forecast.By Tuesday night, firefighters had carved containment lines around 55 percent of the blaze's perimeter - up from 50 percent earlier in the day. But the fire has still spread by several hundred acres a day since the weekend.In total the fire has scorched 272,000 acres (110,074 hectares) of drought-parched chaparral and brush since igniting on Dec. 4, covering an area equivalent to nearly a third of Rhode Island.The latest tally makes the Thomas blaze second only in scale in California to the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which consumed a record 273,246 acres and killed 15 people.The Thomas fire was initially stoked by hot, dry Santa Ana winds blowing with rare hurricane force from the eastern desert, spreading flames across miles of rugged coastal terrain faster than firefighters could keep up.(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

U.S. investigators seek answers from train crew in Washington derailment-[Reuters]-By Tom James-YAHOONEWS-December 19, 2017

DUPONT, Wash. (Reuters) - U.S. safety inspectors probing the deadly wreck of a passenger train that careened off a bridge onto a highway in Washington state are eager to question the engineer and a conductor-in-training who were in the cab of the locomotive, officials said on Tuesday.National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials hoped interviews with all crew members would shed light on why Train 501 on Amtrak's Cascades line was going more than twice the speed limit around a curved stretch of track when it derailed on Monday.The accident occurred during the train's inaugural run on a new, slightly quicker route between Olympia and Tacoma, with 86 people aboard, 80 of them passengers, Amtrak said.NTSB officials said they planned to interview all the crew members in the next two days, once they sufficiently recover from injuries suffered in the wreck, including the conductor-in-training who was with the engineer at the time.Safety board member T. Bella Dinh-Zarr told reporters that NTSB investigators would seek to determine, among other factors routinely examined, whether the engineer was distracted while driving the ill-fated train."Distraction is one of our most-wanted-list priorities at the NTSB," she said.She also said investigators had determined that the train's emergency brakes were automatically activated while the derailment was occurring, rather than engaged manually by the engineer.In addition, she confirmed that a safety system known as positive train control (PTC), which automatically slows trains if they go too fast, was not installed on the rail line. She said Congress had extended a mandatory deadline for having the PTC system installed on all passenger railways to 2018.None of the crew has been identified. All were hospitalized, Dinh-Zarr said.Three people aboard the train were killed when all 12 carriages and one of the train's two locomotives tumbled off the rails onto Interstate 5 near the town of DuPont, about 50 miles south of Seattle, officials said. Another 100 people were taken to hospitals, 10 with serious injuries.Some motorists were among the injured, though nobody on the highway died.Recorded data recovered from the rear locomotive showed the train was going 80 miles (129 km) per hour on a bend in the track where the speed limit was 30 mph (48 kph), NTSB officials said on Monday night. The board said it was investigating whether other circumstances besides speed were involved, such as track conditions, signals, mechanical issues and human factors.Speaking at an afternoon news conference on Tuesday, Dinh-Zarr said that a conductor "who was getting experience and familiarizing himself with the territory" was present in the locomotive cab with the engineer. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson described that second Amtrak employee as a "conductor-in-training."Dinh-Zarr said it was not unusual for conductors who are learning a new train route to ride in the cab with the engineer. She said another conductor was posted in the passenger section of the train at the time.The derailment placed Amtrak, the country's main passenger rail service, under renewed scrutiny following a series of fatal incidents.SEEKING TO REOPEN HIGHWAY-Meanwhile, workers lifted mangled train cars onto flatbed trucks from the wreckage site, using two towering cranes in wet, windy weather as they sought to reopen the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, a major West Coast highway stretching from the Canadian border to Mexico.They expected to remove five of the cars and the locomotive by Tuesday afternoon and take them to a nearby U.S. military base for further examination, officials said.The locomotive alone weighs more than 270,000 pounds (120 tonnes) and will require an extra-large truck to move, Dan Hall, the regional commander for the Washington State Patrol, said at a news conference.The southbound stretch of Interstate 5 will remain closed for several days, the Washington State Department of Transportation said.At least two of the three people who died in the derailment were transit enthusiasts who wanted to see the maiden run of a new route for the train line, said Abe Zumwalt, director of policy research for the Rail Passengers Association.Jim Hamre and Zack Willhoite were members of the association, the Washington, D.C.-based organization said in a statement identifying the two men as victims of the wreck. Willhoite worked for a local transportation agency, Pierce Transit, as a customer service support specialist."They were best friends and they took all kinds of trips together, and given that yesterday was an inaugural run on a service that both had advocated for tirelessly, it made sense that they were on board," Zumwalt said in a phone interview.(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles. Writing by Jonathan Allen and Steve Gorman; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)


House to vote again on tax bill; Trump on verge of win-[Reuters]-By David Morgan and Amanda Becker-YAHOONEWS-December 20, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday was expected to give final approval to a sweeping tax bill and send it to President Donald Trump to sign into law, sealing his first major legislative victory in office.In the largest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years, Republicans in mere weeks steamrolled over the opposition of Democrats to slash taxes for corporations and the wealthy, while offering mixed, temporary tax relief to working American individuals and families.The Senate approved the bill in the wee hours of Wednesday morning on a 51-48 vote, but had to send it back to the House, which had passed it on Tuesday, for another vote due to a procedural foul-up that embarrassed Republicans, but was not expected to change the outcome. The vote was expected to take place before noon in the House on Wednesday.The sprawling, debt-financed legislation cuts the U.S. corporate income tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, gives other business owners a new 20 percent deduction on business income and reshapes how the government taxes multinational corporations along the lines the country's largest businesses have recommended for years.Millions of Americans would stop itemizing deductions under the bill, putting tax breaks that incentivize home ownership and charitable donations out of their reach, but also making tax returns somewhat simpler and shorter.It keeps the present number of tax brackets, but adjusts many, though not all, of the rates and income levels for each one. The top tax rate for high earners is reduced. The estate tax on inheritances is changed so far fewer people will pay.In two provisions added on to secure needed Republican votes, it also repeals part of the Obamacare health system and allows oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.Democrats have railed against the legislation as a giveaway to the wealthy and the business community that will widen the income gap between rich and poor, while adding $1.5 trillion over the next decade to the $20 trillion national debt, which Trump promised in 2016 he would eliminate as president.Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said the bill "will harm millions of middle-class families ... It contains huge, permanent giveaways for big banks and corporations, and asks our children, millions of working Americans and senior citizens, and future generations to pay the price."A few Republicans, whose party was once defined by its fiscal hawkishness, have protested the deficit-spending encompassed in the bill. But most of them have voted for it anyway, saying it would help businesses and individuals, while boosting an already expanding economy they see as not growing fast enough.“We’ve had two quarters in a row of 3 percent growth. The stock market is up. Optimism is high. Coupled with this tax reform, America is ready to start performing as it should have for a number of years,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell after the chamber's vote.Despite Trump administration promises that the tax overhaul would focus on the middle class and not cut taxes for the rich, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, estimated middle-income households would see an average tax cut of $900 next year under the bill, while the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans would see an average cut of $51,000.The prospect of a Republican victory was tinged with embarrassment. House lawmakers initially voted 227-203, largely along party lines, to approve the bill on Tuesday afternoon.The measure went to the Senate, where the parliamentarian ruled three minor provisions in violation of an arcane Senate rule. To proceed, the Senate deleted the three provisions and then approved the bill.Because the House and Senate must approve the same legislation before Trump can sign it into law, the Senate's late Tuesday vote only ping-ponged the bill back to the House.The measure was expected to pass again in a vote by midday.In an overnight post on Twitter Trump said he would hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) if the House approves it.Democrats pounced on the mistake as evidence of the hurried, often secretive process used by Republicans in developing the bill. Ignoring Democrats and much of their own rank-and-file, Republican congressional leaders and White House officials drafted the bill behind closed doors, unveiling it on Sept. 27.No public hearings were held and numerous narrow amendments favored by lobbyists were added late in the process, tilting the package more toward businesses and the wealthy."When future generations look back at the short and messy history of the Republican tax bill, its most enduring lesson will be what it has taught us about how not to legislate," said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor."After only a few months of frantic backroom negotiations by only one party, we are left with a product as sloppy and as partisan as the process used to draft it ... What a disgrace."U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan defended the bill in television interviews on Wednesday morning, saying support would grow for the tax plan after it passes and Americans felt relief."I think minds are going to change," Ryan told ABC's "Good Morning America" program.(Reporting by David Morgan and Amanda Becker; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Heavey; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jeffrey Benkoe)