1 Million Red Envelopes Deluge White House

Over one million, empty, red envelopes have poured into the White House mail room, symbolizing the empty promise of lives snuffed out in abortion; and with Red Envelope Day planned for Wednesday, coordinators estimate that number could more than double. The Red Envelope Project is an idea sparked in the mind and prayers of a Massachusetts man, Christ Otto, who envisioned in January thousands of red envelopes sent to the White House, a visual expression of moral outrage over the president’s position on abortion. On the backs of the envelopes, senders write a message Otto composed: “This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.”

Harvard Research Proves the Pope (and God) Right

When the pope visited Africa back in mid-March, a firestorm erupted when the media reported he had said “condoms spread AIDS.” According to the pope, “the scourge [of AIDS] cannot be resolved by distributing condoms”—in fact, doing so “risk[s] worsening the problem.” Predictably, there was a cacophony of condemnation directed at the pope. Soon after the story broke, Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, released an interview with Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Here’s what Green had to say:

We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working. The pope is correct, or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments. There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the US-funded Demographic Health Surveys, between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction technology such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by compensating or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology. I also noticed that the pope said monogamy was the best single answer to African AIDS, rather than abstinence. The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates (the other major factor is male circumcision).

  • Note that this story was not published in the mainstream media
Big Brother is Watching
The European Union is backing a project to install a “communication box” in new cars to track the whereabouts of drivers anywhere in Europe, the Guardian can reveal. Under the proposals, vehicles will emit a constant “heartbeat” revealing their location, speed and direction of travel. The EU officials behind the plan believe it will significantly reduce road accidents, congestion and carbon emissions. A consortium of manufacturers has indicated that the router device could be installed in all new cars as early as 2013. Details of the Cooperative Vehicle-Infrastructure Systems (CVIS) project, a £36m EU initiative backed by car manufacturers and the telecoms industry, will be unveiled this year.
  • Surveillance is a key New World Order plan so as to track and apprehend those who resist the eventual “mark of the beast”
New World Order Update
The Trilateral Commission is one of the New World Order organizations promoting a one-world government. Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Rockefeller were the co-founders in 1973 to “to foster closer cooperation among these core democratic industrialized areas of the world with shared leadership responsibilities in the wider international system.” According to official Trilateral Commission membership lists, there are 87 members from the United States (the other 337 members are from other regions). President Obama, a TLC protégé, has appointed no less than nine members of the Commission to top-level and key positions in his Administration, including Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner; Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice; National Security Advisor, Thomas Doniton; Chairman of the Economic Recovery Committee, Paul Volker; and Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis C. Blair.
  • Thus, over 10% of America’s TLC members are officially part of the Obama administration.
Taliban Chief Vows Attack on Washington
The commander of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly assault on a Pakistani police academy and said the group was planning a terrorist attack on the U.S. capital. Baitullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million bounty on his head from the U.S., said Monday’s attack outside the eastern city of Lahore was in retaliation for U.S. missile strikes against militants along the Afghan border. “Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world,” Mehsud told The Associated Press by phone. He provided no details.

Hezbollah Smuggling Across U.S.-Mexican Border

America’s porous southern border is an entry point for more than Mexican cartels and their illegal drugs — the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah has been smuggling drugs and people into the U.S. as well. Hezbollah has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America, and is now using the same routes into the U.S. that the Mexican cartels use for smuggling, according to an exclusive report in The Washington Times. The group relies on “the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers, and transportation experts as the drug cartels,” said Michael Braun, who recently retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006, funds its operations in part from a large Lebanese Muslim diaspora, and some of that funding comes from criminal enterprises.

Economy

Amid a continuing global free fall, the World Bank Monday sharply lowered its 2009 economic forecast. The bank now expects the world economy to shrink by 1.7% this year, the first such contraction since the end of World War II and a much more dramatic decline than expected just three months ago. The past five months, global industrial production has dropped 15% — an unprecedented drop for such a short period, said Hans Timmer, manager for global trends in the bank’s development prospects group.

The global economic crisis will hit jobs hard, with unemployment set to reach double digits in many developing and advanced countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said. “By the end of 2010 the unemployment rate could be approaching double digit figures in all G8 countries with the sole exception of Japan, as well as in the OECD area as a whole,” the OECD forecast in a background paper to G8 labor and employment ministers gathering in Rome.

Home prices in January were down a record 19% from January 2008, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index released Tuesday. The drops on a month-over-month as well as year-over-year basis were bigger than expectations based on a Reuters survey of economists.

Sun-Times Media Group, parent of the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday, earning Chicago the distinction of being the first U.S. city served by two insolvent newspapers. The Sun-Times also said it hired Rothschild Inc. to try to sell some of its assets, which include 59 newspapers and their websites. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. It plans to operate its newspapers and websites while improving its cost structure and stabilizing operations. It said it has financial resources to continue daily operations. The publisher joins its much larger, Chicago-based rival, Tribune Co., in a growing list of newspaper companies choosing bankruptcy as the best way to restructure as advertising revenue plummets.

Chavez Seeks Arab Backing for ‘Petro-Currency’

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sought Arab support Tuesday for his idea of a new oil-backed currency to challenge the U.S. dollar at a twin-region summit whose agenda focuses on trade issue but also touches on Arab worries about rival Iran’s growing influence in Latin America. “A new world is being born. Empires fall. There is a world crisis of capitalism, it’s shaking the planet,” Chavez said. The global economic crisis is expected to take center stage at the one-day gathering.

Afghanistan’s Poppies Pose Problem

President Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan calls for continuing the destruction of poppy fields, although experts and his top envoy to the region have called the practice counterproductive. Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s coordinator of Afghanistan policy, said this month that eradicating the opium poppy fields is “wasteful and ineffective” and has been “pushing farmers into the Taliban’s hands” because it destroys farmers’ livelihoods and leaves them with few alternatives. However, the white paper on Afghanistan released Friday by the White House says the new strategy will spend more on “crop substitution and alternative livelihood programs” while continuing the practice of “targeting those who grow the poppy.”

Billions of dollars spent on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan during the past seven years have led to a “heartbreaking” failure to produce results, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday, promising that the new strategy President Obama announced last week will turn that around. The U.S. has spent $32 billion on aid to Afghanistan since 2002, including nearly $7 billion in development aid by the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to the Congressional Research Service. Most of the USAID money has been administered through private contractors, some of which have been criticized in audits by the agency’s inspector general for failing to demonstrate results. She was asked why Obama’s plan would be different, given that its language — “capacity building” for the Afghanistan government and “alternative livelihoods” for people involved in the opium trade — are similar to those used by the Bush administration. “We’re building on the lessons learned,” Clinton said. “We are scrubbing every single civilian program. … We are looking at every single dollar as to how it’s spent and where it’s going and trying to track the outcome. … We want to see real results.”

N. Korea has Several Nuclear Warheads

North Korea is believed to have several nuclear warheads that could be mounted on a missile, an international security expert said Tuesday ahead of a rocket launch that regional powers suspect will test weapon delivery technology. But Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based North Korea expert for the International Crisis Group, stressed it is unclear if the communist nation has mastered the technology necessary to mount the warheads onto missiles. Pinkston said the communist nation has two underground nuclear warhead storage facilities near bases for its medium-range Rodong missiles, which are capable of striking Japan.

American Journalists Detained in N. Korea to be Tried as Spies

North Korea‘s state-run news agency says two American reporters detained earlier this month will be tried for illegal entry and hostile acts. The Korean Central News Agency said in a report early Tuesday that an initial investigation confirms the two entered the country illegally. The report says an investigation continues and that preparations for indictments and trial are underway. Current TV’s Laura Ling and Euna Lee were detained March 17 near North Korea’s northeastern border with China. The two work for former Vice President Al Gore’s San Francisco-based online media venture Current TV.

Somali Refugees Continues Spilling into Kenya

Reuters reports that more than 250,000 Somali refugees live in three giant camps in Kenya, and 100,000 more are expected to arrive before the year’s end. Relief group Oxfam warned the camps in Dadaab, Kenya, constitute “a serious public health crisis caused by a lack of basic services, severe overcrowding and a chronic lack of funding”. The group has already confirmed 20 recent cases of cholera, and says the disease will spread unless drastic measures are taken. “Conditions in Dadaab are dire and need immediate attention. People are not getting the aid they are entitled to,” said Philippa Crosland-Taylor, head of Oxfam GB in Kenya. Many of the refugees have fled Somalia as al Shabaab, a pro-al Qaeda Islamist insurgent group, increases its efforts against the country’s fledgling government.

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