59 Christians Released From Jails in Pakistan
ASSIST News Service reports that 59 imprisoned Christians in various jails in Pakistan received news of their freedom on Friday, Nov. 13. The Christians were released after Rizwan Paul, president of the Christian group Life for All, presented a petition to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari for the pardon of these Christians who he stated had been “falsely accused of minor crimes.” Extremely emotional scenes were seen outside the jails when the prisoners were released. Family members were present to greet their loved ones and they thanked Life for All for their efforts. The group estimates that there are still more than 2,500 Christians in jails all over Pakistan who cannot afford the legal assistance for their release.
Schools Let Students Seek Secret Abortions
A 12-year-old girl is prohibited from bringing aspirin to California public schools without a note from her mother or father – but in many California districts she may sign herself out of classes, leave her junior-high campus without parental permission, secretly have an abortion and return to school before the end of the day – and her own family may be none the wiser. Parents and educators across the state have been in heated debate over school policies allowing children to be excused during class time without parental notification for “confidential medical services” such as abortions, birth control, and drug and mental health services.
California’s San Juan Unified School District sought to change its own policy from one that prohibits students from being absent without parental knowledge except during medical emergencies to guidelines that would allow a student to leave for a “confidential medical appointment.” They were debating changing the current policy to reflect school administrators’ interpretation of California Education Code 4601.1, which states: Commencing in the fall of the 1986-87 academic year, the governing board of each school district shall, each academic year, notify pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, and the parents or guardians of all pupils enrolled in the districts, that school authorities may excuse any pupil from the school for the purpose of obtaining confidential medical services without the consent of the pupil’s parent or guardian.
- Our government continues its attempts to destroy families and gain control over our children. Secular humanism indoctrination centers (aka public schools) lead the way.
Christian Leaders for Public Vote on DC gay Marriage
Traditional marriage advocates in Washington, DC are telling city officials “We’ll see you in court.” The DC Board of Elections and Ethics ruled yesterday that a measure to let voters decide whether to ban same-sex marriages in DC cannot go on the ballot. According to the board, such a measure would violate the city’s human rights law. The DC City Council is expected to approve same-sex marriage next month, but proponents of traditional marriage are planning to hold a rally in Washington on December 8th to lobby members of Congress to override the council’s wishes.
Senate Prepares Health Reform Bill
After months of haggling, the U.S. Senate has a health care reform bill ready for action, but there still is no guarantee the Democrat-drafted proposal — President Barack Obama‘s top domestic agenda item — will be debated in the upper chamber, let alone reach a vote. The Senate hopes to decide on Saturday whether to move the bill to the floor for debate. The House of Representatives, meanwhile, has already passed its version of reform, leaving forward movement on overhauling the system solely in the hands of the Senate. Failure to guide the measure to passage would represent a crippling, if not fatal, blow to a pillar of the basket of domestic reforms Obama promised in his presidential campaign. While Democrats hold a significant majority in the Senate, its rules allow Republicans to block action through a delaying tactic known as a filibuster. To end a filibuster, the Democrats must assemble 60 votes. Currently, they hold 58 seats in the 100-seat upper chamber. Two independent members typically vote with the Democrats. But the two independent votes are not assured, nor are those of three conservative Democrats representing states that normally vote Republican.
The proposed government-run health insurance program, among the most divisive issues in the health care debate, would cover less than 1.5% of the population, new estimates show. The latest version of the “public option,” included in the 10-year, $848 billion health care bill headed toward an initial Senate vote Saturday, would cover up to 4 million people, according to the Congressional Budget Office report.
House Panel wants Answers on Faulty Stimulus Data
Members of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee will ask questions Thursday about faulty data on the Obama administration’s Recovery.gov Web site. The site is fixing errors that appeared to show hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars were spent in nonexistent congressional districts, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board said Wednesday. The errors, first reported by ABC News, were seen on Recovery.gov summary pages breaking down how many stimulus dollars were received in each state’s congressional districts. Arizona’s page, for example, showed the state’s 52nd, 15th and 86th congressional districts received hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus money, according to CNN affiliate KNXV. However, no such districts exist in Arizona, which has only eight congressional districts.A report released Wednesday by the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity said it found such errors on pages for all 50 states. More than $6.4 billion in stimulus funds were shown as being spent — and more than 28,420 jobs saved or created — in 440 false districts, it said.
- Lie, obfuscate, mislead, deceive. The Obama administration’s interpretation of “transparency.”
Obama: Below 50 percent approval
President Obama’s job-approval rating has slipped below 50% in the Gallup Tracking Poll for the first time in his presidency, pulled down by concerns about the economy, federal spending and health care legislation. Obama’s approval rating was 49%. Historically it has some political significance when a president can no longer claim the support of half the American people. Obama’s fall has been relatively fast. Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton slipped below 50% sooner — Ford in his third month in office, Clinton in his fourth. Obama’s experience is close to that of Ronald Reagan, who like Obama dropped below the marker during his tenth month in office. Falling fast clearly isn’t fatal. Clinton and Reagan, for instance, went on to win second terms. Among other modern presidents: Harry Truman fell below 50% for the first time at 11 months in office, Jimmy Carter at 13 months, Richard Nixon at 25 months, Lyndon Johnson at 29 months, the elder George Bush at 36 months and the younger George Bush at 37 months.
Coca-Cola Leads Call for One-World Climate Change Taxes
Coca-Cola is spearheading a coalition of more than 100 companies pushing a United Nations climate treaty to bind the U.S. to cap-and-trade emissions regulation, commit the world’s wealthiest nations to a potential $10 trillion in foreign aid and, possibly, form a proposed international “super-grid” for regulating and distributing electric power worldwide. Together with the SAP and Siemens corporations, Coca-Cola launched a website called Hopenhagen, leading up to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which opens on Dec. 7. The website invites the citizens of the world to sign a petition demanding world leaders draft binding agreements on climate change and advertises, as of today, “16 days left to seal the deal.” Other “friends” of Hopenhagen include media outlets Newsweek, Discovery Channel, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, The Wall Street Journal and Clear Channel, among others, Internet giants Yahoo, Google and AOL and dozens of other companies and organizations.
- This conference has the potential of cementing some one-world government footings through the questionable doorway of global warming
1 in 6 went hungry in America in 2008
Forty-nine million people in American households — one in six — went hungry or had insufficient food at some point in 2008, the highest number since the government began tracking the problem in 1995. The biggest increases were among households with children. The report, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that 17 million people in the U.S. went hungry or did not eat regularly for a few days of each month over seven or eight months last year. That’s a 45% increase from 12 million people in 2007. In 2008, 16.7 million children did not eat regularly at some point, up from 12.4 million in 2007.
Doctors Report Niacin Better than Zetia, Vytorin
Doctors formally reported Monday that lowly niacin, a B vitamin, did a significantly better job of shrinking artery plaque than a billion-dollar blockbuster called ezetimibe, the active ingredient in the cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin. Doctors Taylor and Kastelein presented their findings at a meeting of the American Heart Association. On Sunday evening, The New England Journal of Medicine published the results online. Taylor’s study was the third in two years to challenge the effectiveness of one of the world’s most popular heart drugs, with $21 billion in sales since it was introduced in 2003, Securities and Exchange Commission documents show.
Blood supply not affected by H1N1
Except for scattered cancellations of high school blood drives because of high absenteeism, the H1N1 pandemic doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on the nation’s blood supply. No case of seasonal flu transmitted through a blood transfusion has ever been reported anywhere in the world, according to a draft guidance issued Friday by the Food and Drug Administration. And so far, the FDA says, the same goes for H1N1 flu. People without flu symptoms who’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medications can donate blood, according to the FDA.
Mammograms Used Too Early and Too Often
Women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year, an influential federal task force has concluded, challenging the use of one of the most common medical tests. In its first re-evaluation of breast-cancer screening since 2002, the panel that sets government policy on prevention recommended the radical change, citing evidence that the potential harm to women having annual exams beginning at age 40 outweighs the benefits. Mammograms produce false-positive results in about 10 percent of cases, causing anxiety and often prompting women to undergo unnecessary follow-up tests, sometimes-disfiguring biopsies, and unneeded treatment, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy without substantially improving women’s odds of survival. Petitti denied that the panel was influenced by the health-care reform debate or cost issues.
Most women in their 20s can have a Pap smear every two years instead of annually, say new guidelines that conclude that is enough to catch slow-growing cervical cancer. Routine Paps should start at age 21. Previously, ACOG had urged a first Pap either within three years of first sexual intercourse or at age 21.
Post office was $3.8 billion in the red
The Postal Service reported a loss of $3.8 billion last year, despite a reduction of 40,000 full-time positions and other cost-cutting measures. The loss was $1 billion more than the year before. The post office has been struggling to cope with a decline in mail volume caused by the shift to the Internet as well as the recession that resulted in a drop in advertising and other mail. Total mail volume was 177.1 billion pieces, compared to 202.7 billion pieces in 2008, a decline of almost 13%.
California Faces a Projected Deficit of $21 Billion
Less than four months after California leaders stitched together a patchwork budget, a projected deficit of nearly $21 billion already looms over Sacramento, according to a report released Wednesday by the chief budget analyst. The new figure — the nonpartisan analyst’s first projection for the coming budget — threatens to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts in state programs. The grim forecast comes courtesy of California’s recession-wracked economy, unrealistic budgeting assumptions, spending cuts tied up in the courts and disappearing federal stimulus funds.
As hundreds of students demonstrated outside, University of California leaders on Thursday voted to approve a 32% hike in undergraduate fees, arguing the increase is crucial because of the state’s budget crisis. The UC Board of Regents, meeting at UCLA, approved a two-phase increase that will boost the average undergraduate fee $2,500 by next fall. That would bring the average annual cost to about $10,300 — a threefold increase in a decade.
Arizona to Borrow its Way Out of Debt
As lawmakers convened Tuesday to start chipping away at a $2 billion budget deficit, the state is preparing to turn to outside lenders for the first time in Arizona history. The borrowing is needed to give the state enough cash to carry it through ongoing revenue shortfalls, state Treasurer Dean Martin said. He estimates the state will need to borrow $700 million to see it through the June 30 end of the fiscal year. As of Tuesday, Martin said, the state had exceeded its threshold of $500 million in IOUs and would need to turn to institutional lenders. To date, the state has been borrowing against internal accounts.
- Borrow its way out of debt? Oxymoronic. More debt simply postpones the problem and makes the next economic downturn even deadlier.
No Action by Federal Reserve on Falling Dollar
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday said the central bank is “attentive” to the falling dollar, ut the greenback fell to 15-month lows after skeptical investors realized there’s little the central bank would do to prop up the currency. The central bank could strengthen the dollar by raising interest rates to draw investors to U.S. securities. But with a fragile economic recovery and stable inflation, Bernanke repeated the Fed’s belief that near-zero interest rates would stay that way “for an extended period.”
Ø The continued decline of the dollar along with our massive debt will soon combine to sink the economy
A gauge of the economy’s future prospects rose for a seventh month in October to a two-year high, a private research group said Thursday, indicating the recovery is becoming entrenched. The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators climbed 0.3% to 103.8, highest since September 2007.
Wholesale prices rose less than expected in October as a weak economy kept inflation largely in check, while industrial production edged up 0.1% in October, a smaller-than-expected increase that signals a bumpy recovery ahead. In the 12 months ended in October, producer prices fell 1.9%, the 11th straight month of declines.
The pace at which people fell behind on their mortgages slowed during the summer for a third consecutive quarter, but the delinquency rate hit another record, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion. For the three months ended Sept. 30, 6.25% of U.S. mortgage loans were 60 or more days past due, TransUnion says. That’s up 58% from 3.96% a year ago. Being two months behind is considered a first step toward foreclosure, because it’s so hard to catch up with payments at that point.
Newspaper advertising revenue in the U.S. plunged 28% in the third quarter to $6.4 billion. The figures released Thursday by the Newspaper Association of America leave little doubt newspapers will likely have to manage through the fourth year of a slump that has already killed some publications and wiped out thousands of jobs. Advertising sales are the main source of newspaper income, and that revenue has declined year-over-year for 13 straight quarters.
Natural gas prices have dropped more than 12% in the past month as the country continues to sip at its energy reserves and a balmy November allowed homeowners to leave the heat off. Retail prices for natural gas, or what many consumers will pay to heat their homes, are expected to be substantially lower this year.
Obama, Hu Vow Cooperation but Produce Few Deals
President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao promised a determined, joint effort to tackle climate change, nuclear disarmament and other global troubles yet emerged from their first full-blown summit Tuesday with scant progress beyond goodwill. After two hours of talks and a separate meeting over dinner the night before, the presidents spoke of moving beyond the divisiveness over human rights, trade and military tensions that have bedeviled relations in past decades. With each of those big issues — from global warming to the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs — persistent differences bubbled up in the form of indirect barbs during the joint appearance.
Obama’s carefully worded call at a town-hall forum for the communist regime to ease censorship was not seen by most Chinese people — because of the government’s last-minute decision not to broadcast it on TV nationwide. Yet some locals and human rights leaders praised Obama’s decision to broach the largely taboo subject of human rights here.
E.U. rejects Palestinian statehood appeal
The European Union rejected requests Tuesday that it support a Palestinian plan for gaining recognition as an independent state at the U.N. Security Council without Israeli consent. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told reporters “the conditions are not there as of yet” for such a move. “I would hope that we would be in a position to recognize a Palestinian state, but there has to be one first, so I think that is somewhat premature.”
Ø The key word is “yet” which shows that the mindset is in place to create a Palestinian state
Iran Nuke Site Built for Bombs, Not Power
The United Nations says Iran is preparing to start up a uranium-enrichment site that was revealed only recently and which scientists suggest is too small for nuclear power purposes but suitable for making nuclear bombs. In a report Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the site hidden in a mountainside in Qom appeared designed to produce about a ton of enriched uranium a year. A senior international official familiar with the IAEA’s work in Iran said that amount would be too little to fuel a nuclear power plant. Iran’s belated revelation of a second uranium enrichment site also raises concern about possible further secret nuclear sites in the country.
Iran‘s foreign minister on Wednesday said his country would not export its enriched uranium for further processing, brushing aside the latest U.N. plan aimed at preventing Tehran from potentially building nuclear weapons. The United Nations last month offered a deal to take 70% of Iran’s low-enriched uranium to reduce its stockpile of material that could be enriched to a higher level, and possibly be used to make nuclear weapons.
The deaths of 12 civilians in a rocket attack presumably aimed at military officials and local leaders underscores the inability of NATO to successfully defeat the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan, an official said Tuesday. Monday’s attack in Tagab missed the meeting but the rockets hit in the crowded market area, killing 12 Afghan civilians and wounding dozens more. Brig. Gen. Marcel Druart said Monday that the meeting, known as a shura, continued despite the attack to show that the Taliban cannot disrupt NATO’s plans in a tense valley where both sides are competing for influence.
Senior administration officials reported to the New York Times today that budget projections for the war in Afghanistan will cost U.S. taxpayers at least $1 million per soldier, per year. The plan to add 40,000 American troops and greatly expand Afghan security forces, supported by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, is estimated to cost between $40 billion to $54 billion annually.
A top Iraqi official on Wednesday threw a wrench into plans to hold national elections in January, a move likely to delay the vote that is a key milestone for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi vetoed part of Iraq’s election law passed this month because it doesn’t allow enough seats in the parliament for Iraqi refugees living abroad. The latest drama of al-Hashemi’s veto halted election preparations, said Hamdiya al-Hussaini, an electoral commission spokeswoman. “We’ve stopped receiving nominee lists, and we’ve stopped preparing to print voting papers,” Hussaini said.
A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a courthouse in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, killing 19 people in the latest attack in an onslaught by Islamist militants retaliating against an army offensive near the Afghan border. The bombing was the seventh militant strike in less than two weeks in and around Peshawar, the largest city in the northwest. The attacks have killed more than 80 people. Missiles fired from a U.S. drone killed three militants Thursday in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area along the Afghan border, intelligence officials said.
World’s Carbon Emissions Rise, Despite Recession
Pollution typically declines during a recession. Not this time. Despite a global economic slump, worldwide carbon dioxide pollution jumped 2% last year, most of the increase coming from China, according to a study published Tuesday. The growth in emissions since 2000 is almost entirely driven by the growth in China and India. Carbon dioxide emissions, the chief man-made greenhouse gas, come from the burning of coal, oil, natural gas, and also from the production of cement, which is a significant pollution factor in China. Worldwide emissions rose 671 million more tons from 2007 to 2008. Nearly three-quarters of that increase came from China.
- Whether CO2 causes or contributes to global warming or not, pollution is never a good thing. China cares little about human rights and is not likely to change its greedy, dirty ways.
Lifeboats and military helicopters rescued hundreds of people overnight in northern England as torrential rain flooded homes and washed away bridges. Police in the picturesque Lake District county of Cumbria, a magnet for tourists, said today a search is under way for a police officer who disappeared when one bridge collapsed under the weight of water. British soldiers conducted house-to-house searches for those trapped by floods as deep as 8 feet. Troops also dropped down on lines from air force helicopters, breaking through rooftops to pluck people to safety.
Plans to raise the water level behind China’s massive Three Gorges dam to full capacity this month — which would mark the symbolic culmination of the decades-old project — have stalled amid a worsening drought and reports of increased landslide risks. The explanation given by dam officials is that too little water is flowing from the upper reaches of the Yangtze— 34% less than last year — coupled with a deepening drought in the downstream provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi.
A Chinese state media report says a massive landslide in northern China partially has buried a village and killed at least 23 people, and that rescuers are seeking survivors. Rescuers have recovered 23 bodies from the debris so far, and that two people have been pulled out alive. Most of those killed were migrant workers who worked at a nearby coal mine.