Planned Parenthood Director Quits After Watching Abortion

The former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in southeast Texas says she had a “change of heart” after watching an abortion last month — and she quit her job and joined a pro-life group in praying outside the facility. Abby Johnson, 29, used to escort women from their cars to the clinic in the eight years she volunteered and worked for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. But she says she knew it was time to leave after she watched a fetus “crumple” as it was vacuumed out of a patient’s uterus in September. ‘When I was working at Planned Parenthood I was extremely pro-choice,” Johnson told FoxNews.com. But after seeing the internal workings of the procedure for the first time on an ultrasound monitor, “I would say there was a definite conversion in my heart … a spiritual conversion.” Johnson said she became disillusioned with her job after her bosses pressured her for months to increase profits by performing more and more abortions, which cost patients between $505 and $695.

  • Keep on praying that others would be similarly convicted by the Holy Spirit

Christian Converts Cleared in Iran

Praise the Lord for a significant development in the case of the two young Christian women, converts from Islam, who were arrested in Tehran in March and charged with anti-state activity, propagation of Christianity and apostasy. On 7 October Maryam and Marzieh were brought back to the Revolutionary Court, where the judge acquitted them of the charge of anti-state activity. Such acquittals are rare in Iran. Now that this charge has been dropped, the remaining charges will be considered in the general court. The two women are thankful to their fellow Christians for ongoing prayer and to the Lord Jesus for sustaining them in prison and giving them the courage to stand firm in their faith during the court hearings.

Maine Voters Reject Gay-Marriage Law

Voters in the northeastern state of Maine repealed a state law that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a major defeat in the corner of the country most supportive of gay marriage. Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine — known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate — and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign. With 87% of the precincts reporting, gay-marriage foes had 53% of the votes. “The institution of marriage has been preserved in Maine and across the nation,” declared Frank Schubert, chief organizer for the winning side.

Republicans Win Most Elections

Republican Chris Christie rode a wave of voter anger over New Jersey‘s battered economy to oust Gov. Jon Corzine, the sole incumbent governor up for re-election Tuesday, despite strong support for the Democrat from President Obama. The economy, unemployment and taxes were the most important issue to voters in deciding their choice, according to surveys of voters at polling places.

Republican Bob McDonnell easily won the Virginia governor’s race Tuesday and turned the state into a political speed bump for President Obama. McDonnell, 55, led a GOP sweep of Virginia’s three statewide contests, a year after Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate in four decades to win the Old Dominion. National party Chairman Michael Steele said the GOP’s “overwhelming” Virginia victory “is a blow to President Obama and the Democrat Party. It sends a clear signal that voters have had enough of the president’s liberal agenda.” Independent voters, a key to Obama’s victory last year, voted nearly 2-1 in favor of McDonnell.

A wildly unpredictable race for a House seat in Upstate New York gave Democrats their only high-profile victory Tuesday night in a contest both parties predicted would have implications for next year’s congressional elections. Democrat Bill Owens narrowly beat Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the down-to-the-wire race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. The special election in the sprawling district that tracks along the Canadian border captured national attention as Republicans such as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin endorsed Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava, who later dropped out of the race amid criticism of her conservative credentials. Matt Kibbe of the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks said the dramatic turn of events that took place before the election would put GOP incumbents on notice that they could face primaries if they don’t adhere to the party’s core principles.

Court Rules Crucifixes in Italy Violate Freedoms

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools violates religious and education freedoms, prompting an angry reaction from the Vatican and government officials. The ruling could force a review of the use of religious symbols in government-run schools across Europe, but it stopped short of ordering Italy to remove the crucifixes, which are common in Italian public schools. The court ordered Italy to pay a $7,390 fine to a mother in northern Italy who fought for eight years to have crucifixes removed from her children’s public school classrooms. The Italian government said it would appeal.

  • The attacks against all things Christian is ramping up worldwide

Stimulus Job Distortions

The administration reported last week that stimulus recipients reported having created or saved 640,329 jobs this year. The jobs total is based on reports of more than 130,000 recipients of stimulus grants and contracts filed with the federal government. USA TODAY reviewed the reports to determine the number of jobs created or saved per stimulus dollar. The review found 14 recipients that reported saving or creating more than 100 jobs for less than $1,500 per job — suggesting they over-reported the number of jobs. The police department in Plymouth, Conn., claimed in its report that a $15,355 grant used to buy new computers had created or saved 108 jobs. The federal government sent Bob Bray $26,174 in stimulus aid to fix a fence and replace the roofs on public apartments in Blooming Grove, Texas. He hired five roofers and an inspector to do the job. But the number of jobs he reported to the government looked very different — 450 jobs. He said that he told the government that he had created six jobs but that a federal official told him that wasn’t right. So he reported the number of hours the roofers worked instead.

  • Sadly we cannot trust our own government

House Health Bill Totals $1.2T

The health care bill headed for a vote in the House this week costs $1.2 trillion or more over a decade, according to numerous Democratic officials and figures contained in an analysis by congressional budget experts, far higher than the $894 billion cited by President Obama as a price tag for his reform plan. The bill is funded largely from a 5.4% tax on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and couples making more than $1 million, starting in 2011. The tax increase would hit only 0.3% of tax filers, raising $460.5 billion over the next 10 years, according to congressional estimates. But unlike other income tax rates, the new tax would not be indexed for inflation. As incomes rise over time because of inflation, more families — and more small business owners — would be hit by the tax.

In a blow to the White House, the Senate’s top Democrat signaled Tuesday that Congress may fail to meet a year-end deadline for passing health-care legislation, leaving the measure’s fate to the uncertainties of the 2010 election season. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., spoke as Democratic officials said it could be December before Senate debate begins in earnest on the issue atop President Barack Obama’s domestic agenda. The drive to pass legislation has been plagued for months by divisions within the party’s rank and file.

Support for Stricter Gun Laws Declines

The proportion of U.S. citizens who feel that gun laws should be stricter has declined from 78% in 1990 to 62% in 2000 and just 44% in 2009. Even so, legislators are ramping up several bills to further clamp down on gun ownership, an Obama administration priority.

Half of U.S. Kids to Receive Food Stamps

Half of American kids will live in households receiving food stamps before age 20, according to a study reported Monday in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Although one in five children rely on food stamps for years, many more live in families who turn to food stamps during a short-term crisis. Only about 67% of people who are eligible for food stamps actually receive them, the Department of Agriculture says. More than 35.8 million Americans used food stamps in July — nearly 6.8 million more than a year earlier.

  • Start a federal entitlement program and it will grow and grow and grow

More Walk Away from Homes

Strategic defaults, or a voluntary foreclosure, and are fast becoming a major challenge to the government’s $75 billion effort to keep distressed borrowers in their homes. Walking away from a mortgage is serious business — it can knock 100 points off your credit score and make you ineligible for a new mortgage for seven years. Yet, about 588,000 borrowers walked away from homes last year, double the number in 2007, according to a recent study by credit-scoring firm Experian. While home prices are rising, the increases pale compared with overall drops in home prices since 2005 that threaten to push millions more homeowners into default, owing more than their homes are worth and seeing little chance of rebuilding equity soon. More will walk away, which will hamper the housing recovery, reinforce lenders’ tight credit policies and drag on the economy’s recovery, economists say.

Banks Haven’t Learned

The head of the International Monetary Fund says banks remain saddled with too many toxic securities and have not yet shown an understanding of the need to embrace far-reaching operational reforms. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF’s managing director, sketched a nuanced view of a slowly healing world economy still beset by serious weaknesses. The global economy looks set for a period of sluggish growth and still-rising unemployment, he said. But perhaps the greatest risk remains the condition of the banking industry. “All around the world, you still have a lot of undisclosed losses,” Strauss-Kahn told journalists at the global lending body’s headquarters. He added that bad loans must be disposed of before banks can play their customary role in financing economic growth.

Economic News

A bevy of reports on Monday attested to a recovering economy, with manufacturing activity, pending home sales and construction spending all exceeding expectations. Manufacturing activity grew for the third-consecutive month in October and at the fastest pace since April 2006. The index of factory activity was 55.7, up from 52.6 in September, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said. Above 50 indicates expansion; below means contraction. Most encouraging: A measure of factory employment signaled growth for the first time in 14 months. Meanwhile, pending home sales in September rose for the eighth-consecutive month. The revived housing market is lifting construction spending. It jumped 0.8% in September from August,

Middle East

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the U.S stance toward Israeli settlement building to worried Arab allies on Wednesday, saying Washington does not accept the legitimacy of the West Bank enclaves and wants to see their construction halted “forever.” Still, she said an Israeli offer to restrain — but not halt — construction represents “positive movement forward” toward resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The fears were sparked on Saturday when Clinton, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at her side in Jerusalem, praised his government’s offer as unprecedented. She has since tried to clarify the remarks, saying that the Israeli offer does not got far enough. Still, she has indicated that the Palestinians should resume negotiations with Israel without a full settlement halt as they demand.

  • Once again, we kowtow to the Islamists and further abandon our ally and God’s promised land, further calling down more curses upon our own country

Israeli commandos seized a ship Wednesday that defense officials said was carrying more than 60 tons of missiles, rockets and anti-tank weapons bound for Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas. The pre-dawn seizure in the waters near Cyprus was a rare interception of a suspected arms shipment by Israel, which has long accused Iran of arming its enemies.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan‘s president welcomed his re-election by default Tuesday and reached out to opponents, promising to create an inclusive government and banish corruption that has undermined his administration. Karzai said he wants people from every part of the country in his government, including political opponents and Taliban who are ready to cooperate with the administration. The Taliban claimed their own victory, saying in a statement the canceled runoff showed their efforts to derail the vote by threats and attacks were successful.

An Afghan policeman opened fire on British soldiers in the volatile southern province of Helmand Wednesday, killing five and raising concerns about discipline within the Afghan forces and possible infiltration by insurgents. The incident came almost exactly a month after an Afghan policeman on patrol with U.S. soldiers opened fire on the Americans, killing two before fleeing.

Pakistan

Pakistani soldiers battled Taliban fighters Wednesday in the streets of a key militant stronghold, officials said, as government forces pressed ahead with their offensive in the tribal region of South Waziristan. Over the past day, the fighting has left 10 militants dead in Ladha and 30 dead across the region, it said. Eight soldiers have been injured. Ladha is one of the three main Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan, according to the military. Government forces have already taken control of much of another key town, Sararogha, and are expected to launch an attack soon on Makeen, which the authorities have called the “nerve center” of the Pakistani Taliban.

Iran

Iranian security forces beat anti-government protesters with batons and fired tear gas Wednesday on the sidelines of state-sanctioned rallies to mark the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover. The counter-demonstrations were the opposition’s first major show of force on the streets of Tehran since mid-September. Authorities appeared determined to avoid opposition rallies overshadowing the anniversary of the embassy takeover.

North Korea

North Korea said Tuesday it has reprocessed 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and extracted enough plutonium to bolster its atomic stockpile, raising the stakes in an apparent effort to push the U.S. into direct negotiations. Reprocessing the spent fuel rods would give the regime enough weapons-grade plutonium for at least one more atomic bomb, experts say. Pyongyang is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for half a dozen nuclear weapons. The threat of an expanding North Korean nuclear arsenal comes a day after Pyongyang warned Washington it would beef up its nuclear stockpile if the U.S. refuses to hold bilateral talks.

  • They just want to rend some more concessions out of their patsy, the USA, before going back to what they’re going to do anyway

15,000 Bibles Seized in Malaysia

The Associated Press reports that Malaysian officials have confiscated more than 15,000 Bibles in recent months because the Bibles refer to “God” as “Allah.” Most of the Bibles were imported from neighboring Indonesia. Recent court rulings in Malaysia have forbidden Christians to use “Allah” to refer to the Christian God, as they say it could confuse and upset Muslims. The Muslim-majority country practices a moderate brand of Islam, but has increasingly discriminated against religious minorities. The Rev. Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, said the Roman Catholic Church is challenging the “Allah” ban in court. “For most of the Christians, this is not an issue of going against the authorities. They have been using (the word “Allah”) for a long time,” he said.

Earthquakes

An earthquake struck a key port city in southern Iran early Wednesday, injuring at least 700 people and cutting power and telephone lines, the state news agency reported. The 4.9-magnitude quake struck Bandar Abbas at 2:56 a.m. local time, sending residents streaming into the streets. Bandar Abbas is home to a large oil refinery. Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one slight earthquake everyday on average.

Greek authorities say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7 has struck in western Greece. There have been no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage. Athens Geodynamic Institute says the undersea quake struck at 07:25 a.m. Tuesday near the Ionian sea island of Zakynthos, 205 miles west of Athens. The area where the quake occurred is one of the most seismically active in Europe.

Weather

The death toll from Tropical Storm Mirinae rose to 91 in Vietnam on Wednesday as authorities stepped up rescue and relief operations in the country’s central region. Although flood waters were beginning to recede, many areas remain inundated. Mirinae unleashed severe flooding in parts of central Vietnam, forcing families onto rooftops. Several villages in neighboring Binh Dinh province suffered the worst flooding in four decades after the Ha Thanh River surged over its banks. Local authorities asked the central government to send helicopters to rescue people who were still trapped on rooftops a day after the storm.

Midwestern flooding is usually associated with the spring or summer, so even officials at the National Weather Service are perplexed about the unusual fall flood that is causing rivers to spill over their banks in parts of Missouri and Illinois. Heavy rain fell last week over much of the two states, causing flash flooding and rising rivers. October rainfall was at record amounts at many spots.

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