Obama, Medvedev Sign START Treaty

President Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, pulled off what the Russian called a “mission impossible” at Prague Castle on Thursday, signing a landmark treaty that would reduce both countries’ active nuclear arsenals by up to 30%. “This day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia, the two nations that hold over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, to pursue responsible global leadership,” Obama said after signing START, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The 10-year treaty, in discussion since a 1991 nuclear arms agreement expired at the end of last year, requires ratification by the U.S. Senate and the Duma, Russia’s parliament.

Pursuing a nuclear-free world, Obama said, “will move us further beyond the Cold War, strengthen the global non-proliferation regime and make the United States, and the world, safer and more secure.” “The U.S. is going through a startling period of auto-emasculation,” writes Tunku Varadarajan in The Daily Beast, calling Obama’s policies “a mission of almost messianic outreach to our foes and most adamant competitors.”

  • Russia (Rosh) is prophesied to be one of the key anti-Israel/Christ players (Ezek. 38:2-3, 39:1)

Unprecedented: U.S. Bargaining on Behalf of Palestinians

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. has been conducting negotiations with Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, according to a senior PA negotiator and sources in the Israeli government. The U.S. has been calling for the resumption of indirect talks, with Obama administration officials publicly proposing to serve as a go-between to facilitate dialogue between Israel and the PA. A senior PA negotiator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said rather than act as an intermediary, the U.S. has been negotiating with Israel on behalf of the PA, assuming all Palestinian positions and bargaining with Israel from the Palestinian side.

  • The loss of support for Israel is another sign that the tribulation draws nigh

NPR Archive Describes Obama as ‘Kenyan-born’

Those crazy “birthers” are now citing National Public Radio. Really? The ultra-liberal NPR? Archives for the tax-supported organization reveal that a 2008 report described then-Sen. Barack Obama as “Kenyan-born”  and a “son of Africa.” NPR’s promotion for the story cited “the U.S. presidential race of Kenyan-born Sen. Barack Obama.” At about 9:45 of the audio report, interviewer Michelle Martin said “a son of Africa. Barack Obama is poised to at least have the opportunity to become the next president of the United States.” Quist-Arcton responded by describing Obama as a member of the Kenyan Luo tribe and reporting how Africa viewed the race.

  • “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” Luke 8:17

Tea Party Gears Up

America’s tea-party movement is set to explode in less than one week with taxpayer rallies in an estimated 800 U.S. cities and a massive march on the White House. The movement is now putting President Obama himself on notice with a Tax Day tea party at the White House Ellipse on April 15, 2010, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. “This April 15 will be the largest network of events across the country that I believe we’ve seen in a long time,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said.

Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, a target of the Tea Party and an anti-abortion Dem who drew harsh criticism for agreeing to support health care legislation, says he won’t seek re-election to Congress. As much as Stupak claimed he was a good candidate for re-election, he may be among the first casualties of the new law, which has not gained traction among Americans who roundly disapprove of it because of its massive price tag.

State No. 7 Tells Feds to Stuff Their Gun Regs

A seventh state – Arizona – now has declared that guns made and kept inside its borders essentially are free from federal application, registration and ownership regulations in a surging movement among states as a direct challenge to “a government monopoly on the supply of firearms.” Gov. Jan Brewer this week signed the state’s version of a “Firearms Freedom Act,” which originated in Montana and now has been adopted by six states, with several dozen more in various stages of their own plans. Brewer issued a statement that the law is intended to give Washington the message that they should not try to “get between Arizonans and their constitutional rights.” Arizona joins Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho and Montana.

Arizona Joins States’ Lawsuit Against Obamacare

Governor Jan Brewer announced earlier this week that Arizona will join the other 15 states who have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care legislation. “We must join this suit to assure that Arizona has a voice and that our citizens enjoy the benefits and protections of court rulings in favor of the states. This matter is too important to our state to sit back and do nothing.”

Keep Children Home for “Day of Silence” on April 16

The Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), fast approaches. This year it will take place in most public schools on April 16. On this day, thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day-even during instructional time-to promote GLSEN’s socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.

The American Family Association says, “Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. Please join the national effort to restore to public education a proper understanding of the role of government-subsidized schools. You can help de-politicize the learning environment by calling your child out of school if your child’s school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence. Parents should no longer passively countenance the political usurpation of public school classrooms through student silence.”

  • We can’t mention anything associated with Christianity in the public schools, but the devil’s agenda is A-OK??

Security Alerts Divert More Flights

The number of flights forced to land prematurely because of security alerts doubled in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2009. Thirty-five U.S. flights were diverted from their destination to a different airport from Jan. 1 through March 31 for security reasons. The diversions represent a tiny fraction of the 550,000 monthly commercial flights. But the growing number reflects a more tense atmosphere in airplanes since a passenger tried to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day. “People are quick to react to anything that’s not normal,” said Gary Boettcher, an American Airlines pilot and former president of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association, a pilots’ group focused on security and safety. “Any assault on everyday procedures is taken as a threat right away, so it can be nipped as soon as possible.”

Federal Program Used to Hide Flights

A federal program designed to protect sensitive business deals and executives’ safety is being used by politicians, business executives, university athletic recruiters and others to avoid publicity by hiding their flights on private aircraft from the public, a ProPublica review has found. The aircraft owners don’t have to demonstrate any need need to keep flights secret. They simply request secrecy from the National Business Aviation Association, which lobbied for the program and runs it for the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA removes the flights from its database before disseminating the information. This week, after a 15-month effort, ProPublica obtained the current list of 1,100 aircraft whose flights had been removed from the database. The FAA released the list after a federal judge rejected the NBAA’s argument that it should remain confidential for security and competitive reasons.

  • The rich and well-connected usually can find ways around the laws that bind the average citizen

Green Homes a Legacy of Katrina

As New Orleans continues to mend, hundreds of state-of-the-art sustainable, energy-efficient homes are being built in lower-income neighborhoods, a trend that’s outpacing most of the rest of the country. More than 500 homes are being built with features such as solar panels, rain-catching cisterns and eco-friendly materials in neighborhoods that received the brunt of the damage from the 2005 floods following Hurricane Katrina. Hundreds of other homes are being given green upgrades. Green building has traditionally been left to higher-end homes, whose owners can afford the costlier solar panels and other elements, says Forest Bradley-Wright of the New Orleans-based Alliance for Affordable Energy. But as New Orleans began to rebuild, non-profits stepped in with innovative development techniques and eco-friendly plans to rebuild lower-income neighborhoods

Economic News

The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits rose last week in the U.S., a sign that jobs remain scarce even as the economy recovers. The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims increased by 18,000 in the week ending April 3, to a seasonally adjusted 460,000. On a more positive note in the Labor Department’s report, the tally of people continuing to claim benefits for more than a week fell by 131,000 to 4.55 million, the lowest level since December 2008.

Warmer weather and an earlier Easter enticed shoppers into stores for spring merchandise in March, helping retailers post strong sales gains for the month. Of 20 retailers that reported results early on Thursday, 18 beat analyst expectations and 2 missed.

Consumer borrowing fell again in February, reflecting weakness in credit cards and auto loans. It marks a setback to hopes that U.S. consumers are beginning to feel more confident and will start spending more. The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that borrowing declined by $11.5 billion in February. The February decline was the 12th decrease in the past 13 months.

  • The average consumer is smarter than government officials who continue to increase debt

Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions of Americans, but for nearly half of U.S. households, it’s simply somebody else’s problem. About 47% will pay no federal income taxes for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability, according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.

Retail prop­erty vacan­cies are the highest since 1991, and still rising, while rents are falling. Mort­gage rates are rising and loan apps are falling, while the Feds are pur­chasing as much as 49 per­cent of new mort­gages, according to Patrick Wood of the August Review.

General Motors says it lost $4.3 billion in the second half of 2009 after its July 10 emergence from bankruptcy court, but is sticking to its promise of paying back U.S. and Canadian government loans by June this year. The now-private company is 60.1% owned by the U.S. government, which converted most of its $50 billion in bailout loans to equity.

The average cost of owning and operating a sedan in the USA rose 4.8% this year to 56.6 cents per mile, or $8,487 per year, according to a study released Thursday by auto club AAA. Rising gas prices are primarily responsible for the increased costs as well as lower resale or trade-in value of cars that don’t get good gas mileage.

World markets slid Thursday amid mounting worries about a potential Greek debt default as the country’s borrowing costs continue to go through the roof.

Afghanistan

Afghan police said Thursday they have thwarted a major attack in Kabul, arresting five would-be suicide bombers, the largest such group ever apprehended in the capital. “If this team had made it through it would have been a disaster,” said Abdul Ghafar, deputy commander of the Afghan National Police crisis unit. He said police, acting on intelligence, stopped the suicide bombers as they were traveling in an SUV in the southeastern part of the city. He said the bomb team had been sent by the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network. Such attacks are a hallmark of the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taliban faction whose leader was once a U.S. ally.

Pakistan

ASSIST News Service reports that a Pakistani Christian rights group is again calling for the repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Riaz Anjum Masih, Chairman of the Pakistan Christian Movement (PCM), has urged Pakistani Christians to launch a united effort for scrapping of all discriminatory laws against minorities. He also called for repeal of those sections of the constitution which allegedly discriminate against religious minorities. “Although the constitution of Pakistan is unanimously agreed-upon, the Christians and other religious minorities have some reservations about it,” said Masih, who alleges that only Muslims can attain high posts in government currently, while Christians are underrepresented in the national assembly.

Iran

Mission News Network reports that Christianity is growing in Iran, even as the government’s agenda grows more radical. “There has been a continual movement not to back down and to continue moving forward with their Islamic agenda,” evangelist Sammy Tippit said of the government. “The church has continued to grow, although it has become much more difficult for the church. We continue this year to receive reports of people who are being arrested.” Some Christians have been released, but that does not point to increased freedom, he said. “It seems to me that everything is moving toward some kind of boiling point.” Even with this kind of persecution, however, Tippit believes “there’s no place in all of the Middle East that is as receptive to the Gospel as Iran.”

Kyrgyzstan

An opposition coalition proclaimed a new interim government Thursday in Kyrgyzstan after clashes left dozens dead nationwide and said it would rule until elections are held in six months. It also urged the president, who has fled the capital, to resign. But a respected private news agency said the president had proclaimed in an e-mail that he would not relinquish power. Opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva, the former foreign minister, said parliament was dissolved and she would head the interim government. She said the new government controlled four of the seven provinces in the Central Asian nation, home to a key U.S. military base supporting the fighting in Afghanistan that the opposition has said it wants to close.

Thailand

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency in Bangkok on Wednesday, handing the army broad powers to restore order after anti-government protesters broke into Parliament, forcing some lawmakers to flee by helicopter. Other lawmakers scaled the compound’s walls to escape the most chaotic protest in several weeks of demonstrations by a group demanding Abhisit dissolve the government and call elections within 15 days. He has offered to do so by the end of the year. The government already had placed Bangkok under the strict Internal Security Act. But a state of emergency includes more sweeping powers. It gives the military authority to restore order and allows authorities to suspend certain civil liberties and ban all public gatherings of more than five people.

Mexico

Deep underground, tunneling crews are racing against time as they try to save Mexico City, the world’s third-largest metropolis, from catastrophe. Above them, the Mexican capital is sinking into the earth at a record rate, tilting the city’s sewage tunnels so they are actually running backward. Crews are rushing to build a 37-mile drainage tunnel to save the city from drowning. Across this city of 18.7 million, workers have started a flurry of projects to shore up areas that are sinking by as much as 8 inches a year. Flooding poses the most danger, and there are already signs of trouble. In February, the Remedios River, a sewage canal, backed up and broke through its dike, flooding 4,000 homes with raw waste.

Mexico City’s sinking problem dates back centuries. It is where the Aztecs built their capital, known as Tenochtitlan, on a flat island in the middle of a lake. The city flooded frequently. After the Spanish defeated the Aztecs in 1521, Spanish colonizers began draining the lake to control flooding. One flood, in 1629, left the city underwater for five years. As the water disappeared, the city settled into the mud, forcing the government to build ever-deeper drainage tunnels to carry the water to lower ground. In recent decades, the city’s population soared, forcing authorities to pump more drinking water from underground aquifers and worsening the sinking.

  • With its physical and spiritual history, Mexico City is in deep trouble

Weather

Cleanup is underway after spring thunderstorms hit Iowa for a second day with strong winds, hail and heavy rain. In eastern Iowa, winds gusting around 75 mph blew over semitrailers, ripped sheet metal off roofs and toppled barns and power poles. Near Newton, a camper and three semis were blown off Interstate 80. No serious injuries were reported. Winds also blew a semitrailer off a highway near Independence, causing another truck, a van and a car to end up in a ditch. Tennis ball-sized hail pelted the Waterloo area.

At least 200 people were buried and feared dead under the latest landslide to hit a slum in Rio de Janeiro‘s metropolitan area, authorities said Thursday. The deaths would raise the toll sharply from the 153 people already known to have perished in slides this week triggered by record rains. Record rainfall since Monday afternoon has triggered deadly mudslides across Rio’s metropolitan area. Nearly all the deaths occurred in mudslides that smashed through slums — yet another reminder that life in one of the world’s most famous playgrounds is much different for the poor than it is for the rich.

Glacier National Park has lost two more of its glaciers to climate change and many of the rest may be gone by the end of the decade, a government researcher said Wednesday. Warmer temperatures have reduced the number of named glaciers in the northwestern Montana park to 25 They once numbered as many as 150, and 37 of those glaciers eventually were named. A glacier needs to be 25 acres to qualify for the title.

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