Apple Suppresses Diversity, Yanks Christian App

Apple has done an about-face on an app for Exodus International — and the Christian organization is not happy about it, saying Apple has “caved, yet again” to pressure from “gay” activists. Exodus International vice president Randy Thomas says, “Our app was simply a resource app to help people who have questions about homosexuality and Exodus International, to learn what we’re really about’” According to a CNN report, those activists argued that in its claim to offer freedom from homosexuality through a relationship with Jesus Christ, Exodus uses “scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes, and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients.”

  • Liberals once again show themselves to be intolerant of views different than their own, despite their claims that they embrace tolerance

Most in U.S., Except Evangelicals, See No Divine Sign in Disasters

Most Americans— except evangelicals — reject the idea that natural disasters are divine punishment, a test of faith or some other sign from God, according to a new poll. The poll released today by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service, was conducted a week after a March 11 earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, and following a series of disasters over the past year or so. Nearly six in 10 evangelicals believe God can use natural disasters to send messages — nearly twice the number of Catholics (31%) or mainline Protestants (34%). Evangelicals (53%) are also more than twice as likely as the one in five Catholics or mainline Protestants to believe God punishes nations for the sins of some citizens. The poll found that a majority (56%) of Americans believe God is in control of the earth, but the idea of God employing Mother Nature to dispense judgment (38% of all Americans) or God punishing entire nations for the sins of a few (29%) has less support.

  • Unlike politicians, God is not influenced by majority opinion. The Bible clearly shows God using natural disasters as a means of judgment with the Book of Revelation indicating increased earthquake activity in “diverse” areas as a lead-up to the Great Tribulation during which humongous hailstones and even greater earthquakes will occur. So you can believe public opinion or you can believe God.

Earthquakes

A strong earthquake that toppled homes in northeastern Myanmar has killed more than 70 people and injured at least 111. There were fears Friday the toll would mount as conditions in more remote areas became known. The Thursday night quake, measured at a magnitude 6.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey, was centered just north of the town Tachileik in the mountains along the Thai border. It was felt hundreds of miles away in the Thai capital Bangkok and Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Rationing Begins in Japan

A suspected breach in the core of a reactor at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant could mean more serious radioactive contamination, Japanese officials revealed Friday, as the prime minister called the country’s ongoing fight to stabalize the plant “very grave and serious.” The uncertain situation halted work at the nuclear complex, where dozens had been trying feverishly to stop the overheated plant from leaking dangerous radiation. Suspicions of a possible breach were raised when two workers waded into water 10,000 times more radioactive than is typical and suffered skin burns.

Shops across Tokyo began rationing goods — milk, toilet paper, rice and water — as a run on bottled water coupled with delivery disruptions left shelves bare Thursday nearly two weeks after a devastating earthquake,  tsunami and nuclear disaster struck the nation. The unusual sights of scarcity in one of the world’s richest, most modern capitals came a day after city officials reported that radioactive iodine in the Tokyo’s tap water measured more than twice the level considered safe for babies. Radiation has been leaking from a nuclear plant 140 miles northeast of Tokyo since it was slammed by the March 11 quake and engulfed by the ensuing tsunami.

Coalition Keeps up Attacks in Libya

France declared Libya’s airspace “under control” on Friday, after NATO agreed to take command of the no-fly zone in a compromise that appeared to set up dual command centers and possibly new confusion. Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign. Meanwhile, French fighter jets shot down a Libyan warplane Thursday, amid allegations that forces loyal to leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi violated the country’s UN-sanctioned no-fly zone. The incident is believed to be the first time a Libyan jet was sent into Libyan airspace since the coalition bombing began. French airstrikes hit an air base deep inside Libya and NATO ships patrolled the coast to block arms and mercenaries from flowing in to help Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Other coalition bombers struck artillery, tanks and parked helicopters, officials said Thursday.

In Tripoli, Libyan deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim said that the “military compound at Juffra” was among the targets hit before dawn. Juffra is one of at least two air bases deep in Libya’s interior that have been suppliers of arms and fighters for the Gadhafi. The provisional government for the rebels in Benghazi has been pleading for the coalition to do more than attack Gadhafi’s air defenses, saying his heavy armor was wiping out its lightly armed opposition soldiers. Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber said the American-led coalition has begun targeting Gadhafi’s artillery, tanks, mobile missiles and the “beans and bullets” that he supplies to his forces.

House Questions Libya Objectives

On Obama’s first full day back at the White House after a five-day trip to Latin America, his aides deflected criticism from House leaders and some potential presidential candidates that Obama has failed to adequately explain his rationale for launching military strikes to protect Libyan rebels. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has sent President Obama a letter asking him to explain the reasons behind the military mission in Libya. Obama has said the U.S. and allies are acting to enforce a United Nations resolution to protect Libyan citizens from attacks by Gadhafi’s army and air force. While the UN resolution does not mandate regime change, Obama has said his administration’s goal is Gadhafi’s removal from power. Critics fear a protracted conflict unless a clear exit strategy is stipulated.

Trump Refuses to Back Down Over Obama’s ‘Very Strange’ Birth

Donald Trump is not backing down from his demand that President Barack Obama produce his birth certificate and stepped up his criticism by questioning why he has not released other personal records, including college transcripts and legislative papers. The billionaire real estate tycoon and star of “The Apprentice” created a stir on Wednesday when he said on “The View” that Obama must release his birth certificate. Now Trump has reiterated his call in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, with this simple message for Obama: “Why don’t you produce your birth certificate and put to rest all speculation that you were born outside the United States?” He says Obama’s birth certificate controversy is a “strange situation” and that there are conflicting reports as to what Honolulu hospital he was born in. After questions were raised about his birth, Obama’s campaign released a Certification of Live Birth. The form is a summary document and does not include the newborn’s location of birth. The long-form Birth Certificate includes such data, but Obama has declined to release it.

More U.S. Colleges Adding Muslim Chaplains

A growing number of universities are adding full-time Muslim chaplains to work alongside the Christian and Jewish chaplains already common on college campuses. Pushing the trend are both the nation’s Muslim population growth and increased interest after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks for better engagement with the Islamic world, says Omer Bajwa, who became Yale University’s first Muslim chaplain in 2008. The Pew Research Center estimates that there are 2.6 million Muslims in the United States — a number it says will grow to 6.2 million by 2030 because of immigration and high birth rates.

Judge Orders Use of Islamic Law in Tampa Lawsuit

The question of what law applies in any Florida courtroom usually comes down to two choices: federal or state. But Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen is being attacked by conservative bloggers after he ruled in a lawsuit March 3 that, to resolve one crucial issue in the case, he will consult a different source. “This case,” the judge wrote, “will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic Law.” Nielsen said he will decide in a lawsuit against a local mosque, the Islamic Education Center of Tampa, whether the parties in the litigation properly followed the teachings of the Koran in obtaining an arbitration decision from an Islamic scholar.

  • Some U.S. courts have applied international law and now Sharia law is being employed. America’s judicial boundaries are being breached by Islamists and secular humanists every bit as much as our physical borders are being purposely left porous by those who want to use diversity as the means to tear down our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Half of ‘Earmark’ Spending Untouched in GOP Bills

House Republicans who crafted two short-term spending bills made $5.3 billion in cuts by going after some of Washington’s least popular spending: those congressional pet projects known as “earmarks.” Even so, a congressional report shows they left $4.8 billion in earmarks untouched — and critics of congressional pork say they should go after it. “Many in Congress promised taxpayers a full earmark moratorium, not a half moratorium,” says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., an earmark opponent who requested the report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. Most of the remaining funds that congressmen set aside for pet projects are in defense, military construction and veterans affairs, according to the report last week.

Korea, China and India Invade U.S. Oil Fields

An invasion of U.S. oil fields by Asian buyers is happening. Recently, companies from Korea, China and India have bought land in the oil-rich states of Texas, Colorado and Wyoming, according to Reuters. In one of the biggest land deals, Korea National Oil (KNOC) bought one-third of Anadarko Petroleum’s land holdings in South Texas for $1.55 billion. China’s CNOOC purchased $1.3 billion of oil and shale land in Colorado and the Southwest. India’s Reliance RELI paid $11,354 per acre for land purchased from Pioneer Natural Resources.

  • The United States is an importer of oil. Should our government allow oil companies to sell off oil rich lands to foreign companies? Are we allowing foreign oil companies to deplete our oil fields? Doesn’t make sense unless you’re a New World Order globalist.

Economic News

More than two-thirds of Americans saw their net worth decline during the recession, suffering a median drop of 18%, according to a Federal Reserve study released Thursday. Median wealth, which the Fed defines as a household’s total assets minus their debts, fell to $96,000 from $125,000 during the period. Stocks were among the hardest-hit assets. The median value of primary residences dropped to $176,000 from $207,000 for those surveyed. The Fed’s flow-of-funds report found that household net worth peaked in the second quarter of 2007 and fell approximately 28% during the following two years.

Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week. The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000 in the week ended March 19, the fourth decline in five weeks. The four-week average has fallen almost 11% in the past seven weeks. The number of people receiving unemployment benefits fell for the fifth straight week to 3.7 million. But that doesn’t include 4.3 million people who are receiving extended benefits under emergency federal programs enacted during the recession.

The national spring home buying season is off to a bleak start, fueling worries that the U.S. housing market may not hit bottom this year. Sales of new homes in February plunged to their slowest pace on record, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, and median prices dropped to the lowest level since December 2003.

Companies trimmed their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in February with a key category that signals business investment falling for a second month. The Commerce Department said that businesses reduced orders for durable goods 0.9% last month. Orders in a category that signals business investment plans dropped 1.3%. That followed a 6% decline in January, the biggest drop in two years.

Oil traded as high as $106.69 a barrel Thursday in a nervous and uncertain energy market. Prices have jumped 24% since the middle of February, when a rebellion broke out in Libya and squeezed off production that supplied nearly 2% of the world’s oil. some oil companies are taking their workers out of Yemen, where anti-government protests have been intensifying. Yemen produces only 0.3% of the world’s oil, according to the International Energy Administration, but it is an important transit point for crude shipments in the Middle East.

Portugal’s financial collapse appeared inevitable on Thursday, as markets took the government’s resignation as proof the debt-heavy country will lose its year-long battle to avoid an international bailout. Investors pushed the interest rate on Portugal’s 10-year bonds to a euro-era record of 7.71% — a level that is unsustainable and could force the country to ask for a rescue like Greece and Ireland did last year. The government quit late Wednesday after opposition parties rejected its latest debt-reduction plan, generating a new bout of market jitters over the country’s future.

Middle East

Israeli aircraft struck militant targets in the Gaza Strip on Thursday in response to rocket and mortar fire, stoking concerns that a grave new round of hostilities will fill the vacuum left by an impasse in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. No injuries were reported in either the fire on Israel or the Israeli attacks on militant training sites, rocket-launching operations and smuggling tunnels. Wednesday’s terrorist bombing at a crowded Jerusalem bus stop stirred up painful memories of past terror attacks and fears that the Palestinians may be resuming bombings. The explosion — the first bombing in six years — killed a 60-year-old woman and injured more than 30 other people. The violence is the fiercest between the two sides since Israel went to war in Hamas-ruled Gaza more than two years ago to try to curb years of frequent rocket attacks.

Syria

Thousands of Syrians took to the streets Friday demanding reforms and mourning dozens of protesters who were killed during a violent, week-long crackdown that has brought extraordinary pressure on the country’s autocratic regime. There were no immediate reports of serious violence. Daraa, the main city of southern Syria’s drought-parched agricultural heartland, has become a flashpoint for protests in a country whose leadership stands unafraid of using extreme violence to quash internal unrest. The coming days will be a crucial test of the surge of popular discontent that has unseated autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt and threatens to push several others from power.

Yemen

Yemeni forces are trying to prevent anti-government protesters from reaching the capital Sanaa. The troops are manning checkpoints on roads leading to Sanaa, trying to identify protesters. Protesters are trying to gather a million people Friday to demand the ouster of Yemen’s ruler of three decades, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Last Friday, security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing more than 40. Following their deaths, Saleh lost key support in his inner circle.

Britain is urging its citizens to leave Yemen immediately amid the worsening security situation in the crisis-stricken Arab nation. The small impoverished country has seen increasingly bloody violence as its embattled president tries to cling to power amid a wave of revolts sweeping the Arab world.

Afghanistan

A U.S. soldier who pleaded guilty Wednesday to the murders of three Afghan civilians was sentenced to 24 years in prison after saying “the plan was to kill people” in a conspiracy with four fellow soldiers. The 22-year-old Morlock is a key figure in a war crimes probe that has raised some of the most serious criminal allegations to come from the war in Afghanistan. Army investigators accused him of taking a lead role in the killings of three unarmed Afghan men in Kandahar province last year.

Pakistan

Gunmen attacked a minibus carrying mostly Shiite Muslims and killed eight people on Friday in a stretch of northwestern Pakistan that has seen a recent peace deal between rival Sunni and Shiite tribes. The gunmen who carried out the ambush in the Bagan area of the Kurram tribal region also kidnapped 18 people from the bus. The attack was the latest blow to the peace deal, which was meant to end a four-year conflict that cost hundreds of lives, but has failed to extinguish violence in the area.

Police say a suicide car bomber has targeted a Hangu police station Thursday in northwest Pakistan, killing at least five people. About two dozen people were also wounded in Thursday’s attack. Hangu lies near the troubled tribal regions along the Afghan border where al-Qaeda, Taliban fighters and local militants have flourished.

Iran

The U.N. Human Rights Council agreed on Thursday to a U.S.-backed proposal to establish a U.N. human rights investigator for Iran, the first in a decade. The council voiced concern at Iran’s crackdown on opposition figures and increased use of the death penalty, and called on the Islamic Republic to cooperate with the U.N. envoy to be named to the independent post. ‘The United States and other partners are gravely concerned at the situation in Iran where respect for human rights has deteriorated dramatically in recent years,’ U.S. human rights ambassador Eileen Donahoe said in a speech before the vote. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said earlier this month that Iran had intensified its crackdown on opponents and executions of drug traffickers, political prisoners and juvenile criminals.

North Korea

The United Nations says more than 6 million North Koreans are in urgent need of international food assistance. The world body reported Thursday that North Korea has suffered a series of shocks including summer floods and then a harsh winter, “leaving the country highly vulnerable to a food crisis.” Six million represents about a quarter of the country’s population. The U.S. is considering resuming food aid to the North, which has continued to advance its nuclear programs despite its chronic problems feeding its people.

Wildfires

Firefighters gained ground on two wildfires on the outer reaches of the Denver that forced thousands of people to flee their homes. A fire fueled by high winds 2.5 square miles of trees and grasslands Thursday and prompted evacuation orders for about 8,500 people near Franktown, 35 miles southeast of Denver. More than 100 firefighters contained 70% of the blaze later Thursday, and everyone was allowed to return home with the warning that they should be ready to leave again if necessary. A similar-sized wildfire burning since Sunday in the foothills west of Denver was 77% contained Thursday night. Fire officials ordered the evacuation of 17 homes threatened by the fire west of Golden, but people were allowed to go home the next day.

So far this year, wildfires have consumed 616,427 acres (about 95 square miles) nationwide, compared to just 86,446 acres last year (through 3/24). Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma are the hardest hit states where each has experienced severe drought conditions.

Weather

Spring can’t seem to upstage winter in the Northeast and parts of the nation’s midsection, as a far-reaching storm on Wednesday brought up to a foot of snow to areas from the Dakotas to upstate New York. Scores of schools closed or delayed opening in Wisconsin, northeastern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northwest New Jersey because of the weather. Communities in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains were expecting more than 11 inches by the time the storm moved out late Wednesday. Higher elevations in New Jersey picked up 8 inches. In South Dakota, up to 10 inches of snow had fallen by Wednesday morning, and more than a foot of heavy, wet snow was on the ground in some parts of North Dakota. A tornado destroyed about 30 homes and damaged 60 more in Pennsylvania.

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