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National Day of Prayer Focuses on USA’s Need for God

People across America are gathering at many locations today, the National Day of Prayer (NDP), to humble themselves before God in prayer. On Friday, the White House released a presidential proclamation marking today’s observance of the National Day of Prayer — the constitutionality of which was affirmed in a recent federal court ruling. “Throughout our history, Americans have turned to prayer for strength, inspiration, and solidarity,” President Barack Obama states in the proclamation. “Prayer has played an important role in the American story and in shaping our nation’s leaders.” Michael Calhoun, director of communications for the NDP Task Force, concurs, noting prayer has been an “indispensible” part of the nation’s heritage. “We must remain faithful in our commitment to intercede on behalf of our nation and its leaders — especially at this challenging time.” Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, says it is important that people pray for America’s national leaders — whether they agree with those leaders or not. “We need to pray for godly wisdom for our country,” Wildmon says. “That’s what we’re asking people to do on the National Day of Prayer…remember to honor God with our individual lives and pray for our future here in America because we desperately need God’s help — and without him we will not survive.

House Votes Pro-Life; Senate in Doubt

The House has passed a comprehensive bill banning use of federal tax dollars for abortion — but it’s unlikely to gain approval in the Senate. The vote, 251-175, was essentially along party lines, with 235 Republicans voting for the measure (five did not vote) and only 16 Democrats joining them. “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, where it is not expected to pass; in addition, the White House this week threatened to veto it if it made it that far. Marilyn Musgrave, special projects director of the Susan B. Anthony List, says that the vote sends a strong message to the Senate. She believes pro-life Americans are faithful in supporting candidates who support life. “I believe that many of them will decide that if a United States senator doesn’t care about the most vulnerable among us, if the United States senator doesn’t care about using our tax dollars for something we find abhorrent, I think they’re going to send a strong message come the next election cycle.”

Obama Faith Adviser: American Freedom, Equality Just ‘Myths’

President Obama’s faith adviser, Eboo Patel, blasted what he called the “myths” of America – including beliefs that the country is “a land of freedom and equality and justice.” Patel further explained how he has used the “faith-based movement” to channel his rage at America “in a direction far more compassionate and far more merciful.” In February 2010, Obama named Patel to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects. WorldNetDaily reports that, like Obama, Patel is deeply tied to William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground terrorist group. In a 2007 interview with NPR to promote a book he wrote that year, Patel said that his own life story “is much closer to Bill Ayers… I was kind of taught the same myths about America, a land of freedom and equality and justice, et cetera, et cetera.” In 2005, he co-authored a book with Ayers’ adopted son, Chesa Boudin. The preface of Patel’s 2005 book, meanwhile, was written by Ayers’ wife, Weather Underground co-founder Bernardine Dohrn.

  • It’s shameful how many current administration officials, including the Obamas, are on record denouncing our country and its inherent values. These socialists are closely aligned with the New World Order globalists seeking to destroy the world’s last bastion of Christianity.

Christian Music Tour Was #1 in World

The Winter Jam 2011 Tour Spectacular – a multi-artist tour featuring many of Christian music’s biggest names – was the #1 tour in the world for the first quarter of the year, according to Pollstar. WOLRD News Service reports that the event outpaced attendance for all other tours in the first quarter, including U2, Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley and Justin Bieber, according to Pollstar’s 2011 Worldwide First Quarter Ticket Sales “Top 100 Tours” chart. The tour drew a record total audience of 524,239 during stops in 46 markets and featured headliners Newsboys, David Crowder Band, Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, RED, KJ-52, and guest speaker Tony Nolan. “We are grateful and humbled by the response to this year’s Winter Jam that only God Himself could have orchestrated,” said NewSong’s Eddie Carswell, tour founder. “It is amazing to think that nearly 100,000 people made meaningful, life-changing decisions to follow Christ and that over 13,000 made a commitment to assist orphans through our partnership with Holt. To truly impact lives is the reason that Winter Jam was created 16 years ago.”

  • The mainstream media would have us believe that Christianity is dead, but that is far from the truth. Christian and family-value movies are the most profitable, another item the leftist media ignores.

Bin Laden Hiding in Plain Sight

After almost a decade of pursuit, the world’s greatest manhunt ended with Osama bin Laden cornered not in a cave but in a mansion on the edges of a leafy city near Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. He was hiding, in a sense, in plain sight. That U.S. intelligence agents and special operations forces tracked bin Laden there, and that he appeared to have been with family and aides for considerable time, has raised questions about the role and veracity of Pakistan’s government, a nuclear power and nominal ally of the United States in its war against Taliban in Afghanistan. It casts doubt on the degree to which Pakistan was complicit in hiding and protecting bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda. Pakistan criticized the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden as an “unauthorized unilateral action,” laying bare the strains the raid has put on an already rocky alliance. Pakistan’s has shared information about about Osama bin Laden’s compound hideout with the CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009, the Pakistan foreign ministry says.

  • Besides evoking feel-good revenge, Bin Laden’s demise will mean very little in the ongoing war against Islamic militancy

Questions Arise Over Bin Laden’s Burial at Sea

Osama bin Laden was buried at sea early Monday morning in conformance with Islamic rites, U.S. officials said. The move raised questions about the government’s motive and how it would prove the body was bin Laden’s. “The burial at sea gives the whole story an air of incredulity,” said Mahmoud Ayoub, professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary. “That means there are no remains to verify the whole story.” Pentagon and intelligence officials said they’ve taken several steps to identify bin Laden, including visual and photo identifications and a DNA analysis. Politico reports that the raid photos of bin Laden are gruesome, complicating the White House decision on whether to release them. President Obama said Wednesday that he would not release photos of the terrorist leader’s corpse as proof that he is dead because they are too “graphic.”

After he was shot in the head in a firefight with U.S. Navy SEALs, bin Laden’s body was taken to the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea, where it was washed, placed on a white sheet and put in a weighted bag. An officer read religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. The body was then placed on a board and eased into the sea, a Pentagon official said. Bin Laden was buried within 24 hours of his death. Under Islamic rites, a person must be buried as quickly as possible. The most dignified place for burial is in the ground, Ayoub said. Muslims consider remains buried at sea to be lost, not buried.

Bin Laden Raid Nets ‘Significant’ Information Cache

The cache of information seized from the Pakistani compound of Osama bin Laden and his reliance on couriers suggests that the terror leader — despite nearly a decade spent in hiding — still sought to provide strategic guidance to terrorists within the organization, a U.S. government official said Wednesday. The material seized on about five computers, 100 remote electronic storage devices, such as flash drives, and 10 hard drives is one of the “most significant in the history of the war on terror.” An initial review of the information already has produced some potential threat information, but the official did not elaborate, saying the review was in its early stages. Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that teams of federal officials gathered from across the government are reviewing the information in the hope that it will offer fresh leads about plots and the whereabouts of surviving terrorists.

Groups Sue to Block Utah Immigration Law

Immigrant and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday aimed at halting a Utah immigration law that they say will create a police state and is too much like one of the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law, which is also before the courts. The Utah law, signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in March, requires people to prove their citizenship if they’re arrested for serious crimes — ranging from certain drug offenses to murder — while giving police discretion to check citizenship on traffic infractions and other lesser offenses. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the measure is “completely defensible” because, unlike Arizona’s law, it requires police to check citizenship only when a person is arrested for a felony or a class A misdemeanor.  Officers can use discretion for minor offenses, such as a traffic violation. That discretion forces everyone to carry papers proving their legal presence in the U.S. and constitutes an extreme violation of civil liberties, said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. The law center and the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in federal court in Salt Lake City. They’re seeking an immediate injunction against the law, which is set to take effect May 10.

Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Spared Deportation

Conservative Action Alerts reports that, “In a perplexing development ignored by the mainstream media, the Obama Administration suspended tens of thousands of deportations last year and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano lied to a Senate committee to cover up the astounding figure. Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee that has oversight over the Department of Homeland Security that her agency halted the deportation of only 900 illegal immigrants in fiscal year 2010. She did admit that the figure could be higher because it excludes “deferred action” granted to illegal immigrants for “humanitarian” reasons.” It turns out that the Obama Administration halted the deportation of 34,448 illegal immigrants last year, according to Homeland Security figures obtained independently by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who sits on the Judiciary Committee.

White House Seeks to Sell Unused Government Property

The White House has identified 12,218 properties the federal government no longer needs, but the administration says Congress must act to reach the $15 billion President Obama hopes to save in three years by dumping unneeded property. That’s why the president sent legislation to Congress Wednesday to create an independent commission — modeled after the military’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission established in 1988 — to identify civilian federal properties that could be closed, sold or demolished. Jeff Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said bureaucratic, financial and political hurdles have “created a culture of inertia.” Twenty different laws govern the sale of federal property and should be streamlined, Zients said.

Feds Sue Deutsche Bank for Mortgage Fraud

The federal government sued Deutsche Bank Tuesday, saying the bank committed fraud and padded its pockets with undeserved income as it repeatedly lied to benefit from a government program that insured mortgages. The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeks to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims the government had to pay when homeowners defaulted on their mortgages. The lawsuit also asks for punitive damages. The government said the bank made substantial profits between 2007 and 2009 from the resale of the risky mortgages, leaving the government to foot the bill for loans that defaulted. The lawsuit said the bank carried out the fraud through its subsidiary, MortgageIT, which employed more than 2,000 people at branches in all 50 states. Deutsche acquired MortgageIT in 2007.

Deficit Reduction Talks Hit Roadblocks

The White House seeks to jump-start budget talks today amid signs that bipartisan efforts to save trillions of dollars have stalled over the two toughest issues: taxes and entitlement programs. A new round of negotiations headed by Vice President Biden will begin at Blair House, across from the White House, even as Democrats and Republicans in the Senate struggle to nail down a plan that could have bipartisan appeal. But the “Gang of Six” senators have not been able to agree on tax increases sought by Democrats or entitlement cuts favored by Republicans.

Economic News

Not even rising oil prices, it seems, can dampen U.S. companies’ surging profits. Three-quarters of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index who have released their first-quarter results have reported 17% higher profits in total, marking the sixth quarter in a row of higher earnings. The strong bottom line reported by companies has yet to filter down to workers and the labor market. Private industry wages and salaries in first quarter grew just 0.4%, and unemployment is still 8.8% in the face of slow job growth.

Manufacturing grew for the 21st straight month in April, fueled by a weak dollar that has made U.S. goods cheaper overseas. But the cost of raw materials rose for the fifth straight month, a growing concern for many companies. Manufacturing has been one of the economy’s brightest spots since the recession ended in June 2009. Factories have benefited from strong overseas demand for machinery and other goods. And U.S. consumers have spent more on autos, appliances and computers.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits surged last week to the highest level in eight months. The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits rose 43,000 to 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the third increase in four weeks. Applications near 375,000 are typically consistent with sustainable job growth. Weekly applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.

Apartment rents are rising at their fastest pace in years. Nationwide, rents started edging up last year after several years of little growth or even declines. Apartment rents will jump 4.3% this year, marking the biggest annual increase in four years.

Gasoline demand continues to fall in the U.S. as pump prices keep climbing. Motorists have been cutting back on the amount of gas they put into their tanks for more than a month. Since January, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded has risen 91 cents, or 30 percent, to $3.98. The main reason is a 20 percent gain in the price of oil this year. Gas is now above $4 per gallon in 13 states and Washington D.C.

Japan

Workers entered one of the damaged reactor buildings at Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant Thursday for the first time since it was rocked by an explosion in the days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Workers are connecting ventilation equipment in Unit 1 in an attempt to absorb radiation from the air inside the building. The work is expected to take about four or five days. The utility must lower radiation levels inside the reactor before it can proceed with the key step of installing a cooling system that was knocked out by the March 11 quake and tsunami that left more than 25,000 people dead or missing along Japan’s northeastern coast.

Iraq

A car bomb tore through a cafe packed with young men watching a soccer match Tuesday in Baghdad, killing at least 16 people, officials said. It was the first major attack since U.S. commandos killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Iraqi security officials said Monday that they were increasing security amid fears that insurgents would try to strike immediately following bin Laden’s death as a way to show they are still a potent force.

Libya

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration is moving to releasesome of the more than $30 billion it has frozen in Libyan assets to support opponents of Moammar Gadhafi. Clinton said the administration would ask Congress for legislation that would allow it to tap portions of the money to help the Libyan people. The administration has already authorized up to $25 million in non-lethal military assistance to the opposition and has pledged $53 million in humanitarian aid. A meeting of the Libyan Contact Group at the Italian Foreign Ministry on Thursday is expected to seek ways to give financial support to the rebels, who have indicated they need $1.5 billion in the coming months. A Libyan rebel spokesman, Mahmoud Shamam, put the estimated amount of money needed by the rebels in coming months at $1.5 billion.

Syria

The United States and Italy are warning Syria that it will face penalties and increasing isolation if it does not halt its violent crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini say Syrian authorities must be pressured to end the violence that has left more than 550 people dead since the uprising began, as security forces cracked down on protests. Scores of soldiers also have been reported killed.

Egypt

Former president Hosni Mubarak’s top security official was convicted Thursday of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The conviction of former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly was the first against any of the some two dozen Mubarak-era Cabinet ministers and regime-linked businessmen who have been detained since Mubarak’s Feb. 11 ouster. They include a former prime minister, speakers of parliament’s two chambers and Mubarak’s two sons, all suspected of corruption. El-Adly is separately facing allegations that he had ordered the deadly use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters during the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak. If convicted on that charge, el-Adly would face the death penalty.

Middle East

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas on Wednesday proclaimed a landmark reconciliation pact aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift that has left them with competing governments in the territories envisioned for a future Palestinian state, but Israel’s leader denounced it as a “mortal blow to peace.” The alliance set off ecstatic celebrations in the Palestinian territories. International mediator Tony Blair insisted their new government must recognize Israel, a step Hamas has always rejected. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas brushed off the criticism and instead used the occasion to deliver a scathing attack on Israel, saying “we reject blackmail and it is no longer possible for us to accept the (Israeli) occupation of Palestinian land.”

China

For the fourth week in a row, a Chinese “illegal” church refused Sunday to follow government orders not to meet, and this time at least 31 of its members were arrested. Baptist Press reports that, the arrests of the members of Beijing’s Shouwang Church in a public square came after church leaders made clear in the preceding days that they would not buckle to pressure from the Communist Party. More than 160 were arrested the first week they tried to meet outdoors, about 50 were arrested the second week and approximately 40 on the third week, Easter Sunday. The declining number of arrests likely is due to the government placing so many other members under house arrest, which prevents them from even leaving their homes. On Easter Sunday, more than 500 church members — including every church staff member, lay leader and choir member — were under house arrest. The church is attempting to meet outdoors because the government has blocked all attempts by the church to rent or purchase a building. Members say failing to come together and worship would be an abandonment of biblical commands.

Romania

Romania’s president said Tuesday his country will host missile interceptors as part of a planned U.S. shield over Europe. Traian Basescu announced that Bucharest had agreed to build the interceptor site at the Deveselu former air base near the Bulgarian border, in a remote agricultural region. The president, a staunch ally of the U.S., said it would give Romania “the highest security level in its history.” An average of 200 troops will be based at the site.

Canada

Monday’s elections mark a change in the country’s political landscape with opposition Liberals and Quebec separatists suffering a punishing defeat. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Conservatives won their mandate because of the way they have governed so far, and he sought to allay fears he would implement a hidden right-wing agenda. Harper, who took office in 2006, has won two elections but until Monday’s vote had never held a majority of Parliament’s 308 seats, forcing him to rely on the opposition to pass legislation. Harper has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and promoted Arctic sovereignty. He has also increased military spending, extended Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan and staunchly backed Israel. But he also stood by Canada’s state-run health care system.

Weather

Three recent explosions by the Army Corps of Engineers at levees have helped ease the dangerously swollen Mississippi River, though the waterway continues to rise to historic levels and threatens to overrun some cities. Emergency officials from Missouri to Mississippi scrambled Wednesday to prepare for potential flooding as the river continued to rise. Fears have prompted an emergency declaration for 920,000 residents in Memphis and surrounding Shelby County, Tenn., where authorities blocked some suburban streets and more than 200 people evacuated to shelters. President Obama on Wednesday declared parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky disasters, making them eligible for federal help with relief efforts. Heavy snowmelts from Minnesota and North Dakota combined with three large rain events this year have triggered the rising river levels.

A tornado ripped across part of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, on Tuesday, upturning cars and sending debris slicing through the air.. At least one person was killed and about 20 injured. The swirling dark-gray column of air and cloud cut a 3-mile path across the Auckland suburb of Albany at mid afternoon, tearing off roofing iron, flattening trees and tossing vehicles around. Tornados are not uncommon in New Zealand, particularly on the country’s North Island, where Auckland lies. But they tend to be smaller than this one. New Zealand has been hit by several disasters in recent months, including a Feb. 22 earthquake that devastated the South Island city of Christchurch and killed at least 169 people.

Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet this century, an authoritative new report suggests. The study by the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, or AMAP, is one of the most comprehensive updates on climate change in the Arctic, and builds on a similar assessment in 2005.The report says that Arctic temperatures in the past six years were the highest since measurements began in 1880, and that feedback mechanisms believed to accelerate warming in the climate system have now started kicking in. One mechanism involves the ocean absorbing more heat when it’s not covered by ice, which reflects the sun’s energy.

  • Global warming is an end-time phenomenon, not human-induced but rather human exacerbated

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