Millions Remember 9/11 Through a Day of Service

An estimated 33 million people observed 9/11 over the weekend by engaging in charitable activities from simple good deeds to organized volunteer work, according to a survey conducted last week for MyGoodDeed Inc. (911day.org), one of the official organizers of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Organizers believe Sunday may have been the single largest day of charitable service in U.S. history. “It’s historic,” says David Paine, co-founder of MyGoodDeed. “It far exceeded our expectations for this day. We anticipated mobilizing 10 million people.”

Evangelicals Left Out of 9/11 Commemorations

No conservative evangelical voices were invited to speak at the Washington National Cathedral’s Sunday morning vigil. Mollie Hemingway at the critique site Get Religion wondered, why Sikhs and Hindus and Muslims but no Southern Baptists, or pastors from the Lutheran Missouri Synod or the more traditionalist wing of Presbyterians were on the Cathedral program. Other commentators thought the Episcopal Cathedral’s clergy stood for the nation’s scores of Christian denomination, just as the rabbi of Washington Hebrew Congregation, a Reform synagogue, stood for a dozen branches of Jewish tradition and so on.

  • The New World Order folks are happy to have mainstream Christian denominations represent all facets of Christianity because they are the least threatening to secular society.

Study Shows Abortion Tied to Depression, Suicide

Women who have undergone an abortion have an 81 percent higher risk for mental health problems and are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse alcohol and suffer depression, Baptist Press reports. The researchers examined 22 studies from 1995-2009 involving 877,000 women, including 163,000 who had experienced an abortion. The report said there actually are “hundreds of studies” showing a link between abortion and serious mental health risks, and that three recent studies that reached a very different conclusion had major flaws. “There are in fact some real risks associated with abortion that should be shared with women as they are counseled prior to an abortion decision,” the report’s author Priscilla Coleman writes, chiding the research community for not conducting unbiased research. The fact that the study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, one of the world’s leading psychiatric journals, is a significant endorsement of the report’s credibility..

Arizona Parks Rescued by Communities, Non-Profits

In the depths of the recession, state budget cuts made it seem almost certain that the gates to many Arizona parks would remain padlocked. But local communities and non-profit organizations have banded together to keep 14 of the state’s most financially vulnerable parks open by providing more than $820,000 to the cash-strapped Arizona State Parks agency. All but one of the state’s other 13 parks remain open, albeit seasonally in some cases, because they take in enough revenue to stay in the black and fund their own operations. Today, less than two years after major closures seemed certain, 26 of Arizona’s 27 parks are open, although many have abbreviated schedules.

Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Dump Scrapped

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today cleared the way for the Obama administration to push ahead with its plan to scrap the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada. But the final decision may rest with Congress and the courts. The NRC directed the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to end its work on the controversial project by Sept. 30 because of “budgetary limitations.” In Nevada, which has fought the project since the 1980s, state officials said today’s decision is neither a clear-cut victory nor a defeat. It’s still status quo until Congress weighs in on the issue.

More Ground Turkey Recalled Because of Salmonella

Cargill Inc. announced a second recall of ground turkey products Sunday after a test showed salmonella in a sample from the same Arkansas plant tied to a recall issued last month. The second recall is much smaller than the one the company issued Aug. 3 for 36 million pounds of ground turkey. That recall followed a salmonella outbreak that federal health officials said had sickened 107 people in 31 states, killing one person. The second recall covers about 185,000 pounds of ground turkey products, including trays of ground meat, patties and chubs, the USDA said. The products were distributed nationwide under the Kroger, Fresh HEB and Cargill’s Honeysuckle White brands.

One in Seven Drivers Has No Insurance

Despite laws in nearly every state requiring auto insurance, one in seven drivers in the USA goes uncovered. That’s according to an industry group that estimates 13.8% of motorists are uninsured, a number that has climbed during the economic downturn as many financially-pressed Americans allowed their insurance to lapse. Insured drivers pay a hefty price for fellow motorists who have no policies — $10.8 billion in 2007, according to the most recent data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Most of the people that do have insurance have coverage that includes uninsured motorist coverage … to protect them (if) they’re injured in an accident caused by another motorist who does not have insurance. Automobile insurance is compulsory in every state except New Hampshire.

Many Older Adults Scramble to Pay for Food

An estimated 15.6 million older adults who face the threat of hunger as a result of a lingering weak economy in America, according to a recently released AARP report “Food Insecurity Among Older Adults.” The study, conducted by the University of Kentucky and University of Illinois, showed that between 2007 and 2009 there was a 63% increase in food insecurity among 40- to 49-year-olds and a 37% increase for those between 50 and 59. Besides the lack of jobs, older adults also lack information about benefits that could assist them, says Casey Woodling, Community Food Advocates food stamp outreach coordinator. “There’s the stigma with receiving food stamps, but there’s also the barriers of knowing how the program works, mobility and technology,” Woodling says. “I get a lot of calls from people in that age group, and they’re struggling to get food on the table and paying for health care.”

Health Insurance Denial Rates Routinely Exceed 20%

According to data provided by insurers to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, health insurance denial rates routinely exceed 20% and often are much higher. For example, Humana rejects 26% to 39% of applications in Kentucky, while UnitedHealthcare denies 38% to 43%.Denial rates can vary widely within individual states. In Georgia, for example, Aetna’s denial rate is 15% compared with 47% for Kaiser Permanente and 67% for John Alden Life Insurance. Also, the same insurer can have vastly different denial rates in different states. For example, Kaiser Permanente denied 32% of applications in Maryland but 17% in Colorado. Two companies consistently had the highest denial rates — John Alden Life Insurance and Time Insurance, both owned by Milwaukee-based Assurant Health. In nearly every market surveyed, their denial rates were at least twice the rate of competing insurers.

AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, says the federal data on coverage denials are misleading because they do not include people rejected for one plan but offered another. The Deartment of Health and Human Services acknowledged AHIP’s arguments but said it was important for the data to reflect when people can’t get the specific policies they apply for.

Employers Say Jobs Plan Won’t Lead to Hiring Spur

The dismal state of the economy is the main reason many companies are reluctant to hire workers, and few executives are saying that President Obama’s jobs plan — while welcome — will change their minds any time soon, reports the New York Times. That sentiment was echoed across numerous industries by executives in companies big and small on Friday, underscoring the challenge for the Obama administration as it tries to encourage hiring and perk up the moribund economy. Many employers dismissed the notion that any particular tax break or incentive would be persuasive. Instead, companies are focused on jittery consumer confidence, an unstable stock market, perceived obstacles to business expansion like government regulation and, above all, swings in demand for their products.

Economic News

Don’t expect a big boost in hiring from the retail sector during the holiday season, according to the results of a survey released last week. Although the vast majority of retailers — some 68% — plan on keeping holiday hiring at roughly the same level as last year, a quarter expect to trim hiring plans for seasonal workers. That’s a greater number than last year, when 17% of the retailers the Hay Group surveyed said they would scale back hiring.

Wholesale businesses boosted their stockpiles for a 19th consecutive month in July, but their sales were flat. Weak sales could shake confidence and cause businesses to cut back on their restocking.

Airlines have increased fares for the 10th time this year, zeroing in on pricey, last-minute tickets bought most often by corporate travelers. US Airways sparked the increase last week by raising the price on those same-day tickets by $6 to $10 round trip. Other major carriers, such as American and Delta, soon matched. Airlines are raising prices to cope with the escalating cost of fuel and to try to post a modest profit this year. But bad weather is making it tough on them.

U.S. stocks plunged Friday, erasing the week’s gains, amid rising fears about fallout from Europe’s debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average closed 303.68 points, or 2.7%, to close at 10,992.13. The Dow at several points approached a 400-point decline in afternoon trading. Traders fear that one of Europe’s heavily indebted economies could collapse. Stocks fell broadly as trading opened in New York Monday, following declines in most world stock markets. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock index hit a 28-month low.

American companies are increasingly finding life in China outside Shanghai and Beijing. Companies including Starbucks and Yum Brands — which operates KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants — are aggressively expanding in smaller but rapidly growing cities such as Yiyang and Zhengzhou, where a cup of coffee or a chicken meal costs a healthy chunk of a day’s wage for the average Chinese consumer. They’re doing so as China’s largest cities become saturated with American names and foreign competitors.

Middle East

In a new advertising campaign encouraging the world to vote for Palestinian statehood, the Palestinian Authority is using President Obama’s UN speech last year as the centerpiece. The President said then, “When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel.” The ad then features PA President Mahmoud Abbas saying, “If he said it, he must have meant it.” The Jerusalem Prayer Team notes that the division of Jerusalem, the Holy City, ”would be a tragedy of unspeakable scope. Not only would it place Israel in terrible military and economic peril, but it would bring down the judgment of God on every nation that supports it.”

A senior Israeli official says the attack on his country’s embassy in Egypt is a “grave violation” of diplomatic norms and a “blow to peaceful relations” between the two countries. The official says all the embassy staff except the deputy ambassador left Egypt by Saturday morning. Their departure followed a night of violence during which a mob broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo after tearing down a cement barrier around the building. The Israeli official says six Israelis were trapped inside the embassy but that Egyptian commandos later stormed the building and evacuated them. At least three people died and more than 1,000 were hurt during street clashes with police and army troops after the mob attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

The rampage further worsened already deteriorating ties between Israel and post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt. In Israelis’ eyes, the scene of cars burning outside the embassy and the tale of six Israeli guards trapped inside for hours in a steel-doored safe room underscored their view that anti-Israeli sentiment in Egypt was running free after decades of being contained by Mubarak’s regime. The 13-hour rampage deepened Israel’s fears that it is growing increasingly isolated amid the Arab world’s uprisings.

  • War against Israel is coming and will mark the end of “the beginning of sorrows” and the rise of the anti-Christ who will bring “peace” to the world when a treaty is signed “with many” (Daniel 9:27) which signals the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation

Europe

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has called for the creation of a “United States of Europe. “The current crisis makes it relentlessly clear that we cannot have a common currency zone without a common fiscal, economic and social policy,” Schroeder said. He added: “We will have to give up national sovereignty.” “From the European Commission, we should make a government which would be supervised by the European Parliament. And that means the United States of Europe.” Schroeder welcomed an initiative launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to move toward a fiscal union in 2012. Their proposal, which would mean giving up sovereignty over budgetary policies with the aim to shore up the 17-nation currency union, has received a lukewarm response from other euro zone countries.

  • The move toward global government is relentless and will be successful according to Revelation 13:3,8

Libya

Fierce resistance by Moammar Gadhafi loyalists entrenched in two strongholds has stalled the rebels’ final push for complete control over Libya. Three weeks after the fall of Tripoli appeared to herald the end of Libya’s brutal civil war, the protracted battle over the loyalist bastions of Bani Walid and Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown, has dashed hopes of a speedy “declaration of liberation” that would start the clock ticking on a transition to democracy. Libya’s new rulers say that capturing the towns, along with the remote southern stronghold of Sabha, is just a matter of time. However, the former rebels may have underestimated the continued support for Gadhafi in Bani Walid and the other strongholds, which had been favored by the old regime with jobs, investments and other perks.

Egypt

Thousands of Egyptians demonstrated Friday against the pace of reform under the country’s military rulers. The military took over after President Hosni Mubarak resigned in February following a popular revolution. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the focus of the anti-Mubarak rallies, one target was the head of the military council, Hussein Tantawi. He served as Mubarak’s defense minister and are also protesting against the trials of civilians in military courts. It was the first major rally in the square in a month.

Syria

Thousands of Syrian protesters across the country appealed Friday for international protection from a bloody government crackdown, marking a fundamental shift in an uprising that has defied the regime’s bullets, tanks and snipers for six months. A the crackdown continues, and the death toll tops 2,200 people, protesters are increasingly calling for some sort of outside help — although not necessarily military action like the NATO intervention that helped topple the government of Libya. Instead, they are largely calling for observation missions and human rights monitors who could help deter attacks on civilians.

Yemen

Two Yemeni soldiers were killed and four wounded Sunday by a roadside bomb blast in southern Yemen as government forces battled for control of a key city held by al-Qaida-linked militants for nearly four months. Yemeni government forces, backed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, are confronting fighters, some with links to Yemen’s al-Qaida branch, in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province. The drive by Yemeni security forces into Zinjibar marks their first major advance on the city since May. The militant takeover of Zinjibar has forced more than 100,000 residents to flee for safety, many seeking refuge in schools and apartments in the neighboring province of Aden.

Afghanistan

Nearly 80 American soldiers were wounded and five Afghans civilians were killed in a Taliban truck bombing targeting an American base in eastern Afghanistan, NATO said Sunday, a stark reminder that the war in Afghanistan still rages 10 years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks against the United States. No U.S. soldiers were killed in Saturday night’s bombing, which took place hours after the Taliban vowed to keep fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan until all American troops leave the country. The insurgent movement also stressed that it had no role in the Sept. 11 attacks. The attack was carried out by a Taliban suicide bomber who detonated a large bomb inside a truck carrying firewood.

Iran

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency on Monday announced plans to publish new information backing up his belief that Iran may be working on a nuclear warhead — developments that leave his organization “increasingly concerned.” The comments by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano were significant because it was the first time he revealed plans to release some of the most recent knowledge available to the IAEA leading to such worries. In its report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said “many member states” are providing evidence for that assessment, describing the information it is receiving as credible, “extensive and comprehensive.”

Revolution in Iran appears to be a matter of time, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta predicted on Tuesday, saying the Iranian reform movement was learning from revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. Panetta, a former CIA director who took over the Pentagon’s top job in July, was asked on the Charlie Rose television show whether the Arab Spring might spread to non-Arab Iran. Panetta responded: ‘Absolutely.’ ‘I think we saw in evidence of that in the last election in Iran that there was a movement within Iran that raised those very same concerns that we’re seeing elsewhere,’ Panetta said. ‘And I think in many ways, it’s a matter of time before that kind of change and reform and revolution occurs in Iran as well.’ Iranian security forces crushed mass protests in the wake of Iran’s disputed June 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Earthquakes

A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Friday off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. The quake’s epicenter was just off the west coast of Vancouver Island and rattled buildings across Vancouver Island and the southwest portion of British Columbia. There has been no immediate reports of damage in the region.

Wildfires

The number of homes destroyed by a Texas wildfire has risen to 1,554 and is expected to further increase as officials enter more areas where the blaze has been extinguished, officials said Sunday. Seventeen people remain unaccounted for. Blustering wind whipped up by Tropical Storm Lee swept across parched, drought-stricken Texas, helping to spark more than 190 wildfires statewide. The worst of the fires has consumed more than 34,000 acres in this area 30 miles southeast of Austin. Tensions and frustrations boiled when residents demanded to be allowed to return to their neighborhoods to see what remains of their homes and attempt to salvage a few belongings. Many people were given only minutes to evacuate as the raging blaze surrounded homes and neighborhoods. Some had time to only gather a few important belongings. Others left with only the clothes on their back.

Meanwhile, A sprawling network of central California wildfires tore through thousands of rural acres and spurred some to leave their homes in mountain communities. The lightning-sparked fires had consumed more than 30,000 acres, or over 40 square miles, across Kern County by Sunday night. Crews were focusing on one major fire plus two fire complexes, made up of about eight smaller blazes. The Milano Fire in a rural area near Walker Basin consumed 10,000 acres and moved into the Sequoia National Forest with zero containment thus far. A fire in the Keene Complex southeast of Bakersfield was threatening numerous structures. Residents in the communities of Keene, Hart Flat, Bear Valley, Golden Hills and Stallion Springs were being told that evacuations were recommended. Another 14 wildfires are burning in Washington and Oregon, having destroyed 107 structures and consumed over 145,000 acres (about 230 sq. miles). The northwest has seen little precipitation over the past month.

Weather

Cleanup began over the weekend across northeastern Pennsylvania and parts of New York state where flooding in some areas exceeded records set in 1972 by Hurricane Agnes. Mayor Keith Moss says Duryea, Pa., (pop. 4,636) looked “like a garbage dump” Sunday as he and municipal engineers checked foundations for damage. As many as 350 houses have water in their basements, he says. Power was restored to many areas by Sunday, and intact roads and bridges were reopened. The Susquehanna crested at almost 42.7 feet in Wilkes-Barre, higher than the record set during Hurricane Agnes, and at 25.7 feet in Binghamton, N.Y. At least seven deaths have been blamed on Lee and its aftermath in Pennsylvania. The Red Cross is distributing cleanup kits and, with other disaster relief groups, providing food and supplies.

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