Signs of the Times (7/16/13)

Future of Marriage is Being Undermined

Canada legalized same-sex marriage ten years ago and the results don’t bode well for marriage in general. Canada’s 2011 census shows that marriage is in overall decline. Whistleblower magazine notes that the redefining of marriage obscures its meaning and purpose which discourages people from taking it seriously. Meanwhile, same-sex marriage in Canada remains a statistically minor event with just 21,000 married same-sex couples out of 6.3 million total marriages. The article further notes that marriage rates have also plummeted in both Spain and the Netherlands after same-sex marriage became legal.

This is in line with the gay agenda which seeks to destroy marriage entirely, as admitted by a prominent lesbian journalist. “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there,” said Masha Gessen at a Sydney Writer’s Festival. Gessen, whose three children have five parents, further states, “It’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.”

  • Satan and his minions won’t rest until God’s ordained family structure is completely rent asunder

85% Say Christian Photographer Has Right to Turn Down Same-Sex Wedding Job

Eighty-five percent of American adults believe if a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage is asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony, he has the right to say no, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Only 8 percent disagree — even as the courts are hearing such challenges. The survey, which was conducted on July 7-8, 2013, has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

  • Even as our secularist, socialist, globalist government seeks to mold public opinion, they ignore it when it conflicts with their objectives, using liberal courts and executive orders to enforce their agenda
  • Texas Senate Approves Restrictive Abortion Bill

Republicans in the Texas Legislature passed an omnibus abortion bill that is one of the most restrictive in the nation, but Democrats vowed Saturday to fight both in the courts and the ballot box as they used the measure to rally their supporters. More than 2,000 demonstrators filled the Capitol building in Austin to oppose the bill, and state troopers dragged six out of the Senate chamber for trying to disrupt the debate. The Republican majority ultimately passed the bill unchanged just before midnight, with all but one Democrat voting against it. “Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life,” said Gov. Rick Perry who will sign the bill into law in the next few days. “This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women’s health.”

Abortion Industry Targets Minorities

Statistics from the federal government now prove something that pro-lifers have contended – and the abortion industry has denied – for years: minorities are targeted by abortions. The numbers come from the CDC Abortion Surveillance report showing that 63 percent of abortions terminate the lives of black or Hispanic babies. It also revealed the presence of multiple abortuaries in many super-minority populated areas. Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, who has been watching the situation for years. “That just tracks what we found in our research that we’ve done before; and that is that the American abortion industry targets the minority community. They’ve been doing this since Day 1.” The Life Dynamics work took a look at zip codes where abortion clinics are located and found they are largely in or near minority neighborhoods. According to Crutcher that confirms that the underlying purpose of the abortion industry is eugenics.

Agriculture Industry Teeming with Jobs

U.S. agriculture and food companies are struggling to attract enough workers, a problem the industry concedes is getting worse as innovation and growing demand for their products leads to the creation of thousands of new jobs. Agribusinesses have been working for years to shed their stodgy and outdated image to help draw employees and stop the loss of highly qualified workers to other fields such as engineering and financial services. While there has been an increase in the number of students enrolled in agriculture at U.S. universities, that’s not been enough to keep up with the demand that we’ve got in the workforce. Research found that, between 2010 and 2015, an estimated 54,400 jobs would be created annually in agricultural, food and renewable natural resources. To help fill the void, only 29,300 students are expected to earn degrees in traditional agriculture.

Economic News

Both low interest rates and higher home prices have played a role in the housing recovery changes, but as mortgage rates begin to tick upward, housing affordability will decrease, which in turn could cause a pause in the recovery’s progression, experts say. Mortgage rates began a swift climb in early May from record low levels. The increase in mortgage rates from 3.5 percent to 5 percent causes a 15-20 percent decrease in what the average home buyer can afford.

Consumer prices rise 0.5% in June with much of the increase coming from a jump in gas prices, the government said Tuesday. That was the largest monthly increase since February. Compared to a year earlier, prices are up only 1.8%, a level that’s considered low and consistent with a slow-growing economy. Stripping out volatile gas and food prices shows core inflation was up only 1.6% over the last 12 months, the smallest annual change since June 2011.

Goldman Sachs said its second-quarter profit doubled, as the giant investment bank saw revenues climb 30% while stock and bond underwriting sales rose by nearly half. Other banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have also been able to exploit the fast-changing rate environment to boost profits,

China, the world’s second-largest economy, saw its gross domestic product grow 7.5% from a year earlier in the second quarter, slowing from the previous quarter’s 7.7%, but still strong.

A 24-hour general strike protesting further austerity measures brought many public services in Greece to a grinding halt Tuesday. Public transit systems, flights and garbage collection services were affected by the nationwide action — the fourth general strike this year — while hospitals are running on skeleton staffing. The general strike takes place ahead of a vote in parliament Wednesday on a bill containing further austerity measures.

Persecution Watch

A court in Pakistan on Saturday (July 13) sentenced a Christian to life in prison for alleged blasphemy in spite of the complainant retracting the accusation and admitting police pressured him into making it, his attorney said. Attorney Javed Sahotra told Morning Star News by phone that prosecutors at the court in Toba Tek Singh District in Punjab Province produced no evidence that 29-year-old Sajjad Masih denigrated the prophet of Islam, and that Islamist mobs pressured the judge into the conviction and verdict.

Middle East

U.S. officials say Israel targeted advanced anti-ship cruise missiles near Syria’s principal port city in an air attack carried out earlier this month. The officials say the attack on July 5 near the city of Latakia targeted a type of Russian-made missile called the Yakhont that Russia had sold to the Syrian government, the New York Times reported on its website Saturday night. Russia is a key political ally and arms supplier of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Israel maintains it’s not involved in Syria’s 2-year-old civil war except to stop weapons transfers. The strike near Latakia was the fourth known air strike in Syria by Israel this year.

Saudi Arabia has built missile launch pads that target both Iran and Israel with ballistic missiles, according to imagery and analysis by IHS Jane’s, the British security consultancy. The discovery is a sign that Saudi Arabia has prepared for the possibility that Iran will become a nuclear power, and it’s a reminder that a decades-long truce between Saudi Arabia and Israel is just that, and not a peace treaty. Former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said in 2011 that his country would purchase “off the shelf” nuclear weapons if Iran developed its own supply.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a renewed initiative on Sunday to raise awareness of the danger posed to the world from Iran’s renegade nuclear program. In an appearance on CBS New’s Face the Nation program Sunday morning, Netanyahu declared that the Islamic Republic was just 60 kilograms short of crossing the “red line” he defined at last year’s UN General Assembly, the possession of 250 kg. of 20% enriched uranium, enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb. He added that Iranian engineers were building “faster centrifuges that would enable them to jump the line at a much faster rate. That is, within a few weeks. They’re getting closer. They should understand that they’re not going to be allowed to cross it.”

Egypt

A fresh round of violence erupted in Egypt’s capital Monday night, killing at least seven and injuring hundreds, after a week of relative calm. Police fired tear gas at protesters who blocked a major road when they gathered in Ramses Square to show support for former president Mohammed Morsi. The scene quickly devolved into clashes as some demonstrators, shielding their faces from stinging gas, retaliated by hurling stones. Two people were killed in the immediate vicinity, while five more were killed in Giza due to clashes, which continued into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi will meet met with Cabinet nominees Sunday and Monday in an effort to complete formation of a new government by Tuesday or Wednesday. The moves come as Egyptian authorities launch an investigation of ousted President Mohamed Morsi as well as several leaders and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The state prosecutor opened the probe after receiving complaints against Morsi and several leaders of his Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Syria

Syria’s main Western-backed opposition said Sunday that 200 civilians are trapped in a mosque in a suburb of the Syrian capital as fighting rages outside between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. Meanwhile, Syrian activists said mortar shells landed in three separate Damascus districts, killing one person and wounding several others. The attacks coincided with Syrian army strikes on the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees on the edge of the city.

Taliban fighters from Pakistan have joined forces with al Qaeda forces in Syria to fight Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime. Pakistan Taliban (TTP) commander Abdul Rashid Abbasi has told CNN that the first batch of 120 fighters has arrived in Syria and established a command and control center to launch operational activities alongside Syrian rebel fighters. The Taliban commander went on to say that another batch of fighters comprising 150 men will arrive in Syria this week.

Iraq

Bombs exploded outside two Sunni mosques in Baghdad late Saturday, killing at least 21 people leaving prayers and extending a wave of daily violence rippling across Iraq since the start of the holy month of Ramadan. A separate attack at a funeral northeast of the capital killed at least three others. Iraq is weathering its worst eruption of violence in half a decade, raising fears the country is heading back toward the widespread sectarian fighting that peaked in 2006 and 2007. More than 2,600 people have been killed since the start of April.

Sudan

Gunmen ambushed a United Nations peacekeeping team Saturday in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, killing seven and wounding another 17 in the deadliest single attack on the international force in the country. The assault included sustained heavy fire from machine guns and possibly rocket-propelled grenades, targeting the UN force. Reinforcements later arrived to rescue the wounded, which included two female police advisers. Peacekeepers have been targeted by assailants in the past in the region since the international force began its work there in 2008.

Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir has left Nigeria, a diplomat at his embassy said Tuesday, following demands from human rights activists for the arrest of the man indicted for genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Nigeria was forced in the past to hand over an internationally wanted criminal — former Liberian President Charles Taylor, the warlord who began that country’s devastating civil war in 1989. South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, and Central Africa Republic “have specifically made clear Bashir will be arrested in their territory.

North Korea

Panama says it has seized a North Korean-flagged ship carrying what appeared to be ballistic missiles and other arms that had set sail from Cuba. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said the undeclared military cargo appeared to include missiles and non-conventional arms. He said the ship was violating United Nations resolutions against arms trafficking. He said that the arms were “hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar.”

North Korea is to blame for last month’s cyberattacks on the websites of South Korean media companies and the president and prime minister’s offices, a South Korean investigation concluded Tuesday. South Korea’s ministry of science said it was blaming North Korea based on analysis of codes, Internet addresses and personal computers used to launch the attacks. The attacks occurred June 25, the 63rd anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

Mexico

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, the notoriously brutal leader of the feared Zetas drug cartel, has been captured in the first major blow against an organized crime leader by a Mexican administration struggling to drive down persistently high levels of violence. Trevino’s capture removes the leader of a corps of special forces defectors who splintered off into their own cartel and spread across Mexico, expanding from drug dealing into extortion and human trafficking. Along the way, the Zetas authored some of the worst atrocities of Mexico’s drug war, slaughtering dozens, leaving their bodies on display and gaining a reputation as perhaps the most terrifying of the country’s numerous ruthless cartels.

Wildfires

Firefighters worked amid rainstorms and flash flooding Friday to contain a wildfire that has burned since July 1 in the mountains northwest of Las Vegas, while U.S. Forest Service crews began trying to restore damaged plant and animal habitat. The rain caused flash flooding in eastern parts of the fragile and damaged burn zone. Firefighters improved and expand fire lines already constructed around 43 percent of the fire, including near more than 400 homes, a rustic hotel and a scenic alpine lodge in the Kyle Canyon area about 25 miles northwest of Las Vegas. More than 500 residents remained evacuated from the Rainbow, Old Town and Echo hamlets in Kyle Canyon, heading into a second weekend out of their homes.

Last week, there were more large wildfires burning in the western U.S. now than at any time in the past 40 years and the total area burned each year has also increased. A recent federal study analyzed wildfire data stretching back to the 1970s to see how fires have changed in the American West. In some states, like Arizona and Idaho, the number of large fires burning each year has tripled or even quadrupled. And in other states, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming, the number of large fires has doubled. Over the same span, average spring and summer temperatures across 11 Western states have increased by more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, contributing to the higher fire risks. Spring temperatures in Arizona have warmed faster than any other state in the U.S., rising nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit per decade since 1970, which has likely played a key role in Arizona’s rapid increase in fires over the past two decades. However, the monsoon rainy season has arrived and has helped extinguish many fires except in California which has remained dry.

Weather

Typically, weather systems move from west to east in the United States and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. This was not the case over the last four to five days as an area of low pressure moved in the reverse direction from the eastern states towards the southwestern states. This is the second odd July weather pattern this month. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, an area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere got stuck over the South and brought daily bouts of showers and thunderstorms that caused flooding from the Gulf Coast to the Appalachians and Ohio Valley.

A powerful typhoon surged across northern Taiwan on Saturday, killing at least one person and disrupting transportation and commerce around the island of 23 million people, before heading westward toward the heavily populated Chinese coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang. Typhoon Soulik was packing winds of 86 mph. Torrential rains buffeted large areas of northern and central Taiwan, with Hsinchu and the neighboring county of Miaoli reporting totals of 27-31 inches by early Saturday. Around Taipei and in its environs, emergency crews were struggling to restore power to the 520,000 homes and to remove hundreds of trees uprooted by the storm from streets and roads. The typhoon then hit coastal Fujian, China on Saturday afternoon, where about 300,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

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