Signs of the Times (8/21/15)

Protests against Planned Parenthood This Saturday

On Saturday, August 22 public protests of Planned Parenthood (PP) abortion clinics and facilities will take place all over the United States. Thousands are expected to attend these protests with the purpose of creating awareness of the barbaric practice of abortion and the sale of aborted baby body parts – a scandal that has erupted in recent weeks due to undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Currently, there are over 300 cities in 47 states and 5 countries represented in the nationwide protest. Operation Rescue is a sponsor of this historic effort to expose Planned Parenthood’s participation in the illegal trafficking in the remains of aborted children.

  • For more information or to locate a protest in your area, please go to com

7th Planned Parenthood Video Reveals They Harvested Baby’s Heart While It Was Still Beating

The third episode in a new documentary web series and 7th video on Planned Parenthood’s supply of aborted fetal tissue tells a former procurement technician’s harrowing story of harvesting an intact brain from a late-term male fetus whose heart was still beating after the abortion. This latest video catches the nation’s biggest abortion business harvesting the brain of an aborted baby who was still alive. Dr. Theresa Deisher is a world-renowned scientist in the field of stem cell research who holds patents after discovering adult stem cells in human hearts. Deisher helped the pro-life activists who spent three years recording undercover videos and capturing documents and information showing the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling aborted babies and their body parts. Now, in a new interview, Deisher says she has reviewed the information the activists collected and she is making a shocking claim that Planned Parenthood is keeping some babies alive after the abortion procedure in order to better collect their organs for harvesting — such as their hearts.

Side Deal with Iran Allows Them to do Their Own Inspections

A draft document exclusively obtained by Fox News supports reports that Iran would play a major role in inspections at its controversial Parchin nuclear site, by providing U.N. inspectors with crucial materials. The so-called side deal, labeled “Separate arrangement II,” says Iran will “provide to the [International Atomic Energy Agency]” photos and videos of locations and environmental samples, “taking into account military concerns.” Details of the arrangement were first reported by the Associated Press. The details of the agreement for Parchin, where Iran has long been suspected of trying to build nuclear weapons, have fueled concerns from critics. “The agreement looks like Iran calls the shots, vetoing technical inspections when they want, where they want at the Parchin military site,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement.

  • For the sake of his ‘legacy’ President Obama has handed Iran the keys to the nuclear kingdom

Hackers Post Millions of Adulterer Names & Data

Hackers who stole Ashley Madison customers’ personal information have followed through with their threat to release it to the public. The hackers claim to have posted 32 million names, credit card numbers, email and physical addresses along with the sexual preferences of customers entered into the cheaters’ dating site. The data is posted on what is known as the “Dark Web,” a part of the Internet that can’t be searched by Google or most common search engines. It can only be viewed with a special Tor browser. But that information won’t likely stay hidden there for long — it’s easy to copy the information and paste it anywhere on the Internet for all to see. Ashley Madison, which is owned by Avid Life Media, is designed to help married people cheat on their spouses. Its slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” The website claims to have nearly 39 million customers.

Caught in the spotlight was Josh Duggar, Christian reality TV star, who admitted, “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife,” Earlier this year, Duggar was forced to apologize after reports emerged alleging he molested girls as a teenager, including his sisters. He said then that he “acted inexcusably.”

  • Some of the greatest harm to the cause of Christ comes from pseudo-Christians who behave badly

At Some VA hospitals, Thousands of Critical Positions Unfilled

About one in three jobs are vacant at nine of the nation’s regional Veterans Affairs health care systems, leaving veterans waiting weeks, sometimes months, to get care. Nationally, one in six positions — nearly 41,000 — for critical intake workers, doctors, nurses and assistants were unfilled as of mid-July, in part due to complex hiring procedures and poor recruitment, according to critics of the nation’s network of 139 hospitals and clinics that treat veterans. The vacancy data obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act offers the first look at how serious staffing issues are at some VA hospitals and clinics. In 13 regional healthcare systems, 40 to 64% of psychologist positions are vacant.

Obama Legacy Includes Banker Impunity

While it may continue to baffle us how no bankers went to jail in the wake of the financial crisis even as banks paid tens of billions of dollars in fines for wrongdoing, there is very little mystery to it, wrote Darrell Delamaide in Wednesday’s USA Today. The three government officials most responsible for the failure to bring any top banker to trial for widespread fraud – former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and former DOJ official Lanny Breuer – are all now making millions of dollars a year in Wall Street-related jobs, he reports. “Those who resist the reality of Washington’s revolving door don’t want to think that for all its size and sophistication, this country still has much in common with a banana republic – a country where money buys political clout and puts people above the law. As President Barack Obama burnishes his political legacy and lays the plans for a billion-dollar monument to himself… ultimately, the responsibility for this dereliction of duty lies with him.”

  • Despite the earlier ruckus about Wall Street greed and illegal practices, it’s business as usual as they continue to rake in humongous personal income despite the fines

Economic News – Domestic

Fears of a China slowdown ripped through global markets and sent U.S. stocks to their lowest level of the year on Thursday. The Dow fell 358 points to close below 17,000, for the first time since last October. The index fell 2.06% — the worst loss since February 2014. The Dow was down over 7% from its recent high in May. In early Friday trading, the Dow was down another 200 points. China’s economic slowdown and currency devaluation have investors worried that things could get worse as the year goes on. Developing countries like Brazil and Russia are struggling to revive their economies as their currencies depreciate dramatically against the dollar. About 44% of the revenues from S&P 500 companies come from outside the United States.

Inflation slowed in July after sharp increases the previous two months, the government announced Wednesday. The consumer price index edged up 0.1%, the Labor Department said. Over the past year, prices were up 0.2%.Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, also increased 0.1%.Core prices are up 1.8% the past year. Last month, gasoline prices increased 0.9% and food prices rose 0.2%.Rent was up sharply for the fourth straight month, climbing 0.3%. And motor vehicle insurance jumped 0.6%.But airline fares tumbled 5.6% and used car and truck prices fell 0.6%.

The inflation report could be key in helping the Federal Reserve decide whether to raise its benchmark interest rate next month for the first time in nine years, a move that’s expected by many economists. Before it acts, the Fed is seeking signs of a pickup in annual inflation, which has been running below its 2% target partly because of low gasoline prices and a strong dollar that’s making imports cheap for consumers.

With oil prices collapsing and energy companies in retrenchment, a federal auction in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday attracted the lowest interest from producers since 1986. It was the clearest sign yet that the fortunes of oil companies are skidding so fast that they now need to cut back on plans for production well into the future, reports the New York Times. Until now, most companies have insisted that they would not sacrifice production in future years when they said oil prices were sure to rebound strongly. But in recent weeks, executives have expressed concern that the oil price collapse could last through 2016 and even 2017.

Economic News – International

Germany’s Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a third bailout package for Greece despite misgivings by some conservative lawmakers of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party. Lawmakers voted 454-113 in favor of the deal on Wednesday, with 18 abstentions. Germany is the largest single contributor to the bailouts. Greece received the first 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) from its new bailout package on Thursday, allowing it to pay a debt of 3.2 billion euros to the European Central Bank and avoid a messy default. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced Thursday he was resigning and called for early parliamentary elections, resetting the debt-ridden country’s government after members of his own party opposed economic reforms that European lenders demanded for Greece’s latest bailout.

China’s beleaguered stock market endured yet another sell off on Friday, shedding 4%. Earlier this week, China’s Shanghai composite index slumped 5% on Wednesday and 6.2% on Tuesday — its biggest decline in three turbulent weeks. Last week, Chinese stocks sold off following a dramatic devaluation of the country’s yuan currency that led to the nation’s central bank injecting cash into the financial system. Analysts say investors are again selling Chinese stocks fearing the yuan may be devalued further. The devaluation is expected to aid exports. A key gauge of China’s all-important manufacturing sector has tumbled to its lowest level in more than six years Friday, indicating that the country’s factories are losing momentum.

Other Asian markets also suffered losses — Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.6% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 1.3%. Britain’s FTSE 100 benchmark stock index fell to a new seven-month low on Thursday, taking it more than 10% below its record high in April. British markets have been hard hit by the market turmoil in China and the oil crash. That’s because the London index is heavily weighted towards mining and resource companies, which have been hit by the slowdown in commodities demand.

Persecution Watch

Iranian officials beat and arrested at least eight Christian converts during worship at a house church in Karaj. According to the Christian Post, officers raided the church, beat up the worshippers and confiscated their Bibles. It is unclear where the Christians were taken, but three of them were reportedly released on bail. About eight are still missing. BosNewLife reported that the officials searched the Christians’ homes without the proper legal paperwork. Many house churches have been raided in the past few months. There are reportedly some 360,000 Christians in the country.

An Iranian American pastor who has been imprisoned in Iran was recently subjected to a raid by guards on his prison cell. The Human Rights Activists News Agency Iran has reported that Saeed Abedini’s condition is “very worrisome” due to “dishonorable and harsh” actions by his prison guards. s been imprisoned since 2012, according to The Christian Post. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is pushing for more forceful efforts to be taken by the U.S. government to pressure Iran to release Abedini and other Americans being held in Iranian prisons.

“We are seeing mass murder, we are seeing killing, we are seeing an attempted eradication of Christianity from where it began,” said Doug Bandow, Cato Institute foreign policy expert. “Christianity risks, in many ways, being wiped out in large sections of the Middle East.” The US and other Western countries should be doing much more to help, he said. In Syria, hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled their homes since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. And in Iraq, there are estimated to be just 300,000 Christians left in the country, down from 1.56 million in 2003. Those who remain risk being kidnapped and killed, but Western countries have turned a deaf ear to their pleas, reports Barnabas Aid.

Islamic State

ISIS militants have beheaded an 82-year-old archaeologist who had been in charge of overseeing the ancient site at Palmyra in Syria, a government official said Tuesday. Syrian state antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told Reuters that the family of Khaled Asaad had informed Abdulkarim that Asaad had been beheaded earlier in the day and his body hanged from a column in the town’s main square. Asaad had been held and interrogated by members of the terror group for over a month before his death. The official said that Asaad’s captors had been looking for information about where the town’s treasures had been hidden to save them from ISIS, but they had no success getting the information from the scholar. ISIS drew international condemnation after it released videos showing members destroying artifacts with hammers and drills in a museum in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and using explosives to wreck other sites. In March, ISIS members in Iraq razed 3,000-year old Nimrod and bulldozed 2,000-year old Hatra — both UNESCO world heritage sites.

Turkey

At least eight Turkish soldiers were killed Wednesday in a bomb attack in a southeastern province. The state-run Anadolu news agency said the soldiers were killed in a roadside attack. The Hurriyet Daily News reported that attack was mounted by the Kurdish PKK guerrilla organization in the province of Siirt. Separately, two men were arrested for allegedly firing on security guards outside Dolmabache Palace. The agency said one police officer was slightly injured. Both incidents come amid an escalation of violence between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish rebels and as Turkey has been conducting operations against terror groups including the Islamic State group. Turkey has rounded up more than 1,000 people linked to the Islamic State, Kurdish rebels and leftist militants.

Egypt

A massive car bomb exploded early Thursday near a national security building in a popular residential neighborhood in Cairo, wounding at least six police officers and blowing the facades off nearby buildings. There were no immediate reports of deaths from the explosion, which demolished a wall in front of the government building and smashed its structure, leaving gaping holes exposing its offices. Wrecked cars stood around the building, as security forces patrolled the streets and set up roadblocks to ward off hysterical residents. A statement apparently issued by the Islamic State affiliate in Egypt hours later claimed responsibility for the blast, saying it was to avenge the execution of six convicted militants in May.

Korea

North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Thursday near the fierce rivals’ tense border. The South Korean military said in a statement that a town on its western border with North Korea was fired on by Pyongyang and that it retaliated. No damage was detected. About 80 residents in Yeonchen, where the North Korean shell landed, were evacuated to underground bunkers as a precaution. North Korea has not commented. Previously, Pyongyang vowed to retaliate for loudspeaker broadcasts on the border by Seoul that it alleges were critical of the North. South Korea began the broadcasts recently in response to what it said were North Korean laid land mines that maimed two South Korean soldiers. Kim Jong Un, the supreme commander of the North Korean military, ordered front-line units along the heavily fortified frontier to move to a war footing on Friday

Volcanoes

With volcano eruptions seemingly on the rise, scientists are studying the recent periods of volcanic eruptions to see if there’s a trend, or even if something’s causing the increase in these events – but they still don’t have any concrete answers. They tried to link the increase in eruptions to climate change, but haven’t as yet been able to do so. Another theory is that minute changes in the earth’s spin rate might be the culprit, but again the evidence is inconclusive.

  • The Bible shows that the end-times will see increased volcanic activity as well as more earthquakes and extreme weather, no matter what the underlying causality might be.

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed new rules meant to help combat climate change by curbing methane emissions from new hydraulically fractured crude oil wells and natural gas pipelines and other infrastructure. Tuesday’s proposal applies only to new and modified sources of methane and is expected to cut methane emissions by the equivalent of up to 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2025. Methane is about 35 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. The oil and gas industry is responsible for about 29 percent of all the nation’s known methane emissions, according to the EPA. Although recent studies have found large amounts of methane leaking from existing crude oil and natural gas wells, pipelines and fracking operations, the EPA said the agency has no immediate plans to regulate methane emissions from existing wells and other sources.

Wildfires

Three firefighters died and four more were injured Wednesday in Washington during a firefight when their vehicle crashed and was likely caught by flames. The accident happened near the town of Twisp, Washington. This tragedy came as firefighting crews were working wildfires on several fronts which threatened towns in the north-central section of the state. The news came after officials urged people in the popular outdoor-recreation centers of Twisp and Wintrop, in the scenic Methow River valley about 115 miles northeast of Seattle, to evacuate as a fire near Twisp grew to about 2 square miles. A stream of cars poured south out of Twisp as dark smoke clouds loomed; the highway to the north was closed.

Drought and heat have combined to make this fire season the most active in the United States in over ten years. Nearly 29,000 firefighters are battling some 100 large blazes across the West, including Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and California. So far this year, 7,210,959 acres have burned in the U.S. compared to just 2,630,176 last year. The ten-year average is 4,484,069 acres.

Weather

The drought in California will cost the state’s economy $2.7 billion this year and nearly 21,000 jobs as the four-year drought continues in the nation’s most populous state, according to a new study from the University of California-Davis. The biggest hit comes in agriculture, which will lose $1.84 billion this year, the study said. Almost half of the job losses — 10,000 — are in seasonal agriculture jobs. In addition, the drought will force 542,000 acres to lie fallow, nearly all in the Central Valley. Despite the drought, the state’s agricultural economy remains strong, mainly because of California’s huge, but shrinking, reserves of groundwater.

As the drought in California continues to put a strain on the water supply, another long-standing issue comes into play: the ground is sinking. According to a report by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the State Department of Water Resources (DWR), an occurrence known as subsidence has been causing portions of San Joaquin Valley in California’s Central Valley to sink nearly two inches per month. Subsidence is the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land. In California, the ground is collapsing because farmers have been continuously pumping out groundwater in order to keep their crops alive throughout the drought. When this water is pumped out of the aquifer underground, the clay in between the pockets of water collapses and causes the ground to deflate.

July was the hottest month worldwide since records began being kept in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday. Much of western and central Europe was extremely hot. Several cities in Austria sweltered to their hottest month ever recorded in the country’s 249-year period of records. Spain had its hottest July on record, while France had its third-warmest July. Germany and the United Kingdom both broke all-time July heat records. In Africa, July’s average temperature was the second highest. The United States was one of the few areas that didn’t see the extreme heat, along with portions of western Asia. The USA did have a slightly warmer-than-average July, but no states set a record high.

The West Antarctic is one of the most remote places on the planet, but its fate is intimately tied with hundreds of millions living along the world’s coastlines. That’s because its frozen expanse contains enough ice to raise sea levels by up to 13 feet. There have been multiple warnings of growing instability across the region and the possibility of collapse due to a mix of warming water and air and the topography below the ice. New research published Tuesday in The Cryosphere revises how much West Antarctica could contribute to sea level rise. The findings indicate that West Antarctica could contribute an additional 8 inches of water on top of an estimated of 39 inches of sea level rise projected by the end of this century. The average temperature has risen 4.3°F over the past 50 years in the region. Warm water is also putting West Antarctica’s massive stores of ice at risk of sliding into the sea.

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