Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
WHO, CDC Report Drop in Measles Deaths Worldwide
ATLANTA (AP) — Measles deaths worldwide declined dramatically to about 200,000 a year, continuing a successful trend, global health authorities reported Thursday. From 2000 to 2007, annual measles deaths dropped 74%, largely because of vaccination campaigns, according to a report from the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations. Measles has long been a leading cause of death of young children globally and still kills more than 500 a day. But health officials estimate 11 million deaths were avoided in the decline. The most dramatic improvements were seen in Africa and in Greater Middle Eastern countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, where measles deaths dropped by about 90%.
ASSIST News Service reports that Gospel for
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Voters' economic status and religious convictions played a greater role than race and age in determining whether they supported the Nov. 4 ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage in California, a new poll shows. The ban drew its strongest support from both evangelical Christians and voters who didn't attend college, according to results released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California. People who identified themselves as practicing Christians were highly likely to support the constitutional amendment, with 85% of evangelical Christians, 66% of Protestants and 60% of Roman Catholics favoring it. Age and race, meanwhile, were not as strong factors as assumed. According to the poll, 56% of voters over age 55 and 57% of nonwhite voters cast a yes ballot for the gay marriage ban. The poll also showed that the measure got strong backing from voters who did not attend college (69 percent), voters who earned less than $40,000 a year (63 percent) and Latinos (61 percent).
TV More Gay than Ever
NEWSMAX — The number of gay and lesbian characters on television has more than doubled this season on American broadcast networks. There are currently 16 gay characters regularly featured on network scripted shows. Gays and lesbians now comprise 2.6% of the network TV universe, up from 1.1% in 2007 and 1.3% in 2006. Conservative Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg says that he is “convinced that for the most part, these characters are placed on TV for propaganda purposes, to persuade people to be more accepting of homosexual conduct.”
Conservatives form Rival Group to Episcopal Church
- JJ Commentary: We need more conservative Biblical fundamentalists to leave liberal un-Biblical churches and denominations and stand up for the absolute truth of God’s Word. It’s time, or even past time, to take a stand.
Fertility Patients Unsure what to Do with Leftover Embryos
A new study from the Barna Group shows that fears and disruptions in the economy have induced one in every five households to decrease donations to churches or other religious centers. Over the last three months, 22 percent have stopped giving entirely, and even 48 percent of givers in "upscale" housholds were likely to have reduced their donation. The report found that families with "serious financial debt, "downscale" households, and those who lost 20 percent or greater in their retirement fund or stock portfolio value were most likely to cut back. Among the 20 percent total who cut back at least somewhat, 28 percent had reduced their gifts by half or more. Christian Post reports that George Barna, head of the Barna Group, said, "The giving patterns we're witnessing suggest that churches, alone, will receive some $3 billion to $5 billion dollars less than expected during this fourth quarter." Churches can usually expect greater giving in the last quarter, Barna said, but need to prepare for a 4 percent to 6 percent dip below usual.
November Retail Sales are Worst in 30 Years
Retailers took another battering in November with sales that slumped worse than they had in decades, making continued dire predictions for December seem all the more likely. Even Black Friday promotions that lasted through much of November couldn't stop the bleeding. The Goldman Sachs-International Council of Shopping Centers index of 37 stores reported that sales dropped 2.7% for November, making it the worst month since at least 1969, when the index started. Target's monthly sales were down 10.4%, Macy's dropped 13.3%, Kohl's declined 17.5% and Nordstrom was down 15.9%. As has been the pattern during much of the downturn-turned-recession, Wal-Mart remained the only winner, with a 3.4% increase in same-store sales over the previous year.
60% of CEOs see Job Cuts as AT&T, DuPont, United slash thousands
AT&T, United Airlines and DuPont joined the layoff parade Thursday, as the number of people drawing unemployment benefits hit a 26-year high. AT&T announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs, about 4% of its work force. DuPont says it will cut 2,500 jobs, mostly in its businesses that serve the
The Labor Department says
- JJ Commentary: Unions killed the U.S. auto industry making it impossible to compete against foreign manufacturers
European Central Bank makes its Biggest Ever Rate Cut
FRANKFURT (Reuters) — The European Central Bank cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point Thursday, its biggest move ever, as inflation plummets and the euro zone economy sinks deeper into recession. The move takes the ECB's main refinancing rate to 2.50%, lowest in nearly 2-1/2 years and marks the third cut in barely two months amidst signs the financial crisis is biting hard into the economy. Other central banks have taken even more aggressive moves, with the Swedish central bank cutting by a record 175 basis points or 1.75 percentage points, while the Bank of England cut rates by 100 basis points to 2.0%, their lowest level since 1951.A basis point is one-hundreth of a percetage point.
Oil hits near 4-year Low on Weak Economic News
VIENNA (AP) — Oil prices sank Thursday to lows last seen nearly four years ago as more bleak news from the world's largest economy boosted views that crude could tumble below $40 by the end of the year. Oil prices have tumbled about 69% since peaking at $147.27 in July. But trader and analyst Stephen Schork suggested that the price decline had some ways to go before bottoming out, despite the arrival of the cold season in the U.S. and elsewhere in the Western hemisphere, which traditionally drives up demand. Investors were dismayed at more poor economic news from the
Canadian Prime Minister Shuts Down Parliament
OTTAWA (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper shut down Parliament on Thursday in an unprecedented attempt to keep his government in power, fending off a no-confidence vote he was all but certain to lose. Less than two months after winning re-election, Harper successfully asked the unelected representative of the head of state for the power to close down Parliament until January, hoping to buy enough time to develop a stimulus package that could prop up the economy. Three opposition parties have united against Harper, charging he has failed to insulate
- JJ Commentary: People want someone to blame and the person at the top becomes the target. But neither Harper nor Bush nor any head of state is directly to blame for the financial crisis. Greedy banks, realtors and mortgage buyers bear the immediate blame, while decades of government debt-producing policies are the long-term culprit.
Iraq approves U.S. Security Pact
BAGHDAD (AP) —
10 killed, more than 100 Hurt in
BAGHDAD (AP) — Two suicide bombers in explosives-laden trucks took aim at police stations in the former Sunni insurgent stronghold of Fallujah on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 100, Iraqi officials said. The apparently coordinated blasts struck within minutes of each other outside the concrete barriers surrounding two police stations in different sections of Fallujah. Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of
MUMBAI, India (AP) — India has evidence that two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated the 60-hour siege of India's financial capital that killed 171 people, Indian officials said Thursday. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met in Islamabad with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who said he will take "strong action" against elements in his country that were involved in last week's terrorist attacks. The nearly three-day assault was carried out by 10 suspected Muslim militants against upscale hotels, a restaurant and other sites across Mumbai.
Riots Were Religious, Not Political, Nigerians Say
The Christian Post reports that Christians in
TOKYO (AP) — The Meteorological Agency says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 jolted the coast of northern
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Christian Post reports that church leaders in
Seniors with 'Purpose' Win Prizes
USA TODAY — The winners are a diverse lot: a former movie industry worker who used his skill to invent an inexpensive peanut sheller to help the poor in the developing world; a retired professor who's organized volunteers to help teach English to refugees; and a former New York executive who is helping give life skills and job guidance to ex-prisoners. They're among the top winners of the third annual Purpose Prize by San Francisco based Civic Ventures, a think tank and an incubator. The prizes honor social entrepreneurs over 60 who make a difference. The six top winners each get $100,000. Nine other winners each get $10,000.
Christian Leaders Urge Global Solidarity Against HIV
The Christian Post reports that several Christian leaders spread a message of love and compassion yesterday on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, encouraging the church to fight the epidemic and help those suffering from the disease. "Faith leaders should hence commit themselves to working towards achieving a generation without AIDS, and show loving care and support for those infected," former leader of
Thai Airports Reopen after PM Ousted by Court
1 in 5 young adults has personality disorder
CHICAGO (AP) — Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs, researchers reported Monday in the most extensive study of its kind. The disorders include problems such as obsessive or compulsive tendencies and anti-social behavior that can sometimes lead to violence. The study also found that fewer than 25% of college-aged Americans with mental problems get treatment. Experts praised the study's scope — face-to-face interviews about numerous disorders with more than 5,000 young people ages 19 to 25 — and said it spotlights a problem college administrators need to address. Counting substance abuse, the study found that nearly half of young people surveyed have some sort of psychiatric condition, including students and non-students.
- JJ Commentary: The increased immorality of our society opens the door to increased mental/emotional disorders that, in turn, are exacerbated by demonic influence.
The World is Moving Past USA in Higher Education
30-Mile Debris Pile in
Recession is Official, Economists Say
- JJ Commentary: It would have been a lot more helpful if these economists could have identified the economic downturn shortly after it started instead of waiting 11 months to make a backward declaration. Instead, the media and hopeful government economists kept saying it wasn’t a recession. Are they going to apologize now that they’ve been officially declared wrong? No, I don’t think so either.
Prices Falling, a Boon and a Problem
Mortgage applications more than doubled in the holiday week ended Nov. 28 from the week before, as interest rates plunged, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. The association's index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was up 112% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week earlier. The refinance index increased 203% from the previous week and the seasonally adjusted purchase index increased 38% from one week earlier. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 69% of applications from 49.3% the previous week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 5.47% from 5.99%, with points dropping to 1.16 from 1.23, including the origination fee, for 80% loan-to-value (LTV) loans.
Abysmal November Auto Sales fall 31%
Auto sales in November plummeted to the lowest monthly total in a quarter century as consumers hold back for better economic times. Sales tallies released by Autodata Tuesday showed a 36.7% drop in car and truck sales overall in November compared with the month last year. The 746,789 total sales marked the first time the industry failed to sell 750,000 vehicles in a single month since January 1982, Autodata said. Every big automaker, foreign and domestic, took a drubbing. General Motors' sales tumbled 41.3%, Ford Motor's fell 30.5%, and Chrysler's were off 47.1%, adding to the deep financial distress on the day their CEOs presented plans to Congress to make their case for a bailout.
Copes with Blight left by Shut Stores Maricopa County
As big-box retailers like
Job Cuts at Highest Level Since '02
JPMorgan will Cut 9,200 Jobs at Washington Mutual
Factory Closures, Layoffs Stir Unrest in
BEIJING — A wave of often violent protests poses a challenge to China's ruling Communist Party, as people take to the streets on issues ranging from factory closures to government land grabs. Thousands of taxi drivers in the southern Chinese city of
went on strike Monday during rush hour. It was the ninth city hit by a cab strike over the past month. The "recent mass incidents are the biggest political test the ruling party has faced since the 1989 incident" at Tiananmen Square, says Mao Shoulong, professor of public policy at Beijing's Renmin University, referring to the pro-democracy protests that year. "Social unrest is spreading, and Guangzhou 's leaders are worried about these problems." The global financial crisis sparked several protests last month as the slowdown in growth hits China 's export-dominated economy. China 's top economic planner, said last week that "excessive bankruptcies and production cuts will lead to massive unemployment and stir social unrest." And police chief Meng Jianzhu warned of "lots of social problems affecting stability under the current circumstances." Zhang Ping, China
's President Acknowledges Economy in Danger Iran
(AP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is acknowledging publicly for the first time that tumbling oil prices are gouging the country's fragile economy. The official IRNA news agency is quoting the increasingly unpopular president as saying TEHRAN, Iran will be forced to trim spending and generous subsidies and raise taxes. It's a sensitive admission for the Iranian president, who is seeking re-election in June. Oil prices have plunged from $147 a barrel in July to under $50, adding to the pain of Iran 's rising inflation and unemployment. Iran
- JJ Commentary: The lower oil prices are also hurting other OPEC nations, most of them Muslim and all of them anti-America. The hand of God?
Iran Holding Massive Naval Maneuvers near Persian Gulf
Panel Warns Biological or Nuclear Attack Likely by 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013, reports a bipartisan commission in a study being briefed Tuesday to Vice President-elect Joe Biden. The report suggests the Obama administration bolster efforts to counter and prepare for germ warfare by terrorists. The commission is also encouraging the new White House to appoint one official on the National Security Council to exclusively coordinate
NATO backs U.S. Missile Shield
BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO foreign ministers on Wednesday confirmed their support for
U.S. plans to install anti-missile defenses in Europe despite 's strong opposition. The ministers said the planned Russia U.S. defenses in Poland and the will make a "substantial contribution" to protecting allies from the threat of long-range ballistic missiles. Czech Republic Russia has vehemently opposed the deployment, threatening to respond by placing short-range missiles in its westernmost region, Kaliningrad, which borders . The Poland U.S. insists the defenses are aimed at potential attack from Iran and pose no threat to 's ballistic arsenal. Russia
Israeli Riot Police Move into
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli security officials say hundreds of riot police have been sent into the volatile West Bank town of
after several days of unrest. Extremist Jewish settlers have been attacking Palestinians and Israeli soldiers there. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the paramilitary border police will replace soldiers on duty in the area. He says the police are better trained to deal with the recent clashes. The unrest has taken place around a house where settlers have holed up in defiance of an Israeli Supreme Court eviction order. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that the eviction order would be enforced. Jewish settlers and Palestinian protesters clashed in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday morning after some 1,500 supporters of the settler movement poured into the area following rumors that the IDF would soon move to evict the nine families living in the disputed Beit Hashalom apartment building. Hebron
Cholera outbreak out of control in Zimbabwe
Cholera has spread to more than 11,700 people in
since August, according to the United Nations. The disease, a diarrheal illness that spreads through contaminated water, has reportedly killed at least 484 people in recent months. Deutsche Press-Agentur reports that the outbreak is crossing international borders, with cholera deaths now being reported in Zimbabwe . The World Health Organization says the fatality rate reached 50% in some parts of South Africa . "Cholera outbreaks in Zimbabwe have occurred annually since 1998, but previous epidemics never reached today's proportions," WHO says. Zimbabwe
Haitians Still in Need after Hurricane Season
Mission News Network reports that the eight hurricanes which slammed
Dry conditions could fuel fires in South
— Wildfires have burned more than 2.3 million acres across the South so far this year, and the region has accounted for more than half the fires reported across the country, according to a report issued Monday. The one-year high for the South was 2006, with 2.6 million acres burned, according to the NEW ORLEANS . The fire center, in an outlook released Monday, says dry conditions in parts of south-central National Interagency Fire Center Texas and are expected this winter to help create or worsen an above normal potential for significant fires, or fires that need additional, outside resources to fight. Oklahoma
Faces Worst Flooding in 20 Years Venice
VENICE, Italy (AP) — could use a bailout. The city built on water has too much of it. Residents and tourists waded through knee-deep water Monday as they navigated the city's narrow streets and alleys, and its historic St. Mark's Square was inundated. Boxes of tourist merchandise floated inside the flooded shops around the square and even the city's famed pigeons sought refuge on rooftops and windowsills. One of the highest tides in its history brought Venice to a virtual halt, rekindling a debate over a plan to build moveable flood barriers in an effort to save the lagoon city from high tides. City officials said the tide peaked at 61 inches, well past the 40-inch flood mark, as strong winds pushed the sea into the city. Venice
Earthquake strikes Taiwan
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau says the magnitude 6.0 quake struck just offshore, near a sparsely populated area about 20 miles north of the city of . Buildings shook in Taidung about 90 miles to the northwest of the epicenter.authorities say a powerful earthquake has struck the southeastern part of the island. Taipei,
Monday, December 1, 2008
Power may Shift to Anti-Abortion Side in AZ
One by one, the Legislature has approved bills barring the use of state funds for abortion, requiring that prospective patients be notified of the pain their fetus would endure and otherwise making the procedure less accessible to women and minors. And, one by one, Gov. Janet Napolitano has vetoed them - sometimes the same provisions more than once in a legislative session. Along the way, the two-term Democrat has earned a reputation as a staunch defender of abortion rights. Since taking office in 2003, Napolitano has vetoed at least nine measures limiting abortion. But opponents of the procedure are hopeful the legislative blockade will soon be at an end. Napolitano is expected to join the incoming Obama administration as secretary of Homeland Security. In her place would step Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer, an abortion opponent more in line with GOP legislative leaders. The potential impact of GOP control of the state House, Senate and Governor's Office isn't lost on abortion-rights advocates.
- JJ Commentary: Goodbye and good riddance to Napolitano. Arizona is reaping the rewards of being a national leader in prayer.
Abraham's Children: An Unquiet Grave in the
HEBRON, West Bank (AP) — With its dueling street names, barbed wire barricades and the tomb of a shared patriarch split between two religions, the city of Abraham takes the feud between Israelis and Palestinians to its outer limits. Even a humble olive harvest is a cue for violence in
Jews and Arabs both claim descent from the biblical patriarch, but their relationship in
- JJ Commentary: This ancient feud between the relatives of Ishmael (Abraham’s first son by the Egyptian handmaiden Hagar) and Isaac (the son God promised the 90-year old Abraham and his wife Sarah) is the source of all
Middle Eastconflict. Ishmael fathered the Arabs, Isaac the Jews. However, this feud has been rendered irrelevant by Jesus Christ who bought a new covenant to reconcile all people to God the one true Father. Unfortunately, the Bible says this feud will eventually fuel the Great Tribulation.
Stocks Rise for Fifth Straight Day
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks finished higher Friday, wrapping up its biggest five-day rally in more than 75 years, even as investors digested signs of a bleak holiday season for retailers and fears that a flurry of reports next week will show more economic distress. The market got big boosts over the past week from President-elect Barack Obama naming his economic team, the government propping up Citigroup, and the Federal Reserve deciding to buy massive amounts of mortgage-backed securities. These efforts reassured the market that broad efforts are still being made to fight the financial crisis that intensified in September with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.
- JJ Commentary: There will be a temporary respite in the economy as the bailout frees credit and props up the financial system. However, this is only a tiny patch on a debt-ridden economy that will collapse as part of the unfolding end-time scenario.
Cities Cut Back, Expecting Shortfalls
Economic Downturn has More Folks Stashing their Cash
USA TODAY — The personal saving rate, which measures how much people save out of disposable income, was 1.3% in the July-September quarter. Although that's low in comparison with other countries and a far cry from the double-digit percentages seen most recently in 1985, it's more than twice last year's rate. But economists predict that once the economy improves, Americans will return to their shop-till-you-drop ways. And it's unclear how much Americans are cutting back. A USA TODAY/Gallup survey conducted in early November found that only 32% of Americans are saving more as a result of the economic downturn.
Faces or Finances? Economy Cuts into Cosmetic Procedures
- JJ Commentary: A frivolous item perhaps, but an indicator of where we’ve been as a society. So now there’s two good things about the meltdown (gas prices the other).
Students Cheat, Steal, but Say They're Good
NEW YORK (AP) — In the past year, 30% of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64% have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards. The Josephson Institute, a Los Angeles-based ethics institute, surveyed 29,760 students at 100 randomly selected high schools nationwide, both public and private. Cheating in school is rampant and getting worse. Sixty-four percent of students cheated on a test in the past year and 38% did so two or more times, up from 60% and 35% in a 2006 survey. Despite such responses, 93% of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77% affirmed that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."
- JJ Commentary: That’s the trouble with relativism – people compare themselves to each other instead of an absolute standard leading to a downward spiral of moral decay.
Hillary Clinton Named Secretary of State
- JJ Commentary: This is the key position demanded by the New World Order folks to further their cause of a one-world government. Obama is an unwitting but willing dupe.
100,000 Stranded in
Mumbai Struggles to Heal
MUMBAI, India (AP) — With corpses still being pulled from a once-besieged hotel, India's top security official resigned Sunday as the government struggled under growing accusations of security failures following terror attacks that killed 174 people. Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who has become highly unpopular during a long series of terror attacks across
The rampage was carried out by gunmen at 10 sites across Mumbai starting Wednesday night. At least 239 were wounded A previously unknown Muslim group called Deccan Mujahideen — a name suggesting origins inside
Death Toll over 300 in Nigerian Riots
JOS, Nigeria (AP) — Mobs burned homes, churches and mosques Saturday in a second day of riots, as the death toll rose to more than 300 in the worst sectarian violence in Africa's most populous nation in years. The fighting began as clashes between supporters of the region's two main political parties following the first local election in the town of
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military will upgrade its missiles in response to
- JJ Commentary: Back to the future of Cold War politics.