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