In Baghdad, the blackened cars outside churches and abandoned houses where people once worshiped point to an even greater emptiness in Iraq. Since the war, Christians have faced great persecution and hardship, all signaling a new era in a country that was once the cradle of their faith. While it may be home to the ancient cities of Ninevah and Babylon, Ur and the Garden of Eden, families of God are fleeing Iraq—afraid for their lives and the daily threat of terrorism. Frightened by a future where they would be hunted or outcast, thousands of Christians have fled for safe havens.
In the past few years, the fragile peace between the country’s Christians and Muslims has been shattered. God-fearing Iraqis have watched helplessly as their brothers and sisters in Christ fall victim to bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and intimidation. In the face of great suffering, the shrinking population still searches for asylum. By record numbers, nearly half of what was once considered the world’s oldest Christian body has disappeared. As one religious leader said, “The situation that is in the country will not allow us to practice our services freely. It is not safe to go [out] from home. We are meeting every Sabbath, but it is very difficult. We expect an explosion at any time during the day.” Like every Iraqi, he prays for a better tomorrow. “We hope that things will change,” he said. “But no one knows except God.”
Two thousand years ago, the fate of the world hung by a similar thread. A virgin birth. The innocent manger. A promise of salvation. All were endangered by a Middle Eastern tyrant who slaughtered millions in hopes of killing the rightful King, Jesus Christ.
I don’t know how accurate this story is, but it is consistent with the use of adult stem cells to treat patients for heart damage. The hospital mentioned, Frontier Lifeline Hospital, is focusing on cardiac care. In fact, according to this recent story, An invaluable exposure, Frontier Lifeline Hospital is working with Iraqi doctors and surgeons to help them get up to speed on newer techniques for treating heart damage. Iraqi doctors are struggling to treat heart trauma resulting from the war in Iraq, so some of them have gone for more training in India.
I predicted Al D’Amato would beat Chuck Schumer. I predicted George H. W. Bush would beat Bill Clinton. I predicted Hillary Clinton would never become Senator of New York State. I predicted the Republicans would retain both Chambers of Congress. I predicted a ship like the Titanic could never be sunk and the Hindenburg was as safe as a horseless carriage. Finally, I predicted that the Democratic leadership wouldn’t be able to help themselves after winning Congress and would throw a lavish Hollywood type “Inaugural” - the kind normally reserved for Presidential elections. I guess I had to be right one of these times:
Tony Bennett is coming, of course, to croon his trademark “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Carole King and Wyclef Jean will be there. Mayor Gavin Newsom is scheduled to be there, too.
And a big delegation of San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and labor leaders is jetting back East, together no less.
All will converge on Washington in early January to take part in four days of events surrounding the swearing-in of Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, who will be elected the new speaker of the House and the first woman and first Californian to occupy the post.
After running through a long list of planned events designed to highlight different phases of 66-year-old Pelosi’s life, her spokesman Brendan Daly said, “Overall this is who Nancy Pelosi is. And this is a chance for people to meet Nancy Pelosi and see who she is.”
A couple of FDA items in the news yesterday are of interest, as is an oped about dealing with drug costs. First, the Washington Post reports on a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study that new drugs are decreasing while the cost of drug R&D is increasing. In fact, the cost of R&D for drugs has increased to $60 billion annually from 1993 to 2004.
The amount of regulation on drug companies is definitely part of the reason for the enormous costs of getting new drugs to the market. I had a friend working for a company, and her job was to help companies run clinical trials in line with FDA regs. After a trial was complete, she said the amount of paperwork literally filled two trucks (not pickup trucks either). The amount of paper work alone has got to drive up costs, which of course are passed on to the consumer.
Second, it was widely reported yesterday that the FDA will require clearer labels for over-the-counter pain meds. I was shocked at how many deaths are attributed to pain killers (Tylenol, Aleve, etc). According to a Washington Post article:
Mishandling classified information, committing a crime and then lying to cover it up - and then when caught he still denies everything!! Where did he learn his ethics from? Oh wait I forgot who his former boss was.
President Clinton’s national security adviser removed classified documents from the National Archives, hid them under a construction trailer and later tried to find the trash collector to retrieve them, the agency’s internal watchdog said Wednesday.
The report was issued more than a year after Sandy Berger pleaded guilty and received a criminal sentence for removing the documents.
Berger took the documents in the fall of 2003 while working to prepare himself and Clinton administration witnesses for testimony to the Sept. 11 commission. Berger was authorized as the Clinton administration’s representative to make sure the commission got the correct classified materials.
A green exit sign shows a woman, rather than a man, running for the door, while a traffic light features another crossing the street in a new initiative by the City of Vienna to raise awareness about gender equality.
The campaign, launched on Thursday and entitled “Wien sieht’s anders” (Vienna sees it differently) is part of the City’s “Gender Mainstreaming” project.
Its aim is to “give both genders the same exposure and ensure an equal distribution of chances, opportunities and duties” by changing the gender of figures pictured on familiar signs, City Hall said in a statement.
“Because it clashes with fixed visual habits, the campaign compels (people) to think, look and act differently,” Sonja Wehsely, city councillor in charge of women’s affairs, said in the statement.
Thus, signs using male characters will have their female equivalent, while the opposite will also be true.
Female exit signs and pictograms in bathrooms featuring a man, rather than a woman, changing a baby, will be introduced at City Hall to start with, the statement said.
Seats reserved for the elderly and pregnant women on Vienna’s buses and trams will soon also picture a man carrying a child on his lap.
The Associated Press reports that 7,000 fewer girls are born in India every day. The increased use of ultrasound in India has made sex-selection that much easier. The number of abortions of girls is staggering. Indian officials aren’t pleased:
“Female feticide should be treated as a crime and not just a social evil, therefore stringent punishment and punitive action is required,” said Renuka Choudhury, India’s women and child development minister.
She’s correct. But why isn’t abortion of any child regardless of sex viewed as a form of feticide?
A killer elephant named Osama bin Laden that is thought to be responsible for the deaths of at least fourteen people in India has been shot dead. ‘Osama’ had reportedly trampled 14 people to death in the past six months in the north-eastern state, the BBC reported.
He was given his name by villagers in Assam’s eastern district of Sonitpur. Reuters is reporting that a forestry official said on Sunday “Osama” had been shot dead on Saturday in a tea plantation on the outskirts of Behali town, about 140 km (90 miles) north of Guwahati, Assam’s main city.
“The elephant was killed after villagers identified him,” a senior forestry official said, adding the animal could be identified because it had no tusks.
District’s 10-year-old policy stirs debate before the high school’s annual holiday concert.
The “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah,” “Glory, Glory” and “Weep O Mine Eyes” are among the repertoire of musical selections to be sung by the nearly 300 members of Howell High School choirs at 7 tonight and Thursday.
But, for every religious song performed by the nine choral groups, 3.33 others have to be secular yuletide offerings as required under a school district’s policy.
“We’re falling within the guidelines. I comply with (the rules) although I don’t agree. I just find the whole thing disturbing that we’re not able to do all the literature I’d like to do,” said Rod Bushey, choral director at Howell High.