Saturday, March 19, 2011

Planned Parenthood is Abortion Violence Masquerading as Compassion

by Tom Grenchik
Washington, DC
A priest friend of mine has been known to say, “abortion is nothing more than violence masquerading as compassion.” Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, tries hard to keep public focus on their “compassionate” services to women and not on the grisly reality that they put to death over 300,000 defenseless children, year in and year out.

As much as abortion advocates struggle to hide that violence from the public view, nothing can hide the ongoing revelations of botched abortions and wanton injuries and deaths of mothers undergoing abortions coming from many abortion clinics around the country.

The news of Dr. Gosnell’s chamber of horrors abortion factory in Philadelphia was the most dramatic example of the depravity to which a person might sink when he makes his living by killing children. Abortion makes fast money with little-to-no government regulation. the rest

In Ethiopia, Muslims burn 69 churches

Mar 17, 2011
 by Melanie Clinton
ASENDABO, Ethiopia

 (BP)--Muslims have killed at least one Christian and wounded several others in anti-Christian violence in western Ethiopia, according to International Christian Concern, an organization that helps persecuted Christians worldwide.

ICC also is reporting that Muslims have burned down 69 church buildings, 30 Christian homes, a Bible school, a Christian orphanage and a church office.

The anti-Christian attacks started March 2 after Muslims allegedly accused Christians of desecrating the Quran, the Islamic holy book. Violence continues to affect residents of the area. During the initial days of the attacks 3,000 Christians were displaced; ICC reports those numbers now have climbed to 10,000. the rest

Disaster pushes Japanese beyond secular thinking

Mar 18, 2011
by Susie Rain

EDITOR'S NOTE: All International Mission Board personnel in east Japan began relocating southwest of Tokyo March 18 in response to deteriorating conditions following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power crisis,. They will be given temporary assignments south of Nagoya. The relocation is expected to be complete by Saturday, March 19. Navy Admiral Robert Willard had announced Thursday that the military has developed contingency plans to evacuate 87,000 Americans — including Defense Department personnel — from Tokyo and the surrounding areas.

TOKYO (BP)--Thousands of the little wooden prayer tablets rattle softly in the cold, spring breeze, a symphony of soft clattering that drifts out from the Shinto shrine.
Images and characters burned on one side of the tablet symbolize hope. On the other side, carefully handwritten prayers and wishes are written to the deities of the Meiji Jingu Shrine.
Not surprisingly, the "prayer wall" focuses on Japan's triple disaster -- a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, a tsunami and nuclear crisis.  the rest

While most Westerners often are preoccupied with causes of disaster -- the questions of why God would allow an earthquake, for example -- Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Shinto focus on behavior in reaction to tragedy. It is very important in Japanese life to react in a positive way, to be persistent and to clean up in the face of adversity.

The Lutheran Landslide

Increasing Number of Lutherans are Coming into the Catholic Church
by Tim Drake
Friday, March 18, 2011

One of the most under-reported religious stories of the past decade has been the movement of Lutherans across the Tiber.

What first began with prominent Lutherans, such as Richard John Neuhaus (1990) and Robert Wilken (1994), coming into the Catholic Church, has become more of a landslide that could culminate in a larger body of Lutherans coming into the collectively. the rest
Over the past several years, an increasing number of Lutheran theologians have joined the Church’s ranks, some of whom now teach at Catholic colleges and universities. They include, but are not limited to: Paul Quist (2005), Richard Ballard (2006), Paul Abbe (2006), Thomas McMichael, Mickey Mattox, David Fagerberg, Bruce Marshall, Reinhard Hutter, Philip Max Johnson, and most recently, Dr. Michael Root (2010).

Crisis deepens in Libya and Egypt

March 19, 2011
by George Conger

The Anglican flag remains flying in Tripoli, the Bishop of Egypt reports, in the midst of the revolution to oust Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

On March 13, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt reported that the Rev. Hamdy Doud, the assistant rector of Christ the King Church remained in Tripoli, caring for the church.

Two of the three clergy have been evacuated from Libya as have the Western expatriate members of the congregation, Bishop Anis reported. However, a number of Anglican Africans remained in the city, unable to flee.

“It is my responsibility to keep the Christian presence here,” Fr. Hamdy told Bishop Anis, adding that he and the city’s “Roman Catholic priests are having a good time of fellowship in spite of the crisis in Libya.”  the rest

Friday, March 18, 2011

Devotional: No amount of money, genius, or culture...

No amount of money, genius, or culture can move things for God. Holiness energizing the soul, the whole man aflame with love, with desire for more faith, more prayer, more zeal, more consecration -- this is the secret of power. These we need and must have, and men must be the incarnation of this God-inflamed devotedness. God's advance has been stayed, his cause crippled: his name dishonored for their lack. Genius (though the loftiest and most gifted), education (though the most learned and refined), position, dignity, place, honored names, high ecclesiastics cannot move this chariot of our God...It is a fiery one, and fiery forces only can move it.  ...EM Bounds image

Mainline rides the pine

The old Protestant denominations continue their decades-long decline 
 Timothy Dalrymple
posted March 18, 2011

When a leader in the National Council of Churches wrote in 1972 that the mainline churches were shrinking while conservative churches were growing, he was furiously criticized. Yet Dean Kelley's thesis has gone from controversial to confirmed in less than 40 years.

Witness the 2011 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, which the National Council of Churches released in February. The yearbook presents information on 227 church bodies, on the basis of data collected and submitted (or estimated in the case of uncooperative groups) over the previous two years. The Catholic Church remains the largest religious body by far, with 68.5 million members, followed by the Southern Baptist Convention, with 16.2 million. Yet the most striking figures in the 2011 yearbook are the continued declines among mainline denominations. the rest

Verb: ride the pine:
1.(sports) To sit on the bench, to not be used in a game

Alaska seeks to bar sharia law from courts

Mar 17, 2011
JUNEAU, Alaska

(AP) — An Alaskan lawmaker hopes to guard against Islamic Sharia law by prohibiting state courts from honoring foreign law that violates Alaskan or U.S. constitutional rights.

Though the bill's language does not specifically target Sharia, Rep. Carl Gatto, R-Palmer, said the legislation is a reaction to what he sees as the growing use of international law codes in courts that have robbed people of their constitutional rights.

In a hearing before the House State Affairs Committee, Gatto's chief of staff Karen Sawyer said Sharia is an example of the type of transnational law that has appeared in family law, divorce and child custody cases nationally, though she knows of instances of it appearing in Alaska courts.

"Sharia is clearly offensive to the U.S. Constitution," Sawyer said. "It is the foremost foreign law that is impacting our legal system." the rest

Malaysian Court Upholds Rule Limiting Syariah Law Practice To Muslims

Priest Forced to Give Up 40 days of Muslim Lent

Thursday March 17, 2011

 (RNS) The Rev. Steve Lawler should have just given up chocolate or television for Lent.

Instead, Lawler, the part-time rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, decided to adopt the rituals of Islam for 40 days to gain a deeper understanding of the faith.

Two days after it began, he faced being defrocked if he continued in those endeavors.

"He can't be both a Christian and a Muslim," said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. "If he chooses to practice as Muslim, then he would, by default, give up his Christian identity and priesthood in the church."

Lawler didn't foresee such problems when he came up with the idea. He merely wanted to learn more about Islam, he said, especially in light of the ongoing congressional hearings on the radicalization of the faith.  the rest

Arghhhh!!!!! Clowning around with Stations of the Cross

17 March 2011
by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Why can’t Stations of the Cross just be Stations of the Cross?

A reader alerted me to this event posted (at the time of this writing) on the website of The Evangelist, the official publication of the Diocese of Albany....

...Okay… to be fair, this doesn’t say that the people leading this will be doing so in clown costumes. Is it safe to assume that the people involved in Clown Ministry have volunteered to serve at Friday Stations in, say, cassock and surplice? It’s possible. You know… Archconfraternity of St. Stephen takes a turn… Knights of Columbus take a turn… Boy Scouts take a turn… Clown Company takes a turn… Holy Name Society takes a turn….

But my suspicion is that there may in fact be clown make-up and costumes involved in this case. Just a guess. the rest

Man vows to fast on beer during Lent

IVF: Enough Will Never Be Enough

March 16th, 2011
By Wesley J. Smith, J.D.

UK scientists announced that they will ask the rarely-says-no UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for permission to implant an IVF embryo that is biologically related to three parents (two women and one man). The genetically modified embryo will be created by taking the mitochondrial DNA from a second (destroyed) embryo and replacing it for that of the first. The purpose is to prevent maternally passed genetic diseases. But health is always the justification for opening doors best kept closed. If it succeeds, the technology will not long remain limited to the few and far between. These things rarely do.

The three-parent child would not be possible without in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF has unquestionably helped bring great joy to the barren and brought precious children into the world who otherwise would not exist. But that is far from the whole story. It has also unleashed a terrible hubris around human reproduction, mutating it into a form of manufacture, including such staples of industrialization as special orders for style, warehousing, quality control, harvesting natural resources to support the industry, and independent service contractors who facilitate productivity and efficiency.

The baby manufacturing industry also has an aggressive political lobbying arm, ever on the ready to castigate those who question the wisdom of the current laissez faire system as being cruelly insensitive to the pain of barren families. No wonder cowardly American politicians have yet to muster the true grit to enact even modest regulations.
the rest image

» The human egg has become, pound for pound, the most valuable commodity on the face of the earth, with eugenically desirable (beautiful, brilliant) women paid tens of thousands of dollars for twenty microscopic eggs. The health consequences to these women are potentially very serious, as vividly exposed in the award winning CBC documentary, Eggsploitation.
» Embryos are indeed discarded as medical waste, in Goodman’s words, as if they are "no more meaningful than a dish of caviar."
» Embryos are eugenically selected for implantation or discarding, with embryos not only selected out for health reasons, but also for superficial cosmetic purposes such as eye and hair color.
» Bioethicists and futurists look to the technology as a method to eventually "seize control of our own evolution" by genetically engineering our progeny, say, for greater intelligence.
» Hundreds of thousands of embryos have been stored and are now, with the advent of embryonic stem cell research, seen by biotechnological researchers as mere natural resources ripe for the harvest.
» Concomitantly, to further the objectification of human life, many bioethics and scientific groups have engaged in post-modern biological redefinitionism, for example, claiming that embryos only become real embryos after implantation. Before that, they are mere "balls of cells" that are no different from the cells we lose every morning when we brush our teeth...

Oxford ethicist: keep clever embryos, destroy the rest

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crisis Prompts Exodus of Executives From Tokyo

March 17, 2011

TOKYO — The crisis at the nuclear power plant 140 miles north of here is leading to a steady but orderly departure of business executives from Tokyo. Foreigners in particular are among those leaving, as concerns grow about the possibility of a catastrophic release of radiation and governments urge their citizens to consider seeking safety elsewhere in Japan or overseas.

Much as in 2003, when the SARS virus slowed business around Asia, a peculiar psychology has taken hold in Tokyo, where businessmen with the wherewithal are weighing whether to decamp to cities south and west of Tokyo — or wait and see whether the nuclear emergency escalates further.

In addition to the distraction of relocating employees, the confusion in some cases is preventing companies from addressing urgent problems in shattered plants and facilities along the northeastern coast of the main island, Honshu, which was ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami last week. the rest

U.S. Says It’s Intensifying Radiation Checks of Japan Flights

Pope makes former Anglican bishops monsignori

By Anna Arco
Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Pope has honoured three former Anglican bishops, the first members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, with the title of monsignor.

Fr Keith Newton, the leader of the Ordinariate who has most of the functions of a bishop, and Fr John Broadhurst, the former Bishop of Fulham, have been granted the papal award of Apostolic Pronotary, the highest ecclesial title for non-bishops. Fr Andrew Burnham, the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, has been granted the papal award of Prelate of Honour, and is therefore also a monsignor.

The three men became the first clergy of the world’s first personal ordinariate set up for groups of former Anglicans as a result of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in January. the rest

Japan: A Long, Painful Reckoning

MARCH 17, 2011

The number of dead and missing after Japan's twin earthquake and tsunami stood late Wednesday, officially, at 12,920.

In reality, Japanese widely agree, the toll of last week's disaster is likely much higher. In Miyagi, a coastal prefecture that bore some of the tsunami's worst destruction, officials estimate the toll there alone will be in the tens of thousands.

Accounting for the gap between the official and true count are places like Otsuchi, until March 11 a town of about 15,000 people on Japan's northeastern coast.

Japan won't declare someone missing unless they have been reported missing. In Otsuchi, where Friday's tsunami is believed to have swept away entire neighborhoods and families, no one is left in many cases to report names. About 5,000 people were evacuated. Otuchi's dead number 221, officially. Seven are declared missing. That leaves more than 9,000 uncounted. the rest

Japan: 15,000 dead or missing since quake

Japan earthquake: A week in pictures

New York mayor signs pregnancy center gag law: pro-life groups to challenge in court

by Kathleen Gilbert
Wed Mar 16, 2011

( - The mayor of New York City has signed a controversial gag rule against pro-life pregnancy resource centers that local advocates have vowed to challenge in court.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Initiative 371-A Wednesday afternoon. “This is a sad day for free speech” said Chris Slattery, founder of Expectant Mother Care and a top New York City pro-life advocate. The law, which had been passed by the city council last month in a 39-9-1 vote gives local authorities “unbridled discretion” against the pregnancy resource centers said Slattery.

The law, similar to one in Maryland recently deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge, forces pro-life pregnancy centers to prominently display whether they perform abortions in both English and Spanish at their entrances, as well as on all promotional material. the rest

Pakistani Christians convert to Islam because of threats and intimidations

This is the rate is 60 per month. In one madrassa in Lahore alone, 678 Christians embraced Islam in 2009. Last year they were almost 700. These are “dangerous days” minorities, activists say as the blasphemy law is used to force them to change religion.
by Aoun Sahi*

(AsiaNews/TNS) – On a sunny afternoon in the second week of February 2011, 45-year-old Azra Bibi, clad in black shawl, entered the reception of Jamia Naeemia with her ten year old son, a leading Sunni-Barelvi madrassa situated in a congested area of Lahore. Accompanied by a 45-year-old Muslim witness Chaudhry Muhammad Islam, Azra a recent convert to Islam along with her six children asked for the imam of the Jamia. She has come here to get proper documents to prove in the court that she was no longer a Christian.

The young receptionist at Jamia Naeemia talks to the principal on telephone opens the side drawer of his dented metal table and pulls out a two-inch-thick book wrapped in a blue cover. He finds a blank page and starts writing her details. the rest
Jacob thinks that security has become a major reason for marginalised and discriminated Christian community to convert to Islam. “Blasphemy laws are also being misused to pressurise Christians to convert to Islam.”

Imprisoned Pakistani Christian Found Dead

The Global War Against Baby Girls

Mar 16, 2011
Joe Carter

If you were asked to name the technologies whose proliferation inadvertently threatens the human race, what would you include? Landmines? Assault rifles? Nuclear warheads?

Add this one to your list: the sonogram machine.

The widespread use of sonogram technology—coupled with liberal abortion laws—has made it easier than ever for women to identify the sex of their child so that those without a Y chromosome can be killed before they’re even born. In a speech before the United Nations, demographer Nicholas Eberstadt revealed the details of this frightening trend:
Over the past five years the American public has received regular updates on what we have come to call “the global war on terror”. A no-less significant global war—a war, indeed, against nature, civilization, and in fact humanity itself has also been underway in recent years. This latter war, however, has attracted much less attention and comment, despite its immense consequence. This world-wide struggle might be called” The Global War Against Baby Girls”.
The effects of this war on girls can be clearly seen in the changes in sex ratios at birth. Eberstadt explains that there is a “slight but constant and almost unvarying excess of baby boys over baby girls born in any population.” The number of baby boys born for every hundred baby girls, which is so constant that it can “qualify as a rule of nature,” falls along an extremely narrow range along the order of 103, 104, or 105. On rare occasions it even hovers around 106.
 the rest image by Mark Evans

Bishop: Tsunami has made us ‘miserable’

Churches in Japan are still desperately trying to confirm the safety of their parishioners six days after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the north-eastern region.
by Brian Hutt
Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Bishop of Tohoku, the Rt Rev John Hiromichi Kato, said that the affected area was very wide and diocesan staff had not been able to visit all areas.

One member of St John’s Church, Isoyama, has been confirmed dead but there has still been no news of the tiny church’s other seven members.

“We pray that they are all safe in some temporary shelter,” said Bishop Kato.

The diocese’s main church, Christ Church Sendai, has still not been able to locate some of its members. the rest

Germany: Teaching Christian morality gets parents jailed

Mom, 2 fathers latest to serve 6-week terms for opposing explicit sex ed March 15, 2011
By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

Authorities in Paderborn, Germany, today sent two fathers to jail for refusing to allow the public school system to indoctrinate their children with a sex philosophy that "if it feels good, do it." Another student's mother already had been imprisoned for the same offense.

The latest developments in Germany's campaign to make certain all children are taught the state's permissive view of sexuality have raised questions about the basic human rights of parents to choose moral teaching for their children.  the rest

U.S. denies paying Sharia blood money to free CIA contractor

March 16, 2011

Curiouser and curiouser. An update on this story. "U.S. denies paid compensation over Pakistan killings," from  Reuters March 16 (thanks to Block Ness):
CAIRO (Reuters) – The United States did not pay compensation to the families of two Pakistanis killed by a CIA contractor who was acquitted of their murder on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
The contractor, Raymond Davis, 36, was acquitted and released by a Pakistani court after a deal to pay "blood money" to the victims' families, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Reuters earlier on Wednesday.

Clinton told reporters in Cairo: "The United States did not pay any compensation." Asked who did, she replied: "You will have to ask the families."
the rest

Feel free to use it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Muslims ask for use of empty French churches

March 15, 2011

Muslims in France have asked for the use of empty Catholic churches, saying that this would "prevent Muslims from having to pray in the streets." Father Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit expert on Islam, explains why the proposal is absurd.

Christian churches are consecrated: sacred places, dedicated to worship, Father Samir says. If they are now empty, it is not by design; they are intended to be filled by a Christian community. To make them appropriate for Muslim worship would mean removing Christian elements and bringing in Islamic ones. Muslims would undoubtedly object if, later, the churches were returned to Christian worship. the rest

Planned Parenthood lobbies against bill requiring sex abuse reporting

by Kathleen Gilbert
Tue Mar 15, 2011

 ( - Following a string of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees failing to report child rape and underage sex trafficking, the organization’s Illinois affiliate is lobbying against a state bill that would broaden the duty to report such abuse.

David Schmidt of Live Action, the pro-life group responsible for exposing Planned Parenthood employees’ failures to report child abuse, on Saturday reported that Planned Parenthood’s form petition to Illinois state senators urges a “no” vote on HB 2093, a measure intended to extend the reporting mandate to all staff at health care facilities, instead of only licensed health care workers.

In the letter Planned Parenthood argues: “All doctors, nurses and teachers are already mandated reporters. Therefore, these organizations are already legally required to make reports. This bill creates redundant regulations that have the potential to overload the Department of Children and Family Services.” the rest

Albert Mohler: We Have Seen All This Before: Rob Bell and the (Re)Emergence of Liberal Theology

In this new book, Rob Bell takes his stand with those who have tried to rescue Christianity from itself. This is a massive tragedy by any measure.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The novelist Saul Bellow once remarked that being a prophet is nice work if you can get it. The only problem, he suggested, is that sooner or later a prophet has to speak of God, and at that point the prophet has to speak clearly. In other words, the prophet will have to speak with specificity about who God is, and at that point the options narrow.

For the last twenty years or so, a movement identified as emerging or emergent Christianity has done its determined best to avoid speaking with specificity. Leading figures in the movement have offered trenchant criticisms of mainstream evangelicalism. Most pointedly, they have accused evangelical Christianity, variously, as being excessively concerned with doctrine, culturally tone-deaf, overly propositional, unnecessarily offensive, aesthetically malnourished, and basically uncool.

Many of their criticisms hit home — especially those rooted in cultural concerns — but others betrayed what can only be described as an awkward relationship with orthodox Christian theology. From the very beginning of the movement, many of the emerging church’s leaders called for a major transformation in evangelical theology. the rest
The liberals did not set out to destroy Christianity. To the contrary, they were certain that they were rescuing Christianity from itself. Their rescue effort required the surrender of the doctrines that the modern age found most difficult to accept, and the doctrine of hell was front and center on their list of doctrines that must go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reverse My Thinking About God

Catholics in England and Wales say 900 leave Church of England to join ordinariate

By Robert Barr
posted March 15, 2011

LONDON — About 900 members of the Church of England have taken the first step toward becoming Catholics, the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales said Tuesday.

The converts participated in a Rite of Election, the first step toward confirmation, over the weekend, the church said.

They will be joining the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, established by Pope Benedict XVI to receive Anglicans who increasingly have felt isolated since the Church of England decided in 1992 to ordain women as priests.

Tensions have grown as the governing General Synod moves to allow women to become bishops while denying any specific protection for traditionalists. Converts joining the ordinariate will be allowed to keep some Anglican liturgy and traditions. the rest

Mere Anglicanism 2011: Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali


Where Have All the Children Gone?

March 15, 2011
By Jerome Koch

Where have all the children gone? It's a problem that Mark Steyn first addressed in his book America Alone. Other than a piece Jonathan Last recently wrote for Weekly Standard, few if any reporters, pundits, politicians, or scholars seemed to take any interest. This is rather astonishing in so far as everything from our national security, economy, and future well-being depends on our ability to procreate. As Mark Steyn quipped, "...a people that won't multiply can't go forth or go anywhere. Those who do will shape the age we live in."

If one is to glimpse at the TFR (Total Fertility Rates, measured in children per female. One can get them via the CIA Fact Book, Wiki, and various UN publications) he would see that from a TFR of 4.78 in 1970, the global fertility rate fell to 2.56 in 2010. If one is to glance at individual nations, he will notice that some of the lowest rates are in Europe and the former USSR. Poland has a TFR of 1.26, Romania's is 1.20, and the Ukraine's is under 1.3. In Italy, Greece, Spain, France, the UK, Germany and Portugal the TFRs are below 1.5. Scandinavia as a whole fares a little better with TFR's just under 1.9 children per female. But, before these north European nations put themselves on their backs, it should be noted that Scandinavia has very large and fertile Islamic minority population. It is the immigrant populations that are reproducing, and not the hosts. the rest
The United States is at a crossroads. We are not yet in the position of Europe, China, and Japan. But we are not that far behind. As the statistics point out, we will not be able to rely on immigration much longer to grow our population. Procreation of course is a very private matter, but it does have very public ramifications. And history has shown that no amount of government largess encourages couples to procreate. European nations offered very generous inducements for decades, but their fertility rates continue to drop. Jonathon Last noted that fertility rates in many ways are determined by religious beliefs. From this perspective the US, is more secular than is advertised. And unless things change quickly, we will suffer the same fate of Europe and Japan. Postmodern secular nations are committing suicide.

For first time, online news consumers outnumber those newspaper readers

Andrew Malcolm
March 15, 2011

Let's agree just between us not to tell our family members in the kitchen reading yesterday's news in today's newspaper.

But according to a major new study of how Americans use news media by the thoughtful folks over at the Pew Research Center, those newspaper readers have now been surpassed among news consumers.

For the first time in history, a larger percentage of Americans (46%) get their news online than get their news on that paper stuff that leaves their fingers ink-smudged (40%). the rest

Pew Research Center: State of the News Media 2011

The impact of sex selection and abortion in China, India and South Korea

Canadian Medical Association Journal

In the next 20 years in large parts of China and India, there will be a 10% to 20% excess of young men because of sex selection and this imbalance will have societal repercussions, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only)

A preference for sons in China, India and South Korea combined with easy access to sex-selective abortions has led to a significant imbalance between the number of males and females born in these countries. The sex ratio at birth (SRB) – the number of boys born to every 100 girls – is consistent in human populations in which about 105 males are born to every 100 females. However, with the advent of ultrasounds that enable sex-selection, the sex ratio at birth in some cities in South Korea climbed to 125 by 1992 and is over 130 in several Chinese provinces from Henan in the north to Hainan in the south.

In 2005 in China, "it was estimated that 1.1 million excess males were born across the country and that the number of males under the age of 20 years exceeded the number of females by around 32 million," writes Professor Therese Hesketh, UCL Centre for International Health and Development, London, United Kingdom with coauthors.

In India, similar disparities exist, with sex ratios as high as 125 in Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat in the north but normal sex ratios of 105 in the southern and eastern states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. the rest
The societal implications mean that a significant percentage of the male population will not be able to marry or have children because of a scarcity of women. In China, 94% of unmarried people aged 28 to 49 are male, 97% of whom have not completed high school, and there are worries the inability to marry will result in psychological issues and possibly increased violence and crime.

UK: Babies with THREE parents could soon be born using controversial IVF technique

By David Derbyshire
12th March 2011

The first baby with three biological parents could be conceived next year after the Government announced a major review of Britain’s fertility laws.

The move would allow doctors to use a revolutionary IVF technique that prevents incurable, deadly genetic illnesses being passed down from mothers to their children.

Babies created with the therapy – called three-parent IVF – would inherit 98 per cent of their DNA from their ‘real’ parents. The rest would come from a female donor. the rest

Interview with Bishop-Elect Julian Dobbs

New Anglican Bishop-Elect Plans Growth in Surrounding States
By David W. Virtue
March 10, 2011

Recently a breakaway group of formerly Episcopal churches, now affiliated with the newly formed Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) under Archbishop Robert Duncan, elected the Venerable Julian Dobbs, an archdeacon and missioner in CANA as a bishop in what is now the Anglican District of Virginia in the ACNA under the Province of Nigeria. VOL spoke with Bishop-elect Dobbs to ask him how all this works and how he sees the future.

Interview here

Monday, March 14, 2011

Devotional: While there is left in you...

While there is left in you a trace of ill-temper, or of vanity, of pride, or of selfishness; while there is left in you a single sin, or germ of sin, you must not rest from the battle. God does not require from you to be sinless when you come before Him, but He does require you to be unceasing in your perseverance. He does not require that you shall never have fallen; but He does require unwearied efforts. He does not require you to win, but He does require you to fight. ...Frederick Temple
image by Kevin Cole

What do pro-choicers really think about abortion

Albert Mohler: When the Earth Moves: Pray for the People of Japan

Monday, March 14, 2011

There can be few more frightening experiences than an earthquake, and last Friday’s quake that has devastated Japan will rank among the strongest ever recorded. Ranking 9.0 on the scale of magnitude, the Sendai, Japan quake ranks fifth among earthquakes in recorded history, coming after the 1960 quake in Chile (9.5), the 1964 quake at Prince William Sound, Alaska (9.2), the deadly Sumatra, Indonesia quake of 2004 (9.1), and the 1952 quake at Kamchatka, Russia (9.0).

But then, adding misery and terror to the devastating damage caused by the earthquake, a massive tsunami caused by the quake inundated countless miles of Japan’s coastline, taking several villages completely out to sea. The loss of energy caused by the quake and tsunami then led to another looming disaster — at least a partial meltdown of the reactor cores at two, and possibly more, nearby nuclear power plants. As if all that was not enough, a volcano in southern Japan erupted on Sunday, underlining that fact that the island nation rests atop the Pacific’s feared “Ring of Fire.”

Japan is perched on the edge of the Tuscarora Deep, a cleft in the earth’s crust five miles in depth that runs alongside the nation’s coastline. The massive stresses that build up along the Tuscarora Deep produce the historic earthquakes that Japan has experienced throughout its history — but never before so severe as on Friday.
 the rest image
We must pray for the people of Japan. We must pray for the lives that can be saved and for the grieving families who have lost loved ones. We must pray that this horrible disaster may be used to call the people of Japan to the Lord as their only hope and refuge. The nation is still shaped by its Shinto, Buddhist, and Animist roots.

ACNA: Fund to Give Assistance to Earthquake Stricken Japan

Japan struck by 8.9 magnitude earthquake, triggering massive tsunami
March 11, 2011

Dear Members and Friends of the Anglican Church in North America,

A powerful 8.9 earthquake shook Japan at 2:46 pm on Friday, March 11, 2011, triggering a massive tsunami. The quake was the fifth-largest in the world since 1900 and nearly 8,000 times stronger than the one which devastated Christchurch, New Zealand last month.

Sadly, news reports are saying that the death toll could possibly reach more than ten thousand, as hundreds of people remain missing.

Striking off of Honshu, Japan’s most heavily populated island and approximately 200 miles from Tokyo, the quake is already responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people and many more deaths are expected. A tsunami triggered by the quake reached six miles inland in places carrying houses, buildings, boats and cars with it. The tsunami is expected to reach areas in North and South America. In the city of Sendai, Japan, the police found up to 300 bodies in a single ward. Fires also blazed across the area.

the rest at the ACNA website

Anglican Relief and Development Fund

Allentown Catholic Diocese anticipates new structure to welcome Anglicans

By Daniel Patrick Sheehan
 March 14, 2011

Karen Brynildsen offers a pithy bit of advice that makes everyone in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church meeting room smile knowingly:

"Sing the whole hymn!"

That's how Episcopalians, members of the worldwide Anglican communion, approach their Sunday singing. None of that half-hearted Catholic business where you lop off the last couple of verses to speed things along. Where's the reverence in that?

Perhaps Brynildsen's presence in the Roman Catholic Church — she will join it at Easter — will spark a revolution in hymnody, but that's getting ahead of the story. the rest

After the earthquake: Stoicism amid the debris

The Economist
Mar 14th 2011
by H.T. and K.N.C.

ONE positive development in the panoply of disasters that has besieged Japan since Friday’s earthquake and tsunami is that the nuclear crisis may gradually be stabilising, experts say. Over the weekend, the threat of a nuclear catastrophe distracted attention from what may turn out to be the far greater human tragedy: a string of towns and villages along hundreds of kilometres of coastline in north-eastern Japan that were buried under water or washed away. Thousands of residents have died. Hundreds of thousands are living in makeshift shelters.

Another positive development is how the government, the defence forces and the famously stoic Japanese people have responded to the disaster. Naoto Kan’s government, which was on its knees a week or two ago, has so far appeared to be on top of the complexities of the nuclear crisis, and its explanations have provided reassurance in a weekend-long nightmare that could easily have descended into panic.

During the 1995 Kobe earthquake the government dithered shockingly from the start, but this time 100,000 troops have been deployed to the stricken areas to lead the search-and-rescue effort. Their work has been hampered by savagely damaged lines of communication, and they have faced some criticism for not focusing more on helping survivors, especially among the elderly and infirm, rather than gathering the dead. Having said that, they are making it through to the worst affected areas, and are airlifting food and supplies to 450,000 evacuees. On March 14th alone, at least 2,000 bodies were found floating in waters off the coast of Miyagi prefecture—though, reportedly, the death toll in one of those places, Minamisanriku, may not be as high as the 10,000 once feared, because many residents escaped. Reports from the area reveal a level of devastation that the government’s fiscal-reform minister, Kaoru Yosano, estimates may cost more than the ¥10 trillion ($120 billion) of the Kobe quake, in which about 6,500 people died. That may be imprecise, however, because industrial Kobe is so different from the rural communities, many of whose inhabitants are pensioners, that have been devastated this time. the rest image

Some Perspective On The Japan Earthquake
I run a small software business in central Japan.  Over the years, I’ve worked both in the local Japanese government (as a translator) and in Japanese industry (as a systems engineer), and have some minor knowledge of how things are done here. English-language reporting on the matter has been so bad that my mother is worried for my safety, so in the interests of clearing the air I thought I would write up a bit of what I know...(interesting and informative-PD)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

1906 SF quake captured in color

Rare color images of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake


NOAA graphic of tsunami waves

NOAA graphic displays estimates of how far and how high the tsunami waves travelled.

Quake shifted island, sped up Earth's rotation

The 8.9-magnitude quake moved Japan's main island by more than two metres, in addition to shifting Earth on its axis and briefly speeding up its rotation.
Sun Mar. 13 2011 News Staff

The changes may be imperceptible to most people, but the massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan Friday had a startling impact on the Earth, experts say. The 8.9-magnitude quake moved Japan's main island by more than two metres, in addition to shifting Earth on its axis and briefly speeding up its rotation.

Early data from Japan suggests the earthquake moved the island about 2.4 metres, according to Kenneth Hudnut of the U.S. Geological Survey. The agency compared information from a GPS station that had moved by more than two metres with satellite images from Japan.

Late Friday, scientists at NASA revealed the quake shaved more than a microsecond from the day. The quake, which lasted about two minutes, sped up the earth's rotation by about 1.6 microseconds. (One microsecond is one-millionth of a second.) NASA geophysicist Richard Gross said the quake shifted the Earth's mass, which caused the change in speed. the rest

The power of lonely: What we do better without other people around

By Leon Neyfakh
March 6, 2011

 You hear it all the time: We humans are social animals. We need to spend time together to be happy and functional, and we extract a vast array of benefits from maintaining intimate relationships and associating with groups. Collaborating on projects at work makes us smarter and more creative. Hanging out with friends makes us more emotionally mature and better able to deal with grief and stress.

Spending time alone, by contrast, can look a little suspect. In a world gone wild for wikis and interdisciplinary collaboration, those who prefer solitude and private noodling are seen as eccentric at best and defective at worst, and are often presumed to be suffering from social anxiety, boredom, and alienation.

But an emerging body of research is suggesting that spending time alone, if done right, can be good for us — that certain tasks and thought processes are best carried out without anyone else around, and that even the most socially motivated among us should regularly be taking time to ourselves if we want to have fully developed personalities, and be capable of focus and creative thinking. There is even research to suggest that blocking off enough alone time is an important component of a well-functioning social life — that if we want to get the most out of the time we spend with people, we should make sure we’re spending enough of it away from them. Just as regular exercise and healthy eating make our minds and bodies work better, solitude experts say, so can being alone. the rest image by Vicki MacLeod
Teenagers, especially, whose personalities have not yet fully formed, have been shown to benefit from time spent apart from others, in part because it allows for a kind of introspection — and freedom from self-consciousness — that strengthens their sense of identity.
A day of rest enters the Digital Age
A nonprofit Jewish group encourages people to unplug from their electronics once a week. There's even an app for it.

Japan Volcano - Shinmoedake Volcano Erupts, Post Tsunami

Shinmoedake Volcano Erupts in Japan
In January 2011, the Shinmoedake volcano erupted for the first time in 52 years - sending ash and rock flying for miles. Thousands were told to temporarily evacuate the area, but the volcano seemed to settle and there was only mild activity until the 1st of March, where it ceased any activity.

However, the volcano erupted again - sending ash and rock 4 kilometres into the air, creating a giant ash cloud against the blue sky of the south-west. The Shinmoedake volcano is 4,689-feet tall, and towers over many communities...

Japan Warns of Fresh Nuclear Blast Risk

Earthquake and tsunami 'Japan's worst crisis since second world war'
Prime minister Naoto Kan speaks as Japanese struggle to avert nuclear disaster and police say death toll could top 10,000...

3rd Nuclear Plant in Japan Faces Problems after Earthquake, Tsunami
A third nuclear power plant in Janan – Tokai No.2 – is facing technical issues in the wake of Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami...