Monday, April 18, 2011

Dollar vs Euro-is the fate of America in peril?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The push to replace the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency has been gaining steam, with one expert arguing that America "must give up on the dollar."

In a Financial Times op-ed, Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University, said U.S. policymakers should lead the charge to create a more diverse reserve system, "in which the dollar is simply first among equals."

The dollar has been the dominant reserve currency for decades, with central banks and other institutions around the world amassing vast reserves.

Pettis argues that this has resulted in dangerous trade imbalances that threaten to destabilize the global economy. He contends that countries such as China have been able to "game the system" by stockpiling dollars, which has allowed them to grab a larger share of global demand for goods and services.

At the same time, the U.S. economy has suffered as money rushes out of the country and into red-hot emerging markets. Pettis said this leaves the United States with a stark choice between further pain in the job market, as demand continues to shift overseas, or adding to already massive deficits to finance domestic growth.

"Americans, in other words, must choose between higher unemployment and higher debt," Pettis wrote.

As such, the United States may eventually need to force the rest of the world to gradually "disengage" from the dollar as a reserve currency if it continues to decline.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, has fallen 5% so far this year to around 74.80. That's down from a high near 87 in June of 2009, as jittery investors flocked to the dollar for safety.

However, there is not an obvious alternative to the dollar.

Pettis suggested that the euro could emerge over the next decade, since no other world currency has "the necessary characteristics to allow it plausibly to serve the needs of the global economy."

But he suggested that European officials would resist taking on the responsibility, since it would saddle the European Union with the same burdens currently facing the United States.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has proposed a larger role for its special drawing rights, or SDRs, in the global reserve system.

SDRs represent potential claims on the currencies of IMF members. They were created by the IMF in 1969 and can be converted into whatever currency a borrower requires at exchange rates based on a weighted basket of international currencies. The IMF typically lends funds to countries denominated in SDRs.

The global monetary system and the dollar will be discussed this weekend as finance officials from the Group of 20 economies gather in Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The dollar found some support Friday as investors turned cautious ahead of possible policy changes stemming from this weekend's summit.

"Today's risk will come from sideline comments from the G20 and IMF meetings as well as the deluge of U.S. data," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital.

Investors are also focused on the outlook for global interest rates, as central banks adjust to rising inflation.

China reported Friday that overall consumer prices rose 5% in March, as energy and food prices have surged. China's central bank has been gradually raising interest rates this year to help cool inflation.

Read more at CNN Money

Teacher slams Christian student in editorial; presumes he believes in 'ancient aliens, Loch Ness Monster'


MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- High school history professor James Corbett, who was successfully sued by a former student, Chad Farnan, for disparaging Christianity in class, flung a tirade of character attacks on the student in an editorial published in the Orange County Register Friday.

Corbett has appealed his case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-member panel of judges heard his case in February; a decision is pending.

In Corbett's editorial about the 2-year-old case he outlines his class requirements, and among his many statements, claims Farnan had "scholarly deficiencies."

"My best guess is that Chad was in over his head and sought to shift the blame for his lack of work ethic to an imagined religious slight and the Advocates were then there to hold his hand," he stated in the editorial.

Similar to the disparaging statments made in the Capistrano Valley High School history class against Christians and recorded by Farnan three years ago, Corbett writes:

“Noah’s ark,” Chad said, “when the whole world flooded,‘cause the whole world used to be under water. That’s scientific ... I saw it on the History Channel.” I presume Chad believes in the prophecy of Nostradamus, ancient aliens and the Loch Ness Monster, but if he does, he needed my lessons in critical thinking more than I realized."

The judge in the case held that Corbett did violate an establishment clause by stating “an unequivocal belief that creationism is ‘superstitious nonsense,’” according to a press release from Advocates for Faith and Freedom, the group defending Farnan. The court went on to hold that Corbett’s statement “constitutes improper disapproval of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.”

In Farnan's Web site he previously wrote: “This was not an easy thing for me to do. As my family and I listened to the tapes of Dr. Corbett and his anti-christian views, we prayed for him everyday and hoped that he would stop.”

Farnan, who said he often prayed for his teacher, taped a lecture by Corbett in which he stated that “when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.”


Chad Farnan bio from Pepperdine University's Water Polo site: Graduated with honors in 2010 from Capistrano Valley High School where he was a two-year varsity letterwinner at set guard for head coach Steve Yancy ... Averaged three goals per game during his senior season and was named to the All CIF third team, All South Coast League first team, and the South Orange County All Star water polo team ... Voted offensive MVP and was named as his school's athlete of the month ... Four-year varsity letterwinner in swimming and three-time All American ... Helped lead his school to three South Coast League crowns, two CIF Division I titles and the 2010 California State Championship ... Career best marks included a 21.1 in the 50 free and 53:40 in the 100 back ... Made school's honor roll all four years ... Scholar-Athlete.

Story by Alex Murashko, founder of Outreach New Media and

New Video Shows What It Would Have Been Like if Moses Used "Google" For Exodus

What If Moses Had Used "Google" and Social Netoworking For the Exodus of the Jews?

Open Doors USA Announces North Korea Freedom Week

Mission Network News - 4/18/2011

North Korea (MNN) ― Three months ago, the Open Doors World Watch List positioned North Korea as the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for the ninth year in a row.

The evil empire of North Korea certainly deserves the ranking. In 2010, hundreds of embattled Christians were arrested for various reasons. Some were killed while others were sentenced to political camps. Last year there were 23 Christians in a house church in Pyungsung province who were discovered by the police. Three of them were immediately sentenced to death because of the meeting.

There are 50,000 to 70,000 Christians suffering in labor camps because of their faith in Jesus Christ. North Korea under Kim Jong-Il has more political prisoners than any country in the world -- estimated at over 200,000.

Open Doors USA is offering several ways in which people can help brave Christians in North Korea, estimated at 400,000, during North Korea Freedom Week April 24-30.

People can receive prayer e-mails from Open Doors during North Korea Freedom Week. The e-mails will offer information on North Korea and how Christians can pray for believers there, based on Scripture from Isaiah 59 through 66. To sign up to receive the seven e-mails, go to

Christians in the West can also send messages of hope into North Korea through the airwaves. Open Doors, in partnership with the North Korea Freedom Coalition, is urging participation in the "Letters From America" program hosted by Free North Korea Radio. Through the program, messages will be broadcast into North Korea.

Free North Korea Radio, run by defectors from North Korea, has been transmitting messages into North Korea since 2004, and there are reports that many North Korean citizens are listening to the programming. The e-mails should be words of encouragement. To send a message and for instructions on the contents of the message, go to

Also, Open Doors is offering the World Watch List Prayer Guide, which lists various prayer needs of each country - 51 in all - on the 2011 World Watch List, starting with North Korea. The prayer guide can be downloaded at the Open Doors USA website at

"The new World Watch List Prayer Guide and "Letters from America" program will allow us to bless North Koreans with our prayers and encouragement during North Korea Freedom Week," says Michele Miller, Director of Open Doors USA Ministries. "The seven-day e-mail campaign from Open Doors is another way to become informed about the horrible situation in North Korea.

"North Korea is a nightmare which never ends for thousands. We need to bathe our brothers and sisters in prayer. Let's together shatter the darkness."

Read More from Mission Network News

Obama Says He Is Not Obligated To Comply To Czar Ban Law

President Barack Obama is planning to ignore language in the 2011 spending package that would ban several top White House advisory posts.

House Republicans tacked on language to the contentious spending bill to cut the salaries for four so-called czars — policy advisers appointed to assist the president on health care, climate change, autos and manufacturing, and urban affairs.

But in a signing statement issued Friday, Obama said he's not obligated to comply.

"The president also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it," the statement said.

"Legislative efforts that significantly impede the president's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the president's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these presidential prerogatives."

The anti-czar language in the spending bill marked a victory for Republicans and conservative pundits, who accused the administration of giving unelected bureaucrats too much power within the White House. But the language didn't appear to have any immediate impact on Obama's staff.

Energy and climate adviser Carol Browner resigned earlier this year; health czar Nancy-Ann DeParle was promoted to deputy White House chief of staff; Obama's urban affairs adviser, Adolfo CarriĆ³n, left the White House to become a regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the White House said auto and manufacturing adviser Ron Bloom wouldn't be affected by the language.

Respected Theologian Says Universalism- An Empty Hell, A Cheap Cross, An Incomplete God

Sat, Apr. 16 2011 06:52 PM EDT
By Lillian Kwon|Christian Post Reporter
Respected theologian Don Carson hadn't planned on discussing hell and universalism at this year's Gospel Coalition conference. But the subject became inevitable when Rob Bell's new book burst onto the scene, debuting at No. 2 on the New York Times' bestseller list.

The research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., is not happy that universalists are diminishing God's holiness, cheapening the cross, and distorting biblical truths.

Though he didn't accuse Bell directly, Carson said the handling of the atonement of Christ by universalists is blasphemous.

"I say it with respect, I say it with brokenness, but it is blasphemous," he said plainly, as he addressed pastors and other conference participants in Chicago.

"You just have to say it. You simply cannot talk about the cross in such slighting, denunciatory, cheapening, belittling ways."

Emphasizing the centrality of the cross, he stated, "He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities. God set him forth to be the propitiation for our sins that God might be just and the one who justifies the ungodly."

The talk on Thursday, which was followed by a panel discussion, was precipitated by the newly released Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. In it, Bell, who pastors Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., wrestles with the notion of people being tortured in hell for eternity.

He denounces the teaching that only a select few Christians will spend forever in heaven while the rest are tormented in hell, calling it toxic and contending that it subverts the spread of Jesus' message of love.

Bell has made it clear that he believes hell exists. But he questions the belief that punishment in the afterlife is forever and suggests that there are postmortem opportunities to repent and join God in heaven.

The author has denied being a universalist, saying he doesn't believe God will come in and swoop everyone in whether they want to be in heaven or not.

But evangelicals argue that what Bell presents can only be described as universalism.

On Thursday, Carson defined universalism as the belief that ultimately everyone will be saved, however you understand saved in different religions.

"That means, if there is a hell, it will one day be empty," he explained.

Addressing Bell's denial, Carson stated, "Beware the attempts to muddy the definition of universalism.

"Rob says he is not a universalist if by universalist we mean that God somehow imposes His will on people to force everybody to go to heaven whether they want to or not. He doesn't think God forces His will on anybody. Rather, he thinks that 'love wins.' He keeps working at them ... until He's got them all on His side."

"But," he continued, "universalism does not refer to the mold or degree of force or attractiveness of God's love. It refers to the result. Are there any people who are finally rejected absolutely or eternally or will everyone be saved?"

Turning the discussion to universalists in general, Carson indicated that their view of God's love is distorted or incomplete.

Yes, God is loving, the theologian and co-founder of The Gospel Coalition noted. But the Bible speaks of God's love in different ways and what universalists do is absolutize one aspect of it – namely that God loves everyone the same way.

There is providential love, where God sends His son to die for both the just and the unjust. And there's a yearning love where God "dares to depict Himself as the almighty cuckold" and goes after even the betrayer to ultimately win them. But sometimes God also loves in a particularizing way such as when He loved Jacob but not Esau, as illustrated in the Old Testament. And other times, God's love is conditioned by His followers' obedience.

All this paints a picture of a God who is sovereign and on the other hand, personal.

Unfortunately, universalists only emphasize one aspect while tossing the rest.

"This is horrible exegesis," Carson maintained. "If you absolutize things merely to make the answers turn out the way you want them to, pretty soon you have a horribly diminished view of what the Bible says about God."

The evangelical theologian recognized why some may be teaching about an empty hell and an all loving God.

"We feel pressure from the culture to find universalism attractive," he pointed out.

"There are pressures in our culture to reduce the truth content of Scripture and then simply dismiss people by saying that they're intolerant or narrow-minded ... or bigoted without actually engaging the truth question at all. And that is really sad and in the long haul, horribly dangerous."

Part of what has happened in culture and in the churches is that the God of the Old Testament has been written off.

Read more from Christian Post

World Bank President Says "We are one shock away from a full-grown crisis"

04-17-2011 13:41 BJT

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have held their spring meetings at the World Bank building in the US capital, Washington DC.

They discussed the outlook of the global economy, and the challenges that lie ahead.

It's the fourth year of the global financial crisis, and the world economy is slowly picking up. But there are still great vulnerabilities and uncertainties.

That's the message world financial leaders are sending out from their spring meeting.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick says the surge in food prices is the biggest threat to the world's poor, pushing 44 million more people into poverty over the past year.

Robert Zoellick, World Bank President, said, "Of particular concern is food prices. This is the biggest threat today to the world's poor, where we risk losing a generation. We are one shock away from a full-grown crisis. The financial crisis taught us that prevention is better than cure. We cannot afford to forget that lesson."

Also adding to the sense of urgency is a long list of new challenges.

Financial leaders warn that it's critical for all countries to guard against complacency.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Head of IMF Steering Panel, said, "We have new vulnerabilities and new risks - the tragedy in Japan, developments in the Middle East, the prospect of higher commodity prices, and other new risks. So, there is a sense around the table in all our discussions that we are still in a fairly fragile situation. We have to be extremely watchful."

Saturday's talks followed the G20 meetings on Friday which agreed an improved monitoring process over global imbalances. But it's still not clear how effective that will be.

Read more from CNTV

"Jesus" Film Remade In Japanese Anime Style To Reach Younger Generations

Fri, Apr. 15 2011 06:25 AM EDT
By Eryn Sun|Christian Post Correspondent

And the Good News is … just nine minutes and fourteen seconds long?

With the average attention span among youth constantly shrinking, one ministry continues to capture the hearts and minds of the lost in a unique language most teens find hard to resist – Japanese animation.

Adopted from the original “JESUS” film created by The JESUS Film Project, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, “My Last Day” tells the story of Jesus’ crucifixion through the eyes of the thief who hung next to him in a short anime format.

The film opens with soldiers brutally whipping Jesus amid an angry and approving crowd, while the jailed thief looks on out of his cell. Passing from regret to repentance and ultimately to redemption at the cross, his own guilt causes him to realize Jesus’ innocence.

“Remember me Jesus when you come as king,” utters the repentant thief who, although hanging on the cross, is comforted by the promise of paradise.

Giving audiences the opportunity to witness the personal transformation of the criminal when encountering the truth of Jesus Christ, the first-person narrative makes the story all the more relatable and real.

The end of the film displays a link to a website that answers the question “Who is Jesus” and presents the Gospel message, offered in several different languages. People are given the chance to repent and receive Christ through prayer.

“My Last Day” is part of the latest strategy of the ministry to create and translate media tools to communicate the story of Jesus in “heart languages of the world.”

“Heart language is a combination of two factors,” stated Greg Gregoire, senior associate for The JESUS Film Project, to The Christian Post. “The mother tongue of the person [and] the second factor is the communication style that people want to receive information.”

“We now have the JESUS film in over 1,100 languages … and today many people, both literate and non-literate prefer a story format.”

Recognizing that short films were a more receptive medium, Gregoire noted, “By using film we can tell the story [of Jesus] and it can be dubbed into other languages and accents and used by many people to retell the story.”

The classic “JESUS” film is over 31 years old and while still very effective in many contexts, the next generation – the millenials – and other media-sophisticated audiences needed a different way to connect to the story, said Gregoire.

With this new version of the original, which employs highly stylized animation techniques proven to be popular worldwide, the ministry hopes to effectively reach younger audiences.

“It won’t be their grandparents’ JESUS film. It won’t even be their parents’ The Passion of the Christ. It will be the story of Jesus told in their language,” expressed the film’s renowned writer Barry Cook, who also directed Disney’s “Mulan” and was the visual effects supervisor for “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Since anime appeals to media-heavy cultures, the potential impact of using anime for a Christian movie is staggering.”

Read More from Christian Post

New Poll Shows Democrats Likely In Favor Of Redistributing Wealth

Friday, April 15, 2011

( - Democrats in America today are twice as likely as Americans in the Great Depression era to favor imposing heavy taxes on the rich as a means of redistributing wealth, according to data published today by the Gallup poll.

A Gallup poll conducted April 7-11, in the lead-up to the annual deadline for filing federal tax returns, showed that 71 percent of Democrats believe the government should use heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth. In 1939, after ten years of the Great Depression, only 35 percent of all Americans believed government should do that.

In the April 11-17 survey, Gallup asked more than 1,000 American adults: “People feel differently about how far a government should go. Here is a phrase which some people believe in and some don’t. Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?”

71 percent of Democrats told Gallup the government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth and 26 percent said the government should not. By contrast, only 28 percent of Republicans said the government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, while 69 percent said the government should not.

Overall, in the April 7-11 Gallup survey, 47 percent of Americans said government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth while 49 percent said the government should not.

According to Gallup, back in March 1939, after a decade of the Great Depression, the Roper poll conducted a survey for Fortune Magazine asking the same question. At that time, only 35 percent of Americans believed government should impose heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth while 54 percent said government should not.

Although public support for taxing the rich to redistribute wealth is higher today than it was in 1939, it is a bit lower than it was at the beginning of the Obama presidency.

Read more from CNS News

A Historic 241 Tornadoes Hit 14 U.S States In 3 Days
From Thursday, April 14, 2011 to Saturday, April, 16, 2011, devastating tornadoes rampaged across communities of the southern United States. Cities and towns from Oklahoma to North Carolina were assaulted by the deadly twisters.

The tornado outbreak led to a total of 241 tornado reports in 14 states over the three-day period. This will likely rank this tornado outbreak among the largest in history.

Tragically, the death toll has risen to 39 people so far with dozens of others injured. The number of fatalities could rise as investigations continue. This tornado outbreak already ranks as the most deadly outbreak since the 2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak.

In North Carolina alone, close to two dozen people were killed on Saturday, while seven people were killed in Alabama on Friday.

One of the reasons for the deadly outcome of this tornado outbreak is likely due to the fact that highly populated areas of the nation were hit. The weather pattern can explain why these highly populated areas were struck.

Jackson, Miss., and Raleigh, N.C., are among the large cities that were struck by large, devastating twisters.

Numerous homes, businesses, churches and even schools have been severely damaged or destroyed in the path of the tornadoes.

Setup for Deadly Tornado Outbreak

Three ingredients were in place to allow this violent tornado outbreak to occur from the southern Plains to the Southeast: a powerful jet stream, abundant moisture and a strong cold front.

A powerful jet stream helped to enhance the thunderstorm growth, while moisture surging in from the Gulf of Mexico acted as fuel for the thunderstorms.

A strong cold front plowing across the South was the trigger that initiated the thunderstorm development.

The difference in the direction of wind in the upper atmosphere, southwesterly, and the lower atmosphere, southerly to southeasterly, added a twisting motion that helped the severe thunderstorms to develop rotation. Thus, the wind difference with height, referred to as wind shear by meteorologists, made the severe thunderstorms more likely to produce tornadoes.

There are a couple of factors that are making this year a more active severe weather year compared to normal and compared to last year.

The first factor is that the water in Gulf of Mexico is warmer than last year. This means that there is very warm, moist air in supply for storm systems to tap into and provide fuel for severe weather.

The second is that we are in one of the strongest La Nina patterns in recorded history.

"The strong La Nina pattern means that tremendous contrasts in air masses, with cool and dry air to the north and warm and steamy air to the south, are occurring over the Mississippi Valley. This puts many highly populated areas in the path of dangerous severe weather," said Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.

This mid-April 2011 tornado outbreak is likely to rank among the largest tornado outbreaks in history with 241 tornado reports. "There has not been a tornado outbreak in history over three days with this many tornadoes spawned by a single storm system," according to Margusity

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