Friday, August 10, 2012

U.S. banks told to make plans for preventing collapse

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators directed five of the country's biggest banks, including Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, to develop plans for staving off collapse if they faced serious problems, emphasizing that the banks could not count on government help.
The two-year-old program, which has been largely secret until now, is in addition to the "living wills" the banks crafted to help regulators dismantle them if they actually do fail. It shows how hard regulators are working to ensure that banks have plans for worst-case scenarios and can act rationally in times of distress.
Officials like Lehman Brothers former Chief Executive Dick Fuld have been criticized for having been too hesitant to take bold steps to solve their banks' problems during the financial crisis.
According to documents obtained by Reuters, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency first directed five banks - which also include Citigroup Inc,, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co - to come up with these "recovery plans" in May 2010.
They told banks to consider drastic efforts to prevent failure in times of distress, including selling off businesses, finding other funding sources if regular borrowing markets shut them out, and reducing risk. The plans must be feasible to execute within three to six months, and banks were to "make no assumption of extraordinary support from the public sector," according to the documents.


More than 90 dead in Manila flooding, Christians reaching out

Philippines (MNN) ― Flood waters are just starting to recede following heavy rains that soaked Manila, Philippines this week. According to reports, 91 people were killed as 12 inches of rain fell on the city Monday and Tuesday, the heaviest in three years.
Food for the Hungry (FH) has extensive work in the region. Peter Howard with FH says, "In one 24-hour period earlier this week they got a month's worth of rain. It literally flooded the area." He adds, "Manila is a city of about 15 million people. Over 50% of the city was flooded. At least 2 million people have been impacted, and 80,000-90,000 people are in shelters."
Howard says they had no choice but to get involved. "Our staff live in the metro Manila area, so they themselves were impacted. Their homes were flooded. Their family members and churches were impacted. They're also responding in the poorer communities where Food for the Hungry works."
Because the Philippines has a culture of volunteerism, FH is ready. "We have the people. We have the volunteers. The churches are ready to go. So as long as we can come alongside and support them with resources, they're going to take that out and spread the love of Christ through their acts of kindness and generosity into their communities."


Muslim Terrorists Tell Nigeria's Christian President: ‘Convert or Resign’

( – Boko Haram is demanding that Nigeria’s Christian president convert to Islam or resign, a stance that again calls into question the Obama administration’s playing down of religion as the primary motivation for the radical group.
In an online video clip released over the weekend, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau told President Goodluck Jonathan to “repent and forsake Christianity.”
The News Agency of Nigeria said Shekau, speaking in Hausa, said the president should convert or resign if he wanted Boko Haram to end its violent campaign.
Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati dismissed the demand as attempted “blackmail.”
“When Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in the 2011 general election, they knew they were voting for a Christian,” he told reporters in the federal capital, Abuja.
“He has the mandate of Nigerians to serve his fatherland. Nobody should imagine that he will succumb to blackmail.”
Inviting an enemy to convert to Islam or face the consequences is a longstanding tradition in Islam, modeled on the example set by the religion’s seventh century prophet.
A hadith (the writings and sayings of the prophet) by Sahih al-Bukhari quotes Mohammed as saying, “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.”
(In 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent President Bush a letter interpreted by some scholars as incorporating an invitation to embrace Islam. He urged Bush to make “a genuine return to the teachings of prophets, to monotheism and justice, to preserve human dignity and obedience to the Almighty and his prophets.” Reporting on the letter at the time, Iran’s hardline Siasat-e Rooz daily said, “It has been the prophet’s way to invite the infidel leaders to the right way.”)


What Must Someone Believe in Order to Be Saved?

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

 What are the most basic things a person needs to believe in order to be saved?
Paul says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." He says, "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved."
So I take texts like that and begin at the core-the death of Jesus. He died for our sins, which means I must believe I am a sinner. A person that doesn't believe he is a sinner can't be saved. If there is nothing to forgive, Jesus didn't do anything for me. If he didn't do anything for me, I'm not believing him for salvation. If I'm not believing him for salvation, then I'm not saved. So you must believe you are a sinner.
You must believe that there is a God who has created the possibility for sin. That is, sin by definition is the falling short of the expectations of your Creator. So there has to be a Creator God out there who has expectations of humans. God expects humans to trust him, love him and live for him. And we fail.
Which leads us to the third thing we must believe. Because we fail to trust, love and live for God we are under his holy judgment-his wrath. You've got to believe that.

Study Reveals Anti-Conservative Discrimination Among Psychologists

A significant number of social and personality psychologists have told researchers they would discriminate against conservatives in decisions about publishing, grant applications and hiring, according to a study published in the September issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Authors Dr. Yoel Inbar and Dr. Joel Lammers assert in the study the more liberal the psychologist claimed to be, the more likely they were to admit to anti-conservative discrimination.

Study results showed that nearly one quarter of the psychologists surveyed in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) admitted they would discriminate against conservative researchers in awarding grant money, nearly 20 percent would recommend against publishing conservative research and more than one-third of psychologists surveyed would pass over a conservative in hiring if an equally qualified liberal psychologist were available.
In an email to The Christian Post, Lammers said that the idea for the study came after a provocative talk last year at the annual meeting of the SPSP by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who was interviewed by The Christian Post in May. Haidt asked the political conservatives in the room to raise their hands. Only three, in an audience of more than 1,000, raised their hands. This "statistically impossible lack of diversity" likely leads to discrimination against political conservatives and an unwillingness to consider alternative hypotheses in research, Haidt told the audience.

Christian Musician Summit comes to Nashville area in October

Wycliffe Sees Opposition to New Bible Translation

Medieval pastor John Wycliffe continues to cause a stir among churches—even in the 21st century—as his Bible translation ideas upset Christian leaders once again.
In the 14th century Wycliffe used indigenous language to convey Scripture. He angered church leaders with radical moves like replacing the Latin Deus with the English God.
Today’s Bible translators follow in his footsteps, using alternative terms for the Trinity and heavenly beings to reach new audiences—and they’re encountering the same resistance Wycliffe did.
The most recent controversies surround an artistic retelling of the New Testament by Thomas Nelson, The Voice, and an Arabic Scripture linked to Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). The two separate initiatives use different words to convey Scripture to their audiences.
Written in a screenplay format, Thomas Nelson’s version uses the Voice instead of the Word; sometimes Eternal One when it refers to God; and messenger of the Lord insteadof angel. Meanwhile, the Arabic text uses Allah instead of Father and Messiah in place of Son of God, to connect with readers in Muslim cultures.
Fierce opposition has come from the Assemblies of God USA and Presbyterian Church in America. The Presbyterian Church has condemned removing references to God as Father or Jesus as Son.
“Our colleagues in SIL are taking a brave step in suspending the publication of Scripture in parts of the world where controversy has been stirred up,” says Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, noting that the headline-making translations are a “tiny fraction” of Wycliffe’s 1,400-plus programs. “We look forward to the outcome of their period of global consultation.”
In the meantime, scholars from both sides of the Atlantic have expressed concern about these controversies. They’re challenging Christians to grasp the issues and consider the challenges facing translation teams.