5.worldnewspic1Human Microchip Implants Gaining Greater Acceptance

There are now an estimated 10,000 people with RFID implants embedded in their bodies capable of sending out signals, but the rate of implantation has now begun to increase rapidly.

So why has a technology used to track and control animal populations now gained more widespread, and voluntary, adoption among young people around the world?

The first answer is convenience. In the same way that we agree to unlimited monitoring of our private communications through social media and cellphone networks in exchange for the convenience, people are beginning to prefer the advantages of simply waving a hand near a sensor to open a door or turn on the lights.

The chips, which are usually implanted in the hand, are about the size of a grain of rice and can be used to replace identification cards as well as interact with sensors that allow an implanted person to activate home electronics.

One woman from Sidney, Shanti Korporaal, now has two implants under her skin that allow her to access her work office and car without the use of keys.

When interviewed, she stated that her goal is to abandon the use of wallets and cards completely in favor of the implanted chips. She said, “You could set up your life so you never have to worry about any password or PINs.”

The chips can interact with some smart phones as well to transmit identification, contact or even medical data.

In describing the procedure, the 27-year-old Sydney woman says, “They give you a local, an injection and a quick ultrasound to make sure it’s in place.” The mark from the implant looks like little more than a freckle on the skin, she said.

Apart from simple convenience, the chips are being marketed as a way to identify lost children, track felons, keep tabs on dementia patients and verify identity in war zones.

The U.S. Navy has shown some interest in the technology and some companies are already using implanted chips as a way both to monitor and identify their employees.

A Swedish company has recently found itself in the headlines for allowing employees to use implanted chips rather than work passes and 400 workers have already taken them up on their offer.

Astute observers will note, of course, the similarity to a certain passage from the Book of Revelation that in the New King James Version reads, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand, or on their foreheads.”

The implants are not mandatory, so far, but then, neither are smart phones, credit cards or social media accounts, even though the great majority of people now have all of these conveniences.

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5.worldnewspic2Canada May Ban Anti-Transgender Speech With 2 Years in Prison

Canada’s Liberal Party government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has introduced a bill that would ban transgender discrimination, including both gender identity and gender expression, with up to two years in prison for violators.

The bill seeks to amend the Canadian Criminal Code to expand existing “hate speech” prohibitions to include any public speech or communication that “promotes hatred” on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression,” and also the Canadian Human Rights Act, to cover transgender people.

“As a society, we have taken many important steps toward recognizing and protecting the legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community,” Trudeau said in a speech. “There remains much to be done, though. Far too many people still face harassment, discrimination and violence for being who they are. This is unacceptable.”

He added: “To do its part, the Government of Canada today will introduce legislation that will help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse people can live according to their gender identity, free from discrimination, and protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes.”

In 2013, the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Christian street preacher for distributing fliers denouncing homosexual behavior. The court justified the conviction on the grounds that he used “vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred” against homosexuals, according to The Daily Caller. The court held that the pastor’s religious freedom did not excuse him from violating “hate propaganda” laws.

In the U.S., the New York City Commission on Human Rights released a legal enforcement guidance in December 2015 saying business owners who fail to call transgender people by their preferred name or pronoun or bar them from using opposite-sex bathrooms may be fined as much as $250,000. The “guidance” also outlined various actions that should be considered violations of the New York City Human Rights Law and listed the consequences for businesses that violate the law. If businesses refuse to call transgender employees or customers by preferred newly created pronouns such as “ze/hir,” or if they refuse to call a biological male “her” or “she,” they will be liable for paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

  • All over the world there is a relentless march toward a cashless society, and this is especially true in northern Europe. About 95% of all retail sales in Sweden are now cashless. Hundreds of bank branches no longer accept or dispense cash, and thousands of ATM machines have been permanently removed. The government of Denmark has a stated goal of “eradicating cash” by the year 2030.
  • The Palestinian Authority is reportedly preparing to demand that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) force Israel to “return” the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Palestinians. Currently housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the scrolls, which date back to the Second Temple period, include some of the earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible ever found and serve as proof of the Jewish connection to the land of Israel.

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Saying a silent prayer of hope

Study: Nearly 90 Percent Of Americans Have Prayed For Healing

If you’ve ever prayed for healing for yourself or someone you know, you’re not alone. In fact, the majority of Americans have prayed for healing at least once in their lives, and this prevalence suggests the spiritual practice could have some major benefits, according to a new study.

About 79 percent of people have prayed for themselves and 87 percent have prayed for others, according to data from a randomized Gallup survey of 1,714 Americans. Among those who have prayed for themselves, 32 percent reported they do so often, and among those who have prayed for others, 51 percent do it often.

About 26 percent have even participated in a laying on of hands, or when a person places their hands on the body of someone who needs healing while praying for them.

These findings fly in the face of certain stereotypes about religious people, writes study author Jeff Levin of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. Contrary to popular belief, he writes, healing prayer is not used only by “poor, uneducated, rural folks, or old people, or people who are suffering from a health crisis or who are depressed or stressed out.” Healing prayer is also not a last resort for people who lack healthcare access or are socially disadvantaged in another way.

Instead, Levin said the highest predictor of whether someone engages in healing prayer is whether they think they have a “loving relationship with God.”

The survey results also indicate that despite the country’s increasing secularization, there’s an “undercurrent of spirituality” that still runs through most Americans, and prayers for healing is one of the ways this is manifested.

“There’ve been so many news stories over the past few years … about declining rates of identification with mainline religions and denominations among American adults,” Levin wrote in an email to HuffPost. “But these present findings suggest that there’s an undercurrent of spirituality in this country that perhaps isn’t being captured by the usual polls and surveys of religious affiliation.”

The prevalence of healing prayer among Americans, even among those who would prioritize medical care above prayer, suggests that prayer is a normal but undiscussed part of the “therapeutic backdrop of American life,” Levin says in his study.

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Christian School Goes to Court to Defend a 30-Second Pregame Prayer

Last December, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) refused to allow a private Christian school to deliver a pregame prayer over a loudspeaker before a championship football game.

Cambridge Christian School has now filed a federal lawsuit against the FHSAA alleging they unlawfully censored the prayer and violated the players’ religious freedoms.

“This is a case about the restriction of a Christian school’s private speech through a policy and a practice that discriminates between religious and secular speech,” attorney Adam Foslid said. First Liberty Institute is also representing the Christian school.

The case stems from a Dec. 4 game between Cambridge Christian and University Christian School played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Cambridge asked permission to use the public address system to deliver a short pregame prayer – a long-standing school tradition.

“We are raising godly young men that can make a difference in the world they live in,” Coach Bob Dare said. “This is why CCS has committed to praying before every home football game.”

However, the FHSAA denied their request – and refused to let them use the taxpayer-funded microphone. Both teams ended up gathering on the field to pray, but fans and spectators were unable to hear.

Headmaster Euler said he never thought he would see the day in America where a Christian school would have to go to court to defend a 30-second pregame prayer.

“This is an opportunity for us to defend our faith as a school,” he said. “And I think more and more as followers of Christ, we’ve got to stand in the gap and defend biblical principles.”

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