May 20, 2013 By Patrick Goodenough
Pakistani Christians protest against the country’s blasphemy laws and violence targeting their minority community. An independent U.S. watchdog has urged the executive branch every year since 2002 to designate Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” over religious freedom violations. (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) – As the State Department prepares to release its annual report on international religious freedom Monday, a key issue for many Americans concerned about religious persecution is whether it will blacklist a handful of particularly egregious violators – or, as in previous years, ignore the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The question is especially sensitive in the case of countries where the plight of minority Christians has worsened, even as their governments benefit significantly at the cost of U.S. taxpayers.
Published May 11, 2013
April 17, 2013: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ recent push to encourage health care executives and nonprofit organizations to make donations to organizations working to implement ObamaCare is drawing criticism from a key Senate Republican who questions whether she has a conflict of interest.
HHS spokesman Jason Young confirms that Sebelius in recent weeks has asked various charitable foundations, businesses executives, churches and doctors to make financial contributions to nonprofit organizations, such as Enroll America, that are helping to implement President Obama’s health care overhaul.
Young said there is a special section within the Public Health Services Act that allows the HHS secretary to solicit financial support for nonprofit organizations conducting public health work. He said most of the solicitations have occurred through telephone calls, but in some speeches as well.
“For the last several months, the secretary has been working with a full range of stakeholders who share in the mission of getting Americans the help they need and deserve,” Young said. “We have always worked with outside groups and the efforts now ramping up are just one more part of that work.”
The fundraising pitches were first reported by the Washington Post. Young said Sebelius made no fundraising request of entities regulated by HSS, such as drug companies, hospitals or insurers.
Some lawmakers and advocacy groups have voiced concerns in recent weeks that many consumers will have a hard time navigating the health coverage options available to them next year as a mix of government programs and tax credits for private insurance kicks in.
The administration has recently announced it would be directing $200 million to states, private groups and local health centers so that they can hire workers who can help consumers pick the insurance plan best for them. The fundraising pitches appear to be another step along those lines. Beginning Oct. 1, people can start signing up for coverage through new state and federal health exchanges.
But Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said that soliciting money from health care executives is absurd.
“Moving forward, I will be seeking more information from the administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law,” Hatch said.
Hatch’s criticism comes as House Republicans plan yet another vote to try to repeal ObamaCare.
In his remarks at a Mother’s Day-themed event at the White House on Friday, Obama said his signature health care law “is here to stay.”
“There’s a lot that this law is already doing for Americans with insurance,” the president said. “There’s a lot more that’s going to happen for folks who don’t have insurance.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Scott Whitlock | April 29, 2013 | 11:22
Forty two days ago, on March 18, 2013, abortionist Kermit Gosnell went on trial, charged with the grisly murder of multiple babies and a patient. Yet, in the seven weeks that followed, ABC News has permitted no coverage, discussion or mention of the case, not even a single utterance of Dr. Gosnell’s name.
But that’s not due to lack of interest in shocking criminal cases. Over the same 42 days, the Media Research Center found that ABC’s Good Morning America has aired 41 stories — about one per day — on other sensational criminal cases, including the Amanda Knox re-trial and the Jodi Arias case, totaling 109 minutes of coverage.
So it would seem that ABC doesn’t have a problem delivering the gruesome details of murder cases to morning show viewers, suggesting that the networks’ blackout of the Gosnell case has more to do with the negative light it shines on the abortion industry.
Over six weeks of weekday and weekend coverage, GMA featured the Arias case 22 times. Arias is accused of stabbing and slitting the throat of Travis Alexander, her ex-boyfriend. Clearly, the producers and hosts of the morning show aren’t worried about discussing stomach-churning details. The Associated Press recounted the graphic accusations against Gosnell, including testimony by some of the abortion clinic’s workers that they “‘snipped’ babies’ necks after they were born alive to make sure they died.”
Friday, 19 Apr 2013 04:56 AM
Police officers celebrate after capturing bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev in Watertown, Mass. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The sought-after suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was arrested Friday night — taken from a boat parked on a trailer behind a house in the suburban town of Watertown, police said.
Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was taken into custody without incident about 8:45 p.m., said Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben.
“We have a suspect in custody,” Alben said at a 9:30 p.m. news conference. “We’re exhausted, folks, but we have a victory tonight.”
Tsarnaev, a Chechen native who became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was covered with blood when he was arrested, he said.
He was found on the stern end, or back, of the boat, leaning over, Alben said.
The teen was taken to a local hospital, where he remained in “extremely serious” condition, The Boston Globe reports.
“Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area,” Boston Police said on Twitter at 8:45 p.m.
“We Got Him,” tweeted Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.