Scientists create the world’s first ‘synthetic embryos’ in Israel; Governor DeSantis moves to ensure pro-life laws in FL are enforced and a new bill proposed in the Senate would allow religious organizations access to federal funding to provide social services.
Those stories and more below.
- US declares state of emergency over monkeypox
From the NY Post:
The Biden administration declared a health emergency over the growing monkeypox outbreak Thursday.
The declaration allows the federal government to amp up its response to the virus without the usual regulatory barriers.
“I want to make an announcement today that I will be declaring a public health emergency,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a call with reporters Thursday about the monkeypox outbreak.
“We urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility and help us tackle this virus,” he continued.
- Florida Governor Suspends ‘Soros-Backed’ Attorney for Failing to Enforce Law on Abortion, ‘Trans’ Surgeries
From the Daily Citizen:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren for refusing to enforce Florida state law.
Attorney Warren had announced that he would refuse to enforce any law prohibiting abortion, as well as any law prohibiting doctors from performing experimental “sex-change” surgeries on minors.
“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” said Governor DeSantis in a statement.
“It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida. I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law.”
- Leftist Whoopi Goldberg Suggests God Supports Killing Unborn Babies
From the Daily Wire:
Whoopi Goldberg, a leftist co-host of ABC’s “The View,” argued on the show this week that God supports killing unborn babies via abortion.
Goldberg, who previously was suspended by the network for making an anti-Semitic remark about the Holocaust, argued Wednesday that abortion was okay because God gives people the “freedom of choice.”
“And as you know, God doesn’t make mistakes. God made us smart enough to know when it wasn’t going to work for us,” Goldberg said. “That’s the, that’s the beauty of giving us freedom of choice.”
Pro-life guest and former “The View” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck pushed back on Goldberg’s remarks, repeatedly saying, “No.”
- New Bill Would Level Playing Field for Religious Organizations in Federally Funded Social Service Programs
From the Daily Citizen:
Religious organizations often participate in federally funded programs that provide social services to the poor and needy, as well as in disaster situations. In the past, some administrations have imposed rules via federal agencies that forced those religious organizations to comply with rules not required of secular groups, while other administrations have removed those restrictions in order to protect the religious freedom and distinctives of those organizations.
A new bill introduced by several U.S. senators seeks to end the politically motivated, back-and-forth rules of federal agencies relating to such financial assistance, by passing a law that would, once and for all, make religious freedom a guarantee of such programs.
The bill, called the “Lifting Local Communities Act,” creates a level playing field for religious organizations participating in such federal programs and ensures they will not be discriminated against by the federal government because of their religious nature.
Seven Republican senators are co-sponsoring the bill, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
- Cuba cracks down on religious citizens despite constitutional ‘guarantees,’ experts say
From the Washington Times:
The recent expulsion of a dissident Protestant cleric by Cuba’s communist regime is just the latest evidence of a larger crackdown on people of faith in the Caribbean nation, experts at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said this week.
Just over a year after the Havana government harshly suppressed a rare outburst of popular protests, the findings represent a fresh hurdle for those advocating a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. President Biden came to office hoping to restore some of the diplomatic momentum in bilateral ties begun under President Obama, but he has left many of the more restrictive measures put into place under President Trump.
The White House faces considerable opposition in Congress — including from key Democrats — to easing tensions with Cuba that date to the Kennedy administration. The administration last month announced visa restrictions on 28 Cuban officials implicated in the suppression of the July 11, 2021, protests.
The faith survey is important because, despite decades of communist rule, 70% of Cubans “identify with a specific religion,” Kirk Dahlgren, an independent consultant who worked on a recent USCIRF report, told a video conference on constitutional reform and religious freedom.
- Arkansas Allocates $1 Million for Pregnancy Resource Centers
From the Daily Citizen:
It was never true, as abortion advocates have alleged, that pro-life people, organizations and states only care about babies until they’re born, and certainly don’t care about the mothers. Arkansas is one of those states proving how wrong the naysayers are by stepping up to support both babies and their moms.
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (Department) is now accepting grant applications from pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) across the state, after the state legislature allocated $1 million for that purpose.
Arkansas defines a PRC as “an organization existing as of January 1, 2022 that: seeks to provide a range of services to individuals facing an unintended pregnancy with the intention of encouraging pregnant women to give birth to their unborn children; and does not perform, prescribe, provide referrals for, or encourage abortion or affiliate with any organization that performs, prescribes, provides referral for, or encourages abortion.”
As reported by Family Council, a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas, and also an ally of Focus on the Family, PRCs can also include maternity homes, adoption agencies and social service agencies.
- Scientists create world’s first ‘synthetic embryos’
From The Guardian:
Researchers have created the world’s first “synthetic embryos” in a groundbreaking feat that bypassed the need for sperm, eggs and fertilisation.
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel found that stem cells from mice could be made to self-assemble into early embryo-like structures with an intestinal tract, the beginnings of a brain, and a beating heart.
Known as synthetic embryos because they are created without fertilised eggs, the living structures are expected, in the near term, to drive deeper understanding of how organs and tissues form during the development of natural embryos.
But researchers believe the work could also reduce animal experimentation and ultimately pave the way for new sources of cells and tissues for human transplantation. For example, skin cells from a leukaemia patient could potentially be transformed into bone marrow stem cells to treat their condition.
- Alex Jones ordered to pay Sandy Hook parents more than $4M
From the Associated Press:
A Texas jury on Thursday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, marking the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for repeatedly claiming the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history was a hoax.
The Austin jury must still decide how much the Infowars host must pay in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators who were killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
The parents had sought at least $150 million in compensation for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Jones’ attorney asked the jury to limit damages to $8 — one dollar for each of the compensation charges they are considering — and Jones himself said any award over $2 million “would sink us.”
- FAA seeks feedback on airplane seat sizes
From ABC News:
Airline passengers hoping for a little more leg room or space on plane seats can tell the federal government how they feel for the next 90 days.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is asking for comment from the public for the next few months. It will then use that feedback to create a new standard minimum for airplane seat sizes.
This comes years after Congress ordered the FAA to create new minimum dimensions for airplane seats in its funding renewal in 2018. During that reauthorization, Congress mandated that the agency must issue a standard seat pitch, width and length. Some advocates said a change in minimum seat size could impact much of the flying public.
“Only about 50% of the population can fit in the seats and for men, only about 13% have shoulders that are narrower than the seats,” Paul Hudson, the president of FlyersRights.org and a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, said. “And you’ve got many people with various health conditions that are not flying because of these really cramped seats, so if the seats become more reasonable, that will open up a lot more customers for the airlines.”
- The Cartwheel Galaxy Is the Webb Telescope’s Latest Cosmic Snapshot
From The NY Times:
Scientists on Tuesday published the latest images from NASA’s triumphant James Webb Space Telescope. The newest release documents the Cartwheel galaxy, which is about 500 million light-years from our planet and is aptly named for its wheel-like appearance, complete with a center hub, a tire and even wavy, fluorescent spokes. The Webb also recorded two smaller companion galaxies alongside Cartwheel.
The new images come on the heels of NASA’s July 12 unveiling of five initial scenes captured by the Webb telescope, the most powerful space observatory built to date. Since they were launched on Dec. 25, the Webb’s 18 hexagonal gold mirrors have aligned to capture other targets in space, though not all images have been released. Snapshots have included the Southern Ring nebula, which resembles a soap bubble expanding from a dead star, and the striking Carina nebula, composed of swirling dust akin to jagged cliffs.
Astronomers have been studying the Cartwheel galaxy for decades. Initially, it was inspected from two ground observatories in Australia, first the UK Schmidt telescope and later the Anglo-Australian telescope. But it is best known from the Hubble Space Telescope, which produced images in the 1990s with more details of the galaxy’s makeup. And just as the Webb, in July, revealed the presence of even more distant galaxies hiding from our view, its photographs of Cartwheel magnified the detailed formation of stars within the galaxy’s rings and the dozens of other star systems beyond.