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Israel’s new reality

"Israel’s new reality" Continued...

Issue: "2012 Daniels of the Year," Dec. 15, 2012

Carbon skies

The three major greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—reached record levels in the atmosphere in 2011, the World Meteorological Organization reported. While the UN body claimed rising CO2 and temperatures would impact “all aspects of life on Earth,” it failed to include a proper global perspective: China, a longtime obstacle to UN emission reduction goals, was by far the largest carbon emitter in 2011, and increased its output 9 percent. By contrast, emissions fell 2 percent to 3 percent in the United States and Europe.

The end

Sunrise Bakery in Anchorage received its last shipment of supplies on Nov. 26 to turn out Hostess Twinkies, Wonder bread, and other goods ahead of an expected closure. The renowned nationwide snack food maker got an OK from a bankruptcy judge last month to shut down after failing to reach agreement to end a strike by its bakers union. The Anchorage bakery has baked, delivered, and sold dozens of Hostess products since 1962, according to local news reports.

With the end of Hostess products in sight, fans began to stock up on eBay, where a lot of 10 boxes of Twinkies and cupcakes were going for $40 and up. On Nov. 27, one seller started bidding on a 10-box lot at $2,500.

Church and state

A vote to allow women to serve as bishops in the Church of England failed on Nov. 20 to win the needed two-thirds majority in the church’s General Synod. Female bishops already are allowed in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and the change was supported by both the outgoing archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and his incoming, more conservative successor, Justin Welby. Despite the overwhelming rejection by Anglican bishops, clergy, and laity, British Prime Minister David Cameron scolded the Church to “get with the program” on female bishops and said he was made “very sad” by the vote. Cameron plans to push legalizing gay marriage in Great Britain early in 2013, also over the objections of the Church of England.

U.S. abortion rate falls

Gathering data from 43 states and two cities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found both the number and rate of abortions fell 5 percent in 2009—the largest one-year reduction during a decade of surveillance. Although the decline may be due to several factors, it challenges earlier predictions that an economic downturn could raise the abortion rate.

Some researchers attributed the decline to the increased use of long-lasting contraceptives, like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants. Growing use of emergency contraceptives like the morning-after pill—which can induce an abortion within 72 hours of sex—also complicate the picture: Since nonprescription use of abortifacient drugs (Plan B can be purchased over the counter by women 17 and older) aren’t included in the CDC’s abortion statistics, the real rate of abortion is higher than the agency suggests.

Some decline could be due to shifting attitudes and growing pro-life activism, however. The past decade has seen the rise of pro-life movements such as 40 Days for Life, and an increase in crisis pregnancy centers like the 1,100 affiliated with Care Net. This year Gallup found only two out of five Americans described themselves as pro-abortion—a record low for the polling group.

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