CP World Report: Obamacare, Christian Persecution, Syria

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Barack Obama's healthcare reform act, ruling it constitutional. By a 5-4 decision, the Court's nine justices said that even though the mandate was not justified under the US Constitution's Commerce Clause, it was legitimate under the government's ability to levy taxes. Obama-care "mandates" all Americans to buy health insurance, or face hundreds of dollars of fines. This was a mandate fiercely contested by 28 Republican-controlled states. They sued the Obama administration all the way to the Supreme Court, claiming that it had no right to force people into insurance programs.

The Affordable Care Act also includes a mandate that all institutions--including religious schools and hospitals-- provide their employees and students with health care coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. This has upset pro-life and religious groups who previously held protest rallies, declaring that Obamacare violates the Constitution's First Amendment right of freedom of religion.

Canada and the U.S. have jointly released a border deal to bolster security on the Continent. It's intended to smooth the passage of people and cargo across the Canada-U.S. border. The plan calls for joint, integrated assessments about security threats and improved intelligence sharing. The countries have pledged to create common privacy principles to guide such information exchanges. Other components include more comprehensive advance screening of: travellers from other countries heading to North America and of cargo arriving from offshore.

We see lots of coverage of Christian anti-abortion efforts but many Christian organizations also offer help for moms-to-be. One sign in front of a Texas church invited moms-to-be to come for help if needed and one woman really took it to heart. She left her newborn baby outside the church in a shoebox with a hole cut in it for the infant to breathe. The baby girl is now being cared for at a hospital in the city of Alice. A doctor named her Angel. A woman attending mass discovered the infant. A neighbor says he didn't see anything suspicious, and police have urged the mom the come forward….

Since Angel was left at a church, it falls under the state's Safe Haven law.
The baby will eventually be placed in foster care and put up for adoption

Persecution Watchdog and Rights group "Release International" has called upon British Foreign Secretary William Hague to speak up for human and religious rights in talks with Egyptian and Syrian authorities. Although welcoming assurances by new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi that religious freedom will be safeguarded, Release International says Christians in Egypt still fear an increase in persecution . 100-thousand of them have left since the uprising. Extremist groups pose an additional threat with their goals to implement strict Sharia law across Egypt.

Meanwhile in Syria, Release International said Christians there enjoy relative religious freedom under Al Assad; and are fearful that a change of regime could lead to an increase in persecution by Islamist militants, similar to the experience of Iraqi Christians after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Since the start of the uprising, there have been reported targeting of Christians, including kidnap and murder. And, according to the World Evangelical Alliance's Religious Liberty Commission, extremist Islamist forces in the opposition movement have attacked Christians suspected of backing al-Assad. The Syrian Orthodox Church has declared an "ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians" by suspected members of al-Qaeda in Homs.

A new Global Charter has been issued by academics and activists to uphold religious freedom enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The drafting of the Global Charter of Conscience calls for a public square that maximises freedom for all and asks people to have respect for those with differing views. The document was launched at the European Parliament in Brussels and is supported by the European Evangelical Alliance.

Could you imagine having the same job for 73 years? Most people would probably dread it, but not one Pennsylvania barber. He's 90 years old and still going strong in the profession he loves. He's kind, inspirational and even gives out freebees. Take a listen…