In India, the story of the India temple announcement is revealed

BENGALURU, India — Clad in bright clothing showcasing the energy and beauty of this nation, Indian Latter-day Saints line up, hours before a scheduled meeting with President Russell M. Nelson on Thursday.

Collectively they speak of two things: The leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the temple he recently announced for their nation.

Weeks earlier, in the closing moments of general conference, President Nelson said the LDS Church would build seven new temples — including one in Bengaluru.

But it almost wasn’t so.

“Our plans were to announce six new temples at conference time,” said President Nelson. “The Lord told me on the eve of conference: ‘Announce a temple in India.’ … That was the Lord’s doing.”

The new temple is proof of “how much the Lord thinks” about members here and “loves them,” said Robert William, an Area Seventy in India.

President Nelson’s visit to India — the fifth stop on his world ministry tour — marks a return to the nation and people he learned to love 52 years ago. In Bengaluru, he conducted meetings with members and full-time missionaries and also viewed possible temple sites.

Global Missionary Tour
Follow the Deseret News as we chronicle President Russel M. Nelson’s travels through seven countries around the world.

As part of the nearly-two-week trip, President Nelson also visited England, Jerusalem, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. After leaving India, President Nelson — accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland — plans to visit Thailand on Friday and Hong Kong on Saturday.

An intense nation

Standing on a street corner within walking distance of the LDS church’s member meeting in Bengaluru, visitors view three Hindu temples, two Christian churches, and a Muslim mosque. Motorcycles, auto jeepnees and cars maneuver the street to the constant sound of honking horns. Locals milk cows, then sell the liquid by the cup, along with chickens, produce and spices. The pungent smell of fresh meat lingers.

There is no running water in this neighborhood, home to thousands, yet across the street a high-rise complex houses the nation’s wealthiest residents.

In India “it rains with sweat and insects and floods — and that is just before 10 a.m.,” Elder Holland told missionaries in the church’s India Bengaluru Mission.

A city of deep spirituality, dense populations, spicy food, and bright colors, India’s residents are used to intensity.

“They are not wimpy …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

Ceremony honors Utah World War I veterans

SALT LAKE CITY — While many today recall the global historic impact of World War II, the effect of the “War to End All Wars” is seemingly less evident in current society despite its status as the initial worldwide conflict of the 20th century.

On Thursday, the Utah State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution paid tribute to those Americans who served in the First World War in recognition of the sacrifice so many people made in service of their country.

“It’s very important to remember our veterans and the fallen,” said Brenda Reeder, Utah regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution. “When we look back at our past, we can change the future.”

The organization hosted a wreath-laying ceremony at the WWI Memorial located in Memory Grove Park in Salt Lake City. The event was part of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution efforts to highlight the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles as a national commemorative event, she said.

“When we review what has happened in the past, that can reflect upon our future and maybe we can make different decisions in how we view war,” she added. “We should communicate and negotiate and not have wars that we send our young men (and women) off to fight. Diplomacy is definitely a better choice.”

The organization includes more than 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters across the country and numerous foreign countries, she noted. The organization strives to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism via commemorative events, scholarships and educational initiatives, citizenship programs, service to veterans, meaningful community service, she said.

Regarding the ceremony, she said all Utahns should be aware of and appreciate the sacrifice so many local families have made in support of national freedom.

“We had thousands of men from Utah — 10,000 men — go (to WWI) and not all of them came back,” Reeder said. “We need to remember them and we need to honor them.”

For James Sheppard, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 7442, who served in Vietnam, the WWI commemoration event was a reminder of the sacrifice so many men and women have made fighting in every conflict since the “Great War.”

“We should remember everyone who served in the military because … all of us had a purpose to go to another country to keep that (enemy) from coming here to take over (the United …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

Is the right to bear arms ‘God-given’?

SALT LAKE CITY — Jerry Patterson brings his gun to church every Sunday. As he listens to the sermons at Bethany Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, he hardly thinks about the Ruger 9mm handgun resting comfortably in a small holster inside his belt. To him, it’s just like his wallet: something he doesn’t leave the house without.

But every now and then, as he sits amid 200 of his community members, he glances at the chapel’s exits and imagines what he would do to protect his friends and family in the case of an attack.

Heather Tuttle

godgivenright

For Patterson, a former state senator who helped pass the 1995 law that allowed Texans to carry concealed weapons, bearing arms is a “God-given right.”

“God-given goes back to the phrase in the Declaration of Independence that says ‘all men … are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights,'” said Patterson. “I believe that includes the right to self-defense.”

Following February’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre also spoke to the idea that gun rights are “God-given” at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

The right to bear arms is “not bestowed by man but granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright,” LaPierre told the crowd, which responded with loud cheers, according to news reports.

While some religious advocates of gun ownership look to the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution as the source of a “God-given right to bear arms,” others point to verses in the Bible or other scriptures that talk about self-defense.

But not all religious people think gun rights are divinely granted, or that church is an appropriate place to carry a weapon.

Some proponents of gun control who are religious find the “God-given” terminology at odds with their beliefs. They say the Bible denounces violence and teaches people to turn away from weapons of war.

In Missouri, a group of faith leaders are standing in opposition to a pair of bills that would loosen restrictions on guns in churches and allow people to carry concealed firearms without permission from clergy.

“This is highly offensive to us and would violate our First Amendment rights to religious liberty,” the Catholic Bishops of Missouri wrote in a letter opposing the law change, dated April 3.

Last month in Wyoming, a similar measure was signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead allowing people with concealed …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

Hiral Tipirneni is unlikely to win a special congressional election in Arizona

THE Democratic wave that propelled the party to surprise victories in special elections in Alabama and Pennsylvania seems unlikely to reach Arizona’s eighth congressional district. In a special election on April 24th, voters will choose a successor to Trent Franks, who resigned in December following revelations that he had discussed surrogacy with two female staffers. This week, a poll by Emerson College showed the candidates neck-and-neck. But early voting, by which a majority of votes in this election will be cast, suggests a much higher turnout among Republicans than Democrats.

The Republican Party has a clear advantage in Arizona’s eighth, a suburban area north and west of Phoenix: it has 80,000 more registered members than the Democratic Party. The area hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since 1980 and in 2016 Donald Trump won the district by 21 percentage points. That’s about the same margin by which Mr Trump won Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, where Conor Lamb, a Democrat, stormed to surprise victory in…

…read more

Source:: The Economits – United States

      

Hiral Tipirneni is unlikely to win a special congressional election in Arizona

THE Democratic wave that propelled the party to surprise victories in special elections in Alabama and Pennsylvania seems unlikely to reach Arizona’s eighth congressional district. In a special election on April 24th, voters will choose a successor to Trent Franks, who resigned in December following revelations that he had discussed surrogacy with two female staffers. This week, a poll by Emerson College showed the candidates neck-and-neck. But early voting, by which a majority of votes in this election will be cast, suggests a much higher turnout among Republicans than Democrats.

The Republican Party has a clear advantage in Arizona’s eighth, a suburban area north and west of Phoenix: it has 80,000 more registered members than the Democratic Party. The area hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since 1980 and in 2016 Donald Trump won the district by 21 percentage points. That’s about the same margin by which Mr Trump won Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, where Conor Lamb, a Democrat, stormed to surprise victory in…

…read more

Source:: The Economits – United States

      

It’s (another) boy! Michigan family with 13 sons gets No. 14

ROCKFORD, Mich. — There will be no shortage of hand-me-downs for this Michigan kid.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Kateri and Jay Schwandt welcomed the birth of their 14th son on Wednesday, five days before he was due. They have no daughters.

WOOD-TV reports that the boy weighs 8 pounds, 4 ounces (about 3.7 kilograms) and is 21 inches (53 centimeters) long. His name wasn’t immediately announced.

As with their last few children, the couple from Rockford, north of Grand Rapids, didn’t want to know the baby’s sex ahead of time. Jay Schwandt said earlier this year that he would have loved to have a girl, but didn’t think would be in the cards. He was right.

Kateri Schwandt has said she’s used to large families, as one of 14 children herself.

The couple’s oldest son is in his 20s.

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

New data: Americans filling far fewer opioid prescriptions

TRENTON, N.J. — The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell dramatically last year, showing their biggest drop in 25 years and continuing a decline amid increasing legal restrictions and public awareness of the dangers of addiction, new data show.

Health data firm IQVIA’s Institute for Human Data Science released a report Thursday showing an 8.9 percent average drop nationwide in the number of prescriptions for opioids filled by retail and mail-order pharmacies. All 50 states and the District of Columbia had declines of more than 5 percent. Declines topped 10 percent in 18 states, including all of New England and other states hit hard by the opioid overdose epidemic, such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“We’re at a really critical moment in the country when everybody’s paying attention to this issue,” said Michael Kleinrock, the institute’s research director. “People really don’t want them if they can avoid them.”

There was an even greater drop in total dosage of opioid prescriptions filled in 2017, down 12 percent from 2016. Reasons for that include more prescriptions being for a shorter duration, a 7.8 percent decline in new patients starting on opioid prescriptions and far fewer high-dose prescriptions.

Opioid doses are measured in “morphine milligram equivalents.” (A standard Vicodin pill has the equivalent of 5 milligrams of morphine.) Prescriptions for dosages of 90 morphine milligram equivalents per day or more, which carry the highest addiction risk, declined by 16 percent last year, according to the report.

The U.S. is estimated to consume roughly 30 percent of all opioids used worldwide.

Opioid prescriptions and daily doses rose steadily starting in the 1990s, fueled by factors including marketing of new opioid pills such as Oxycontin. Use peaked in 2011 at levels far above those in other wealthy countries where national health systems control narcotics more aggressively.

The U.S. decline began after overdoses and deaths from prescription opioids and illicit narcotics soared, and multiple groups pushed back.

The federal government and about half the states have enacted restrictions, such as limiting the dose or duration of opioids that can be prescribed. Insurers and drug stores began imposing similar limits on opioid use for acute pain, as opposed to cancer and chronic pain patients. The Drug Enforcement Administration increased prosecution of heavy prescribers. And numerous medical groups have issued guidelines urging prescribers to offer other pain-management options when possible and to limit doses and duration of opioid prescriptions.

Despite those measures, …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

WASHINGTON — The drama of U.S. and allied missile strikes on Syria has obscured a sobering fact: The U.S.-led campaign to eliminate the Islamic State from Syria has stalled.

The U.S. has 2,000 troops in Syria assisting local Arab and Kurdish fighters against IS, even as President Donald Trump resists deeper U.S. involvement and is eager to withdraw completely in coming months. Trump wants “other people” to deal with Syria, whose civil war has spawned the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II in terms of refugees.

It’s unclear whether Trump will go ahead with a total U.S. withdrawal while IS retains even a small presence in Syria.

Since January, when Trump asserted in his State of the Union address that “very close to 100 percent” of IS territory in Syria and Iraq had been liberated, progress toward extinguishing the extremists’ caliphate, or self-proclaimed state, has ground to a halt and shows no sign of restarting. U.S. warplanes continue to periodically bomb remaining pockets of IS in eastern Syria, but ground operations by U.S. partner forces have slowed.

“We’ve halted forward progress and are essentially attempting to avoid losing territory we’ve gained to date,” said Jennifer Cafarella, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. She sees two potential solutions: send additional U.S. combat power to eastern Syria to take on IS more directly, or resolve a diplomatic dispute with Turkey that has largely sidelined the main U.S. military partner in Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Now that Trump has upped the ante by attacking Syria directly for the second time in just over a year, Cafarella said in an interview this week, it is possible that Syria and its two main international supporters — Russia and Iran — will retaliate militarily against American forces and their Kurdish and Arab partners in eastern Syria “in an attempt to compel an American withdrawal by raising the cost of continued American involvement.”

The U.S. began bombing IS in Syria in September 2014 and deployed an initial contingent of 50 special operations troops in the country the following year. The anti-IS campaign gained momentum in 2016 and made its biggest gains during Trump’s first year in office.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition against IS refused this week to say how many IS fighters remain. Col. Ryan Dillon said they are holed up mainly in two places in eastern Syria. He said they are in and around …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

US experts back marijuana-based drug for childhood seizures

WASHINGTON — A medicine made from the marijuana plant moved one step closer to U.S. approval Thursday after federal health advisers endorsed it for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy.

If the Food and Drug Administration follows the group’s recommendation, GW Pharmaceuticals’ syrup would become the first drug derived from the cannabis plant to win federal approval in the U.S.

The 13-member FDA panel voted unanimously in favor of the experimental medication made from a chemical found in cannabis — one that does not get users high. The panelists backed the drug based on three studies showing that it significantly reduced seizures in children with two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

“This is clearly a breakthrough drug for an awful disease,” said panel member Dr. John Mendelson, of the Friends Research Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The drug carries a potential risk of liver damage, but panelists said doctors could monitor patients for any signs. More common side effects included diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue and sleep problems.

FDA regulators are due to make their decision by late June. Approval would technically limit the drug, called Epidiolex, to patients with hard-to-treat forms of epilepsy. But doctors would have the option to prescribe it for other uses and it could spur new pharmaceutical research and interest into other cannabis-based products.

More than two dozen states allow marijuana use for a variety of ailments, but the FDA has not approved it for any medical use. The FDA has approved synthetic versions of another cannabis ingredient for other medical purposes.

Several patients and parents at Thursday’s meeting spoke about the benefits of Epidiolex. Sam Vogelstein, 16, said he experienced daily seizures — at times more than 100 per day— before enrolling in a study of the drug.

“I just went to South Africa for two weeks without my parents on a school trip,” said Vogelstein, who lives in Berkeley, California. “I would not have been able to do that if I had not tried this medication.”

It’s not yet clear why the medicine reduces seizures.

Epidiolex is essentially a pharmaceutical-grade version of cannabidiol, or CBD oil, which some parents have used for years to treat children with epilepsy. CBD is one of more than 100 chemicals found in the cannabis plant and it doesn’t contain THC, the ingredient that gives marijuana its mind-altering effect.

CBD oil is currently sold online and in specialty shops across the country, though its legal status remains murky. Most …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

Germany’s Merkel appears open to compromise on EU reforms

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled her willingness to find compromises with France when it comes to reforming the European Union, as she hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for talks Thursday in Berlin.

Macron has outlined ambitious plans for greater economic integration across the 28-nation bloc, but his proposals have met resistance in some member countries, including among conservatives in Merkel’s party.

Merkel, who was recently confirmed for a fourth term at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy, said at the very least she is willing to talk.

“There are of course always different starting points when it comes to the opinions of Germany and France,” she told reporters at a joint news conference with Macron. “We need open debates — and in the end we need the ability to compromise.”

While Germany and France agree on the need to better protect the EU’s external borders and forge a common asylum policy, it’s unclear how much backing Macron can expect from Germany for his plans to reform the bloc’s financial structure.

In their deal to form a new German government, Merkel’s conservative party and its center-left partners agreed that Germany — like France — is prepared to pay more into the EU budget.

But Berlin has been skeptical in its response so far to the possibility of a shared budget and Merkel is lukewarm about Macron’s idea of a eurozone finance minister.

The French president made clear he won’t drop his demand for greater financial solidarity, particularly among the 19 countries that share the euro as a currency, which includes both Germany and France.

“No currency union can survive if there aren’t instruments for convergence,” Macron said, citing the need for a banking union — something Germany has resisted for fear of being held liable for future bailouts abroad.

Merkel said Germany would be willing to agree in the long term to a pan-European deposit insurance scheme, but insisted that solidarity shouldn’t undermine economic competitiveness among the bloc’s economies.

Guenther Oettinger, the EU’s budget chief and a member of Merkel’s conservative party, weighed in on the debate Thursday by saying Europe’s current economic strength should be used to prepare for potential future crises.

“Now is the time to make the economic and currency union, and therefore the eurozone, weather proof,” he said in a clear message to his own party.

A failure to agree upon fundamental EU reforms in the coming months could scupper further efforts until after the 2019 European …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News