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Ten Good News Stories from 2017 You Might Have Missed

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While 2017 has been a year of controversies, division, and tragedies, there were also a number of positive development that have occurred. Here are ten that you might not have heard about:

1. The world has made great progress in eradicating extreme poverty

Since then the number of people in absolute poverty has fallen by about 1bn and the number of non-poor people has gone up by roughly 4bn. By 2013, the most recent year for which reliable data exist, just 10.7% of the world’s population was poor (the modern yardstick for destitution is that a person consumes less than $1.90 a day at 2011 purchasing-power parity).

  1. Congress Overturned a Rule that Forced States to Fund Planned Parenthood

Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to allow that gives individual states more leeway in how they disperse Title X funding. Because of this change, states like Texas and Florida will be able to prevent organizations that provide abortions, like Planned Parenthood, from qualifying for this particular federal grant.

  1. NAMB’s Annie Armstrong Offering hits all-time high

The 2017 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions hit a record high: $59,648,377. NAMB President Kevin Ezell celebrated with NAMB staff during a meeting in October and thanked Southern Baptists who sacrificially gave so that the mission can go forward in North America.

  1. Pro-life tsunami floods state legislatures

Pro-life leaders say a nationwide surge in optimism is driving the wave of pro-life bills already introduced in the first few weeks of this year’s state legislative sessions. The nearly 50 new bills include bans on dismemberment abortions and any procedure after 20 weeks gestation, fetal burial requirements, and bills that would defund Planned Parenthood.

  1. Ohio passes Down syndrome abortion ban

Pro-life advocates are applauding the Ohio legislature’s passage of a bill to ban abortions of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.

  1. Crime rates continue to fall

Data from the 30 largest US cities shows that the annual murder rate in 2017 will decline 5.6 percent from 2016, reports the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. Among the cities with the largest decreases: Chicago (down 11.9 percent) and Detroit (down 9.8 percent). “Once again crime rates remain near historic lows. This is welcome news as 2017 comes to an end…,” said Ames Grawert, counsel at the Brennan Center.

  1. The oceans could be free of plastic debris by 2050

The Ocean Cleanup’s models indicate that a full-scale system roll-out could clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years. Research shows the majority of plastic by mass is currently in the larger debris. By removing the plastic while most of it is still large, we prevent it from breaking down into dangerous microplastics. Combining the cleanup with source reduction on land paves the road towards a plastic free ocean by 2050.

  1. Scientists may have found a way to stop cancer from metastasizing

Metastasis is the main cause of death in cancer, and current treatments against it are ineffective. But new research may have found a way to slow down, and perhaps even halt, the spread of cancer cells.

  1. Supreme Court backs church in an important religious liberty case

The Court ruled that blocking a church daycare from receiving generally available state funding is unconstitutional and that churches cannot be excluded from public benefits simply because they are religious.

  1. President Trump Issues Executive Order on Religious Liberty

In May President Trump signed an executive order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” The first section of this executive order announces the Trump administration’s intent when it comes to executive policy to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.” Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government,” says the order. The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections.”

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