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College friends discover they are sisters

Tulane University freshmen Emily Nappi (left) and Mikayla Stern-Ellis (right) discovered that they share a father, who was a sperm donor. (Credit: The Tulane Hullabaloo/Claire Brown)Mikayla Stern-Ellis and Emily Nappi met at Tulane University in New Orleans and soon became best friends.  They shared similar physical features, an interest in drama and even clothing styles.  And they knew that they were both conceived by an anonymous sperm donor.  It turns out, it was the same sperm donor and they are sisters.

In the last 35 years, more than five million babies have been born through artificial insemination (IVF), a laboratory process by which an egg and sperm are united to produce an embryo which is then implanted in the mother.  For single women or couples considering sperm donation to conceive a child through IVF, let's seek biblical guidance for common questions.

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Some of the strangest stories I've seen

Angler Matt Clark, 29, poses with his 'winning' fish, a 13oz bass, that he stole from an aquarium in St Peter Port, Guernesy (Credit: Greg Whitehead)Yesterday I was reading periodicals that have stacked up on my desk and found some fascinating items.  In the "strangest news of 2013" category, a man fell in his garden but didn't know he had impaled himself in the head with a screwdriver until he saw himself in his car's rearview mirror.  Surgeons successfully removed the tool, which miraculously missed his brain.  (I'm tempted to comment on the size of the brain in question.)

Meanwhile, last year a British fisherman stole a sea bass from a local aquarium and entered it in a fishing competition.  He won a trophy and $1,300 in prize money for the 13-pound fish.  When competitors recognized its distinctive markings he admitted his crime, but he'd already sold the fish at market.  "All we got back was the head and the tail," an aquarium spokeswoman said.

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Is this Hollywood's 'year of the Bible'?

Diogo Morgado as Jesus in a scene from the latest film from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, Son of God (Credit: Twentieth Century Fox/Casey Crafford)The movie Son of God premieres on February 28.  The film is taken from the History Channel's hit 2013 miniseries The BibleNoah will hit theaters in March, with Russell Crowe in the lead.  Debuting in April is Heaven is for Real, in which Greg Kinnear plays a father whose son claims that he went to heaven.  In December, Christian Bale will play Moses in Exodus, while Mary will debut that same month.

And there's more to come in 2015.  Will Smith may direct a Cain and Abel movie, while Brad Pitt may play the title role in Pontius Pilate.  Is Hollywood getting religion?

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Brain-dead woman kept on life support because she is pregnant

Erick Munoz and his wife, Marlise, with their firstborn son, Mateo, seen here in a family photography (Credit: The Munoz Family)A brain-dead Texas woman is being kept on life support because she is pregnant.  Her hospital refuses to take her off machines, despite her husband's pleas, because a state law requires continued treatment of a pregnant patient.  Texas is one of 12 states which automatically invalidate a pregnant woman's advance health care directive.  So long as the fetus is alive, the mother cannot be removed from life support.

President Reagan designated January 22, 1984 the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day.  For 30 years, many churches across America have observed the third Sunday in January as Sanctity of Life Sunday.  As the observance continues this Sunday, I'm thinking today about the logic of our society's position on abortion.

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Michelle Obama might consider Botox

First Lady Michelle Obama reacts while talking on the phone to children across the country as part of the annual NORAD Tracks Santa program, December 24, 2013 (Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) First Lady Michelle Obama turns 50 tomorrow.  In an interview with People Magazine, Mrs. Obama says it's possible she would consider plastic surgery or Botox at some point.  "Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves," Mrs. Obama said.  "Right now, I don't imagine that I would go that route, but I've also learned to never say never."

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans spent $10.1 billion on more than 14 million cosmetic procedures in 2012.  We spend more than $1 billion on Botox each year, making it the most popular cosmetic treatment.  Such procedures are not limited to women—male treatments are on the rise as well.

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