Amid foreign bureau closings, journo @LizSly senses “new Golden Age of journalism.” Podcast: http://t.co/gbGAqA4fn2 pic.twitter.com/1KmH01qpws
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) May 29, 2015
Amid foreign bureau closings, journo @LizSly senses “new Golden Age of journalism.” Podcast: http://t.co/gbGAqA4fn2 pic.twitter.com/1KmH01qpws
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) May 29, 2015
Vatican City, May 26, 2015 / 08:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily Tuesday Pope Francis cautioned against the “counter-witness” of those who seek to follow both Jesus and worldly temptations, saying that to follow Christ means denying oneself and serving others.
“There are three things, three steps that take us away from Jesus: wealth, vanity and pride,” the Pope told attendees of his May 26 Mass in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse.
Riches, he said, are dangerous “because they immediately make you vain and you think you are important. And when you think you are important, you build your head up and then you lose it.”
Francis took his cue from the day’s Mark Chapter 10 Gospel reading in which Peter asks Jesus what the disciples will get in return for following him. The scene takes place right after Jesus had told the rich young man to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor.
Instead of talking about wealth, the Lord gives an unexpected answer when he says that the disciples will gain the Kingdom of Heaven, but only “with persecution, with the cross.”
“When a Christian is attached to (worldly) things, he gives the bad impression of a Christian who wants to have two things: (both) heaven and earth,” the Pope said, explaining that that the daily cross of denying ourselves is the remedy.
From a human perspective following Jesus “is not a good deal” because it means serving others, he said. If the Lord gives you the opportunity to be first you have to act like the one in last place, and the same goes for wealth, he continued.
Pope Francis also indicated the Gospel passage in Matthew when the mother of James and John asks Jesus to secure a place for her sons at his side.
By essentially telling Jesus to “make this one prime minister for me, (and) this one, the minister of the economy,” the disciples’ mother took the worldly path in following Jesus, the Pope noted.
When a person wants to be “with both Jesus and with the world, with both poverty and with riches…this is a half-way Christianity that desires material gain. It is the spirit of worldliness,” he warned.
To follow the Lord freely, he said, “is the answer to the gratuitousness of love and salvation that Jesus gives us.”
Francis observed how the frequently the attitude of worldliness prevails in the Church itself, saying that “it’s sad” to see Christians – laypersons, priests and bishops included – who strive after both heavenly and worldly things.
“(It) is a counter-witness and furthers people from Jesus,” he said, and encouraged attendees to ask the Lord to teach them the “science of service,” which provides a lesson in humility and in placing ourselves last so as to serve our brothers and sisters in the Church.
The Pope closed his homily by telling those present to continue the Mass with both Peter’s question and Jesus’ answer in mind.
“The recompense that (Jesus) will give us is resemblance to Him. This will be our ‘recompense;’ to be like Jesus!”
Tags: Vatican, Pope Francis, Humility, Wealth
Rome, Italy, May 21, 2015 / 12:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).-
Following last week’s online release of an audio message from the caliph of the Islamic State, one expert says the group’s understanding of Islam calls on all Muslims to re-evaluate Islamic history.
“The only solution is a radical reform to the internal reading of Islamic history,” Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, an Egyptian-born Jesuit and acting rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, wrote May 15 at AsiaNews.
A day prior, the Islamic State had released a recording of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying, “There is no excuse for any Muslim not to migrate to the Islamic State … joining (its fight) is a duty on every Muslim. We are calling on you either to join or carry weapons (to fight) wherever you are.”
The recording also says that “Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting. No-one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels.”
Fr. Samir said al-Baghdadi’s message is “very shrewd because it corresponds to the expectations of
.- A four-year civil war in Syria has left a mounting death toll and displaced millions of persons, but one bishop is staying to rebuild the Church in Aleppo, in the northwest corner of the country.
“The Church is living,” Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo told CNA earlier this month. “Here, I am building, I am restoring, I am maintaining a lively Church in which every stone is a human being and who can be a witness, a testimony to the world.”
“I wondered if I am not copying St. Francis when he was working to rebuild the Church. It was crazy, nobody thought that he would succeed,” the archbishop noted. “And he succeeded because the Lord was with him.”
The four-year Syrian conflict being fought among the Assad regime and various rebel factions has devastated the country. More than 3.9 million refugees have fled to surrounding countries, and around 8 million Syrians are believed to have been internally displaced. The war’s death toll is currently around 220,000.
Outside countries and entities have taken advantage of the civil war, profiting from it through the arms trade or waiting for Syria to collapse so to move in and take power in the vacuum. Pope Francis has spoken out against the arms trade here and has been criticized for it, Archbishop Jeanbart noted.
Aleppo endured a terrible two-month siege by rebel forces last year. Its infrastructure has been devastated, and its residents endure great poverty.
Those who chose to stay face a myriad of challenges. Houses, businesses, schools, and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed in the war, leaving fathers without work, families without shelter, the sick without medical care, and children without education.
Thus it is an uphill battle to convince residents to stay and not re-settle elsewhere, Archbishop Jeanbart admitted. Syrians see the U.S. on television and think it a “paradise,” and want to move there. He has to convince them of the unseen difficulties that such a move might bring.
Words are not enough to convince people, however. The Church must act to help Christians who stay so once peace comes – and it will, the archbishop maintains – a stable Christian community is in place and Christians can have a seat at the peace negotiations.
“We want that we may have our rights,” he said. “We want that everybody may feel comfortable in the country.”
“What we want to do, and what I am looking for,” Archbishop Jeanbart said, “is to go to another position, a position looking positively to the future, trying to give them hope that the future of their country may be good, and will be better if they work and if they prepare themselves.”
The Church in Aleppo is working to meet the local needs. It provides thousands of baskets of food to needy families, 1,000 scholarships for students to attend Catholic schools, stipends to almost 500 fathers who have lost their business in the war, heating to houses in the wintertime, rebuilding homes damaged in the war and medical care for the needy since many government hospitals were destroyed in the fighting.
It’s a daunting task for an archbishop in his seventies. He admitted to initially wondering how he could do it.
“But when I began working on it, I felt that I was 50. Like if the Lord is pushing me to go ahead and helping me to realize this mission,” he said.
“I invest myself entirely. I have decided the consecrate the rest of my life to do that.”
Archbishop Jeanbart has been assisted in his efforts to serve the people of Aleppo by the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. The charity has ensured a six month supply of medical goods for the city, and paid for repairs and fuel costs at the city’s schools, in addition to the rest of its work throughout Syria.
Archbishop Jeanbart maintained that another reason Christians need to stay in Syria is to be a light to people of other religions, especially Muslims. If the Christians leave, no one will be left to preach the Gospel in Syria.
“Perhaps the time has come to tell these people ‘Come, Christ is waiting for you.’ And many Muslims now, I must say, are wondering where should be their place? Are they in the right place? Are they perhaps supposed to rethink and review their choices? It will be wonderful if I told them we may have the freedom and the freedom of faith which would allow anyone to make his own choice freely.”
Critics of the Church in Syria have accused it of not immediately supporting the rebels in the name of freedom and democracy, the archbishop noted, and this is a false mischaracterization.
Christians are wary of regime change because they have seen what has happened in surrounding countries where fundamentalists took power in the Arab Spring and religious pluralism suffered as a result: there is “a feeling among Christians that they are afraid that the government may change and with the change of the government, they may lose their freedom … they are afraid to lose their freedom to express and to live their Christian life.”
He cited the success of the Islamic State, which in the power vacuum caused by the Syrian civil war has established a caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq where “many Christians were killed because they were Christian.”
Christians in Syria are, in fact, supportive of freedom and democracy, he said.
“They want to have a democratic regime where they may have all their freedom and where they may live tranquil but at the same time happy in the country,” he said.
“In any settlement,” he maintained, “the Christian must have the rights to be Christian in this country. And they should not become Muslims because the regime will be Muslim.”
“We want to have our rights and to live as free Christians in our country,” he said.
Read the article “Lone Christian in Iraqi Delegation, a Nun, Denied Visa by Obama State Dept.” here: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417679/malice-toward-nun-nina-shea
Sister Diana wants to tell Americans about ISIS persecution of Christians in Iraq, but the State Department won’t let her in. Why is the United States barring a persecuted Iraqi Catholic nun — an internationally respected and leading representative of the Nineveh Christians who have been killed and deported by ISIS — from coming to Washington to testify about this catastrophe? Earlier this week, we learned that every member of an Iraqi delegation of minority groups, including representatives of the Yazidi and Turkmen Shia religious communities, has been granted visas to come for official meetings in Washington — save one. The single delegate whose visitor visa was denied happens to be the group’s only Christian from Iraq. Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena was informed on Tuesday by the U.S. consulate in Erbil that her non-immigrant-visa application has been rejected.
By Matt Hadro
“It’s making us stronger,” she said.
“We were displaced, yet we feel that the hand of God is still with us…In the midst of this darkness, this suffering, we see that God is holding us,” she explained, adding that it is a “gift of the Holy Spirit” to be able to stay and have faith through hardship.
Sister Diana was part of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, originally from Mosul in Northern Iraq. Islamist militants bombed their convent in 2009, and after the prioress sought protection from the local government and found none, Sister Diana and the community moved to Qaraqosh.
The ISIS onslaught caught up to them last summer. As the Islamic State swept through parts of Iraq and Syria, establishing a strict caliphate, more than 120,000 Iraqis were displaced on the Nineveh Plain, faced with the decision to convert to Islam, stay and pay a jizya tax to ISIS, or leave immediately.
The religious community moved again, this time to Kurdistan. “We were driven out of our homes in a couple of hours,” the nun described, “without any warning.”
Almost no Christians are left in Mosul, Sister Diana said, except for about 100 Christian hostages of ISIS.
Slated to testify before a congressional committee as part of an Iraqi delegation, Sister Diana’s application for a visa was initially denied by the local U.S. Consulate because of her status as an internally-displaced person.
Amid mounting pressure, she was later able to enter the United States and testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee May 13 regarding “ISIS’s war on religious minorities.”
“I am but one, small person – a victim myself of ISIS and all of its brutality,” Sister Diana stated in written testimony before the committee.
“Coming here has been difficult for me – as a religious sister I am not comfortable with the media and so much attention,” she admitted. “But I am here and I am here to ask you, to implore you for the sake of our common humanity to help us.”
The Christians in Northern Iraq lost “most everything” when ISIS destroyed and desecrated churches, shrines, and other sacred sites, she said.
“We lost everything that today, every Christian that’s living in the region of Kurdistan, we feel we don’t have dignity anymore. When you lose your home, you lose everything you have. You lose your heritage, your culture.”
When monasteries that have existed for centuries have been destroyed, it is a sign that “your history is gone, you are nothing anymore,” the Iraqi nun explained.
Children are growing up without proper education and whole families’ lives have “changed tremendously,” she said. “We’re abandoned, that’s how we feel.”
The local and regional authorities have been of little help to the displaced, Sister Diana said in her testimony, calling their reaction to the crisis “at best modest and slow.” The Kurdish government allowed Christian refugees to enter its borders but did not offer any more significant aid.
The Church in Kurdistan has been a big help to Christians, though, providing food, shelter, and other support, she noted.
Ultimately, the displaced want to return home and not to be re-settled elsewhere, witnesses at the hearing insisted.
“There are many who say ‘Why don’t the Christians just leave Iraq and move to another country and be done with it?’“ Sister Diana stated in her testimony. “Why should we leave our country? What have we done?”
“The Christians of Iraq are the first people of the land,” she said. “While our ancestors experienced all kinds of persecution, they stayed in their land, building a culture that has served humanity for the ages.”
“We want nothing more than to go back to our lives; we want nothing more than to go home.”
Tags: Refugees, Faith, ISIS, Iraqi Christians
From dawn to dusk, as Kathmandu rebuilds http://t.co/LmvpJHNPCq pic.twitter.com/1jVkBdR8Hg
— BBC News Asia (@BBCNewsAsia) May 15, 2015
The Black Death was a form of bubonic plague
that was pandemic throughout Europe, the Middle East, and much of Asia in the 14th century. Thought to have been caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, it killed between one-third and half of Europe’s population and at least 75 million people worldwide. Recently, it has been argued that the Black Death was not caused by bubonic plague, at all, but by what? More… Discuss
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis will bestow sainthood on two Palestinian nuns on Sunday (May 17), a move that’s being seen as giving hope to the conflict-wracked Middle East and shining the spotlight on the plight of Christians in the region.
Sisters Maria Baouardy and Mary Alphonsine Danil Ghattas are due to be canonized by the pontiff along with two other 19th-century nuns, Sister Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve, from France, and Italian Sister Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata.
“The canonization of these two Palestinian saints is a spiritual highpoint for the inhabitants of the Holy Land,” he told Vatican Insider.
“The fact that Mariam (Maria) and Marie (Mary) Alphonsine, the first modern Palestinian saints, are both Arabs is a sign of hope for Palestine, for the entire Holy Land and the Middle East: holiness is always possible, even in a war-torn region. May a generation of saints follow them!”
Twal will travel to the Vatican for the canonizations and has invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the ceremony.
Palestinians have waited more than 30 years for the sainthood of Baouardy, following her beatification by St. John Paul II in 1983.
Born into the Melchite Greek Catholic Church in 1846, in a village near Nazareth, Baouardy went on to join the Carmel of Pau in France. Despite being illiterate, she was sent to India where she founded other convents, before moving to Bethlehem where she died in 1878.
Announcing the canonization in February, the Vatican said Baouardy “experienced many sufferings together with extraordinary mystic phenomena” from an early age.
Ghattas, who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, lived a distinctly less international life. Born in Jerusalem in 1843, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition at the age of 15. She went on to found the Congregation of Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem and “worked tirelessly to help young people and Christian mothers,” the Vatican said.
The canonization of the two nuns will inevitably draw attention to Palestine and the Middle East, a region that Francis has repeatedly highlighted in recent months.
In his Easter address, the pope said: “We pray for peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land. May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division.”
Twal had no doubt that the approaching sainthoods would have a positive impact on the entire region.
“I am sure that it will rekindle the hope of our faithful in the Middle East and encourage them to remain firm in the faith and keep their eyes fixed on heaven,” he said, “especially in these difficult times that Christians are experiencing there.”
By Elise Harris
Vatican City, May 13, 2015 / 09:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his general audience Pope Francis focused on the concrete challenges families face in daily life, and said that simply remembering to be grateful and to apologize can go a long way in avoiding conflict.
“Dear brothers and sisters, today’s catechesis is the opening of the door to a series of reflections on family life, real life, daily life,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square May 13.
“Above this door are written three words that we have already used other times: May I, thank you, and I’m sorry. They are words linked to good manners, (and) in their genuine sense of respect and desire for good, (they are) far away from any hypocrisy and duplicity,” he said.
Francis’ address was a continuation of his ongoing catechesis on the family, which he began at the end of last year as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Although the words ’May I,’ ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ can be hard to say or put into practice, their absence “can cause cracks in the foundation of the family, which can lead to its collapse,” the Pope said.
However, if families make a habit of including the phrases in their daily lives as a sign of love for one another rather than just a formal expression of good manners, they can strengthen a happy family life, he continued.
The word ‘May I’ is a reminder that we should be “delicate, respectful and patient with others,” he said. Even if we feel like we have the right to something, “when we speak to our spouse or family member with kindness we create space for a true spirit of marital and familial common life.”
Kindness helps to renew trust and respect, and reveals the love we have for others, the Pope noted, saying that we should always imitate Jesus, who stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, waiting for us to open it to him.
He then turned to the second word, noting that to say ‘thank you’ can seem like a contradiction in a distrustful society, which tends to view this attitude as weakness.
Despite this perception, it is through an “education in gratitude” that that social justice and the dignity of persons are upheld, he said.
Gratitude Francis continued, “is a virtue that for believers is born from the same heart of their faith… (it) is also the language of God, to whom above all we must express our gratitude.”
Born and raised in India, English physician Ronald Ross joined the Indian Medical Service after completing medical school and undertook the study of malaria, then a disease that was not well understood. After years of research, he demonstrated the malarial parasite, Plasmodium, in the stomach of the Anopheles mosquito, identifying the disease’s mechanism of transmission. His discoveries earned him a Nobel Prize in 1902. When is World Mosquito Day, instituted by Ross, observed? More… Discuss
The Merkava series of main battle tanks is developed and manufactured by Israel Military Industries, Ltd for the Israel Defense Forces. It is designed to ensure crew survival, battle perseverance, and quick revival in case of bad damage, though it is still is vulnerable to remotely operated land mines. The heavily shielded engine is placed at the front of the tank, while the crew is able to escape through doors at the rear. When and why did Israel decide to develop the Merkava? More… Discuss
Pope Francis meets with children at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on May 11, 2015. Credit: Daniel Ibàñez/CNA.
Vatican City, May 11, 2015 / 01:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- This question was part of a special question and answer session with the Bishop of Rome touching on a wide range of themes – from the link between greed and war, to arguments with siblings, and the role of religion in promoting peace in the world.
“Religion helps us because it makes us walk in God’s presence,” the Pope said: “it helps us because it gives us the Commandments, the Beatitudes.”
Above all, religion helps us learn “to love our neighbor” – and this is a commandment that all religions have in common, he said.
It is this “love of neighbor” which helps everyone make peace, and “to go forward in peace.”
Pope Francis made these remarks on May 11 during during a encounter with 7,000 children in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall. The meeting was sponsored by the Fabbrica della Pace – the Peace Factory – an initiative which uses education to promote integration, cross-cultural and multi-ethnic understanding.
In prepared remarks, the Pope lauded Peace Factory for its work in building “a society without injustice and violence, in which every child and youth may be welcomed and grow in love.”
Saying there is need for more “peace factories,” the Pope lamented the number of “war factories” in existence.
“War is the fruit of hate, of selfishness, of the desire to possess more and more, and to dominate others.”
In contrast, members of the Peace Factory are committed to “defending the culture of inclusion, of reconciliation and of encounter.”
During the Q&A with the children, the Pope touched on a wide range of subjects, from personal and individual to global.
One little girl asked if the Pope argues with his family like she argues with her sister: He replied that we all argue, but said we should never conclude the day without making peace.
Another asked: “If a person does not want peace with you, what would you do?”
The Pope responded by saying he would respect that person’s freedom, never seeking revenge against him. In fostering peace, he said: “respect for persons is always, always first.”
Pope Francis also spoke about peace in more serious contexts, touching on themes such as greed in countries torn by war and conflict.
“Why do many powerful people not want peace?” the Pope asked, responding to a question posed by an Egyptian child as to why the powerful do not support schools. “Because they live on war!”
Such persons benefit from the sale of weapons – which he described as “the industry of death” – and decried the evil brought about by the greed for more and more money.
“And it is for this reason that many people do not want peace,” he said: “They benefit more from war!”
Pope Francis then touched on the theme of equality, having been asked if everyone is equal today.
“We are all equal – everyone!” he said, but there are those who do not recognize this equality, and that we all have the same rights. A society which does not see this, he said, “that society is unjust… and where there is no justice, there is no peace.”
Tags: Pope Francis
Still celebrated in most of the Soviet successor states, Victory Day marks Nazi Germany‘s capitulation to the USSR in WWII. Signed on the evening of May 8, 1945—May 9 in Moscow’s time zone—the surrender followed Germany’s initial capitulation to the Allies. When the first surrender document was being signed, only one Soviet representative was present, and he had no instructions from Moscow nor any means of immediate contact with Soviet leaders. Was he punished or lauded for deciding to sign it? More… Discuss
By Marta Jimenez
Rome, Italy, May 7, 2015 / 06:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pilgrims and tourists strolling down the streets of Rome in the coming months may come across an unexpected treat – a special “Jubilee of Mercy Ice Cream,” created in honor of the upcoming Holy Year.
Pope Francis has proclaimed the special Holy Year of Mercy, which is to last from Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King.
The special Jubilee ice cream can be sampled at the Hedera ice cream shop, situated on the legendary Borgo Pio, one of the streets most traveled by Rome’s tourists.
Hedera stands out from among the other restaurants and souvenir shops because of the sprawling ivy vines that completely cover the building and the adjacent old drinking fountain with a papal crest that slakes the thirst of passersby.
“We have tradition and innovation in our DNA. The idea came to us thinking about a product inspired by the Jubilee, something very significant,” said business owner Francesco Ceravolo.
“We didn’t want to make a product just to advertise, but an excellent product. We used the best milk available in the area, the best cream and limoncello, he explained, adding, “We lowered the alcohol in it so everyone could have it: children, adults, the elderly.”
Ceravolo is a big admirer of Pope Francis and a descendant of master ice cream makers. He said that the idea was to create a unique flavor that would represent penance. The lemon liqueur was therefore chosen to symbolize purification.
Hedera prides itself on high-quality products, all sourced from Italy and without preservatives.
The “Jubilee ice cream” is just one example of how the people of Rome are preparing to welcome the thousands of pilgrims that will visit the city for the Jubilee of Mercy that the Pope has declared.
Mercy is a theme that is dear to Pope Francis, and is the central topic of his episcopal motto “miserando atque eligendo,” which he chose when ordained a bishop in 1992.
In speaking about the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, the Pope has emphasized that mercy is inseparable from the life and mission of the Church, as well as the role of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Upon making the public proclamation of the Holy Year, Pope Francis explained that he had declared this Jubilee of mercy because we are living at a “time of great historical change” which calls the Church “to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness.”
This period in history is a time where the faithful “need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential,” he said.
“This is the time for mercy.”
The aim of Jubilee Year of Mercy is to encourage the faithful to “welcome the numerous signs of the tenderness which God offers to the whole world,” the Pope stressed.
Tags: Holy Year of Mercy
The Symphony No. 9 in D Minor is the last complete symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. One of the best known works of the Western repertoire, it is considered one of Beethoven’s greatest masterpieces. Incorporating part of Johann Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” sung by soloists and a chorus, it is the first symphony in which a major composer utilizes human voices on the same level as instruments. How many standing ovations reportedly followed its premiere performance in 1824? More… Discuss
An injured worker featured in a ProPublica and NPR investigation into the rollback of workers’ compensation nationwide warned Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday not to make the same drastic cuts that his state has made in recent years.
John Coffell, who lost his home after hurting his back at an Oklahoma tire plant, testified as part of an eight-hour hearing on workers’ comp before the entire Illinois state assembly. The rare hearing of “the committee as a whole” was called by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan as a preemptive strike of sorts as newly elected Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner prepares a number of changes to reduce costs for employers.
As part of his “turnaround agenda,” Rauner has proposed:
Toughening standards so that employees must prove that work caused more than 50 percent of their injuries rather than just aggravating an existing condition
Relying more heavily on disability rating guides that reduce compensation for workers who suffer permanent injuries
Allowing workers’ comp judges to give equal weight to opinions of doctors hired by insurance companies rather than giving deference to workers’ physicians
Reducing the maximum medical fees that doctors and hospitals can charge by 30 percent
ProPublica and NPR reported earlier this year that more than 30 states have changed their workers’ comp laws since 2003, largely to appeal more to business. Those changes — which mirror some proposed in Illinois — have reduced benefits for injured workers, created hurdles to medical care, or made it more difficult for workers to qualify.
As in many states, workers’ comp in Illinois has become a bargaining chip. Rauner has insisted that changes to the laws must be made in exchange for any increase in the state’s minimum wage.
During the hearing, Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Democrat from southwestern Illinois, said the assembly should learn from the experiences of workers like Coffell, who were victims of both tragic accidents and “short-sighted policies” enacted by their legislatures.
“Their representatives may have called these actions ‘reforms.’ They may have talked about the business climate. They may have talked about the need to root out fraud. But what they really did is they denied hard-working, middle-class families the care they need and the support they deserve,” Hoffman said. “This side of the aisle will not join other states in a race to the bottom.”
The ProPublica and NPR series has led to bills to raise benefits in Alabama and prevent medical care from being cut off in California. Officials have also warned insurers in California not to abuse the process and have launched an audit of how one insurer handled a claim in which a paraplegic’s home health care was terminated. In Illinois, Coffell’s testimony appears to have been used to try to douse the governor’s proposals.
Coffell told the legislators that after injuring a disc in his back last summer, his pay dropped dramatically because Oklahoma had reduced the maximum wage-replacement benefits injured workers could receive from $801 a week to $561 a week.
Almost immediately, he said, his utilities were cut off, his truck was repossessed and his family was evicted from their rental home. Because no relative could accommodate all of them, Coffell sent his three children, aged 5 to 9, to live with grandparents. He and his wife only had enough gas money to see them on weekends. They’ve had to rely on food stamps to get by.
Asked by a legislator how it felt to not be able to support his family, Coffell said, “It’s indescribable, really. Pretty much if I was to give a crazy example, if you were to see your husband or child drowning in a pool, but not being able to get them out of it. Kind of the same feeling.”
The hearing repeatedly drew comparisons between Illinois, which has relatively high benefits and costs, and Indiana, which has relatively low benefits and the second cheapest insurance rates for employers in the country.
Workers and their families praised Illinois’ law. Christine Fuller — who lived in Indiana, but whose father died from falling off a roof on a job in Illinois — said the survivor benefits she received from workers’ comp helped pay the mortgage and put her through college and graduate school.
These caves in Maharashtra, India, discovered in 1819, are carved out of the side of a steep horseshoe-shaped ravine and contain remarkable examples of Buddhist art. They consist of chapels and monasteries dating from about 200 BCE to 650 CE, with magnificent frescoes and sculpture depicting scenes from the life of Buddha. Changes in Buddhist thought in what century made it possible for the image of the Buddha to become a focus of worship? More… Discuss
The award-winning Toyota Prius was the world’s first commercially mass-produced and marketed hybrid automobile. Toyota’s goal for the Prius was to reduce the amount of pollutants it produced and to increase its energy efficiency. To achieve this goal, the company reduced the engine’s gasoline consumption, added two electric motor/generators, reduced air resistance and road friction, and reduced the car’s weight. Supposedly, why did Toyota choose the name “Prius” for their hybrid car? More… Discuss
ECHMIADZIN (Armenia) (AFP) – The Armenian Church on Thursday conferred sainthood on some 1.5 million Armenians massacred by Ottoman forces a century ago, as tensions raged over Turkey‘s refusal to recognise the killings as genocide.
The ceremony, which is believed to be the biggest canonisation service in history, came ahead of commemorations expected to see millions of people including heads of state on Friday mark 100 years since the start of the killings.
The two-hour ceremony outside Armenia’s main cathedral, Echmiadzin, close to the capital Yerevan, ended at 7:15 pm local time, or 19:15 according to the 24-hour clock (1515 GMT), to symbolise the year when the massacres started during World War I.
“During the dire years of the genocide of the Armenians, millions of our people were uprooted and massacred in a premeditated manner, passed through fire and sword, tasted the bitter fruits of torture and sorrow,” Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, said at the ceremony.
“The canonisation of the martyrs of the genocide brings life-giving new breath, grace and blessing to our national and ecclesiastical life.”
Clergymen in ornate robes sang ancient chants outside the imposing cathedral built in a pale pink variety of limestone at an open-air altar in a churchyard full of spring greenery.
At the end of the ceremony attended by President Serzh Sarkisian, bells rang out across Armenia and a minute of silence was observed.
Bells also tolled in cities around the world including New York, Madrid, Venice, Berlin and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Armenian television said.
– ‘Triumph of supreme justice’ –
“Today’s canonisation unites all Armenians living around the globe,” said Huri Avetikian, an ethnic Armenian librarian from Lebanon who arrived in her ancestral homeland to attend the service.
“Souls of the victims of the genocide will finally find eternal repose today,” said 68-year-old social worker Varduhi Shanakian.
“Supreme justice will triumph.”
In canonising the victims, “the Church only recognises what happened: that is, the genocide”, Karekin II said ahead of the event which Christian Today, an online publication covering religious news, said could become “the biggest saint-making service in history”.
Ex-Soviet Armenia and the huge Armenian diaspora worldwide have battled for decades to get the World War I massacres at the hands of the Ottoman forces between 1915 and 1917 recognised as a targeted genocide.
But modern Turkey, which was born of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, has refused to do so, and relations remain frozen to this day.
Ankara says 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil — rather than religious — strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops.
In a rare interview with Turkish television broadcast Thursday, Armenia’s Sarkisian expressed hope the two countries could mend fences.
“It is obvious that a reconciliation between the two peoples will have to come about through Turkey recognising the genocide,” he told CNN-Turk.
Later Thursday US hard rock band System of a Down whose members are of Armenian descent performed in front of thousands of fans in the pouring rain in Yerevan.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands are expected to join a procession to a hilltop memorial in Yerevan carrying candles and flowers to lay at the eternal flame at the centre of the monument.
In Paris, Los Angeles and other cities, members of the Armenian diaspora that came into existence as a result of the slaughter will also hold commemorations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande are expected to be among a handful of leaders to travel to Armenia for the commemorations, but others are shying away for fear of upsetting Ankara.
– Anger in Turkey –
In a move expected to draw an angry reaction from Turkey, German President Joahim Gauck on Thursday condemned the massacres as genocide, the first time Berlin has officially used the word to describe the bloodletting.
Speaking at a religious service commemorating the centenary, Gauck said the then German empire — the Ottoman Turkey’s ally in WWI — bore “shared responsibility, possibly shared guilt for the genocide.”
Ahead of the ceremonies, Turkey kicked up a diplomatic storm, condemning growing “racism” in Europe.
On Wednesday, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Vienna in protest at the Austrian parliament’s decision to call the massacre a “genocide.”
Earlier this month Ankara also recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis described the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”
More than 20 nations — including France and Russia — have so far recognised the Armenian genocide, a definition supported by numerous historians.
But the White House conspicuously avoids using the term.
Turkey will on Friday host world leaders to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli, a day earlier than the actual start of fighting.
Sarkisian has accused Ankara of deliberately “trying to divert world attention” from the Yerevan commemorations.
Fresh from his victory at the Alamo, General Antonio López de Santa Anna of Mexico proceeded eastward until he encountered the Texan army general, Samuel Houston, at San Jacinto, about 22 miles east of the present-day city of Houston. Houston’s 900 soldiers defeated the Mexican force of nearly 1,600, in a battle that lasted only 18 minutes. A legal holiday in Texas, San Jacinto Day is celebrated throughout the state but particularly in San Antonio, where the highpoint of the 10-day San Antonio Fiesta is the huge Battle of Flowers parade winding through the city’s downtown streets. More… Discuss
(Reuters) – Kraft Foods Group Inc on Monday said it is revamping its family-friendly macaroni and cheese meal, removing synthetic colors and preservatives from the popular boxed dinner.
The move comes at a time when Kraft is battling sluggish demand as consumers shift to brands that are perceived as healthier, including foods that are organic or less processed.
The company has also been targeted by consumer advocacy groups. The groups have pressured Kraft to remove artificial food dyes from its products, complaining that the additives are not used, and in some cases, banned in other countries.Kraft spokeswoman Lynne Galia said the changes were being made to address concerns expressed by consumers, including demands for improved nutrition and “simpler ingredients.”
“We know parents want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families,” Galia said in an emailed statement about the changes to its macaroni and cheese product.
Galia said the changes will be effective by January 2016 for “Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese” in the United States. The company is also removing synthetic colors by the end of 2016 in Canada for its Kraft Dinner Original.
In 2014, Kraft launched its Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes with no synthetic colors, and in January of this year, the Northfield, Illinois-based company moved to no artificial preservatives for the Boxed Shapes product in the United States, the company said.
Kraft also said it is replacing synthetic colors with those derived from natural sources, like paprika, annatto and turmeric.
Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization for health and environmental issues, applauded Kraft’s move and said it should be an example for other companies.
“The announcement from Kraft should be a wake-up call for other food manufacturers to take notice, go back to the drawing board, reformulate and get rid of these synthetic ingredients of concern, especially in food that is marketed to children,” White said.
Kraft Foods is one of North America’s largest consumer packaged food and beverage companies, with annual revenues of more than $18 billion. Its brands include Capri Sun, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House and Oscar Mayer.
Kraft shares were up about 1 percent at $87.58 on Monday.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Missouri; Additional reporting by Anjali Athavaley in New York; Editing by G Crosse and Lisa Shumaker)
© Mohammed Huwais, AFP | Yemenis walk along a damaged street following a raid by Saudi-led coalition warplanes on a nearby missile depot on Fajj Attan hill in southern Sanaa, on April 20, 2015
Video by FRANCE 24
Text by NEWS WIRES
Latest update : 2015-04-20
An air strike on a Scud missile base in the Yemeni capital Sanaa caused a big explosion that blew out windows in homes, killing seven civilians and wounding dozens, medical sources told Reuters.
Yemen’s state news agency Saba, run by the Houthi movement which controls the capital, said the bombing resulted in “dozens of martyrs and hundreds of wounded,” citing a government official.
Saudi Arabia has led an alliance of Sunni Arab countries in air strikes against the Iran-allied Shi’ite Houthi group and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The blast hit the base on Faj Attan mountain beside Hadda district, home to the presidential palace and many embassies, and sent a thick pillar of smoke into the air.
Resident Adel Mansour said it was the largest explosion in more than three weeks of bombing by the Saudi-led coalition.
“For the first time since the start of the bombing the windows of my house smashed,” Mansour said. “My children are terrified and one of my relatives fainted because of the force of the blast.”
An eyewitness at a hospital in the area said the emergency room was overwhelmed with victims, who screamed in pain from wounds sustained by the flying debris of their homes.
The campaign has repeatedly targeted the Faj Attan facility along with other military bases and airports in Sanaa and throughout the country.
The explosion also damaged the headquarters of a television station, Yemen Today, which is owned by ex-president Saleh, knocking its signal off air and wounding several people, employees told Reuters.
Date created : 2015-04-20
related reading:>>>>> HERE <<<<<
1915 Armenian Massacre Now Called a Genocide by Germany
Added by Alex Lemieux on April 20, 2015.
Saved under Breaking News!, Germany, World
Tags: 1915 Armenian Massacre
1915 Armenian Massacre
Germany has now reversed its stance to use the term “genocide” to describe the 1915 Armenian massacre when around 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by Ottoman Turkish forces. The major reversal is crucial due to the fact that Germany is Turkey’s top European Union trading partner. Germany comes after France, Pope Francis, and the European parliament to condemn the violence.
Germany has resisted using the term of genocide even though other European nations have. Though, the government has come under scrutiny from officials to use the word in a resolution. Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, stated Germany would support a parliamentary resolution, declaring the 1915 Armenian massacre an example of genocide.
Turkey’s government currently denies that the slaughters constituted genocide. Officials stated there was no organized nation campaign to kill off Armenians and no such other orders from the Ottoman Empire. The word Genocide has not been used by any other nations to avoid upsetting Turkey and trading negotiations.
Originally, the German government refused to use the term due to some concerns of the Herero massacres done in 1904 and 1905 by German forces. This lead to reparation demands in what is now Namibia.
By Alex Lemieux
The Daily Mail
Photo by Luke Ma – Flickr License
In an address at a UN Conference on the theme: “The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security”, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations, urged the international community to act in protecting Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East.
The following is the text of Archbishop Auza’s address:
United Nations, New York, 17 April 2015
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Panelists,
Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Before the tens of thousands who came to St. Peter’s Square to listen to his Easter Message to the City of Rome and to the World last April 6, Pope Francis vigorously appealed to raise up “intense prayer” and “tangible help” for the Christians throughout the world, “who are being persecuted, exiled, killed, and decapitated for the sole reason that they are Christians.”
“They are our martyrs of today,” he continued, and “they are more numerous than in the early Christian centuries.”
The Pope prayed that “the international community will not remain mute and unmoved before such an unacceptable crime” — which he called “a worrisome deviation from the most basic human rights” — and articulated his sincere hope “that the international community does not turn a blind eye” to the situation.
Today in this setting where the deliberations of the international community take place, we come with both of our eyes wide open. And as we consider in depth the details of the persecution of Christians across the globe, it’s going to be very difficult to keep our eyes dry.
In Iraq and Syria, in Nigeria and Libya, in Kenya and in regions of the Asian subcontinent, the earth has been getting literally soaked with blood. We have seen barbaric images of Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya; churches filled with people blown up during liturgical celebrations in Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan; ancient Christian communities driven out of their homes on the biblical Plain of Nineveh; Christian students executed in Kenya…
Even as we speak, thousands across the world are being persecuted, deprived of their fundamental human rights, discriminated against and killed simply because they are believers.
We know that these attacks against people of faith do not happen just to Christians. Less than a month ago, hundreds of Muslim worshippers were killed or wounded when suicide bombers allied with the so-called Islamic State attacked the two Mosques in which they were worshipping in Yemen. Muslim minorities elsewhere have also been attacked by extremists who claim to be Muslims themselves.
Ethnic minorities have been targeted as well. During a UN Security Council debate on the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic and religious grounds in the Middle East, which was held March 27, Iraqi Yazidi congresswoman Vian Dakhil, with tears in her eyes, told the world: “We are being slaughtered, our girls are being sold, our children are being taken.”
Nevertheless, the fact is, in many parts of the world, Christians have been specifically targeted. As a 2014 Pew Research Center report on religious hostilities across the world documented, brutal attacks on people of faith happen to Christians more than to any other religious group. Between 2006 and 2012, Christians were targeted through harassment, persecution or martyrdom in 151 out of 193 Members States of the United Nations. This points to a collective failure of this international organization, whose primary objective is to spare peoples and nations from the scourge of violence and unjust aggressions.
His Excellency the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki Moon has repeatedly condemned “in the strongest terms all persecution and violations of the rights to life and physical integrity of individuals and communities based on religious, ethnic, national, racial or other grounds.” His presentation of the situation in the Middle East during the March Security Council briefing was very sobering: The so-called “Islamic State” (ISIL/ISIS) or Da’esh has been systematically killing ethnic and religious minorities and those who disagreed with its warped interpretation of Islam. He said that in Iraq, information strongly suggested that Da’esh had perpetrated genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and that minorities had been victims of that violence. Syria has seen an exceptional rise in those atrocities. In Libya, Da’esh-affiliated groups were targeting minorities and attacking religious sights.
Pope Francis has expressed several times his “great pain to know that Christians in the world submit to the greatest amount of such discrimination.” He said, “This is happening more than 1700 years after the edict of Constantine, which gave Christians the freedom to publicly profess their faith.” He added, “This is not a fantasy; the numbers tell us.” Between 100 and 150 million Christians are persecuted in the world today.
According to the Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014 – which covers the period from October 2012 to June 2014 –acts of religious persecution are not only widespread, but also on the increase. In almost every country, the change in the status and condition of religious minorities has been for the worse. Religious persecution is alarmingly high, or high, or worrisome in 116 countries, or in 59% of all the countries in the world. In brief, global religious freedom has entered a period of serious decline in the last three years.
In the Middle East in particular, Christians have been specifically targeted, killed or forced to flee from their homes and countries. Only 25 years ago, there were nearly two million Christians living in Iraq; the most recent estimates are less than a quarter of this figure. Faced with the unbearable situation of living in a conflict zone controlled by terrorist and extremist organizations who constantly threaten them with death, and with a deep sense of feeling abandoned, they have been forced to flee their homes.
The disappearance of these communities from the Middle East would not only be a religious tragedy, but a loss of a rich cultural-religious patrimony that has contributed so much to the societies to which they belong. For 2,000 years, Christians have called the Middle East home; indeed, as we all know, the Middle East is the cradle of Christianity. Thus, it is painful and unfathomable that these ancient Christian communities in the region — especially those who still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ — are among those threatened with extinction.
Pope Francis has repeatedly stated that we cannot resign ourselves to thinking of the Middle East without Christians. Their uninterrupted existence in the region is testimony of many centuries of coexistence, side by side with Muslims and other religious and ethnic communities. The whole world has a great interest in preserving that coexistence and we must all join to prevent the expulsion of Christians before it’s too late.
Last month in Geneva, before the UN Human Rights Council, 65 nations signed a statement drafted by Lebanon, Russia and the Holy See supporting the human rights of Christians and other communities, particularly in the Middle East. It was the first time there has been explicit mention of the category of Christians before the Human Rights Council.
That statement called attention to the fact that “the existence of many religious communities is seriously threatened” with Christians “now especially affected.” It called on all States to join together and address this alarming situation by building together a culture of peaceful coexistence, recognizing religious and ethnic pluralism as an enrichment to the globalized world, and reaffirming their commitment to “respect the rights of everyone, in particular the right to freedom of religion, which is enshrined in the fundamental international human rights instruments.”
Is it now too late to act? When we call to mind those who have already lost their lives, any action would come too late. But any action to spare even just one from persecution and from all forms of atrocities will not only be timely, but most urgent. The fate of those persecuted urges us to do all that we can to prevent further victims of attacks and abuses. Christians and other religious minorities of the Middle East and elsewhere plead for action, not in some abstract form, but in a manner that is truly conscious of their pain and suffering and their existential fear for their survival.
I am grateful for your presence this afternoon. Your presence is already an act of solidarity with the persecuted Christians all over the globe. They are counting on us and praying for ever greater efforts on our part to spare them from protracted persecution. Their very own survival could depend on our acts of solidarity. We pray that we may be able together to open the eyes of the world to what is going, and help them not to take their focus off of the plight of persecuted Christians until their lives are secure, their dignity is defended, and their rights protected.
Thank you very much for your presence here this afternoon.
Like much of Africa, the area that is now Zimbabwe was long controlled by Europeans. In 1922, the 34,000 European settlers chose to become a self-governing British colony, Southern Rhodesia. In 1923, Southern Rhodesia was annexed by the British Crown. A fight for independence took place in the 1970s. An independent constitution was written for Zimbabwe in London in 1979, and independence followed on April 18, 1980. Independence Day is celebrated in every city and district of the nation with political rallies, parades, traditional dances, singing, and fireworks. More… Discuss
Luis Carballo will be online to discuss his experiences in Chad on Thursday at 15:00 CET. He’ll answer your questions in English, Spanish or French so please post them in the live blog at the foot of this page, email them to email@example.com or Tweet them using the hashtag #askeuronewsluis. You can follow Luis on Twitter @granangular.
For more than a decade, the Islamist group Boko Haram had a limited strategy: to create an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria. But now it has spread its terror campaign to neighbouring countries as well.
Chad, Niger and Cameroon have responded with a military alliance which, since January, has been helping the Abuja government.
“What these children have seen, you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.”
In March, Boko Haram signed a deal with ISIL, or the self proclaimed Islamic State. This turned the conflict into an international one, switching on red lights across the region and accelerating a joint offensive.
The Apgar Score is a system of evaluating a newborn’s physical condition, generally done at one and five minutes after birth, where a value from 0 to 2 is assigned to each of five criteria: heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, response to stimuli, and skin color. The values are summed up and the resulting score ranges from 0 to 10. Scores below 3 are generally regarded as critically low, with 4 to 7 fairly low, and over 7 generally normal. What does the acronym APGAR stand for? More… Discuss
Measuring the GI
To determine a food’s GI value, measured portions of the food containing 50 grams of available carbohydrate (or 25 grams of available carbohydrate for foods that contain lower amounts of carbohydrate) are fed to 10 healthy people after an overnight fast. Finger-prick blood samples are taken at 15-30 minute intervals over the next two hours. These blood samples are used to construct a blood sugar response curve for the two hour period. The incremental area under the curve (iAUC) is calculated to reflect the total rise in blood glucose levels after eating the test food. The GI value is calculated by dividing the iAUC for the test food by the iAUC for the reference food (same amount of glucose) and multiplying by 100 (see Figure 1). The use of a standard food is essential for reducing the confounding influence of differences in the physical characteristics of the subjects. The average of the GI ratings from all ten subjects is published as the GI for that food.
The GI of foods has important implications for the food industry. Some foods on the Australian market already show their GI rating on the nutrition information panel. Terms such as complex carbohydrates and sugars, which commonly appear on food labels, are now recognised as having little nutritional or physiological significance. The WHO/FAO recommend that these terms be removed and replaced with the total carbohydrate content of the food and its GI value. However, the GI rating of a food must be tested physiologically and only a few centres around the world currently provide a legitimate testing service. The Human Nutrition Unit at the University of Sydney has been at the forefront of glycemic index research for over two decades and has tested hundreds of foods as an integral part of its program. Jennie Brand Miller is the senior author of International Tables of Glycemic Index published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1995 and 2002 and by Diabetes Care in 2008.
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and also used as a cover crop. To distinguish it from a related species, Fagopyrum tataricum that is also cultivated as a grain in the Himalayas, and from the less commonly cultivated Fagopyrum acutatum, it is also known as Japanese buckwheat and silverhull buckwheat.
Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Because its seeds are eaten, it is referred to as a pseudocereal. The cultivation of buckwheat grain declined sharply in the 20th century with the adoption of nitrogen fertilizer that increased the productivity of other staples.
The name ‘buckwheat’ or ‘beech wheat’ comes from its triangular seeds, which resemble the much larger seeds of the beech nut from the beech tree, and the fact that it is used like wheat. The word may be a translation of Middle Dutch boecweite: boec (Modern Dutch beuk), “beech” (see PIE *bhago-) and weite (Mod. Dut. weit), wheat, or may be a native formation on the same model as the Dutch word.
The wild ancestor of common buckwheat is F. esculentum ssp.ancestrale. F. homotropicum is interfertile with F. esculentum and the wild forms have a common distribution, in Yunnan. The wild ancestor of tartary buckwheat is F. tataricum ssp. potanini.
Common buckwheat was domesticated and first cultivated in inland Southeast Asia, possibly around 6000 BCE, and from there spread to Central Asia and Tibet, and then to the Middle East and Europe. Domestication most likely took place in the western Yunnan region of China. Buckwheat is documented in Europe in Finland by at least 5300 BCE  as a first sign of agriculture and in the Balkans by circa 4000 BCE in the Middle Neolithic. In Russian and Ukrainian buckwheat is called гречка (grechka) meaning of Greek, due to its introduction in the 7th century by the Byzantine Greeks, the same is the case in Russian.
The oldest known remains in China so far date to circa 2600 BCE while buckwheat pollen found in Japan dates from as early as 4000 BCE. It is the world’s highest elevation domesticate, being cultivated in Yunnan on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau or on the Plateau itself. Buckwheat was one of the earliest crops introduced by Europeans to North America. Dispersal around the globe was complete by 2006, when a variety developed in Canada was widely planted in China.
Buckwheat is a short season crop that does well on low-fertility or acidic soils, but the soil must be well drained. Too much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, will reduce yields. In hot climates, it can only be grown by sowing late in the season, so that it will bloom in cooler weather. The presence of pollinators greatly increases the yield. The nectar from buckwheat flower makes a dark-colored honey. Buckwheat is sometimes used as a green manure, as a plant for erosion control, or as wildlife cover and feed.
Seed and withered flower of buckwheat
The plant has a branching root system with one primary root that reaches deeply into the moist soil. Buckwheat has triangular seeds and produces a flower that is usually white, although can also be pink or yellow. Buckwheat branches freely, as opposed to tillering or producing suckers, causing a more complete adaption to its environment than other cereal crops. The seed hull density is less than that of water, making the hull easy to remove.
Buckwheat is raised for grain where a short season is available, either because it is used as a second crop in the season, or because the climate is limiting. Buckwheat can be a reliable cover crop in summer to fit a small slot of warm season. It establishes quickly, which suppresses summer weeds. Buckwheat has a growing period of only 10–12 weeks and it can be grown in high latitude or northern areas. It grows 30 to 50 inches (75 to 125 cm) tall.
A century ago, the Russian Empire was the world leader in buckwheat production. Growing areas in the Russian Empire were estimated at 6.5 million acres (2,600,000 ha), followed by those of France at 0.9 million acres (360,000 ha). In 1970, the Soviet Union grew an estimated 4.5 million acres (1,800,000 ha) of buckwheat. It remains in 2014 a key cereal. Production in China expanded greatly during the 2000s, to rival Russia’s output.
In the northeastern United States, buckwheat was a common crop in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cultivation declined sharply in the 20th century due to the use of nitrogen fertilizer, to which maize and wheat respond strongly. Over 1,000,000 acres (400,000 ha) were harvested in the United States in 1918. By 1954, that had declined to 150,000 acres (61,000 ha), and by 1964, the last year annual production statistics were gathered by USDA, only 50,000 acres (20,000 ha) were grown. However it may benefit from an “explosion in popularity of so-called ancient grains” reported in the years 2009-2014.
|Country||Area harvested (ha)||Production (tonnes)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||633||977|
|Republic of Moldova||61||40|
The Calgary Flames celebrate their victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Thursday, April 9, 2015.
Valentina Lisitsa is entitled to her views and should not be censored, says Naomi Lakritz.
Calgary Flames’ head coach Bob Hartley celebrates with his players after a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, earning a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Reader says Flames’ status is a real mood-booster.
When you see the primitive prosthetic on which Terry took every third step, you’re not surprised it caused his stump to bleed, says Mark Sutcliffe.
If the assumption is that money belongs first to government, then there is less pressure for governments to justify the taxes taken and how the money is spent, says Mark Milke.
Six community agencies throughout the province will be the first to receive supplies of naloxone, including Calgary’s Safeworks needle exchange. Fentanyl was blamed for 120 deaths in Alberta last year alone.
Lakritz: The day the music died for ‘Je suis Charlie’
Naomi Lakritz, Calgary Herald More from Naomi Lakritz, Calgary Herald
Published on: April 11, 2015
Last Updated: April 11, 2015 3:01 AM MDT
Valentina Lisitsa is entitled to her views and should not be censored, says Naomi Lakritz.
Valentina Lisitsa is entitled to her views and should not be censored, says Naomi Lakritz.
It sure didn’t take long for Je Suis Charlie to bite the dust, did it? Three months ago, the West was ablaze with righteous indignation over the killings of the French journalists at Charlie Hebdo who had published cartoons of Muhammad.
Je ne suis pas Charlie anymore, to judge by the reaction to pianist Valentina Lisitsa’s tweets about the Russia-Ukraine civil war. Born in Ukraine, Lisitsa is an ethnic Russian. She has a different view of the conflict there, and her tweets about it prompted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to cancel her performances.
This just goes to show how shallow and hypocritical “Je Suis Charlie” really was. The West is very happy to champion freedom of speech when that freedom is used to attack a cause that westerners aren’t necessarily cool with anyway, such as Islam: Prophet Muhammad isn’t supposed to be portrayed in any illustration? How dumb is that? Let’s poke a stick in Muslims’ eyes and declare it a noble act.
But when that same freedom of speech opposes a cause dear to western hearts, such as the proper side to be on in Ukraine’s conflict, then the speaker is punished. Je suis Charlie, but only when Charlie’s ox is not the one being gored.
TSO president Jeff Melanson said: “People were very offended over what (Lisitsa) was saying online starting in December, and that sort of crescendoed over the last three or four months. And when we reviewed the various tweets and asked Valentina to please explain the tweets and the content, unfortunately … we were left with no choice but to remove her from the program.”
On the contrary, the TSO had a choice — to respect Lisitsa’s freedom of speech. How can one support Ukraine’s fight for democracy, yet oppose the freedom of speech which would be a tenet of that democracy? You can’t have it both ways.
Proclaiming the Holy Year at the Holy Door
Posted on April 9, 2015 by Administrator
By Elliot Williams*
VATICAN CITY — Saturday evening, in front of the Holy Door in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis’ will give the archpriests of the major basilicas of Rome copies of his “bull of indiction,” or formal proclamation, of the Holy Year of Mercy. An aide will read portions of it at the door before participants process into St. Peter’s for evening prayer.
The Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica. (CNS/Paul Haring)
The Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica. (CNS/Paul Haring)
The site chosen for the brief rite was not made casually; the door symbolizes a passage or transition into a special year of evangelization and prayer.
Pope Francis will be back at the door Dec. 8 to formally open it and the Year of Mercy.
Popes typically announce a jubilee every 25 years, although extraordinary Holy Years have been proclaimed for special anniversaries — for example, a Holy Year was celebrated in 1983 to commemorate the 1,950th anniversary of Christ’s death and resurrection.
The Holy Door is opened to evoke the concept of forgiveness, which is the main focus of a Holy Year.
According to “Mondo Vaticano,” a mini-encyclopedia published by the Vatican, the designation of a Holy Door may trace back to the ancient Christian practice of public penitence when sinners were given public penances to perform before receiving absolution.
The penitents were not allowed to enter a church before completing the penance, but they were solemnly welcomed back in when their penance was fulfilled. Still today, Holy Year pilgrims enter the basilica through the Holy Door as a sign of their repentance and re-commitment to a life of faith.
Both the opening and closing of the Holy Door take place with formal ceremonies to mark “the period of time set aside for men and women to sanctify their souls,” the book says.
The ritual for opening the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica goes back to 1499 when Pope Alexander VI opened the door on Christmas Eve to inaugurate the Holy Year 1500. This was when the door was wooden.
The bronze door panels that stand at St. Peter’s today, made by Vico Consorti, were consecrated and first opened Dec. 24, 1949, by Pius XII in proclamation of the 1950 Jubilee, a scene represented in the bottom right panel.
For centuries, the doors were opened with a silver hammer, not a key, “because the doors of justice and mercy give way only to the force of prayer and penance,” the encyclopedia says. Opening the Holy Year 2000, St. John Paul used neither a hammer, nor a key, but strongly pushed the door open.
St. John Paul II pushes open the Holy Door on Dec. 24, 1999. (CNS/Arturo Mari, Vatican)
St. John Paul II pushes open the Holy Door on Dec. 24, 1999. (CNS/Arturo Mari, Vatican)
The theme of human sin and God’s mercy is illustrated in 15 of the 16 bronze panels that make up the current door, with episodes from both the Old and New Testament, including the Fall of Adam and Eve, the Annunciation, and the Merciful Father (and Prodigal Son).
Between the panels on the door at St. Peter’s are little shields with the coats of arms of all the popes that opened it during the ordinary Holy Years, the last being St. John Paul. Pope Francis’ coat of arms will be etched onto one of the empty shields that remain for future jubilee years after he opens and closes the door.
Pope Francis will give the “bull of indiction” also to the archpriests of the Rome basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major, which also have Holy Doors that are opened during jubilee years. The only other Holy Doors in the world are at Quebec City’s Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec; the shrine of St. John Vianney in Ars, France; and at the Cathedral of St. James the Great in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Elliot Williams is a Communication major at Villanova University. He is originally from Abington, PA, and is studying abroad at Roma Tre University, while interning for Catholic News Service’s Rome bureau. Elliot is an avid Nutella fanatic.
Suffering and hardship are also the lot of the faithful shepherded by Greek-Catholic Bishop Jaroslav Pryriz of the Eparchy of Sambir-Drohobyc, in western Ukraine. Twenty priests provide pastoral care of soldiers, mostly young men: volunteers as well as Ukrainian conscripts.
The bishop told Aid to the Church in Need that his priests “rotate every 45 days, because no one can stand it there any longer. Some who return never want to go back again because the psychological strain is just enormous. However, they go back because they want to take care of the faithful.”
“No matter whether they are Catholics, Orthodox, or members of other faiths, they are all are happy when a priest is just simply there for them, even though some have never even heard of God,” Bishop Pryriz added.
The bishop also reported on the situation in Kyiv: “Wounded soldiers from the east are being cared for at a temporary military hospital set up in the Greek-Catholic cathedral in Kyiv. Never before have I seen so much suffering, sorrow and tragedy. I am 53 years-old and have never experienced war, but what I am seeing now – people without hands, without legs, without eyes, ears – will haunt me forever.”
The prelate continued: “Many soldiers from our diocese have been killed. Either they have simply disappeared or no one knows anything about their whereabouts. We have been told that a number of them have been burned to death. Or they return in coffins. You cannot imagine it. There is so much sorrow over sons, fathers, husbands!”