Daily Archives: June 13, 2009

The Bishop of Colombo: The Anxieties of the People of Jaffna

(ACNS) But hidden behind the routine is a suppressed mix of continuing anxiety and cynicism over the Jaffna context as well as deep sorrow over the experiences of the Vanni Tamils. In some instances one also sensed regret that not enough was said and done on behalf of the Vanni Tamils during LTTE suppression prior to the recent war. Such concerns would have added credibility to the concerns expressed for the safety and well-being of these civilians during and after the war. The predominant and recurring feeling amongst all classes and ages however was that the Tamils are an isolated and constrained community.

On the Peninsula, the people feel they are marooned; physically, psychologically and politically. The youth in particular are restless and search for answers to difficult questions. Many will migrate if given the opportunity. Options for study and employment are few and restricted. Yet only the desperate or daring will think of travelling to the south in search of better prospects. Stories of inconvenience and some ridicule and harassment experienced in travel, abound. In the south there is severe hardship in finding suitable lodging as even friends and relations are reluctant to take them in. State sponsored youth hostels, which will also provide an opportunity for the integration of our youth of all communities, are non-existent.

There was little enthusiasm for elections. A feeling prevails that change must come now, as a preparation for and prelude to elections. Pre-election promises will centre too much on what individuals can do. What people want desperately is an impartial political culture that they can own and that will restore trust, civilian administration and normalcy.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Asia

North Korea says it will 'weaponize' its plutonium

North Korea vowed Saturday to step up its atomic bomb-making program and threatened war if its ships are stopped as part of new U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing the nation for its latest nuclear test.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry also acknowledged for the first time that the country has a uranium enrichment program, and insisted it will never abandon its nuclear ambitions. Uranium and plutonium can be used to make atomic bombs.

The threats, in a statement issued through the official Korean Central News Agency, came a day after the Security Council approved new sanctions aimed at depriving the North of the financing used to build its rogue nuclear program.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, North Korea

Edith M. Humphrey: When to Be Naïve

To accuse someone of naïveté can be a handy way of dismissing someone else’s effort to practice faith concretely. On the other hand, Christians can also hide behind “simplicity” to evade serious responsibilities or thinking through serious matters. Depending on what we mean by the word, naïveté can be helpful or dangerous to the authentic Christian life.

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Posted in Pastoral Theology, Theology

Judgment day: broke California faces shutdown at Arnie Schwarzenegger ’s hands

The state of California is in crisis and time has almost run out. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor, has spent this week haggling with state legislators to agree cuts to basic services in one of the world’s largest economies.

The state’s top finance officials warned that unless an emergency austerity plan is agreed by Monday ”” and there is little chance that it will be ”” they will not be able to borrow the billions of dollars needed to keep the current government functioning. If California was a company, it would have gone bust months ago.

The breadth and depth of Mr Schwarzenegger’s cuts are unprecedented and no one in the state, not even its dozens of billionaires, will be unaffected….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

David Chillingworth New Primus for the Scottish Episcopal Church

The Rt Rev David Chillingworth was today elected Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church – at an Episcopal Synod held during the annual meeting of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Bishop David was the single nomination and his election was supported by all other six bishops.

Bishop David has been Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane since 2005 and succeeds the Most Rev Dr Idris Jones, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway who stepped down as Primus last night following his recent announcement to retire from the office of diocesan bishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Scottish Episcopal Church

Bank execs still cash in on the way out

Paul Hodgson is at the Corporate Library, a consulting firm that tracks executive compensation.

PAUL Hodgson: Almost as soon as these regulations came out, there were concerns that companies would immediately employ consultants to try and find a way around it.

In February Congress tightened the screws, banning all severance payments for top executives, and yesterday the administration issued new rules. But many banks already found ways around the ban.

Associated Banc Corp, based in the upper Midwest, took half a billion dollars in federal aid last fall. Then this May it paid its chief operating officer, Lisa Binder, $1.6 million to leave. But don’t call it a golden parachute. Instead, Binder signed an agreement not to compete against the bank. The Corporate Library’s Hodgson calls that cheating.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Penguins Take Redwings in Stanley Cup Thriller

Winning Game 7 avenged losing the Cup to Detroit at Mellon Arena in 2008 and completed a remarkable turnaround by the Penguins. When Dan Bylsma was brought in to replace Michel Therrien as coach Feb. 15, they were five points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Bylsma promptly led them to an 18-3-4 record during the stretch drive and rallied them from a 3-2 deficit in this series. He joins Al MacNeil as the only rookie coaches to win a Cup after getting his job during the season. MacNeil did it with Montreal in 1971.

The Penguins have won all three of their Cups on the road — they did it in Minnesota in 1991 and in Chicago in 1992 — and last night became the only road team to win a game in this series.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Scuffles in Tehran as Ahmadinejad and Mousavi both claim victory

The offical news agency reported that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won, and the state elections chief said that the President had 69 per cent of the vote with 35 per cent of the ballots counted. However, the main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, insisted that he was the “definite winner” by a substantial margin, and an aide suggested that he had taken 65 per cent.

The official result will be announced today, but the huge turnout ─ close to the historic record of 80 per cent ─ appeared to favour Mr Mousavi’s claim. Urban, middle-class Iranians, who seldom bother to vote, did so yesterday because they thought Mr Ahmadinejad’s first four years in office a disaster.

It was widely alleged, but never proved, that vote-rigging secured Mr Ahmadinejad’s unlikely victory in 2005. He entered that election an unknown, but was backed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader.

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Update: This reader comment is very interesting:

One more thing: do not discount the power of vote rigging. I expect the vote to be close, but anything that gives Ahmadinejad more than 60% of the vote has definitely been rigged. Of course, there are also more subtle ways of modifying the outcome: bussing his supporters to the booths with state funds, running out of ballot paper in the voting booths of Tehran, voter intimidation by armed thugs, and so on.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

A Debate Erupts Over A Muslim School in Virginia

For years, children’s voices rang out from the playground at the Islamic Saudi Academy in this heavily wooded community about 20 miles west of Washington. But for the last year the campus has been silent as academy officials seek county permission to erect a new classroom building and move hundreds of students from a sister campus on the other end of Fairfax County.

The proposal from the academy, which a school spokeswoman said was the only school financed by the Saudi government in the United States, has ignited a noisy debate and exposed anew the school’s uneasy relationship with its neighbors.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Telegraph: A proposal that US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive

The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

BBC: Iran election rivals both declare victory

The two main candidates in Iran’s presidential election have claimed victory, after extended voting as huge numbers of people turned out to vote.

Reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi told a news conference that he had won by a substantial margin.

However, state media said hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won, and officials said he had got 69% of the 10 million votes so far counted.

But Mr Mousavi has complained of some voting irregularities.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East