Daily Archives: June 16, 2011

Dagestan imam is latest moderate Muslim murder victim

Concern is growing for prominent moderate Muslims in Russia’s Dagestan region after an imam was shot dead days after the killing of an academic.

Unidentified gunmen shot Ashurlav Kurbanov near his mosque in the northern village of Mikheyevka, investigators said.

Maksud Sadikov, rector of an Islamic college in the regional capital Makhachkala, was killed last week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Russia, Violence

The future of Christchurch's two landmark cathedrals is more uncertain

Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews says Christchurch Cathedral has sustained significant new damage, with the famous rose window and most of the western wall lost.

She says it is now more likely that the cathedral won’t be restored to its original state, but built in a new modern form. However she says the cathedral will be at the heart of the city, wherever that is.

Read it all and I also recommend the accompanying audio link.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

In Columbia, South Carolina the Deficit hits the bus system

An unexpectedly huge $3 million budget shortfall for the Columbia area’s bus system is likely to cut the number of routes in half and cost as many as 40 jobs in the company that operates the buses, transit officials disclosed Wednesday.

The figures were released at a specially called meeting of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority board attended by fewer than the required seven-member quorum. The board took no action but asked chairwoman Joyce Dickerson to make an appeal to Columbia City Council to offset $618,000 of the red ink.

That still would leave a $2.5 million shortage for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

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

(WSJ) Beware Contagion From Greeks Baring Rifts

…the contagion into core banks may be being underestimated by investors. Moody’s on Tuesday said it could downgrade France’s BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole due to their holdings of Greek debt, and the ratings firm is looking at whether other banks could face similar risks.

Disturbingly, the worries have now reached non-financial companies, which have been virtually bulletproof this year. Investment-grade bond issuance has come to a near-standstill. The yield premium on Portugal Telecom’s February 2016 euro bond over German Bunds has widened a stunning 2.3 percentage points in the last two weeks, data from Société Générale show. Italian and Spanish credits are under pressure too. The credit market now starts by pricing government risk and then works back to price debt from financials and companies, one investor says: Greece is a destabilizing influence at the center of the market’s deliberations.

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Posted in Uncategorized

At Episcopal Church Exec. Council Meeting, Diocesan reconstruction efforts get members' attention

(ENS) During their opening remarks, both Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson spoke about the calls for changes in the structure and governance of the church.

Jefferts Schori said she encounters many people who are “eager or at least willing to entertain those conversations.”

She said she sees “a really significant rise in readiness for mission and connections to the need and concerns of people beyond our immediate congregations,” adding that she sees that readiness “as a sign of enormous health ”¦ [and] renewed investment in the core work of the church.”
“People are not focused inward by large; they are focused outward which is where the church is supposed to be,” she said.

Anderson suggested that the church will not “find our way forward by debating questions whose answers are important primarily to people who live and breathe church governance — as lovely as we all are!” Instead, she said, “we need to devote our energy to enabling the church to realize the possibility of real change — courageous, life-giving and life-altering change — for Episcopalians, for seekers, and for the lost and hurting and hungry in our midst.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop

(AP) Inactivity, obesity may be more of a cancer risk than cellphones, coffee

Despite all the recent news about possible cancer risks from cellphones, coffee, styrene and formaldehyde in building materials, most of us probably face little if any danger from these things with ordinary use, health experts say. Inactivity and obesity may pose a greater cancer risk than chemicals for some people.

“We are being bombarded” with messages about the dangers posed by common things in our lives, yet most exposures “are not at a level that are going to cause cancer,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society’s deputy chief medical officer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

(Post-Gazette) In Pittsburgh, Patients caught in insurance squeeze

When it comes to health care, Pittsburghers take it for granted that they will have access to the hospitals of their choice.

But in the battle between the region’s largest insurer, Highmark, and its largest health care provider, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, it appears that access could come at a price.

UPMC said Highmark members will have to pay out-of-network provider rates to most UPMC physicians when the insurer’s contract with UPMC expires June 30, 2012.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine

(USA Today) Veterans step up for crisis duty

When Kasey Sands and her family returned home last month a few days after a tornado flattened much of Joplin, Mo., a dozen strangers were removing trees toppled in their yard.

“I asked them who they were, and they said they were veterans,” says Sands, 27. “They said they like to help with peace and not just with war.”

They were Team Rubicon, a non-profit group of veterans formed after the 2010 Haiti earthquake to help in the immediate aftermaths of disasters. They also raced in after tornadoes struck Alabama in April and following earlier crises in Chile, Burma, Pakistan and Sudan. More than 500 people have volunteered; 25 were in Joplin for a week.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Military / Armed Forces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

An Effort to Foster Tolerance in Religion

For a guy who is only 35 and lives in a walk-up apartment, Eboo Patel has already racked up some impressive accomplishments.

A Rhodes scholar with a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, he has four honorary degrees. His autobiography is required freshman reading on 11 college campuses. He runs a nonprofit organization ”” the Interfaith Youth Core ”” with 31 employees and a budget of $4 million. And he was tapped by the White House as a key architect of an initiative announced in April by President Obama.

Mr. Patel got there by identifying a sticky problem in American civic life and proposing a concrete solution. The problem? Increased religious diversity is causing increasing religious conflict. And too often, religious extremists are driving events

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Religion & Culture

(Zenit) Holy See: People Have More Dignity Than UN Recognizes

….when a U.N. political declaration on AIDS/HIV was accepted unanimously Friday, the Vatican delegation had points of contention.

To fight this infection — 30 years after it first appeared and 30 million deaths later — Jane Adolphe, associate professor of law at Ave Maria School of Law, spoke on behalf of Archbishop Francis Chullikatt and proposed a starting point: “the recognition that the human person can and should change irresponsible and dangerous behavior, rather than simply accept such behavior as if it were inevitable and unchangeable.”

The Holy See’s permanent observer at the United Nations was a voice that reminded that AIDS is about more than statistics, or ideologically tinged plans to fight it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Thomas Friedman–Justice Goes Global

You probably missed the recent special issue of China Newsweek, so let me bring you up to date. Who do you think was on the cover ”” named the “most influential foreign figure” of the year in China? Barack Obama? No. Bill Gates? No. Warren Buffett? No. O.K., I’ll give you a hint: He’s a rock star in Asia, and people in China, Japan and South Korea scalp tickets to hear him. Give up?

It was Michael J. Sandel, the Harvard University political philosopher.

This news will not come as a surprise to Harvard students, some 15,000 of whom have taken Sandel’s legendary “Justice” class….

(It also will not come as a surprise to close readers of this blog, since we featured this amazing resource last September–KSH).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Globalization, Philosophy

In Homework Revolt, School Districts Cut Back

Ridgewood High School in New Jersey introduced a homework-free winter break in December. Schools in Tampa, Fla., and Bleckley County, Ga., have instituted “no homework nights” throughout the year. The two-year-old Brooklyn School of Inquiry, a program for gifted and talented elementary students, has made homework optional: it is neither graded nor counted toward progress reports.

“I think people confuse homework with rigor,” said Donna Taylor, the Brooklyn School’s principal, who views homework for children under 11 as primarily benefiting parents by helping them feel connected to the classroom.

The homework revolution has also spread north to Toronto, which in 2008 banned homework for kindergartners and for older children on school holidays, and to the Philippines, where the education department issued a memorandum in September calling on teachers to refrain from giving weekend assignments “for pupils to enjoy their childhood.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Marriage & Family

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

Ugandan Anglican Bishop Decries Poverty

While on his religious tour, Bishop [Michael] Kyomya recently called upon believers to support church leaders to live a better life. “It is so challenging that Anglican Church leaders have lived a miserable life and considered the poorest people who beg and move on foot throughout their lifetime,” he said at St James Church.

He said priests and religious leaders need to be empowered by Christians because they are messengers of God and giving them is worth giving to God. “For how long shall we be a laughing stock yet they give us blessings all the time?” the bishop said in a circular issued to all parishes.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Poverty

What We Believe–One Anglican Parish's Statement of Faith

Salvation: We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. To save us from our sinful nature, Christ suffered and died on the cross in our place. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1

Eternity: People are immortal and will exist eternally either separated from God or with God through salvation. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18;Revelation 20:15; 1 Cor. 2:7-9

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Theology