Pro-Choice or Pro-Life

January 22, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

pregnant women with the doctorA worried woman went to her gynecologist and  said:

‘Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your  help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I’m pregnant again. I don’t want kids so close together.

So the doctor said: ‘Ok and what do you want me to do?’

She said: ‘I want you to end my pregnancy, and I’m  counting on your help with this.’

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: ‘I think I have a better solution for your problem. It’s less dangerous for you too.’

She  smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

baby in the wombThen he continued: ‘You see, in order for you not to have to take  care of 2 babies at the same time, let’s kill the one in your arms. This way,  you could rest before the other one is born. If we’re going to kill  one of them, it doesn’t matter which one it is. There would be no risk for  your body if you chose the one in your arms.

The lady was horrified and said: ‘No doctor! How  terrible! It’s a crime to kill a child!

‘I agree’, the doctor replied.  ‘But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.’

The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point.

He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that’s already been born and one that’s still in the womb.

The crime  is the same!

– fwd: allen johannes

Europe: ISIS suspects arrested in wake of Belgium anti-terror raid

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

ISIS suspects arrestedEurope, January 16, 2015: Over two dozen terror suspects believed to be connected with ISIS have been arrested across Belgium, France and Germany, officials said on Friday. Two terror suspects in the Eastern Belgium city of Verviers were killed in a counter-terror raid on Thursday, and at least 13 others were detained.

The Associated Press reported that beside the arrests in Belgium, another 14 people in total were detained in France and Germany, suspected to be members of ISIS.

Belgian federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt revealed in a conference on Friday that the terrorists were getting ready to carry out an attack on police officers in the city. A search found that the suspects had four military-style weapons in their possession, including Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Van der Sypt revealed that the suspected terrorists were only hours away from attacking police officers.

“As soon as they thought special forces were there, they opened fire,” the federal magistrate revealed.

“It shows we have to be extremely careful,” he added, noting that the suspects “were extremely well-armed men” equipped with automatic weapons.

In a previous announcement on Thursday following the anti-terror raid, Belgian officers said that a terror cell was operating in Verviers, comprised of fighters that had come back from fighting in Syria.

“I cannot confirm that we arrested everyone in this group,” Van der Sypt said.

Anti-terror officials across Europe have been seeking people connected to Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen involved in the attack in Paris last week on the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Twelve individuals arrested in France during the raids are said to be part of this operation, while a bomb threat on Friday in Paris forced the major Gare de l’Est train station to be evacuated.

Two other men were arrested on Friday morning by German police in Berlin, suspected to have been recruiting fighters to join ISIS in its war in Syria.

The anti-terror raids across Europe follow major attacks on Paris last week, where 17 people in total were killed. The Yemen branch of al-Qaida took responsibility for the attack that killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo, deemed by some in the Islamic world to have caused offense through its drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

French President Francois Hollande met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris on Friday, and noted America has also faced the brunt of terrorism, referring to the 9/11 attacks.

“You’ve been victims yourself of an exceptional terrorist attack on Sept. 11. You know what it means for a country. … We must find together appropriate responses,” Hollande said.

The terror group is also active in Iraq, and has captured several cities across the region. France, the U.S., and a broad coalition of other allies have hit back against ISIS by conducting airstrikes on terror targets in Iraq and Syria.

There have been several reports of ISIS recruiting western foreigners to join its mission to establish an “Islamic State” in the region. Belgian authorities have said that at least 300 of its residents have gone to fight for the jihadists in Syria, and it is not known how many have returned.

Rob Wainwright, the head of the European Union’s police agency Europol, estimated that between 2,500 to 5,000 terror suspects have traveled from Europe to join the fight in Iraq and Syria.

“The scale of the problem, the diffuse nature of the network, the scale of the people involved makes this extremely difficult for even very well-functioning counter-terrorist agencies such as we have in France to stop every attack,” Wainwright said, according to USA Today.

– christian post

Indian Catholics to re-open England’s closed church

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

churchIndia, January 15, 2015: India’s Syro-Malabar Catholics will take over a historic church in Preston that was closed two months ago.St Ignatius’ Church will re-open after the Bishop of Lancaster offered it to Syro-Malabar Catholics.

St Ignatius’ Church, opened in 1836, was due to be merged with the nearby English Martyrs Church because of a shortage of priests. Parishioners said they were stunned by the decision.

But on New Year’s Eve, Bishop Michael Campbell received a letter from Cardinal George Alencherry requesting a church and presbytery for Syro-Malabar Catholics under the charge of Father Mathew Jacob Choorapoikayil.

Bishop Campbell said: “I readily welcomed this request from Cardinal Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, as I believe that St Ignatius church and presbytery will be a wonderful and vibrant centre for the St Thomas (Syro-Malabar) Catholics in Preston.”

There are an estimated 17,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics in England, with four million worldwide. The Church traces its origins to the Apostle Thomas, who according to tradition travelled to Kerala in AD52. The Church has had a chaplaincy in Lancaster since 2004, and there are more than 100 Syro-Malabar families in Preston.

New parish priest Fr Mathew Jacob Choorapoikayil said, “We’re very pleased to have our first church in England.”

The community has grown out of the local hospital which employed migrants.

Fr Matthew added that Bishop Campbell and his predecessor Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue “have been very good to us, have welcomed us and given us our opportunity”. He also said that there would be an official opening Mass announced shortly.

Appealing to the Catholics of Preston, Bishop Campbell said: “I am hopeful that local Catholics will genuinely rejoice in what is both an imaginative – and surprising – decision and will be proactive in their support of our brother and sister Syro-Malabar Catholics going forward.”

St Ignatius is a Grade II listed building with an interior designed by Augustus Pugin. An estimated 140 people attended its last Mass in November. Parishioner Ralph Cooper had said the decision to close the church had come as a “bolt from the blue”.

– catholic herald

Police arrest suspects in Delhi church attack

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Police arrest suspects in Delhi church attackNew Delhi, January 16, 2015: Three people were Thursday arrested for vandalising a church in the capital, police said.

Narender Singh alias Raja, 33, Ravinder Pal Singh Gill, 25 and Harpreet Singh Dhanjal alias Kaka, 28 were arrested from Nihal Vihar area of Delhi, police said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Pushpendra Kumar said all three were under the influence of alcohol and committed the crime over a bet on who could smash the windowpane at the Our Lady of Graces church in Vikaspuri area.

“Gill, who is unemployed, broke the glass and also a portion of the church. He came on a scooter while Dhanjal came on a motorcycle to witness the act,” the police official said.

Police said all the accused were residents of a nearby area. They were arrested after being identified through the footage of the CCTV camera installed at the church gate.

Narender Singh worked as an aluminium fabricator while Dhanjal was an air conditioner mechanic.

Delhi Archbishop Anil J.T. Couto expressed joy at the news of the arrest in a press release.

“I am glad that the police have nabbed the culprits and are investigating them as to know the motive behind the act of vandalism.”

He expressed hope that police would soon find the culprits involved in other attacks on churches in Delhi.

He also wanted central government to act swiftly and ensure that proper law and order is maintained in the national capital.

– ucan

Gujarat riots: US court dismisses case against Modi

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

gujarat riotsNew York, January 15, 2015: A US court has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of failure to control the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying as a sitting head of government he was entitled to immunity.

In dismissing the case filed by human rights group American Justice Centre (AJC) in New York, US District Judge Analisa Torres Wednesday upheld the US Department of State’s determination regarding immunity for Modi.

A “sitting head of state’s immunity from jurisdiction is based on the Executive Branch’s determination of official immunity without regard to the specific conduct alleged,” she ruled.

Torres dismissed the plaintiffs’ argument that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act provided immunity only to foreign states and not to individual government officials and Modi was not entitled to common law immunity as the alleged acts took place before he became Prime Minister.

AJC filed the lawsuit against Modi under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 and Alien Tort Statute in September on the eve of his first visit to the US.

The dismissal of the case comes ahead of President Barack Obama’s second trip to India to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.

The lawsuit alleged Modi did nothing to control riots in his home state of Gujarat in 2002. Though Indian courts have cleared Modi, the allegations led the US to revoke his US visa in 2005.

But Obama overturned the ban by quickly inviting Modi to the US after Modi’s election as prime minister.

– ians

Pope’s visit prompts release of more than 600 Sri Lankan prisoners

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pope Francis greets Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse Sri Lanka, January 14, 2015: Prompted by Pope Francis’ visit and in keeping with the ongoing theme of reconciliation, more than 600 men and women were released from prisons throughout the island nation of Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

The released prisoners “were minor offenders and those above the age of 75,” prisons spokesman Thushara Upuldeniya said Jan. 14.

Of the 612 prisoners released from 28 prisons, 575 were men and 37 were women.

Upuldeniya noted that they were released under a “special presidential pardon” to mark the Holy Father’s visit.

The prisoners’ release coincides with the theme of reconciliation, which has been at the center of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Sri Lanka, which still healing from nearly three decades of civil war.

“The Pope is coming at an auspicious time,” said Andrew Mann, charge d’affaires at the US embassy in Sri Lanka, speaking with CNA on Jan. 14 at the canonization of Saint Joseph Vaz.

“He’s bringing a message of peace and reconciliation,” Mann added, remarking on “the hundreds of thousands of people from all religious groups and ethnic groups, here to celebrate the Pope’s message.”

One of the key events on the Pope’s agenda, more than half a million people attended the canonization Mass for the 17th century missionary said at Galle Face Green in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s largest city.

Pope Francis’ visit to the island nation comes less than six years after the end of an ethnic conflict which claimed the lives of an estimated 80,000-100,000 people. From 1983-2009, the island was gripped by intermittent war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers, who sought an independent Tamil state in the northeast of the country. Tensions between the country’s two largest ethnic groups, the Tamils and Sinhalese, played a significant role in the conflict.

In his homily for the canonization, Pope Francis reiterated the theme of reconciliation, calling the nation’s Christians to “be confirmed in their faith and make an ever greater contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society.”

“This is what Christ asks of you. This is what Saint Joseph teaches you. This is what the Church needs of you,” the Pope said.

This theme of reconciliation extended beyond the words of the Holy Father. The vestments for the Mass, for instance, were made by widows of the soldiers who died during the civil war.

After Mass, Pope Francis traveled by helicopter to the north of the country to visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary in Madhu. Greeted by 500,000 pilgrims, the Holy Father reflected on the need for healing, looking to Mary as an example of forgiveness.

By visiting both the north and south of Sri Lanka, Fr. Shamindra Jayawardena, O.S.B. said, the Pope “has already joined both the south and the north, both communities, together.”

The 17th century Marian shrine, established amid the Dutch invasion and persecution of the Catholic Church, is a main pilgrimage site for Catholics in Sri Lanka and is a symbol of reconciliation.

Fr. Jayawardena noted that both Sinhalese and Tamils frequent the shrine, “coming to join hand in hand.”

“Madhu has been a place for all Sri Lankans, all groups, all ethnic groups,” he said. “It is place of reconciliation, because Our Blessed Mother brings all her children together, and the one shepherd Who is Jesus Christ.”

Over the course of his visit, beginning on the evening of Jan. 12, Pope Francis has met with various pilgrims and political officials, and took part in an inter-religious gathering. Weather permitting, the Holy Father will conclude his visit to Sri Lanka Jan. 15, at which point he will depart for the Philippines.

Sr. Prumelie Fernando of the Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help stressed that the people of Sri Lanka, both northern and southern, are still in need of reconciliation.

“People are ready to reconcile themselves,” she said. “They are ready to accept these challenges.”

– cna

Moscow warns media against religious-themed cartoons

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

religious-themed cartoons in russiaRussia, January 16, 2015: Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor issued a warning to the country’s media on Friday against publishing religious-themed cartoons. Its statement, which does not contain a ban, comes after regional branches began issuing statements about coming bans.

Whilst Russian authorities expressed solidarity with the opponents of extremism and terrorism, it said that the media of the Federation Russian should not publish cartoons that may violate the law.

In its statement, Roskomnadzor warned that offensive cartoons in the media could be qualified as violation of existing media and anti-extremism laws.

For Russia’s media watchdog, the publication of such cartoons has always had the potential – long before the Charlie Hebdo massage – of offending and denigrating the religious beliefs of others and fostering ethnic or religious strife.

In fact, the St Petersburg-based Business News Agency was told to take down pictures of Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover, which features the Prophet Muhammad.

After the Paris attacks, very few in Russia have spoken out in favour of “freedom” to publish religious cartoons.

The Russian Federation is a mosaic of religions and ethnic groups. Muslims are about 7-10 per cent of the population, the second largest religious group after the Orthodox. Some areas, like Tatarstan and the northern Caucasus, have a Muslim majority.

Although the average Russian tends to be very xenophobic and nationalist, given the rising number of Muslims, the Kremlin knows that the country is sitting on a ticking time bomb.

Indeed, in the last fifteen years, Russia has suffered several terrorist attacks linked to Islamic extremist groups in the Caucasus.

In the big cities as in the province, integration is a delicate matter. In more than one occasion, brawls between people of different ethnic background have turned into urban guerrilla.

For their part, Russian authorities have remained cautious over the Charlie Hebdo affair, especially over the concept of “freedom of expression,” an issue that might be overflowing in the pages of the Western press but remains a rather touchy issue in Russia.

Instead, Russia’s mainstream media have tried to portrait the affair as an American “plot” against France, aimed at French President Nicolas Hollande because of his push for weaker sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.

In Moscow, government officials have said nothing so far about Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s planned Saturday rally against the Muhammad cartoons, an event that is backed by local Muslim religious leaders.

Accused by human rights activists of having de facto imposed Islamic law (Sharia) on Chechnya with the Kremlin’s tacit approval, Kadyrov warned that “we will not allow anyone to insult the prophet, even if it will cost us our lives.” For him, Russian Muslims will not be patient forever.

– asianews

What comes out if someone squeezes you?

January 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

Dear All

squeeze a orange“‘If I were to squeeze a orange as hard as I could, what would come out?’ I asked him.

He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, ‘Juice, of course.’

‘Do you think apple juice could come out of it?’

‘No!’ he laughed.

‘What about grapefruit juice?’

‘No!’

‘What would come out of it?’

‘Orange juice, of course.’

‘Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?’

He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point. ‘Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.’

squeezeI nodded. ‘Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you.

And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.’

It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If an ger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezing: your mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government.

If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.

squeezingWhen someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life.”

– fwd: alred fernandes

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