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Archive for October 2010

Canonization cememony adds Australian, Canadian to list of saints

October 17, 2010 - VATICAN

An Australian, a Canadian, a Pole, two Italians and a Spaniard make up the list of beatified Catholics who will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct 17. Mary Helen MacKillop, who instituted the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart — the first religious order to be founded in Australia — is that country’s first saint. The Canadian on the list, Andr√© Bessette, a Congregation of the Holy Cross brother born in 1845 in Quebec, founded St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.

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Cable railroad billed as world’s longest opens at monastery

October 16, 2010 - ARMENIA

Armenia announced in February that construction of what it describes as the world’s longest aerial tramway meeting all international standards will be completed on 16 Oct. It will deliver tourists to the spectacular 9th Century Tatev Monastery, perched above a spectacular gorge some 140 miles from Yerevan. Other countries with aerial conveyances they deem record-setting are likely to pounce on the Armenian tramway details, once released, to see if it really is number one in the world.

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Cyprus celebrates 50th independence anniversary

October 16, 2010 - LONDON

Cyprus declared independence from Britain 50 years ago on 16 Aug, but the celebrations await the return of islanders from August vacations. On Oct 1 President Demetris Christofias will preside at celebrations at Eleftheria Stadium in Nicosia that will be scaled back because of the economy. Lancaster House in London, where the documents were signed, plans other events. Cypriots might not feel like parties: the economic crisis is pinching, and the island has been divided for 36 of its 50 years. Many smaller festivities are also planned around the island, with an emphasis on small as a reflection of the economy. Cypriot embassies in Brussels, Moscow, Athens and Paris plan other celebrations. The Turkish Cypriots in the north broke away from the majority Greek Cypriots in 1974 when Turkey intervened in Cyprus following an attempted Greek Cypriot coup backed by the military junta ruling in Greece. In 1983, the north proclaimed itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognized.

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Bavaria stages famed Passion Play for 41st time

October 15, 2010 - GERMANY

The Oberammergau Passion Play, staged every 10 years since 1633 by thousands of locals for some half-million visitors, opens in May. Desperate villagers of the town of Oberammergau in the Bavarian alps vowed during a plague in the early 17th Century that if those still alive were spared, they would perform a Passion play in perpetuity. They have staged their six-hour play, which includes a reenactment of the Crucifixion, every 10 years since 1634. Jewish leaders want lines blaming Jews for the death of Jesus changed, deeming them inflammatory portrayals of Jews and Judaism.

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NATO foreign, defense ministers meet ahead of summit

October 14, 2010 - BRUSSELS

The NATO joint extraordinary meeting of foreign and defense ministers will fine tune the new Strategic Concept for the Alliance ahead of its approval at the November NATO summit. They will also work on the summit agenda, an increasingly big task: NATO lists Afghanistan, energy competition, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global reach terrorism, pandemics, global warming, cyber-defence and infrastructure disruption among its concerns.

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OPEC ministers gather for 157th OPEC Ordinary meeting ;

October 14, 2010 - VIENNA

The upward trend in oil prices and new risks will steer the ministers’ debate about production quotas at the 157th Ordinary Meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC sees risk in what it describes as the mounting and potentially unsustainable public debt in the most advanced economies: the cartel worries about tightened fiscal and monetary policies, and a degrading fiscal position that could lead to weak demand, persistent global imbalances and rising protectionism.

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Vast Russia conducts census

October 14, 2010 - RUSSIA

Russia tackles its census with two big problems–lack of funds and a population reluctant to divulge personal details. A census official says funding cuts will trim the scope of the survey, but that there is no possibility of it being scrapped entirely. The questions include respondents’ ages and nationalities, as well as on their academic qualifications and sources of income, but census takers in the trial run in Oct 2008 found people were unwilling to answer questions about themselves.

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Univ. Michigan marks 50th anniversary of Peace Corps speech

October 13, 2010 - UNITED STATES

On 14 Oct 1960, in an impromptu speech on the steps of the University of Michigan Union in Ann Arbor, Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students to give two years of their lives to help people developing countries. The university’s commemoration of the speech 50 years later begins a year of official events marking the birth of the United States Peace Corps, which Kennedy established as president just five months later. Since then, some 200,000 Corps volunteers have served in 139 countries.

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Activists, churches, undead, others mobilize for big date

October 10, 2010 - WORLD

101010 comes around once a century, and organizations have seized on the uniqueness of the date to promote campaigns and events. For environmentalists, it’s a day to encourage carbon emission cuts. Faith groups have adopted it for prayers and vigils linked to enviro events. The International Zombie Day claimed 101010 on behalf of restless corpses, possibly explaining why a youtube video showing viewers how to repel attacking corpses has been viewed over a million times.

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Libya hosts African Union-Arab League summit

October 10, 2010 - LIBYA

The Afro-Arab summit in Sirte, only the second summit of the two blocs in 30-plus years, aims to forge common policies and strategies for mutual benefit and as a means of gaining more clout on the world stage. The vehicle is the proposed Strategic Plan of the Afro-Arab Cooperation 2011-2015. A preparatory meeting and recent events suggest the African Union could also seek help from the Arabs in reining-in Islamic extremists, while Arab League countries could press for additional AU support in their long-standing issues with Israel.

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Strife-torn Central Asian state holds landmark parliamentary polls

October 10, 2010 - KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan hold an election for a parliament to replace the caretaker government installed after a coup. Voters will choose members of the 90-seat unicameral Jogorku Kengesh for 5-year terms. Supporters of opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva overthrew President Kurambek Bakiyev in April, and deadly violence between majority ethnic Kyrgyzs and minority Uzbeks followed. Continuing instability threatens Otunbayeva’s promise of competitive, transparent elections.

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Pope calls special session of Synod of Middle East bishops

October 10, 2010 - VATICAN

Pope Benedict XVI called a special meeting of the Synod of Middle East Bishops to discuss relations with Islam and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the priestly celibacy issue might be unavoidable. Three Eastern Catholic patriarchs from Iraq and Lebanon have been invited for their expertise on Islamic-Christian tensions, but could be sounded out as well on priestly marriage. As it is allowed in the Eastern tradition, pro-reform Roman Catholics could see their inclusion as a hopeful sign.

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