Archive for April, 2014

China Says Three Killed In Bomb Attack At Train Station

April 30, 2014

(Reuters) – Three people were killed and 79 wounded in a bomb and knife attack at a train station in the far western region of China on Wednesday, state media said, as President Xi Jinping was wrapping up a vist to the area.

Xi promised “decisive actions” against the “terrorists” behind the attack in Xinjiang, a region beset for years by violence the government blames on Islamist militants and separatists seeking an independent state called East Turkestan.

Quoting police, Xinhua news agency said “knife-wielding mobs slashed people” at an exit of the South Railway Station of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, and set off explosives.

Pictures on China’s Twitter-like Weibo site showed blood on suitcases and debris on the ground in front of the station. Many posts carrying the images were later removed by censors.

Xinhua said the station re-opened at 9 p.m. (9.00 a.m. ET), around two hours after the attack, under heavy police presence. Four people were seriously wounded but were in stable condition.

It was not clear if President Xi was still in Xinjiang at the time of the attack, at the end of his four-day visit to the region during which he stressed tough policing to fight “terrorists”.

Responding to the attack, he said: “The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists’ rampant momentum,” Xinhua reported.

Xi said the battle against separatists would be “long-term, complicated and acute”.

Exiles and many rights groups say the cause of unrest in the resource-rich and strategically located region is heavy-handed conduct by authorities, including curbs on Islam and the culture and language of its Muslim Uighur people.

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress exile group, said he feared the incident would lead to a new round of repression against Xinjiang’s Uighurs.

“It’s extremely worrying. No matter what happens, China first of all represses the Uighurs, leading to many innocent Uighurs being locked up,” he said by telephone.

“We can see from this that Xinjiang is in a period of turmoil, and such incidents could happen again at any time. This is the trend and it’s directly related to Beijing’s policies.”

Unrest in Xinjiang has caused the deaths of more than 100 people in the past year, prompting a tougher stance against Turkic-language speaking Uighurs, many of whom resent government controls on their culture and religion.

STABILITY

Urumqi was the scene of deadly ethnic riots in 2009, with nearly 200 people killed when Uighurs clashed with members of the majority ethnic Han Chinese community. It has been relatively calm since.

Many Chinese took to the Weibo microblogging service to express anger and defiance at the station attack, including Hu Xijin, editor of the influential tabloid the Global Times, who wrote: “We will never be cowed by a handful of bad people.”

China’s nervousness about militancy, especially Islamic militancy, has grown since a car burst into flames on the edge of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in October, and 29 people were stabbed to death last month in the southwestern city of Kunming.

The government blamed Xinjiang militants for both incidents.

During his visit, Xinhua quoted Xi as saying: “The long-term stability of Xinjiang is vital to the whole country’s reform, development and stability; to the country’s unity, ethnic harmony and national security as well as to the great revival of the Chinese nation.”

Uighurs have traditionally followed a moderate form of Islam but many have begun adopting practices more commonly seen in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, such as full-face veils for women, as China has intensified a security crackdown in recent years.

China reacted to the 2009 riots by pumping money into less-developed southern Xinjiang, in an implicit recognition of the economic causes of the unrest. But it has taken a much harsher line of late, especially towards dissenters.

The government detained Ilham Tohti, a Beijing economics professor who has championed Uighur rights, in January and subsequently charged him with separatism.

Advocates for Tohti say he has challenged the government’s version of several incidents involving Uighurs, including the car fire on the edge of Tiananmen Square.

(Editing by Robert Birsel and Robin Pomeroy)

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Forbes

An explosion occurred around 7pm Beijing time on Wednesday at the Urumqi railway station in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. At least 50 were injured, Chinese media quoted the police as saying.

Pictures circulating online show an area of about 100 square meters rattled, with broken luggage littering the partially blackened ground. Armed police has sealed the area for investigation.

News of the explosion initially spread on Weibo but was quickly censored. A search of “Urumqi explosion” or “Urumqi railway” returned no news of the incident.

The top headlines at major Chinese online news outlets such as Sohu, Sina and Tencent News, remain about President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to Xinjiang, where he inspected a military unit and visited an armed police squad for an anti-terrorism drill. Just yesterday, CCTV reported that Xi made a visit to a mosque in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang where the explosion occurred.

Xi Jinping visiting with ethnic Uighurs in the provincial the capital city of Xinjiang on April 29, 2014.

The four-day visit was the first by the president to the region after the 18th Party Congress and is seen as sending a strong signal about the government’s determination to maintain stability in the region, which has seen increased violence due to ethnic tension in recent years. The leadership has stepped up its anti-terrorism efforts after a mob of eight, later identified by the government as belonging to Xinjiang separatist forces, led a violent knife attack that killed 29 and injured 143 last month. Xi has referred to the Kashgar region in western Xinjiang, as part of the “frontier for countering terrorism and safeguarding stability.”

Home to a population of 19.3 million, of which 11.6 million are ethnic minorities, Xinjiang has been a hub of ethnic, religious and economic tensions due to the government’s heavy oversight and aggressive efforts at assimilation.

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By Shannon Tiezzi
April 29, 2014

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Xinjiang on April 27 to inspect the situation in the special administrative region. His trip was extensively covered by China’s state media,although the coverage appeared only on the Chinese-language version of Xinhua’s website. According to Xinhua, it was Xi’s first visit to the far-western province since the 18th National Party Congress, where Xi was officially named the top leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The major goal of Xi’s trip was said to be “deeply implement the spirit of the Third Plenum,”  which placed a heavy emphasis on reforms.

While in Xinjiang, Xi visited military and paramilitary outposts in Kashgar, where much of the recent violence in Xinjiang has been centered. Xi praised the army for embodying the concept of many ethnicities uniting to form one family. However, in a nod to the complex situation in Xinjiang, Xi also offered encouragement to the troops. “The more complex and severe the environment, the more able we are to sharpen our willpower and skill,” he said, urging the Xinjiang troops to reach new achievements for their homeland and the people.

On Monday, Xi observed counterterrorism  and riot control drills in Kashgar. Afterwards, he called Kashgar the “front line” for counterterrorism and stability preservation. Local police stations will play a special role in this effort — Xi called them “fists and daggers.” Xi exhorted police forces in Xinjiang to follow the example of Qi Jiguang, a 16th century Chinese general famous for successfully battling Japanese pirates. Xi was particularly interested in Qi Jiguang’s success with training and equipping a local army, hinting that Xi may want to see more local Xinjiangese taking a role in security operations.

However, in addition to a military focus, Xi also emphasized the need for a better quality of life in Xinjiang. Xi visited a Uyghur ethnic village, and heard high praise for the Party’s policies. In response, Xi said that “policies must revolve around popular will and be formulated for the benefit of the people.” He especially emphasized the role of economic development in the region, telling local leaders that construction projects and new industries must provide employment and increased income for the local people, “no matter who is investing” in the projects.

When discussing both security and the economy, Xi’s major theme was the concept of China as one family containing many ethnic groups. “We must push forward ethnic unity and  finish the construction of Xinjiang,” Xi said after watching a traditional performance of song. As part of this, he encouraged students at a local elementary school to be bilingual, speaking both the Uyghur language and standard Mandarin Chinese. Teaching ethnic minority children to speak Mandarin, Xi said, will “not only make it easier [for the students] to find jobs in the future, more importantly, it will make a huge contribution to pushing forward ethnic unity.” However, he also encouraged the Mandarin teachers to study the Uyghur language so as to better communicate with their students.

On one hand, Xi’s tour of Xinjiang was a typical propaganda campaign, designed to highlight Xi’s concern for and conversations with the common people at each of his stops. Most of the coverage, complete with picture, was initially reported on Xinhua’s official Weibo microblog and then reposted by China’s other media outlets. The tour, then, can be seen as more evidence of Xi’s desire to brand himself as a friend to the ‘common man’ — a strategy Western leaders have long since perfected.

However, behind all the fluff, Xi’s tour of Xinjiang makes it clear what Beijing’s priorities are for the restive western province. Counterterrorism will naturally remain a high priority — China’s leaders will spare no effort to prevent another incident like the deadly knife attack at Kunming Railway Station. Other than a renewed emphasis on counterterrorism, though, Xi’s stance towards Xinjiang is similar to the CPC’s long-standing policies. The major emphasis is on economic development, with emphasis also on the abstract concept of “ethnic unity.”

On the economic development front, Xinjiang in general and Kashgar in particular are a crucial part of China’s vision for a “Silk Road Economic Belt” that will link China to the west, including Central Asian states as well as the Middle East and Europe. Kashgar is also supposed to be the Chinese hub for the planned China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In Xinjiang, China’s leaders are not simply promoting economic development for development’s sake. Rather, Xinjiang is a crucial piece of China’s long-term economic and even diplomatic strategy. To make sure this goal in achieved, leaders will need to prevent future unrest in Xinjiang — putting even more pressure on the need for counterterroroism and “ethnic unity.”

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Prayer and Meditation for Thursday, May 1, 2014 — Feast of Saint Joseph The Worker

April 30, 2014

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 270

Reading 1 acts 5:27-33

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When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
.When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
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Responsorial Psalm ps 34:2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

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R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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Gospel jn 3:31-36

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Dream of Saint Joseph by Anton Raphael Mengs

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The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.
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Lectio Divina from the Carmelites
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Reflection

.• During the month of January we meditated on John 3, 22-30, which shows us the last witness of John the Baptist concerning Jesus. It was a response given by him to his disciples, in which he reaffirms that he, John, is not the Messiah, but rather his precursor (Jn 3, 28). On that occasion, John says that beautiful phrase which summarizes his witness: “It is necessary that he grows greater and I grow less!” This phrase is the program for all those who want to follow Jesus.

• The verses of today’s Gospel are, again, a comment of the Evangelist in order to help the communities to understand better all the importance of the things that Jesus did and taught. Here, we have another indication of those three threads of which we spoke about before.

• John 3, 31-33: A refrain which is always repeated. Throughout the Gospel of John, many times there appears the conflict between Jesus and the Jews who contest the words of Jesus. Jesus speaks of what he hears from the Father. He is total transparency. His enemies, not opening themselves to God and because they cling to their own ideas here on earth, are not capable to understand the deep significance of the things that Jesus lives, does and says. In last instance, this is the evil one which pushes the Jews to arrest and condemn Jesus.

• John 3, 34: Jesus gives us the Spirit without reserve. John’s Gospel uses many images and symbols to signify the action of the Spirit. Like in the Creation (Gen 1, 1), in the same way the Spirit descends on Jesus “like a dove, come from Heaven” (Jn 1, 32). It is the beginning of the new creation! Jesus repeats the words of God and communicates the Spirit to us without reserve (Jn 3, 34). His words are Spirit and life (Jn 6, 63). When Jesus is about to leave this earth, he says that he will send another Consoler, another defender, to be with us forever (Jn 14, 16-17).

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By his Passion, Death and Resurrection, Jesus obtains for us the gift of the Spirit. Through Baptism all of us have received this same Spirit of Jesus (Jn 1, 33). When he appears to the apostles, he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit!” (Jn 20, 22). The Spirit is like the water which springs from the persons who believe in Jesus (Jn 7, 37-39; 4, 14). The first effect of the action of the Spirit in us is reconciliation: “”If you forgive anyone’s sins they will be forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained!” (Jn 20, 23). The Spirit is given to us to recall and understand the full significance of the words of Jesus (Jn 14, 26; 16, 12-13). Animated by the Spirit of Jesus we can adore God in any place (Jn 4, 23-24). Here is fulfilled the liberty of the Spirit of which Saint Paul speaks: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Co 3, 17).

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• John 3, 35-36: The Father loves the Son. He reaffirms the identity between the Father and Jesus. The Father loves the Son and places all things in his hand. Saint Paul will say that the fullness of the divinity dwells in Jesus (Col 1, 19; 2, 9). This is why the one who accepts Jesus and believes in Jesus has eternal life, because God is life. The one who does not accept to believe in Jesus, places himself outside.

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Personal questions

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• Jesus communicates the Spirit to us, without reserve. Have you had some experience of this action of the Spirit in your life?

• He who believes in Jesus has eternal life. How does this take place today in the life of the families and of the communities?

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Concluding Prayer

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Proclaim with me the greatness of Yahweh,
let us acclaim his name together.
Taste and see that Yahweh is good.
How blessed are those who take refuge in him. (S 34,3.8)

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http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-john-331-36

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File:Georges de La Tour. St. Joseph, the Carpenter.JPG

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St. Joseph the Carpenter, by Georges de La Tour, 1640s.

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Also the Mass for Saint Joseph The Worker
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GENESIS 1:26-2:3
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26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

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Gospel:
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MATTHEW 13:54-58
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He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?  Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”   And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his  hometown and in his own household.”   And He did not do many  miracles there because of their unbelief.
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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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In the first reading, we read about the story of creation.  In the first place, we are created in the image of God.  “God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves …  God created man in the image of himself.”  This is indeed a great privilege of humanity.  That is why we are the last creatures to be created, that is, on the 6th day.  We are called to be the summit of creation.  We who are merely creatures of God are created in such a way that we share in His image, that is, His intellect and will.  This explains why we are all seeking for truth and love.  No one can be satisfied until he or she finds the fullness of truth.

But what is the fullness of truth?  Truth is not a philosophical abstract idea.  This was the temptation of Pilate when he asked Jesus, “What is truth?”  Truth is love.  For this reason too, all of us who love, want love to be true.  And when we discover that the person who claims to love us is not sincere, we would be devastated.  We cannot tolerate being cheated in love.   We want true love.  We always ask our partner, “Do you really love me?”  If love is not true, then love is meaningless and empty.  To see the truth is to seek authentic love.  In finding true love, we find the fullness of life.  Precisely, God is love and His love is true and faithful.  Again and again, the bible tells us that God is faithful to His covenant.

In truth and love, we are to rule over the rest of creation.  Hence, God said, “let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.”   It is only when love and truth are abused, that we no longer use creation properly for the good of humanity.  Indeed, quite often instead of using the gifts of creation for love, we make use of people and love things instead.  We love our car more than our wife!   We love our business and work more than our children.   Most of all, we love our money and we worship our money and things, instead of using our resources for the service of love and the building of community.

The next thing to take note is that “in the image of God, he created him, male and female he created them.”  God created us male and female.  He did not make us all the same sex.  He created us differently, so that we can truly share in the depth and intensity of His love.  He created us differently so that we can love even more.  Truly, the greater the differences, the more difficult it is to seek unity.  That is why Singapore is so proud that we could live in harmony in spite of the fact that we are a cosmopolitan society comprising of different races, languages and religions.  If we were a homogenous society, even if we have harmony, there is nothing much to boast about.  Thus, God created each individual to be different and of different sexes.  This is the way God teaches us, human beings, how to love selflessly and creatively.   He could actually have created us all to be one sex.  But He did not.  He wants us to complement each other so that we learn how to give and receive.  He wants us to learn to accept each other with all our differences, with our failings and defects.  In this way, we truly grow in love and compassion, just the way God loves us and accepts our weaknesses and sinfulness.  God is never judgmental or condemning but always merciful and understanding.  Indeed, this is the depth of God’s love.

Truly, to share in the life and love of God is to love like Him in the Holy Trinity.  The fullness of love is not when it is easy to love, because even pagans love each other.  But true love is to love those who are different from us and even difficult people and our enemies.  Thus to be created in His image is truly a great privilege.  That explains why God is not a monad but a trinity.  Christian monotheism is unlike other religions that believe in One God because although we believe that God is one, yet there are three persons in the One God.  The Holy Trinity is our model of what love is all about.    For the same reason, true love between husband and wife is always open to procreation.  Love between a man and a woman brings about a child which is the fruit of that love.  When we are in love and full of love, we want to share this love with the world.  This was the case of the love between the Father and the Son.  Because they love each other so deeply and fully, they pour their love to the world in the Holy Spirit.

In the final analysis, the love between a man and a woman is for the building of the community of love, the family of God.  We are called to glow as a community of love.  This is the intended plan of God as inscribed in creation when “God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.’”   So from two different persons in love, this circle increases to three and beyond.  This is our calling.  We are called to be good stewards of God’s love and gifts to us.  For the Lord commanded us, “Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.’”

But we cannot build a community of love without faith.  That is what the gospel teaches us.  The townsfolk of Jesus were astonished and said, “Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? So where did the man get it all?”  The answer is obvious.  It was because Jesus was deeply in love with His Heavenly Father.  His capacity to love and give selflessly even unto death springs from His experience of the Abba Father’s unconditional love.   This was the basis of His strength.  He could work the miracles only because He was totally confident that His Father would hear His prayers.  With the faith of the psalmist, He would have prayed, “Give success to the work of our hands, O Lord. Before the mountains were born or the earth or the world brought forth, you are God, without beginning or end. You turn men back to dust and say: ‘Go back, sons of men.’ To your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone, no more than a watch in the night.”  He knew that His Father who is compassion and love would heal and work miracles to show forth His mercy and love.

Truly, we must never think that we can love selflessly or grow in love without God’s love and mercy.  We are all selfish and wounded creatures.   It is only natural and our human instinct to desire to protect ourselves first before others.  We do not mind helping others but charity always begins at home.  Of course, for some, it ends there.  For this reason, we must never think that mere human endeavour to live together in love will suffice.  We will always be tempted to sin, to commit the sins of the flesh , lust, or pride, the sin of the intellect.

More importantly, we need to die to ourselves, our sins, to forgive and to resolve our fears.  There cannot be genuine openness to each other if there is no willingness to forgive the other person, to recognize that we are weak and sinful ourselves and hence in equal need of forgiveness and compassion.  In the final analysis, communication is only a technique and a means to understand each other.  But the deeper cause is that the individual needs healing and restoration.  Each one of us suffers from a deeper wound, especially from our childhood.  Unless the individual is healed first and foremost, how could he or she heal the other person or be open to the other person?  His or her fears and hurts from the past relationships will inhibit and hinder him or her from opening his or her feelings.  That is why the deepest healing is psychological and spiritual healing.  Knowing what to do does not mean we can do it, as St Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans.  The laws only tell us what is wrong but does not give us the power to obey.

Consequently, to glow as a community of love, we need to begin by being a community of faith in God’s love and divine providence.  Mutual love alone is not sufficient as our love is limited.  We need to rely on His love.  We need to surrender our lives to Him because He is in charge.  The theological meaning of God’s divine providence is expressed in the Sabbath.  “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he had rested after all his work of creating.”  In other words, the author is asking us not to depend too much on ourselves but on Him who provides us.

Truly, we must build our love for each in Christ.  Only His grace and mercy for us will empower us to love each other.  Love requires purification and patience.  Let us learn from Joseph and Mary, the loving couple, to love sincerely like brothers and sisters, by being patient, caring, forgiving, attentive and feeling with and for each other.  St Joseph, whose feast we celebrate today, was a man of devotion, in love with God and with man in Mary.  He was a man of contemplation, who knew how to listen to God and to others.  Joseph and Mary are that perfect couple the church invites us to imitate in love and relationship.  Let us never stop encountering our partner and let their love grow and deepen, never taking each other for granted.

– See more at: http://www.csctr.net/01-may-2014-st-joseph-the-worker/#sthash.wRPugErb.dpuf

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http://www.csctr.net/

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The feast of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955 in order to Christianize the concept of labor and give to all workmen a model and a protector. By the daily labor in his shop, offered to God with patience and joy, St. Joseph provided for the necessities of his holy spouse and of the Incarnate Son of God, and thus became an example to all laborers. “Workmen and all those laboring in conditions of poverty will have reasons to rejoice rather than grieve, since they have in common with the Holy Family daily preoccupations and cares”(Leo XIII).
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St. Joseph the Worker

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“May Day” has long been dedicated to labor and the working man. It falls on the first day of the month that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII expressed the hope that this feast would accentuate the dignity of labor and would bring a spiritual dimension to labor unions. It is eminently fitting that St. Joseph, a working man who became the foster-father of Christ and patron of the universal Church, should be honored on this day.

The texts of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours provide a catechetical synthesis of the significance of human labor seen in the light of faith. The Opening Prayer states that God, the creator and ruler of the universe, has called men and women in every age to develop and use their talents for the good of others. The Office of Readings, taken from the document of the Second Vatican Council on the Church in the modern world, develops this idea. In every type of labor we are obeying the command of God given in Genesis 2:15 and repeated in the responsory for the Office of Readings. The responsory for the Canticle of Zechariah says that “St. Joseph faithfully practiced the carpenter’s trade. He is a shining example for all workers.” Then, in the second part of the Opening Prayer, we ask that we may do the work that God has asked of us and come to the rewards he has promised. In the Prayer after Communion we ask: “May our lives manifest your love; may we rejoice for ever in your peace.”

The liturgy for this feast vindicates the right to work, and this is a message that needs to be heard and heeded in our modern society. In many of the documents issued by Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II, reference is made to the Christian spirit that should permeate one’s work, after the example of St. Joseph. In addition to this, there is a special dignity and value to the work done in caring for the family. The Office of Readings contains an excerpt from the Vatican II document on the modern world: “Where men and women, in the course of gaining a livelihood for themselves and their families, offer appropriate service to society, they can be confident that their personal efforts promote the work of the Creator, confer benefits on their fellowmen, and help to realize God’s plan in history” (no. 34).

— Excerpted from Saints of the Roman Calendar by Enzo Lodi

Patron: Against doubt; against hesitation; Americas; Austria; diocese of Baton Rouge, California; Belgium; diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi; Bohemia; diocese of Buffalo, New York; bursars; cabinetmakers; Canada; Carinthia; carpenters; China; Church; confectioners; craftsmen; Croatian people (in 1687 by decree of the Croatian parliament) dying people; emigrants; engineers; expectant mothers; families; fathers; Florence, Italy; happy death; holy death; house hunters; immigrants; interior souls; Korea; laborers; diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin; archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky; diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; married people; Mexico; diocese of Nashville, Tennessee; New France; New World; Oblates of Saint Joseph; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; pioneers; pregnant women; protection of the Church; diocese of San Jose, California; Sicily; diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; social justice; Styria, Austria; travellers; Turin, Italy; Tyrol, Austria; unborn children; Universal Church; Vatican II; Vietnam; diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia; wheelwrights; workers; working people.

Symbols: Bible; branch; capenter’s square; carpenter’s tools; chalice; cross; hand tools; infant Jesus; ladder; lamb; lily; monstrance; old man holding a lily and a carpenter’s tool such as a square; old man holding the infant Jesus; plane; rod.

Things to Do:

  • May 1 is celebrated in Communist countries as the Day of the International Solidarity of Workers. Today would be a good day to pray for athesistic Communism’s influence to cease and a proper application of the principles explained by Leo XIII in Rerum novarum and John Paul II in Centesimus annus to be the guide used by nations.

 

Blast occurs at railway station in Xinjiang

April 30, 2014

URUMQI, April 30 (Xinhua) — A blast occurred at a railway station in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Wednesday evening.

The explosion occurred around 7 p.m. Wednesday at the exit of the south railway station of Urumqi. Ambulances and police cars rushed to the scene.

As of 8:30 p.m., people in the square in front of the station and nearby had been evacuated, Xinhua reporters saw. Police are evacuating people in surrounding areas.

Police have cordoned off all entrances to the square of the station. Armed police have been deployed in the square.

Train services had been suspended at the station, a policeman at the scene told Xinhua.

People wait at an entrance to the south railway station of Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after an explosion on April 30. People in the square in front of the station and nearby were evacuated immediately after the blast, and police cordoned off all entrances to the square of the station. [Photo by Gao Bo/China Daily]

People wait at an entrance to the south railway station of Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after an explosion on April 30. People in the square in front of the station and nearby were evacuated immediately after the blast, and police cordoned off all entrances to the square of the station. [Photo by Gao Bo/China Daily]

People wait at an entrance to the south railway station of Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after an explosion on April 30. People in the square in front of the station and nearby were evacuated immediately after the blast, and police cordoned off all entrances to the square of the station. [Photo by Gao Bo/China Daily]

People wait at an entrance to the south railway station of Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after an explosion on April 30. People in the square in front of the station and nearby were evacuated immediately after the blast, and police cordoned off all entrances to the square of the station. [Photo by Gao Bo/China Daily]

People wait at an entrance to the south railway station of Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after an explosion on April 30. People in the square in front of the station and nearby were evacuated immediately after the blast, and police cordoned off all entrances to the square of the station. [Photo by Gao Bo/China Daily]

People wait at an entrance to the south railway station of Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after an explosion on April 30. People in the square in front of the station and nearby were evacuated immediately after the blast, and police cordoned off all entrances to the square of the station. [Photo by Gao Bo/China Daily]

Shades of George W. Bush in Xi Jinping’s Anti-Terror Campaign

April 30, 2014

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Chinese President Xi Jinping visits an elite police counter-terror brigade in Beijing this month.Li Gang/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com

By Brian  Spengele
The Wall Street Journal

Xi Jinping is taking a page out of George W. Bush’s playbook.

China’s president has signaled aggressively in recent weeks that a central element of his leadership will be fighting those the government views as terrorists.

The government must “make terrorists like rats scurrying across a street, with everybody shouting “beat them!” the official Xinhua news agency quoted Mr. Xi as saying ahead of a recent trip to the at-times turbulent city of Kashgar.

The city is located in the far western region of Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan and other Central Asian nations. The province has seen widespread interethnic violence in recent years between ethnic Uighurs who call Xinjiang home and Han Chinese who largely control the government and police and who make up a vast majority of China’s citizens.

“The more you sweat in peace time, the less you bleed in war,” Mr. Xi said during his visit, according to a description of the trip posted to the Weibo account of the official Xinhua news agency.

During his trip, he urged military leaders and special police forces to—in essence—be ready for battle, should it come.

A recent uptick in violence emanating from the region is troubling for China’s leadership, particularly as it appears to be spreading beyond Xinjiang’s border. In March, assailants armed with knives attacked a train station in the southern city of Kunming, leaving more than 30 dead. The government later described the attackers as separatists from Xinjiang.

Since then, Mr.  Xi has worked hard to stress China’s anti-terrorism efforts. In the past two months alone, Mr. Xi has mentioned anti-terrorism in public remarks 15 times, according to the website of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper. Earlier this month, Mr. Xi paid a visit to an anti-terrorism training institute, sparking wide coverage in official media.

The Chinese government says growing violence in the region stems from separatists who want to divide Xinjiang from the rest of China and religious extremists, including those with ties to overseas terror groups. But Uighurs in Xinjiang and overseas activists groups say the issue is more complicated and stems partly from what many view as economic discrimination against ethnic Uighurs.

Part of the challenge is linguistic: Many Uighurs today speak minimal Chinese, preferring instead to communicate in Uighur, a Turkic language. During his trip to Xinjiang, Mr. Xi urged improve the teaching of Mandarin Chinese to non-Han students as a way to help ethnic Uighurs and others more easily find jobs, and more importantly, he said, “to promote cooperation among ethnic groups.”

–Brian Spegele. Follow him on Twitter @bspegele.

Follow @ChinaRealTime on Twitter and sign up for CRT’s daily newsletter to get the latest headlines delivered to your inbox.

http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/04/29/shades-of-george-w-bush-in-xi-jinpings-anti-terror-campaign/

Opium Exports in Afghanistan Again Take Off As Poppy Cultivation Returns

April 30, 2014

Report by DC’s Afghanistan war watchdog found opium cultivation unaffected by $7.5bn US spent to combat it

By Spencer Ackerman
The Guardian

opium afghan poppy

An Afghan security force member destroys an illegal poppy crop. Photograph: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images

Opium cultivation is estimated to be at an all-time high in Afghanistan, despite the US spending $7.5bn to combat it.

A report released Wednesday by Washington’s Afghanistan war watchdog has found that the billions spent by the State and Defense departments on counter-narcotics since 2002 has been for nought. Opium-poppy cultivation takes up 209,000 hectares (516,230 acres) of land in Afghanistan, a 36% increase since 2012.

Drug use inside Afghanistan has spiked, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. About 1.3 million Afghan adults were regular drug users in 2012, up from 1 million in 2009; regular opium users grew to 230,000 in 2009 from 130,000 in 2005. The population of Afghanistan is just under 32 million.

Beyond Afghanistan’s borders, about three-quarters of the world’s illicit opium products originates from the country, which sees its poppy cultivation concentrated almost entirely in the country’s southern and western provinces. Those areas – particularly Helmand and Kandahar provinces – were where the bulk of US and UK forces were deployed during the 2010-12 troop surge.

The interdiction efforts that the US and its Afghan partners continue to perform, however, are concentrated in eastern Afghanistan and the capital of Kabul, a shift away from the areas of cultivation. The inspector general attributes the shift to the drawdown of US forces, since the threat of attack in those areas is “generally less than the threat in the south and southwest”.

The drawdown, set to conclude by December 2014, is reflected in the decline of overall US counter-narcotics missions, barely any of which are performed unilaterally anymore.

In 2013, coalition and Afghan forces seized 41,000kg of opium, while Afghans produced 5.5m kilograms of it. Overall operations are down 17% since 2011, with opium seizures down 57% and heroin seizures down 77%. As well, much of the country’s drug trafficking is invisible or inaccessible to the Afghan forces the US mentors and funds.

“Drug labs, storage sites, and major trafficking networks are concentrated in rural areas that are increasingly off-limits to Afghan forces due the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) drawdown and declining security in these areas,” the report found.

While eradication accounted for a significant component of US counter-narcotics strategy during the mid-2000s, the US-led coalition shifted away from it in recent years, owing to a conclusion that crop destruction drove farmers and those dependent on them into the hands of the Taliban. The Obama administration and the US military once implored Afghans to grow grapes, wheat and pomegranates instead.

Yet the State Department still funds an Afghan drug eradication effort – albeit one the watchdog indicates is a numbers game.

In 2013, the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics reported the destruction of about 7,300 hectares (18,031 acres) of poppy fields, barely 3% of the amount of cultivated opium fields, consistent with what the watchdog found was a 4% yearly eradication average since 2008.

That eradication effort appears to leave the areas of high poppy concentration intact. The State Department told the inspector general that it focuses on “provinces close to poppy-free status in order to further increase the number of poppy-free provinces”.

The explosion in opiate production, unaffected by the $7.5bn spent by the US since 2002 to combat it, puts “the entire US and donor investment in the reconstruction of Afghanistan at risk,” special inspector general John Sopko told a Senate panel in January.

“All of the fragile gains we have made over the last twelve years on women’s issues, health, education, rule of law, and governance are now, more than ever, in jeopardy of being wiped out by the narcotics trade which not only supports the insurgency, but also feeds organized crime and corruption.”

Antibiotic resistance now ‘global threat’, WHO warns

April 30, 2014

Lab research into new antibiotics

WHO called for more preventative measures against infection

Related Stories

Resistance to antibiotics poses a “major global threat” to public health, says a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It analysed data from 114 countries and said resistance was happening now “in every region of the world”.

It described a “post-antibiotic era”, where people die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades.

There were likely to be “devastating” implications unless “significant” action was taken urgently, it added.

The report focused on seven different bacteria responsible for common serious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and blood infections.

It suggested two key antibiotics no longer work in more than half of people being treated in some countries.

“Start Quote

What we urgently need is a solid global plan of action which provides for the rational use of antibiotics”

End Quote Dr Jennifer Cohn Medecins sans Frontiers

One of them – carbapenem – is a so-called “last-resort” drug used to treat people with life-threatening infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and infections in newborns, caused by the bacteria K.pneumoniae.

Bacteria naturally mutate to eventually become immune to antibiotics, but the misuse of these drugs – such as doctors over-prescribing them and patients failing to finish courses – means it is happening much faster than expected.

The WHO says more new antibiotics need to be developed, while governments and individuals should take steps to slow this process.

In its report, it said resistance to antibiotics for E.coli urinary tract infections had increased from “virtually zero” in the 1980s to being ineffective in more than half of cases today.

In some countries, it said, resistance to antibiotics used to treat the bacteria “would not work in more than half of people treated”.

Gonorrhoea treatment ‘failure’

Dr Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general at WHO, said: “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.”

E.coli bacteria Urinary tract infections caused by E.coli bacteria are becoming harder to treat

He said effective antibiotics had been one of the “pillars” to help people live longer, healthier lives, and benefit from modern medicine.

“Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating,” Dr Fukuda added.

The report also found last-resort treatment for gonorrhoea, a sexually-transmitted infection which can cause infertility, had “failed” in the UK.

It was the same in Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Slovenia and Sweden, it said.

More than a million people are infected with gonorrhoea across the world every day, the organisation said.

‘Wake-up call’

The report called for better hygiene, access to clean water, infection control in healthcare facilities, and vaccination to reduce the need for antibiotics.

Last year, the chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said the rise in drug-resistant infections was comparable to the threat of global warming.

Dr Jennifer Cohn, medical director of Medecins sans Frontiers’ Access Campaign, said: “We see horrendous rates of antibiotic resistance wherever we look in our field operations, including children admitted to nutritional centres in Niger, and people in our surgical and trauma units in Syria.

“Ultimately, WHO’s report should be a wake-up call to governments to introduce incentives for industry to develop new, affordable antibiotics that do not rely patents and high prices and are adapted to the needs of developing countries.”

She added: “What we urgently need is a solid global plan of action which provides for the rational use of antibiotics so quality-assured antibiotics reach those who need them, but are not overused or priced beyond reach.”

Professor Nigel Brown, president of the UK Society for General Microbiology, said it was vital microbiologists and other researchers worked together to develop new approaches to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

“These approaches will include new antibiotics, but should also include studies to develop new rapid-diagnostic devices, fundamental research to understand how microbes become resistant to drugs, and how human behaviour influences the spread of resistance.”

 

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  • Spread of deadly superbugs that evade antibiotics is happening globally
  • It’s now a major threat to public health, the World Health Organisation says
  • It could mean minor injuries and common infections become fatal

By Emma Innes

Antibiotic resistance is now a bigger crisis than the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, a landmark report warned today.

The spread of deadly superbugs that evade even the most powerful antibiotics is happening across the world, United Nations officials have confirmed.

The effects will be devastating – meaning a simple scratch or urinary tract infection could kill.

Antibiotic resistance needs to be taken as seriously as AIDS was in the 1980s, experts say

Antibiotic resistance needs to be taken as seriously as AIDS was in the 1980s, experts say

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2616794/Antibiotic-resistance-needs-taken-seriously-AIDS-Implications-bacteria-evading-drugs-devastating-says-landmark-report.html#ixzz30Obr2jBc

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Antibiotic resistance has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country, the U.N.’s World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report.

It is now a major threat to public health, of which ‘the implications will be devastating’.

‘The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,’ said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security.

SUPERBUGS: THE GUIDE TO BUGS RENDERING ANTIBIOTICS OBSOLETE

MRSA – Patients infected with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are 64 per cent more likely to die than those with a non-resistant form of S. aureus. People infected by resistant superbugs are also likely to stay longer in hospital and may need intensive care, pushing up costs. C. difficile – This bacteria produces spores that are resistant to high temperatures and are very difficult to eliminate. It is spread through contaminated food and objects and can cause blood poisoning and tears in the large intestine.

E. coli – this now accounts for one in three cases of bacterial infections in the blood in the UK and a new strain is resistant to most antibiotics. It is highly contagious and could cause more than 3,000 deaths a year.

Acinetobacter Baumannii – a common bacteria which is resistant to most antibiotics and which can easily infect patients in a hospital. It can cause meningitis and is fatal in about 80 per cent of patients. CRKP – this is a bacterium that is associated with extremely difficult to treat blood infections and meningitis. It is resistant to nearly all antibiotics and is fatal in 50 per cent of cases. Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is estimated to kill 150,000 people globally each year.

NDM-1 – a bacteria detected in India of which some strains are resistant to all antibiotics.

In its first global report on antibiotic resistance, with data from 114 countries, the WHO said superbugs able to evade even the hardest-hitting antibiotics – a class of drugs called carbapenems – have now been found in all regions of the world.

Drug resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages bacteria to develop new ways of overcoming them.

Only a handful of new antibiotics have been developed and brought to market in the past few decades, and it is a race against time to find more as bacterial infections increasingly evolve into superbugs resistant to even the most powerful last-resort medicines reserved for extreme cases.

One of the best known superbugs, MRSA, is alone estimated to kill around 19,000 people every year in the U.S. – far more than HIV and AIDS – and a similar number in Europe.

 

More…

The WHO said in some countries, because of resistance, carbapenems now do not work in more than half of people with common hospital-acquired infections caused by a bacteria called K. pneumoniae, such as pneumonia, blood infections, and infections in newborn babies and intensive-care patients.

Resistance to one of the most widely used antibiotics for treating urinary tract infections caused by E. coli -medicines called fluoroquinolones – is also very widespread, it said.

In the 1980s, when these drugs were first introduced, resistance was virtually zero, according to the WHO report.

But now there are countries in many parts of the world where the drugs are ineffective in more than half of patients.

The WHO said in some countries, because of resistance, carbapenems now do not work in more than half of people with common hospital-acquired infections caused by a bacteria called K. pneumoniae, such as pneumonia, blood infections, and infections in newborn babies and intensive-care patients.

Resistance to one of the most widely used antibiotics for treating urinary tract infections caused by E. coli -medicines called fluoroquinolones – is also very widespread, it said.

In the 1980s, when these drugs were first introduced, resistance was virtually zero, according to the WHO report. But now there are countries in many parts of the world where the drugs are ineffective in more than half of patients.

‘Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating,’ Dr Fukuda said.

Laura Piddock, director of Antibiotic Action campaign group and a professor of microbiology at Birmingham University, said the world needed to respond as it did to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

‘Defeating drug resistance will require political will, commitment from all stakeholders and considerable investment in research, surveillance and stewardship programmes,’ she said.

Jennifer Cohn of the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières agreed with the WHO’s assessment and confirmed the problem had spread to many corners of the world.

‘We see horrendous rates of antibiotic resistance wherever we look in our field operations, including children admitted to nutritional centres in Niger, and people in our surgical and trauma units in Syria,’ she said.

Earlier this month, Government body NICE said that one in 16 patients are developing infections on NHS wards because of poor hygiene among staff.

NICE said 800 patients a day, the equivalent of 300,000 a year, are infected by a member of staff or by dirty equipment. It is estimated the infections cause 5,000 deaths annually and contribute to another 15,000.

WHAT CAUSES ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE?

Antibiotics are substances that kill or interfere with the growth of microorganisms, especially bacteria. But not all microorganisms are susceptible to all antibiotics, according to Public Health England.

Microorganisms which are not killed or inhibited by an antibiotic are called ‘antibiotic resistant’.

They continue to grow and multiply in the presence of that antibiotics.

There are several ways in which bacteria can be resistant. Some destroy the antibiotic, for example by producing enzymes against it; some prevent the antibiotic getting into their cells; others get the antibiotic out of their cells before it can harm them.

HOW DOES RESISTANCE DEVELOP?

Some bacteria are naturally resistant; new resistances also arise spontaneously by chance mutations and these resistant strains then multiply.

Some resistances can be passed from one bacterium to another, spreading resistance between species. Loops of DNA (called plasmids) carry the resistance genes from one bacterium to another.

When an antibiotic is given, it kills the sensitive bacteria, but any resistant ones can survive and multiply.

The more antibiotics are used (in animals and agriculture as well as in man) the greater will be the “selective pressure”, favouring resistant strains – i.e. survival of the fittest.

Antibiotics don’t ’cause’ resistance; rather, they create an environment which favours the growth of resistant varians which already exist in nature or arise by chance.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2616794/Antibiotic-resistance-needs-taken-seriously-AIDS-Implications-bacteria-evading-drugs-devastating-says-landmark-report.html#ixzz30Oc29wPY

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Arizona congressmen want Phoenix VA health chief Sharon Helman removed due to “gross mismanagement and neglect”

April 30, 2014

Associated Press

A trio of Arizona congressmen on Tuesday called for the head of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care Center to step down amid allegations of gross mismanagement and neglect at the facility, the latest in a string of issues at VA hospitals across the nation.

The call from Republican Reps. David Schweikert, Matt Salmon and Trent Franks comes after weeks of growing outrage about lapses in veteran patient care in Phoenix. They urged hospital director Sharon Helman and her leadership team to resign, saying in a letter that “drastic changes need to be made to ensure that this never happens again.”

“In order to begin to restore faith in the veteran’s health care system, department executives who were aware of and presided over this unethical and alarming mismanagement must be held accountable,” they wrote.

The group also sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki asking him to remove Helman and her leadership team.

The Phoenix VA has been under fire since the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said on April 9 that up to 40 patients may have died because of care delays and that the hospital kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in treatment.

The U.S. Office of Inspector General is investigating the allegations, which come amid problems at other VA hospitals across the country. Patients are being forced to wait weeks and months to see doctors, and in some cases, dying before their appointments. In the past year, VA facilities in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Washington state have been linked to delays in patient care or poor oversight.

The Phoenix office for the Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement Tuesday that the agency is “committed to delivering the highest quality care to veterans” and that it “takes these allegations seriously.” The office also said it welcomes the results of the inspector general’s investigation.

Dr. Samuel Foote, who had worked for the Phoenix VA for more than 20 years before retiring in December, brought the allegations to Congress and claims his complaints to his supervisors were ignored.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in an interview Tuesday that Foote was intimately involved in patient care in Phoenix.

“He has no ax to grind with the VA,” Miller said. “I think he tried to bring this to the attention of executives and basically was shunned and felt the need to raise it to a higher level.”

President Barack Obama on Monday said his administration is determined to find out whether veterans were denied help they needed at the Phoenix VA facility. He said he ordered Shinseki to investigate the allegations that care delays led to deaths.

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Long waiting times for appointments have led to the deaths of at least 40 veterans who were patients at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

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Many of those veterans were placed on a “secret waiting list” that was part of a scheme designed to hide how long patients actually had to wait for appointments.

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An estimated 1,400 to 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor. A recently retired top VA doctor and other high-level sources helped CNN expose the scheme: Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments: There’s an “official” list that’s shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there’s the real list that’s hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.

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“The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules,” said Foote in Phoenix.

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“They developed the secret waiting list,” said Foote, a respected local physician. Foote said the VA requires its hospitals to provide timely care to patients, usually within 14 – 30 days. He said evidence was shredded in order to hide the long list of veterans waiting for care.

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VA officials also told staff not to schedule appointments in the computer system: “They enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there’s no record that you were ever here.”

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That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded.” So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list. And they wouldn’t take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not.”

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Foote said the wait times that were reported to authorities in Washington were completely made up: “So then when they did that, they would report to Washington, ‘Oh yeah. We’re makin’ our appointments within — within 10 days, within the 14-day frame,’ when in reality it had been six, nine, in some cases 21 months.” CNN also reported that emails they obtained show that Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman knew about the secret list and the actual wait times, and even defended its use to her staff. Foote has sent letters to officials at the VA Office of the Inspector General to report the secret electronic waiting list and the large number of veterans who died waiting for care.

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He and other sources told CNN that the IG has interviewed them about the scheme. U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee in Washington chairman, Rep. Jeff Miller, has been investigating delays in care at veterans hospitals. Congress has now ordered all records in Phoenix be preserved for an upcoming investigation. Here is the CNN report, which includes an interview with family members of Navy veteran Thomas Breen, who died of stage four bladder cancer while waiting on the secret list for an appointment: Will these problems start to be seen outside of the VA system once Obamacare is in full swing?

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It’s hard to believe things like this are happening in America, and many fear that it is going to get much, much worse since the passing of the Affordable “Care” Act.

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Delivered by The Daily Sheeple Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple. Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake Up.”

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/phoenix-va-scheme-exposed-40-veterans-on-secret-waiting-list-died-while-waiting-for-care_042014

Explosion in China railway during presidential visit leaves dozens injured

April 30, 2014

China: Dozens injured as an explosion rocks a train station in the capital of China’s Xinjiang province on the last day of a presidential visit

Photographs posted on Chinese social media sites showed blood-spattered luggage and debris scattered across a street outside the station

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Photographs posted on Chinese social media sites showed blood-spattered luggage and debris scattered across a street outside the station Photo: TWITTER

At least 50 people were injured when an explosion rocked a train station in Urumqi, the capital of China’s restive Xinjiang province, on the final day of a presidential visit designed to promote Beijing’s war on terrorism.

The blast hit Urumqi’s South Railway Station at around 7pm on Wednesday and the wounded were rushed to hospital, the government-run People’s Daily newspaper said on its official Twitter account.

“A man at a nearby hotel said he thought it was an earthquake,” Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

Photographs posted on Chinese social media sites showed blood-spattered luggage and debris scattered across a street outside the station and police arriving at the scene carrying what appeared to be assault rifles.

Security forces were evacuating surrounding areas, Xinhua, China’s official news agency, said. There was no immediate information about what might have caused the explosion.

The blast came as Xi Jinping, China’s president, was wrapping up a four-day tour to the restive region, which has suffered repeated episodes of bloodshed in recent years including inter-ethnic rioting in July 2009 which claimed more than 150 lives and left hundreds more injured.

Beijing blames the bloodshed on Islamic extremists and separatists but government critics say repressive security policies and the social exclusion of Xinjiang’s native Uighur people have also helped fuelled the violence.

The Uighurs are a largely Muslim, Turkic-speaking group who often resent the influx of Han Chinese migrants to the region.

Tensions between China’s Uighur and Han communities have been running especially high in the wake of two recent attacks.

In March masked attackers hacked more than 30 people to death in a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming. Last October a car slammed into tourists in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and caught fire killing five. Beijing blamed both attacks on extremists from Xinjiang.

Speaking in Urumqi just hours before Wednesday night’s explosion, president Xi said: “The long-term stability of Xinjiang is vital to the whole country’s reform, development and stability; to the country’s unity, ethnic harmony and national security as well as to the great revival of the Chinese nation.”

It was not immediately clear if president Xi had still been in Xinjiang’s capital, which is nearly 2,000 miles west of Beijing, at the time of the blast.

Xi urged Muslims to “take a clear stance against extremism” during a tour of one of the city’s normally heavily-policed mosques on Wednesday.

“We must foster and promote more officials from ethnic minorities,” he said, in an apparent attempt to counter charges that Han Chinese had been the main beneficiaries of the resource-rich province’s economic boom.

The president’s trip to Xinjiang coincides with a hardening of Beijing’s rhetoric about its fight against extremism.

“[We must] make terrorists become like rats scurrying across a street, with everybody shouting ‘beat them!’” Xi told senior leaders last Friday, according to state media.

“Resolute and decisive measures must be taken and high pressure must be maintained to crack down on violent terrorists who have been swollen with arrogance,” the president added.

China says 3 killed in bomb attack at Xinjiang train station

April 30, 2014

BEIJING (Reuters) – Three people were killed and 79 wounded in a bomb attack at a train station in the capital of China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

Xinhua said four of the people had been seriously injured in the blast which hit outside an exit at the station in Urumqi on Wednesday evening.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Map showing the location of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Map showing the location of
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Masked gunmen tighten grip on eastern Ukraine

April 30, 2014

Pro-Russian armed men standb at the entrance to the regional government headquarters in Luhansk

Pro-Russian armed men stand at the entrance to the regional government headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, April 30, 2014. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

By Marko Djurica

HORLIVKA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Masked gunmen in military fatigues took control of a government building in another Ukrainian town on Wednesday, as pro-Russian separatists tightened their grip on a swathe of the country’s industrial east largely unopposed by police.

Local media reports said the gunmen turned up at first light, and were later seen by a Reuters photographer to be controlling entry to the building in the town of almost 300,000 people. They refused to be photographed.

The heavily armed men wore the same military uniforms without insignia as other so-called “green men” who have joined pro-Russian protesters with clubs and chains in seizing control of a string of towns across Ukraine’s Donbass coal and steel belt abutting the border with Russia.

A police official in nearby Donetsk, the provincial capital where separatists have declared a “People’s Republic of Donetsk”, said separatists were also in control of the Horlivka police division, having seized the regional police HQ earlier in April.

Wednesday’s takeover followed the fall of government buildings on Tuesday further east in Luhansk, capital of Ukraine’s easternmost province, driving home just how far control over the densely populated region has slipped from the pro-Western central government in Kiev.

“They’ve taken them. The government administration and police,” the police official said of Horlivka.

The town sits just north of Donetsk, where mainly Russian-speaking separatists have called a referendum on secession for May 11.

Many hope to follow Crimea’s break from Ukraine in late March and subsequent annexation by Russia, following the overthrow of Ukraine’s then Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich in late February in a tug-of-war between the West and Russia over the strategic direction of the former Soviet republic.

The Donbass region is home to giant steel smelters and heavy plants that produce around a third of Ukraine’s industrial output.

An armed uprising began there in early April, with Kiev almost powerless to respond for fear of provoking an invasion by tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the border.

Oleksander Turchynov, Ukraine’s acting president until an election on May 25, reiterated on Wednesday that police were incapable of reasserting control in the region.

“Our main task is to prevent the terrorist threat from spreading to other regions of Ukraine,” he told a meeting of regional governors in Kiev.

“The Russian leadership is doing everything to prevent the election. But the election will take place on May 25,” he said.

Authorities in Kiev said security forces had “liquidated” three separatist checkpoints near the eastern town of Slaviansk, a separatist stronghold, and the gunmen manning them had disappeared. The information could not be independently confirmed.

(Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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