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Showing posts from December 22, 2007

First Dec. 25 Xmas tied to pagan shrine - Yahoo! News

First Dec. 25 Xmas tied to pagan shrine - Yahoo! News: "In 325, he convened the Council of Nicaea, which fixed the dates of important Christian festivals. It opted to mark Christmas, then celebrated at varying dates, on Dec. 25 to coincide with the Roman festival celebrating the birth of the sun god, Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome's La Sapienza University, told reporters Friday.
The Basilica of St. Anastasia was built as soon as a year after the Nicaean Council. It probably was where Christmas was first marked on Dec. 25, part of broader efforts to link pagan practices to Christian celebrations in the early days of the new religion, Carandini said.
'The church was built to Christianize these pagan places of worship,' he said. 'It was normal to put a church near these places to try to 'save' them.'" Blog: What Is Fascism? Blog: What Is Fascism?: "Jim Pinkerton accuses Ron Paul of smearing Mike Huckabee. Oh please.

First, as a Christian in politics, Ron hardly opposes Christians in politics. But as a Baptist who harks back to an earlier tradition, Ron worships the Prince of Peace, not Ares, and he opposes the use of the state to advance his religion.

But what is fascism? It is a real ideology, not just an epithet. It is characterized by belligerent nationalism, militarism, aggressive war, suppression of civil liberties, use of religion in the service of the state, exaltation of the executive, opposition to free markets domestically and internationally, corporatism, welfarism, domestic spying, torture, and detestation of the Other, in this case Muslims and Arabs. So not only is Huckabee a fascist, so are most other candidates of both parties, and much of the leadership of the Christian right."

The Raw Story | Evangelical video shows cadets pressured to be missionaries

The Raw Story | Evangelical video shows cadets pressured to be missionaries: "A video made by Campus Crusade for Christ, a Christian ministry group, shows Air Force Academy cadets being pressured to participate in religious activities and become 'government paid missionaries when they leave.'

Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which released the video this week, says the video is 'absolutely out of control.'

'You cannot engage the U.S. government to propel your religion,' said Weinstein.

The video, filmed in the summer of 2002, opens with tranquil shots of 'Colorado's most frequently visited man-made attraction.' The unnamed narrator describes the chapel in detail, which 'resembles a formation of fighter jets shooting into the sky.'"

Al Jazeera English - News - Iraq Set To Slash Food Rations

Al Jazeera English - News - Iraq Set To Slash Food Rations: "Iraq is set to halve essential items covered by rations and subsidies because of insufficient funds and spiralling inflation, in a further threat to an already deteriorating ration system.

The cuts, to be introduced at the beginning of 2008, have prompted criticism from those who have already warned of social unrest if measures are not taken to address rising poverty and unemployment.

Mohammed Hanoun, the Iraqi trade minister's chief of staff, told Al Jazeera that a request for $7.2bn to cover 10 basic items currently rationed and subsidised by the government had been rejected.

'In 2007, we asked for $3.2 billion for rationing basic foodstuffs. But since the prices of imported food stuff doubled in the past year, we requested $7.2 billion for this year. That request was denied.'"

Al Jazeera English - News - Hezbollah's Scout Brigade

Al Jazeera English - News - Hezbollah's Scout Brigade: "Despite its rather unfashionable image, Scouting remains one of the most popular organised youth activities in the world.

Enjoyed by about 38 million children and young people in more than 200 countries, Scouting has a reputation for teaching life skills to its members in a fun and stimulating environment.

Yet in politically divided Lebanon, sectarian divisions are apparent even in the country's 27 youth groups, with each political party possessing its own organisation for young people.

And Hezbollah, the main Lebanese Shia party and armed movement, is among those with its own youth group, the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts, some of whose members go on to become fully-fledged Hezbollah fighters."

Al Jazeera English - Programmes - Divided Land

Al Jazeera English - Programmes - Divided Land: "On December 27, Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan president, takes Kenya to the polls.

He was elected in 2002 on a wave of public euphoria that ended 40 years of one party rule. On that day, Kibaki promised that the country had changed forever and called on all Kenyans 'to end corruption as a way of life', thereby signaling a break with the scandal-ridden government of Daniel Arap Moi, the former president.

Five years later, these aspirations remain elusive. Kenya has experienced an economic boom since 2002 but little of this wealth has filtered down to the majority who still survive on less than two dollars a day. Kibaki's government is itself now accused of corruption and his former rival Moi now actively campaigns for Kibaki's re-election."

Al Jazeera English - Programmes - Kenya: A Land Divided

Al Jazeera English - Programmes - Kenya: A Land Divided: "Kenya is a nation of 37 million people that stretches from the Indian Ocean to the Great Rift Valley, where despite record economic growth, poverty remains endemic.

As Kenya's rapidly increasing population vies for scarce land resources, some have begun to see themselves not as Kenyans but as tribal members - divided from their compatriots by language, custom and blood - and it is along these tribal lines that many Kenyans are expected to vote in the December 27 presidential and parliamentary elections."

Al Jazeera English - News - Chavez Offers 'Oil For Food'

Al Jazeera English - News - Chavez Offers 'Oil For Food': "Venezuela's president has offered Caribbean and Central American nations the option to pay for oil supplies with local products, such as bananas and sugar.

Speaking in Cuba at a meeting of Petrocaribe, his regional energy alliance, on Friday, Hugo Chavez also lambasted the US and other rich nations for squandering world resources"