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Cheers and Jeers for Wall Street Protesters


Bloomberg -- the business and finance news service owned and named after N.Y. City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- has a round up of commentary and a slide show of photos of reactions to the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Not all reaction to the Occupy Wall Street movement has been predictable. Jim Chanos, a hedge-fund chief, and Bill Gross, the highest profile bond-fund manager in America, expressed sympathy for the protesters. And the chief executive of Citigroup Inc. said he'd be "happy to talk with them."

The comments come from business leaders, filmmakers, artists and TV personalities. The only politician commenting is Mayor Bloomberg.

On this day: Battle of Hastings


On this day, in 1066, Duke William of Normandy defeated King Harold of England at the Battle of Hastings.

Click here for a video about "the most decisive, and certainly the most famous, battle ever fought on English soil. William's triumph, and his subsequent coronation as King William I (1066-87), marked the end of Anglo-Saxon England, the creation of new ties with Western Europe, and the imposition of a new and more cohesive ruling class."

Click here for a video about the Bayeux Tapestry.

Morning Briefing


'Hope&Joy' in South Africa: New things, old things and things that are the same


The new business center of Johannesburg is in Sandton, north of the city. New office high-rises dot the horizon and the convention center and underground shopping center at Nelson Mandela Square is world-class and impressive.

One night last week, after speaking to a group of academics at St. Augustine College, we had to cross the city to get home. We were stopped by police at a check point so they could verify the driver's license. Often, I am told, the police ask for money when they stop people. It's illegal but it happens anyway. There are cameras on the roads and highways to check for road or speed violations (just like home) as well as unregistered vehicles. I am not sure how offenders are tracked down.

There are several major shopping malls here. I had to replace the adapter cord for my laptop one morning and our driver (we employ two local young men who have now been with us for years) took me to a nearby mall, where I found what I needed with no trouble.

Coptic Christians in Egypt


About 30 Coptic Christians in Egypt were killed in clashes that involved both the Egyptian military and radical Muslims Oct. 9. This week on Interfaith Voices, I interviewed Thomas Farr, the Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, about the plight of the Copts, who comprise about 10 percent of the Egyptian population.

According to Farr, this dispute is about far more than the Copts themselves. It involves the very future of religious freedom and democracy in Egypt.

Farr points out that the Copts, an ancient group that traces its lineage back to the apostolic age, are part of the large community of Eastern Orthodox churches, although a few Copts are Catholic.

In recent years, they have been seeking to repair or rebuild old churches, something requires political permission in Egypt. That was the focus of their peaceful demonstration when they were attacked by the Egyptian military, which used heavy vehicles to run some of them over.

The creeping loss of our liberties


Over a week ago, the CIA, under orders by President Obama assassinated Anwar Awlaki, a leader of the group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen. While this would have been newsworthy on its own, the fact is that we have been killing other terrorists in northwestern Pakistan, for example, with the same drone attacks that killed Awlaki. However, what made Awlaki's assassination even bigger news was that he was a U.S. citizen who, for part of his life, was raised in this country.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am currently teaching a freshman seminar at my campus, UC Santa Barbara, on Contemporary Political Issues in Historical Perspective. I raised the question to my students as to whether they felt that the killing of a U.S. citizen despite the fact that he was accused of being a terrorist was justified legally or whether Awlaki's rights as a U.S. citizen were violated and that he was denied due process of law.

After 140 years, African-American priest leads Josephites


From The Republic:

It took 140 years for a religious community devoted to serving African-American Catholics to name a black priest as its leader.

He is the Rev. William Norvel, 76, a native of Mississippi, who was contemplating retirement before being chosen the 13th superior general of the Josephite Priests and Brothers. "It is about time," Deacon Al Turner, director of the Office of Black Catholics for the Washington Archdiocese, told Hamil R. Harris of The Washington Post.

On this day: Miracle of the Sun


On this day, in 1917, the visionaries at Fatima, Lucia Santos, age 10, Blessed Francisco Marto, age 9, and Blessed Jacinta Marto, age 7, said they saw Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They had seen an angel in 1916, and on May 13th, 1917, they saw a Lady. She appeared to them again in June, July, August, and September. She told the children she would identify herself in October, and that a miracle would occur. The children reported the prediction, and thousands of people were on hand on October 13th.

Morning Briefing


'Hope&Joy' in South Africa: How things change


What is different in Johannesburg from my last visit? The airport renovations are complete, since they were initiated for the soccer World Cup held last year. It was so much faster getting through immigration and customs! You can still see signs and banners about the World Cup as you leave the airport, and a statue as well.

Workers still have to travel an hour or more to and from work, and many walk long distances. Four years ago, many women walked along the side roads carrying things on their heads. So far, I have only seen one woman do this. Maybe I have to get out more.


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS