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Israel forces attack Jenin Freedom Theater

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Early yesterday morning, Israeli soldiers attacked the Jenin Freedom Theater in the northern West Bank city of Jenin and arrested two of its employees.

According to the theater's press release about the incident, Ahmed Nasser Matahen, a night watch guard and technician student at the theater, was awakened by the sound of stones being hurled at the theater's entrance. Matahen said when he opened the door, he found masked and heavily armed Israeli Special Forces outside.

Tokyo's oldest temple, and waiting for a good chance

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TOKYO -- As you walk up to the Senso-ji Buddhist temple here, you might be forgiven for not realizing you're standing in front of the city's oldest temple, first built in the year 645.

Past its main gate, the temple grounds are lined with tourist shops, selling candy and souvenir knick-nacks. Japanese shopkeepers, wearing traditional outfits and split-toe shoes, attract tourists with rice cakes being cooked over hot coals and other goodies.

On this day: St. Pedro Poveda

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On this day, 75 years ago, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Father Pedro Poveda Castroverde, founder of the Teresian Association, was shot to death, a martyr of faith. He was 61 years old.

Pedro Poveda was ordained in 1897 at Guadix, in the province of Granada. In the early years of his priesthood, he ministered to the Roma people who lived in the caves of Guadix. His work with the poor cave dwellers was so successful that "it outraged some of the more traditional Catholic lay people and clergy, who conspired to have him dismissed (glossed over as 'being misunderstood' in the Osservatore Romano biography published on the occasion of his beatification.)"

Morning Briefing

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California prisoners assert their humanity with hunger strike

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Late last week, a group of California prisoners, many of them kept in maximum isolation units, ended their extraordinary 20-day hunger strike waged in protest of the cruel conditions of their confinement.

The strike, which began July 1 among inmates in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison, transcended the gang and geographic affiliations that typically divide prisoners. At its height, as many as 6600 prisoners from 13 California prisons were refusing food, leading some to describe the mass fasting as the largest inmate uprising since the 1971 revolt at Attica Prison in upstate New York.

On this day: Bl. Maria Klemensa Staszewska

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On this day, in 1943, Blessed Maria Klemensa Staszewska, an Ursuline of the Roman Union, died in O?wi?cim (a.k.a. Auschwitz), Ma?opolskie.

Helena Staszewska was born July 30, 1890, in Z?oczew, Wielkopolskie. She entered the Ursuline Convent at Rokiciny Podhala?skie near Rabka, and became Sister Maria Klemensa of Jesus Crucified. By the time the Nazis occupied Poland, she was the superior. She was arrested by the Gestapo in January, 1943 for "sheltering sickly Polish and Jewish children from Warsaw and assisting Jews escaping across the nearby Polish-Slovak border." Sister Maria Klemensa "perished in Auschwitz in July of that year."

Yvetta

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Sometimes I'm painfully aware that it's the poor who are the saints among us.

Yvette has been out of prison five years. While she was locked up, her child support bill mounted to something like $40,000. Of course, Yvette couldn't find a job. A judge threw her in jail briefly, but the prosecutor didn't press new felony charges. Thank heavens for a bit of common sense prosecutorial discretion.

As best I can tell, Yvette has a borderline personality disorder. This means she doesn't really relate to other people; she sees us mostly as cardboard figures. She doesn't understand that what she says should be grounded in fact and not what comes to her mind at the moment. I'm pretty sure it seems true to her. Equally, she is forever taken in by the stories of others.

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