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Boat carrying aid, Jewish delegation to Gaza intercepted


While Israeli bulldozers rolled out across the West Bank yesterday, marking an end to the freeze on settlement construction and possibly the Middle East peace talks, seven Jewish activists and two journalists sailed toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to breach the Israeli blockade of that region.

This morning the Israeli navy intercepted the British-flagged Irene, a tiny 33-foot catamaran carrying what the activists described as "symbolic aid" for the Palestinian Territory. The mission's organizers said in a statement on their website

Last contact with the boat's captain, Glyn Secker, was at 0937 GMT, when their path had been cut off by a Destroyer. Recent reports from other news source indicated that the boat has been surrounded and boarded. At this point, they were less than twenty miles from Gaza's shore. Since then all phones went dead.

The occupied Gaza Strip's territorial waters end 12 nautical miles from shore but the Israeli blockade is enforced at 20 miles from shore.

The statement reports the activists were taken to the Israeli port, Ashdod.

Record number of unmanned drone attacks launched in September


The New York Times reported yesterday that the CIA launched a record number of attacks in a single month using unmanned aerial vehicles in the mountains of Pakistan during September.

The unmanned drones, as they're known, are operated remotely from the U.S. and are used to target specific people or groups. This month the CIA has launched 20 attacks on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the most since January when the agency launched 11.

The news comes just a week and a half after 14 activists -- many of them Catholic -- went to trial for an action they committed in April 2009 to protest the use of the drones abroad.

The activists, who walked onto Creech Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, Nev. and held a prayer vigil on Holy Thursday, claimed in a court memorandum that the attacks are akin to "extrajudical killings" and disproportionately kill civilians.

Surprising prosecutors, Clark County, Nev. Judge William Jansen delayed a verdict in the case for four months so he could study the issues at hand.

A few points from the Times report:

    US Oblate takes charge


    U.S. Oblate provincial is elected superior general of order

    By Catholic News Service

    ROME (CNS) -- Members of the general chapter of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate elected the provincial of the United States to be their new superior general.

    Oblate Father Louis Lougen was elected to a six-year term Sept. 28, his 58th birthday.

    Call for young film makers


    Here's a press release I received this morning:

    Film Competition Allows Young Church to ‘Be Witnesses of Christian Hope’

    Goodness Reigns sponsors film contest; winners going to World Youth Day

    LOUISVILLE, KY Sept. 28—Through the Goodness Reigns: Share the Story film competition, youth and young adults can act on Pope Benedict XVI’s recent challenge to share with the world “the treasure” that is Jesus Christ.

    The Holy Father presented his appeal while explaining the theme for the upcoming World Youth Day (WYD), Aug. 16-21, 2011, in Madrid , Spain . The theme is “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in faith.” (cf. Col. 2:7)

    “In our age of globalization, be witnesses of Christian hope all over the world.” The Holy Father exhorted. “How many people long to receive this hope!”

    Wenski shakes up south Florida


    A mere four months into his new post leading the Miami archdiocese, Archbishop Thomas Wenksi has made some sweeping changes.

    "This is a fresh start, a reinvigoration," Wenski told 300 priests convened last week at the Doral Marriott for a 2-1/2 day session to lay out his vision for the archdiocese.

    According to the Miami Herald, Wenski has:

    • Reassigned 33 priests and deacons, representing more than a quarter of the region's churches, to far-flung churches and other assignments in what he has described as the first part of an ongoing reorganization of ministers.

    • Reopened an Allapattah church that shuttered last year during a 10-percent cutback of the archdiocese's churches, and he has raised the possibility that other churches could also reopen.

    Fordham gets $25 million gift


    Mario J. Gabelli, philanthropist, investor and chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors Inc., has made a $25 million gift to his alma mater, Fordham University.

    According to the story at, "The gift will allow Fordham, which will rename the undergraduate business college the Gabelli School of Business, to expand student scholarships and faculty chairs, and will be crucial to the creation of the Center of Global Investment Analysis, which will bring together students, faculty, and professionals in the financial community to enhance scholarship in the study and understanding of capital markets."

    Fordham University gets $25 million gift from alum


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    February 10-23, 2017