Chinese Government Plans a Browse Through Foreign Journalists’ Internet History

July 31, 2008

WASHINGTON, July 31 (MetroCatholic) — China is backtracking on its assurances of open access to foreign journalists during the Olympic Games. Hotel documents cited by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) reveal that all the major hotel chains serving the 2008 Summer Olympics have been ordered to install monitoring software by China’s Public Security Bureau, and that Olympic reporters’ access to certain websites is being restricted.

One document said, “In order to ensure the smooth opening of Olympic in Beijing and the Expo in Shanghai in 2010, safeguard the security of Internet network and the information thereon in the hotels… it is required that your company install and run the Security Management System.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Public Security Bureau’s order to the hotels says that failure to comply could result in financial penalties, suspension of access to the Internet or the loss of a license to operate a hotel in China.

The government routinely blocks Internet access for the Chinese public, but in bidding for the Games seven years ago, China said the news media would have “complete freedom to report.” Senior International Olympic Committee members overseeing the Games said they’d received assurances from Chinese officials that Internet censorship would be lifted for journalists during the Games.

IRD Director of Religious Liberty Programs Faith J.H. McDonnell commented,

“Apparently not satisfied with the suppression of their own citizens, the Chinese government is now going out of its way to spy on and control the foreign press.

“Prior to being awarded the 2008 Olympic Games, China made numerous promises about free journalistic access, sensitivity to human rights, and an increasingly open country. Not only have these promises been broken, China has actually used the Games as an excuse to intensify its paranoid control.

“Under the guise of Olympic security, the Chinese government has cracked down on journalists, house churches and persecuted minorities. These are all peaceful groups that pose no serious threat to the safety of the Olympic Games.”

- Released through Christian Newswire

Gospel Music Channel Enhances Web Site

July 31, 2008

ATLANTA, July 31 (MetroCatholic) - Gospel Music Channel (GMC), television’s fastest-growing network and the first and only 24/7 all Gospel/Christian music channel, today announced major new enhancements to GospelMusicChannel.com, the leading fan site for Gospel/Christian music lovers.

The web site’s new features include a high-definition video player for exclusive HD viewing of streamed videos from Gospel/Christian artists and programming from GMC. Other enhancements include extensive video including GMC Insider news segments, behind-the-scenes footage and special on-location reports; a free, weekly opt-in e-mail newsletter with news, programming updates and free MP3 downloads; reviews of the top gospel and Christian albums before they hit the streets; extensive bonus material from GMC programming, including videos, blogs, photos and other content not seen on television.

As an incentive for fans to sample the free newsletter, GMC is giving away one free iPod Touch every month in a random drawing of subscribers to the publication. Visit http://www.gospelmusicchannel.com

GospelMusicChannel.com has also assembled an editorial staff that ranks as the most experienced and plugged-in team of journalists covering the Gospel/Christian music scene. The editorial team’s members – Deborah Evans-Price (country reporter), Andy Argyrakis (rock reporter), Christa Banister (pop/contemporary reporter) and Lisa Collins (soul/gospel reporter) — have played key roles in launching music and entertainment web sites; worked with companies including CCM Magazine, Gaylord Entertainment, Warner Brothers, EMI, Universal and all the major Christian music labels; and covered gospel/Christian music for publications such as Billboard, Country Weekly, CMA Close Up, Christian Single, BMI Music World, Radio & Records, the Chicago Tribune and others.

Charles Humbard, founder and president, GMC commented, “We have added layers of even more exciting, state-of-the-art and informative content and assembled an editorial team of the top reporters, writers and experts in Gospel/Christian music who will cover the industry like a blanket. These deep developments will further reinforce GospelMusicChannel.com’s stature as the must-stop, first-stop for passionate gospel and Christian music fans.”

In March of this year, GMC re-launched GospelMusicChannel.com with an array of interactive features including e-commerce elements, artist blogs and improved inter-linking from artist names and web sites to GMC’s on-air program guide. The site also supports GMC’s original programming with bonus video, contests and other compelling content.

- Released through Christian Newswire

Youth to have rally with Pope Benedict in France

July 31, 2008

.- The Bishops’ Conference of France announced that during Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to the country September 12-15, a “Youth Festival” will be held with the Pontiff to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes.

The Youth Festival will include three vigils in Lourdes with the Holy Father. On Friday, September 12, a vigil/concert organized by the Emmanuel movement will take place at 9 p.m.

The next day at 11 p.m., an adoration prayer vigil for young people will take place, with a special talk by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France.

On Sunday, September 14, at 9 p.m., another concert vigil will be organized by the Community of St. John.

The bishops’ conference estimates that some 250,000 people, many of them young people, will attend the closing Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI together with hundreds of bishops and priests.

Spain aborts 9 out 10 babies with Down’s syndrome

July 31, 2008

.- The National Association for the Defense of the Right to Conscientious Objection is deploring new data this week that indicates that 9 out every 10 babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are aborted by their parents in Spain.

General coordinator of the Association, Jose Antonio Diez, said that in 94.5% of the cases that a prenatal diagnosis indicates the presence of Down’s syndrome, the baby is aborted.

He said such diagnoses are often used to “eliminate children with more or less serious defects.  The doctor is not free to offer alternatives,” and for this reason many parents are now conscientiously objecting to prenatal diagnosis that is not intended for medical treatment, Diez said.

Spanish law does not permit abortion in cases in which the fetus is presumed to have “serious physical or mental defects,” such as Trisomy 21, spina bifida or anencephaly.

According to the “Women’s Help Line Foundation” (Linea de Atencion a la Mujer), allowing the abortion of handicapped persons is discrimination “incompatible with the Convention on the rights of handicapped persons approved by the UN in New York on December 13, 2006.  Spain signed that Convention on December 3, 2007, and it took effect on May 3.”

Article 10 of the Convention affirms that “the signatory States reaffirm the inherent right to life of all human beings and shall adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the effective enjoyment of that right by handicapped persons equal to all others.”

 

 

 

Presence of Pope awakens Catholic fervor in northern Italian region

July 31, 2008

.- The Italian region of Alto Adige, where Pope Benedict XVI is spending his vacations and where a small but active German-speaking Catholic community resides, is experiencing a renewal of faith with the presence of the Holy Father in the region.

Bishop Wilhelm Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone told reporters that the enthusiasm of local residents, both German and Italian-speaking, was expressed in the large welcome the Holy Father received on Monday upon arriving in Bressanone.

In addition, he said, thousands of people in the region are requesting permission to attend the Angelus with the Holy Father on August 3 and 10—one of the few public acts the Pope will host during his vacation.

Officials said giant TV screens will be set up near the Cathedral of Bressanone to accommodate the large crowds.

The Pope’s coat-of-arms has been placed over the main entrance to the Cathedral in homage “to the numerous times Professor and Cardinal Ratzinger has prayed in this very Cathedral, celebrated Mass and proclaimed the Word of God.”

The Bressanone City Council has granted the Pontiff honorary citizenship and a small private ceremony of bestowal will be held on August 9 at the Seminary of Bressanone.

Pro-abortion Catholic as Obama VP pick would be a mistake, group says

July 31, 2008

.- As reports circulate that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama is considering Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a Catholic who supports abortion, for his vice-presidential pick, the national Catholic advocacy group Fidelis is arguing that the choice of a pro-abortion Catholic as Obama’s running mate would put off Catholic voters who are still considering his candidacy.

“The choice of a pro-abortion Catholic for vice president would deal a major blow to any efforts by the Obama campaign to reach out to Catholic voters,” said President of Fidelis Brian Burch, speaking in a press release. “Both the bishops and the laity continue to wrestle with the scandal of prominent Catholic politicians who support abortion, and the choice of a pro-abortion Catholic running mate would amount to scratching at a deep and festering wound in the American Catholic Church.”

Other pro-abortion Catholics have been named as choices for the Democratic ticket, including Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Earlier this year Governor Sebelius was rebuked by Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph Naumann for her support for legalized abortion and her connections with notorious late-term Kansas abortionist George Tiller. The archbishop asked Sebelius not to receive Holy Communion until she renounced her stand.

“Given his position on abortion, everyone expects Senator Obama to select a pro-abortion vice presidential candidate. But the choice of a Catholic who publicly rejects the teachings of their faith on this ‘foundational’ issue could be disastrous,” said Burch. “Just ask John Kerry or Rudy Giuliani.”

Sen. Obama has a history of surrounding himself with dissenting Catholics. The Catholic League argues that “not one of the 26 former and current public policy holders who constitute the group stand with the Catholic Church on all three major issues: abortion, embryonic stem cell research and school vouchers.”

Philippines legislators backing away from population bill

July 31, 2008

.- Following opposition from Catholic laity and prelates, several representatives to the Philippines Congress have withdrawn their support for a pending population policy bill that recommends implementing a “two child” policy and funding sterilizations and the distribution of contraceptives.

Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona on Wednesday phoned Jose Corazon Talaoc, the Bishop of Romblon, to say he is backing out of the proposal, CBCP News reports.

Bishop Talaoc reacted by saying, “I am celebrating my fifth episcopal anniversary now so I think this is the best gift for me ever.”

“Rest assured that I will be backing out of the bill and I will always support the stand of the Church,” the bishop reported Madrona as saying. He also reported that he legislator will release a letter formally withdrawing his support.

Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza of the fourth district of Batangas has also stopped supporting the measure.

Ramon Arguelles, the Archbishop of Lipa whose archdiocese includes Mendoza’s district, said Mendoza apologized for his position in a June 28 letter in which he made known his “change of heart.”

Father Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, praised the lawmakers’ change of opinion.

“We praise and thank God. Our prayers and hope that many will follow suit,” he said. “We beg our lawmakers, whom we love and respect, to drop the entire bill altogether.”

The priest also repeated the criticism that the bill, titled “The Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008,” is a doorway to legal abortion in the country.

“Reproductive Health is not a natural word, it is an alternative word that includes abortion,” he argued.

Pope Benedict XVI’s August Prayer Intentions

July 31, 2008

VATICAN CITY, 31 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for August is: “That the human family may know how to respect God’s design for the world and thus become ever more aware of the great gift of God which Creation represents for us”.

  His mission intention is: “That the answer of the entire people of God to the common vocation to sanctity and mission may be promoted and fostered, with careful discernment of the charisms and a constant commitment to spiritual and cultural formation”.

5th Annual Monte Carlo Night in Frisco

July 31, 2008

Frisco, TX (DFWCatholic.org) – This Saturday night, St. Francis of Assisi in Frisco will host its “5th Annual Monte Carlo Night” from 7pm until midnight.  St. Francis is located at 8000 Eldorado Pkwy. 

The event features gaming, food, live entertainment, live and silent auctions, and an “Instant Wine Cellar Raffle”. 

According to MCN’s Planning President Marla Johnston, last year’s event hosted more than 650 people and “handed out over $15,000 in grand prize, gaming, and raffle awards”. 

Professionally performed games at MCN include Black Jack, Texas Holdem, Craps, Roulette, Pai Gow, and Bingo.  Monte Carlo Night’s games are professionally hosted by VIP. 

Tickets for the event are $40 in advance and $50 at the door.  Each ticket includes personal entry, raffle ticket for grand prize drawings, food and beverages for the evening, and $1,000 in gaming chips. 

For more information about the event or to find out how/where tickets may be purchased, visit the MCN website at www.mcn-frisco.org. 

Abortion Linked Condition Contributes to Growing Number of Infant Deaths

July 31, 2008

OTTAWA, July 30, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - According to new statistics released today from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), premature babies - babies born too soon and too small - accounted for a growing proportion of infant deaths. When linked with previous studies that have shown that abortion increases a woman’s chance of having a baby prematurely, the conclusion is that women who have had abortions are more likely to bear children who die as infants or suffer from severe health issues.

According to “Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2005 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set,” Vol. 57, No. 2, of the National Vital Statistics Report, low birth weight and preterm birth are leading causes of infant mortality and the rates of both have increased steadily since the mid-1980s.

Babies who died of preterm-related causes accounted for 36.5 percent of infant deaths in 2005, up from 34.6 percent in 2000.

More than a half million babies are born premature (less than 37 weeks gestation) each year and those who survive face the risk of life long health consequences, such as breathing and feeding problems, cerebral palsy, and learning problems.

Mortality rates for infants born even a few weeks early, or “late preterm” (between 34 weeks of gestation) were three times those for full-term infants.

The findings of the NCHS help identify abortion as a leading cause of infant mortality, with former studies having revealed that women who have had abortions in the past are much more likely to give birth prematurely. 

An article appearing in a 2007 Journal of Reproductive Medicine concluded that nearly 32 percent of “very preterm” U.S. births, that is, before 32 weeks gestation, are due to the mother having had a prior abortion.

Furthermore, after analyzing data on 1,943 very preterm births, 276 moderately preterm babies and 618 full-term controls, Dr. Caroline Moreau of Hopital de Bicetre and colleagues concluded in 2005 that women with a history of abortion were 1.5 times more likely to give birth very prematurely (under 33 weeks gestation), and 1.7 times more likely to have a baby born extremely (under 28 weeks gestation) preterm. Their findings were reported in the April issue of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

By Tim Waggoner

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