In the News, September 11th

Twelve years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, New Yorkers and Americans throughout the nation are joined in remembrance of the lives lost that day. President Obama and Vice President Biden, as well as Mayor Bloomberg and countless others, observed several moments of silence this morning marking the moments of impact of the four hijacked flights and the moments that the World Trade Center towers fell.

Pope Francis, while speaking at an Italian refugee center on Sept. 10, commented on the place of the church in working with refugees. “Solidarity” the pope said, “this word that strikes fear in the more developed world, they try not to say it. It's almost a dirty word for them. But it is our word!" Pope Francis also discussed social justice issues and the responsibility of Catholics to aid the poor.

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The soon-to-be Vatican Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, currently serving as the papal nuncio to Venezuela, has stated that there is a new drive in the Secretariat to engage in peace talks. In an interview with the Venezuelan paper Diario Catolico, the Archbishop stated “The pope's initiatives have given the secretary of state an impetus and have also created a new diplomatic momentum” and that  “They (the institutions of the church) are precious instruments that can be used to help the world.”

Yesterday, the Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Moallem, admitted that the Assad government is in possession of chemical weapons. This is the first admission by any member of the Syrian government regarding the existence of chemical weaponry in the possession of the Assad regime. Mr. Moallem also noted that the government would be open to international inspections and is aiming to become a signatory of the international conventionbanning the production and use of such weapons.

There has been a recent crackdown by the Chinese government on “microblogs.” The Chinese government has organized cyber and police offensives to crackdown on what they have termed “malicious, rumor-mongering lies.” Some are calling this crackdown the harshest series of Internet restrictions in years by the Chinese government.

A Dutch foundation was paid $24 million dollars in insurance claims after several of its pieces were stolen from a Rotterdam museum. Amongst the items stolen were works by Picasso, Monet, and Matisse, amongst others. The thief is currently undergoing trial.

A 40-year old, landmark California environmental protection law, known officially as the California Environmental Quality Act, has come under scrutiny recently by the democrats in the California legislature. Claims have been made that the law is being abused to stall legitimate development. It is expected to be a highly contended issue for the legislature in Sacramento.

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