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Daily Scriptures – September 30, 2006 September 30, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Daily Scriptures, Main.
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Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church

Psalm: Saturday 40

Reading I
Ecclesiastes 11:9—12:8

Rejoice, O young man, while you are young
and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart,
the vision of your eyes;
Yet understand that as regards all this
God will bring you to judgment.
Ward off grief from your heart
and put away trouble from your presence,
though the dawn of youth is fleeting.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the evil days come
And the years approach of which you will say,
I have no pleasure in them;
Before the sun is darkened,
and the light, and the moon, and the stars,
while the clouds return after the rain;
When the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men are bent,
And the grinders are idle because they are few,
and they who look through the windows grow blind;
When the doors to the street are shut,
and the sound of the mill is low;
When one waits for the chirp of a bird,
but all the daughters of song are suppressed;
And one fears heights,
and perils in the street;
When the almond tree blooms,
and the locust grows sluggish
and the caper berry is without effect,
Because man goes to his lasting home,
and mourners go about the streets;
Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken,
And the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the broken pulley falls into the well,
And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
all things are vanity!

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the Lord our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Gospel
Luke 9:43b-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

Pope Benedict XVI Continues to Move World Religion Debate Forward September 30, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Catholic, Main, World News.
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After the furor over his quoted remarks from a Byzantine Emperor concerning the contributions of Islam, the Pope has not stopped pushing the debate forward. The Pope afterwards expressed his respect for Muslims, pledged to continue dialogue and joint Christian-Muslim efforts to reduce violence. He did not apologize for his remarks, but regretted the violence it had spawned.

Now, two days ago, the Pope has set even further criteria for true dialogue on the importance of religion, faith, reason, and freedom for the world’s population. The Pope stressed the importance of tolerance but not indifference towards other religions.

“The church does not impose itself,” the pope said. “It does not force anyone to accept the Gospel message because faith in Jesus Christ, whom the church proclaims, can only happen in freedom. For this reason, encounters with others must be marked by tolerance and cultural openness.”

Are these veiled remarks aimed radical violent Islam?

You decide.

US Senate Passes Port Security Bill September 30, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Main, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Congress approved a major ports security bill early Saturday, providing new steps to prevent terrorists from slipping a nuclear, chemical or biological device into one of the 11 million shipping containers entering the nation every year.

Passage of the bill was the last act of the House as lawmakers left for a five-week election campaign during which candidates will be trying to prove to voters their commitment to keeping America safe in the war on terrorism. The Senate passed it by a voice vote, sending it to the president for his signature.

Containers, now largely uninspected, “have the potential to be the Trojan Horse of the 21st century,” said Republican Senator Susan Collins, chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She said the legislation would be a “major leap ahead” in strengthening national security.

Democrats favored the bill, but said it failed to address rail and mass transit, other areas considered highly vulnerable to terrorist attack.

“The terrorist attacks on rail and transit systems in Spain, London and Mumbai should be enough evidence to convince the Republican-led Congress that U.S. rails are dangerously vulnerable,” said Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman.

The bill approves $400 million a year over five years for risk-based grants for training and exercises at ports. It requires the U.S.’s 22 largest ports, which handle 98% of all cargo entering the country, to install radiation detectors by the end of next year.

Pilot programs would be established at three foreign ports to test technology for nonintrusive cargo inspections. Currently only one foreign port, Hong Kong, scans all U.S.-bound cargo for nuclear materials.

Background checks and credentials will be required for workers at the nation’s 361 ports, and the Homeland Security Department would set up protocols for resuming operations after an attack or incident. It is feared that a terrorist attack, such as a nuclear device set off by remote control, could cripple the entire economy as well as cause massive casualties.

Preferential cargo processing is offered importers who meet certain security requirements.

Congress made port security a priority after a fight in February over a buyout that put a Dubai company in control of some operations at six American ports. The outcry led the Dubai company, DP World, to promise it would sell the U.S. operations to an American company. The sale is pending.

At Least 12 Dead In Afghanistan Bombing September 30, 2006

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KABUL (AP)–A suicide bomber blew himself up in a busy pedestrian alley next to Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry on Saturday, killing at least 12 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The blast was the second major suicide attack in Kabul this month, underscoring the rising danger in the once-calm capital as militants step up attacks across the country.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said 12 people were killed, including two women and a child, and that 42 were wounded.

Dr. Salam Jalali, a Public Health Ministry official, said 54 had been wounded. He said the victims had been taken to six different hospitals in Kabul, complicating officials’ efforts to keep track of the casualties.

The explosion occurred just before 8 a.m. on an Afghan work day, near a narrow dirt road where employees and civilians pass through a security gate. Shops, street photographers, and men who fill out Interior Ministry paperwork for illiterate Afghans make the area a busy cross-section of commerce and government.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the blast and said that “suicide attackers come from outside Afghanistan and target the most devoted and the poorest Muslim people of the world.”

“I condemn it in the strongest terms and call on the international community to work with Afghanistan in stopping sanctuaries that raise, train and brainwash young people to become suicide attackers,” Karzai said in a statement.

The top U.N. official in the country also condemned the “callous attack against innocent Afghans who were simply going to work.”

“It is wrong for any conflict to be played out in a civilian arena with such wanton disregard for so many innocent lives,” said Tom Koenigs, the head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Bashary said the suicide attacker had been acting suspiciously, then tried to get close to a gathering of people just beyond a police checkpoint.

A witness said he saw the bomber run from police, who had tried to search him.

Militants have been stepping up attacks including roadside and suicide bombings across Afghanistan during the last several months.

Earlier this month a suicide car bomber rammed a U.S. military convoy in Kabul, killing 16 people, including two American soldiers, and a suicide bomber killed 18 people in an attack outside the Helmand provincial governor’s compound in the town of Lashkar Gah on Tuesday.

Maj. Luke Knittig, a spokesman for NATO’s international security force that controls much of Afghanistan, said Saturday’s attack shows that the insurgents “recognize the significance of this nation’s capital.”

“They recognize we have them under pressure in their strongholds in the south and the east, so this does fit into, sadly, what we expected somewhat to see, them resorting to this kind of tactic, hitting softer targets and getting the additional significance attached to hitting the nation’s capital,” he said.

Knittig said there is a recognition of a rising threat in the capital, and that citizens need to be more vigilant.

“But look at all the commerce and activities (in Kabul),” Knittig said. “There’s a little bit of why the insurgents try to carry out attacks in the capital.”

In other violence, four police were wounded Saturday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the southern province of Kandahar, said police official Raz Mohammed. The four were traveling on the main highway connecting Kandahar with the western province of Herat.

Iran President Declares Iran Won’t Bow To US Pressure On Nuclear Program September 30, 2006

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TEHRAN (AP)–President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Saturday that Iran would not bow to U.S. pressure to roll back its nuclear program, state television reported.

“The U.S. has already sanctioned Iran in different fields for the past 27 years. But Iran stood firm,” the channel quoted him as saying at the University of Tehran at a ceremony to mark the start of the academic year.

Iran’s hardline president urged the West to give up “forever” attempts to make Tehran abandon its nuclear program. He accused the United Sates and its European allies were trying to halt progress in Iran by calling for the suspension of enrichment.

Iran violated a United Nations demand that it halt uranium enrichment Aug. 31, opening the way for international sanctions.

On Saturday the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would impose mandatory sanctions on entities that provide goods or services for Iran’s weapons programs, two days after the House approved the measure. The Senate sent the bill to President George W. Bush.

The U.S. and others fear Iran’s goal for developing enrichment technology is to produce material for atomic bombs, while oil-rich Iran says it needs enrichment to provide fuel for nuclear reactors that will generate electricity for this developing nation.

Iranian and European envoys ended two days of talks in Berlin on Thursday with no agreement on the enrichment issue but insisted they had “come to some positive conclusions” on ways to open broader talks on Iran’s nuclear program.