Saturday, May 3, 2014

Papal Commission Wants Abusive Priests Held to Account

Papal Commission Wants Abusive Priests Held to Account

Papal Commission Wants Abusive Priests Held to Account

Posted: 03 May 2014 10:03 AM PDT

A commission set up to advise Pope Francis on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church will recommend that negligent and accused church officials be held accountable no matter their rank, a cardinal said Saturday.

“Our concern is to make sure that there are clear and effective protocols to deal with superiors in the church who have not fulfilled their obligations to protect children,” Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said. Accountability should apply to “every one in the church regardless of what their status is … both for those who perpetrate the crime of sexual abuse and those who are negligent in child protection.”

The eight-person commission, made up of four men and four women, met for the first time since the commission’s March formation, Reuters reported. The commission said in a statement that it sees “ensuring accountability in the Church as especially important.”

The commission will draw up protocols for the pope to consider in order to address the frequent cases of child abuse over the years within the church. In many cases, bishops have protected accused priests by moving them between parishes rather than handing them over to the police or defrocking them.

Pope Francis asked for forgiveness last month for the “evil” committed by priests who have molested children.




Ben Affleck Reportedly Banned from Blackjack Table at Las Vegas Casino

Posted: 03 May 2014 09:42 AM PDT

Looks like Ben Affleck has folded after reportedly being turned away from the blackjack table at a Las Vegas casino.

CNN, citing an anonymous source close to Affleck, reported the the actor was “banned from playing blackjack at the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas.”

“You are too good at the game,” casino security said, according to the source, who said Affleck could still play other games at the Casino.

Hard Rock did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The source didn’t say whether Affleck was accused of counting cards, which is not a crime but is frowned upon by casinos. Various media outlets reported that he was called out for altering his betting strategy in a suspicious way.

Affleck is playing Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie.

Transit Officials: NYC Subway Rail That Caused Derailment Was New

Posted: 03 May 2014 09:26 AM PDT

(NEW YORK) — Transit officials say a section of rail that snapped and caused a New York City subway train to derail had been installed just weeks ago.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority said Saturday that the rail that broke underneath an F train in Queens on Friday was manufactured in the U.S. in November. It was installed in March.

The MTA says other rails from that shipment will be inspected.

About 1,000 commuters were on board the train when it rode off the rails at 10:15 a.m.

Nineteen people were injured, four seriously. Several hundred were trapped on the train below ground for hours.

MTA workers are repairing a damaged 500-foot stretch of rail and aim to have local service restored by Saturday afternoon.

Condoleezza Rice Backs Out of Rutgers Speech Over Iraq War Protest

Posted: 03 May 2014 08:51 AM PDT

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has chosen not to give a commencement speech at Rutgers University after students and faculty protested, speaking out against her role in the Iraq War.

Rutgers students and faculty had protested plans to have the George W. Bush administration cabinet member deliver the commencement speech, staging sit-ins and saying Rice was partially responsible for the war in Iraq, the Associated Press reports. The school’s board of governors and faculty had voted to pay Rice $35,000 for speaking at the event.

Rice defended her record in a statement, but said she did not want to detract from the May 18 ceremony.

“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”


Obama Calls for Death Penalty Inquiry After Oklahoma Execution

Posted: 03 May 2014 08:11 AM PDT

President Barack Obama called for a Justice Department inquiry into the application of the death penalty nationwide after the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate Tuesday.

In his first public comments on the execution of Clayton Lockett, Obama called the grisly incident in which the convicted murderer convulsed violently and died of a heart attack 43 minutes after being given a lethal injection “deeply troubling.”

Obama said the death penalty is appropriate in some cases, including mass murder and child murder, but he said the use of executions often reflects racial bias, and pointed to the exonerations of death row inmates, the Associated Press reports.

“[T]his situation in Oklahoma I think just highlights some of the significant problems there,” he said.

(TIME: Every Execution in U.S. History in a Single Chart)

Obama said he is asking Attorney General Eric Holder to analyze the death penalty’s application, and the Justice Department is reportedly examining how executions are carried out rather than issues of race and wrongful convictions.

The Justice Department announced it is placing a moratorium on federal executions while the investigation is underway.

Lockett was already a four-time felon when he was convicted of murder, rape, kidnapping and burglary in 2000. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has called for an investigation and a stay on the execution of Charles Warner, scheduled to be killed by the same drug cocktail that caused Lockett the apparent protracted suffering.

Some lawmakers flocked to defend the death penalty.

“I realize this may sound harsh,” said Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Christian, a Republican lawmaker who pushed to have state Supreme Court justices impeached for briefly halting Tuesday’s execution. “But as a father and former lawman, I really don’t care if it’s by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions.”

The White House implied on Wednesday that Lockett's protracted death may have violated the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment established in the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.



Study: The Latest Victims of Climate Change Are Snail Shells

Posted: 03 May 2014 08:00 AM PDT

Climate change has claimed its latest victim: Limacina helicina, a planktonic, predatory sea snail that's a member of the taxonomic group more commonly known as sea butterflies. (The name is derived from the wing-like lobes the tiny creatures use to get around.) In a study recently published in journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a group of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Oregon State University have found that the Pacific Ocean's decreasing pH—its acidifying, in other words—is dissolving L. helicina's thin shells.

The researchers collected sea butterfly samples from 13 sites along the Pacific coast (between Washington and southern California), going over each with a scanning electron microscope. More than half of the shells (53%) from onshore individuals showed signs of "severe dissolution damage," while 24% of offshore individuals suffered dissolution damage. The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Nina Bednaršek of NOAA, described the affected L. helicina shells as having a texture not unlike "cauliflower" or "sandpaper."

According to the paper, there was a "strong positive correlation" between the proportion of sea butterflies with severe shell dissolution damage and "the percentage of undersaturated water" near the ocean's surface. The researchers conclude "shell dissolution owing to [human-caused ocean acidification] has doubled in near shore habitats since pre-industrial conditions across this region and is on track to triple by 2050," a truly grim prognostication. Moreover, the broader implications for ecosystem are unclear, as damaged shells make it harder for L. helicina to fight infections, stay buoyant, and protect themselves from predators.



V. Stiviano Says Donald Sterling is Not a Racist

Posted: 03 May 2014 07:43 AM PDT

V. Stiviano says that the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is not racist, but said she had “very many” conversations like the recorded one that led to his expulsion from the NBA.

“There’s been a number of occasions where Mr. Sterling and I had conversations just like this one. This was one of very many,” Stiviano told Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20 in an interview that aired Friday night. “Part of what the world heard was only 15 minutes. There’s a number of other hours that the world doesn’t know.”

Stiviano is the woman heard on the audio recording of Donald Sterling making inflammatory racial remarks, including telling Stiviano she should not post online photos of herself with black people, or bring black people to Clippers games.

She is also said to be the girlfriend of Sterling and is currently being sued by the ex-LA Clippers owner for allegedly accepting millions in gifts from him, though Stiviano denied they are romantically involved.

“I’m Mr. Sterling’s everything. I’m his confidante, his best friend, his silly rabbit,” she said. “I joke around and I make him laugh. I do things that some people find very silly and I do things that sometimes people can’t understand our relationship.”

Stiviano said that she does not believe Sterling is racist, and that he “comes from a different generation than I am.”

“I think he was brought up to believe these things … segregation, whites and blacks. But through his actions he’s shown that he’s not a racist. He’s shown to be a very generous and kind man,” she said. When asked if Sterling should apologize for his remarks, Stiviano said “absolutely.”

Sterling paid a $2.76 million settlement in 2009 to resolve a federal lawsuit in which he was accused of systematically excluding blacks and Hispanics from his rental properties.

Over 2,100 Reportedly Dead in Afghanistan Landslide

Posted: 03 May 2014 07:20 AM PDT

The death toll of a catastrophic landslide in a remote part of Afghanistan reportedly rose to at least 2,100 on Saturday, after a rescue effort slowed by lack of equipment and bad conditions.

Rescuers called off a search in the mountainous Argo district of the northeastern state of Badakhshan after over 2,000 villagers were buried under hundreds of feet of mud, Reuters reports, and turned their attention to the estimated 4,000 displaced by the disaster.

“More than 2,100 people from 300 families are all dead,” Naweed Forotan, a spokesman for Badakhshan’s provincial governor, told Reuters.

Two consecutive landslides took place on Friday morning after the area had been pummeled by heavy rains all week, according to the United Nations. The organization said that in addition to the mounting loss of life, the landslide had caused widespread damage to property and agriculture in the district. Badakhshan, a mountainous province in the far northeast of the country, borders Tajikistan, China and Pakistan.

Local officials had warned that the search for survivors and bodies would be slow, given the lack of equipment on hand in the far-flung district. Rescuers themselves faced a third potential landslide as they set to manually trying dig through the some 330 feet of mud.

With scores assumed dead, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan was said to have shifted its attention to at least 4,000 people forced to leave their homes, either directly due to Friday’s landslide or as a precautionary measure against future landslides.

The operation will test the capacity of Afghan security forces, which were deployed to the area to assist on Friday, according to reports. President Hamid Karzai, who is set to step down in the next few months once a new government is formed, said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened,” and that he had “ordered relevant entities to provide immediate assistance to people affected by the natural disaster and to urgently rescue those who are trapped under the debris.”

President Barack Obama, offering his condolences to the victims and their families during a press conference on Friday, said the U.S. was ready to help if requested. "Even as our war there comes to an end this year, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people will endure," Obama said. “We stand ready to help our Afghan partners as they respond to this disaster.”

The disaster follows close on the heels of deadly flash floods in northern Afghanistan that left over 100 dead and displaced thousands more. "On behalf of the UN humanitarian agencies, I wish to extend our condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones as a result of these landslides," Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, said in a UN news release. "There have now been more Afghans killed through natural disasters in the past seven days than all of 2013."

Condoleezza Rice Backs Out of Rutgers Commencement

Posted: 03 May 2014 07:15 AM PDT

(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has backed out of delivering the commencement address at Rutgers University following protests by some faculty and students over her role in the Iraq War.

Rice said in a statement Saturday that she informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she was declining the invitation.

“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”

The school’s board of governors had voted to pay the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush and national security adviser $35,000 for her appearance at the May 18 ceremony.

But some students and faculty had protested, staging sit-ins and saying Rice bore some responsibility for the Iraq War as a member of the Bush administration. Barchi and other school leaders had resisted the calls to disinvite Rice, saying the university welcomes open discourse on controversial topics.

In her statement, Rice defended her record, saying that she was honored to serve her country and that she had “defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas.” But she said she didn’t want to detract from the spirit of the commencement ceremony.


5 Delicious Pasta Alternatives with a Fraction of the Calories

Posted: 03 May 2014 07:00 AM PDT

It's that transition time of year when many of my clients ask for advice on switching up their staple meals. Warmer weather means we're no longer bundling up, and bathing suit season is approaching, so ditching hearty starches like pasta just makes sense. But salads aren't your only option. There are tons of veggies to choose from, and five in particular make perfect pasta stand-ins.

Here's how to use vegetables to create easy main-dish meals that will leave you feeling lightened up and fully satisfied. 11 Fresh Fruit and Veggie Recipes for Spring

Julienned zucchini

Savings per cup compared to whole wheat pasta: 155 calories, 33 grams of carbs

Kitchen gadgets that create spiral or noodle-shaped cuts of everything from carrots to cucumbers are all the rage right now. You can pick up a spiralizer or a mandolin slicer at a kitchen store for about $40, or imitate the effect by using a julienne peeler (if you don't already have one in the drawer, they're about $10). In addition to providing 35% of your daily vitamin C needs per cup, raw zucchini makes a great base for a chilled "pasta salad." Add additional veggies, like quartered grape tomatoes and minced red onion, along with a lean protein (like beans, lentils, chicken, or salmon), then toss with balsamic vinaigrette and refrigerate. A perfect make-ahead lunch option! Quick and Tasty Zucchini Recipes

Spaghetti squash

Savings per cup compared to whole wheat pasta: 132 calories, 27 grams of carbs

You won't need any fancy tools to create the angel hair-like strands found inside this cooked squash, a source of blood-pressure regulating, bloat-busting potassium. If you haven't tried spaghetti squash yet, I predict love at first bite, and I promise it's easy. Just slice lengthwise, remove the seeds, place cut side down on a foil-lined oven tray, and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Once squash is cooled enough to handle, rake the flesh with a fork to release the "spaghetti." Toss with marinara and top with lean protein, or use as the base for a casserole.

Shredded cabbage

Savings per cup compared to whole wheat pasta: 156 calories, 33 grams of carbs

As a member of the cruciferous veggie family (which also includes kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts), cabbage is a known cancer fighter and potent heart protector. Most people associate it with slaw, but steamed cabbage is also a terrific pasta substitute. Cover a cup with stewed tomato sauce seasoned with harissa, slather with pesto, or toss with a combo of mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions, sautéed in extra olive oil with garlic and basil. 23 Easy Cabbage Recipes

French beans

Savings per cup compared to whole wheat pasta: 144 calories, 30 grams of carbs

French beans—which are more petite than common green beans with a softer pod—are rich in fiber, B vitamins, and immune-supporting vitamins A and C. Steam a large handful and toss with sun-dried tomato or roasted red pepper pesto, and then use them as a bed for lentils or cooked shrimp (this combo is also great chilled), or slice them lengthwise to form skinnier strands and cover with a ladle of thick tomato sauce. Best and Worst Foods to Avoid Bloating

Ribboned eggplant

Savings per cup compared to whole wheat pasta: 139 calories, 28 grams of carbs

Natural substances in eggplant are known to fight aging, protect the brain, and trigger blood vessels to relax, which improves blood flow and boosts circulation. To take advantage of their benefits, grab a vegetable peeler and go to town, slicing the entire eggplant into thin "ribbons." Lightly mist or brush the ribbons with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet. Serve them hot or chilled as a pasta replacement; or top slices with goodies like hummus, roll up and enjoy!

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's Health's contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.

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