Reuters blog archive
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was sent to Russia by God to help his country during one of its most turbulent times, the Kremlin's chief political strategist said on Friday in rare public remarks. "I honestly believe that Putin is a person who was sent to Russia by fate and by the Lord at a difficult time for Russia," Vladislav Surkov, a staunch Putin supporter and one of Russia's most powerful men, was quoted by Interfax news agency as telling state-run Chechen TV.
"(Putin was) preordained by fate to preserve our peoples," said Surkov, who is also the Kremlin's first deputy chief of staff.
Putin, 58, was president between 2000-2008 before becoming prime minister and is widely viewed as Russia's key decision-maker. The former KGB spy, picked by an ailing President Boris Yeltsin as his prime minister and heir apparent, restored national pride by sending troops back into Chechnya to quell a burgeoning insurgency and presided over a long economic boom following the chaos of the Soviet Union's collapse.
The Israeli military is embroiled in a public battle over whether God ought to be mentioned at memorial rites for fallen soldiers. The ferocity of the debate, going to the heart of Israel's secular and religious Jewish divide, prompted the intervention on Monday of a parliamentary panel that urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fractious cabinet to decide the issue.
Pennsylvania's debt-ridden capital of Harrisburg has tried every form of fiscal belt-tightening, from layoffs to furloughs to filing for bankruptcy. Now, it is turning to God.
Mayor Linda Thompson said on Friday she will join religious leaders in three days of fasting and prayer to encourage "a cooperative spirit among government leaders, the business community and citizens."
from Unstructured Finance:
By Matthew Goldstein
By most objective measures, hedge fund magnate John Paulson isn't having a particularly good year.
His Paulson Advantage Plus fund lost nearly 6 percent in May. His Paulson & Co. fund empire is believed to have absorbed a $300 million paper loss when shares of Sino-Forest got hammered in the wake of a critical report from a noted short-seller, who claims the company has overstated the value of its lumber holdings. And the bullish bet he's made on a rebound in the housing market appears to be several years too early.
In a bank with no security gates, guards or locks, deposits from thousands of customers from across India are stacked on shelves, protected from theft by the grace of God. In a cramped room in a small house in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Ram Ram Bank offers no interest or loans, but has around 5,000 customers who flock to deposit documents bearing God's name.
Pope Benedict urged French youths on Friday to help put God back into public debate, either as Christians sharing their faith or as non-believers seeking more justice and solidarity in a cold utilitarian world. In a video address from the Vatican to an evening rally outside Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris, the pope also urged them to "tear down the barriers of fear of the other, the foreigner, of those who are not like you" that mutual ignorance can create.
(Photo: Shavon Gardner, 17, sings with the Redeemed Christian Church of God youth choir at Redemption Camp in Floyd, Texas June 17, 2009/Jessica Rinaldi)
The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Elizabeth E. Evans is a freelance writer, columnist and priest-in-charge at St. Marks Episcopal Church, Honey Brook, Pennsylvania.
By Elizabeth E. Evans
A large-scale study charting the religious habits of American teenagers has quietly been underway for almost a decade but has received relatively little media attention until now. As the data from the longitudinal analysis performed by the National Study of Youth & Religion is released, (NSYR) it could and should stimulate unsettling questions for Christian parents and churches alike.
from Fan Fare:
It's hard to think of a primetime U.S. network TV show (not to mention a comedy) that has managed to combine philosophical arguments about God, teen sexual angst, parents, mental disability with music by Barbra Streisand, The Beatles and Billy Joel into an hour of entertainment -- and still get in a few laughs along with the tears.
But "Glee" managed to pull it off in its "Grilled Cheesus" episode, and without apparently offending any of the above mentioned groups. And the show did it just a week after the fun-filled exuberance of its Britney Spears themed tribute.
from Oddly Enough Blog:
Okay, enough is enough.
I appreciate science as much as the next person. I understand there are at least 5,000 feet in a mile. I totally get it that Fahrenheit and Celsius are different scales, and that for instance minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit is, um, let's see, minus 40 degrees Celsius.
But here is a new scientific study saying Moses may not have parted the Red Sea. Scientists say a strong wind that blew through the night could have pushed the waters back in the way described in biblical writings and the Koran.
(Photo: Nuns waiting for Pope Benedict at a Catholic school in London, 17 Sept 2010/Kevin Coombs)
Visiting a Catholic school in London on Friday, Pope Benedict said teachers should give their pupils not only marketable skills but also wisdom, which he said was inseparable from knowledge of God. Catholic schools and Catholic religious teachers play an important part in transmitting this wisdom, he said. He also stressed the need to protect pupils from sexual predators.
Following are excerpts from his address to the teachers:
"I am pleased to have this opportunity to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution made by religious men and women in this land to the noble task of education... As you know, the task of a teacher is not simply to impart information or to provide training in skills intended to deliver some economic benefit to society; education is not and must never be considered as purely utilitarian. It is about forming the human person, equipping him or her to live life to the full – in short it is about imparting wisdom. And true wisdom is inseparable from knowledge of the Creator, for "both we and our words are in his hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts".