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Dozens arrested at SOA rally, organizers call police action inappropriate

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Twenty-six activists were arrested here Saturday afternoon during a rally at the gates of the Fort Benning military complex during the annual School of Americas Watch vigil.

The arrests came as the rally was concluding for the afternoon. Hundreds of activists had gathered at the edge of the boundary of the designated area for demonstrations, facing towards a nearby shopping center while chanting slogans.

Pope signals nuance on condoms

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

tPope Benedict XVI has signaled that in some limited cases, where the intent is to prevent the transmission of disease rather than to prevent pregnancy, the use of condoms might be morally justified.

tWhile that position is hardly new, in the sense that a large number of Catholic theologians and even a special Vatican commission requested by Benedict XVI have endorsed it, this is the first time the pope himself has publicly espoused such a view.

tThe comments do not yet rise to the level of official church teaching, but they do suggest that Benedict might be open to such a development.

The comments from Benedict come in a book-length interview with German journalist Peter Seewald titled Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times, published in English by Ignatius Press.

Excerpts from the Seewald interview were published today by L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper.

Leaving designated protest area at SOA, activists to risk arrest today

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -- In a change from previous years, organizers told attendees at tbe annual School of Americas Watch vigil here this morning that some activists will be risking arrest today.

This afternoon activists will gather for a rally at the gates of Fort Benning, the army base that houses the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. According to SOA Watch organizers, sometime later this afternoon activists will leave the designated protest area to walk towards town.

It is unclear what the action will provoke from security forces and police at the event, but organizers are telling those who wish to participate that they should know they are risking arrest.

Keep following NCR for live coverage of the event. Stay tuned to NCRToday for updates.

Pax Christi awards teacher of peace, video from event

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -- In a room crowded with supporters from across the country, Pax Christi USA awarded its annual Teacher of Peace Award last night at a gathering here during the School of Americas Watch vigil.

Jim Albertini, the recipient of the award, heads the Malu Aina Center, a Hawaiian school and farm which focuses on nonviolence education.

Speaking to those gathered for the event, Albertini, who is also known for creative acts of civil disobedience, offered humorous advice to those considering civil resistance.

Recalling an incident when counter-protest against an action he participated in turned violent, Albertini told the crowd "never to picket with something you would mind getting hit over the head with."

The ceremony took place on the second floor of the conference center where the SOA Watch sessions are occurring. On the floor below the U.S. Army was hosting a gala, named the St. Barbara's Day Ball. St. Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen.

The pope and Palin: Two views on health care

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I just came across a report on Sarah Palin’s new book about the same time I caught up with a CNS report on Pope Benedict’s talk on health care that was read at the 25th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. The conference was held at the Vatican.

One of the brief passages cited from the Palin book was her take on health care and its reform.

The contrasts in the language underlying the two views, create, in my view, a stunning and graphic lesson in the difference between public policy that is based on a kind of religion of individualism and policy that takes into consideration the larger, common good.

(For a deeper consideration of the pope's speech and how it may intersect with health care politics in the United States, I highly recommend looking in on the piece by David Gibson on the Politics Daily Web site.)

SOA vigil opens, organizer calls for 'change in foreign policy'

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Arriving in caravans from across the country, thousands of students and activists are expected to converge here over the next few hours as the annual School of the Americas Watch vigil begins and continues through the weekend.

The vigil, now in it's twentieth year, commemorates the deaths of the Salvadoran Jesuit martyrs and thousands of other Latin Americans with a weekend that is part conference, part prayer meeting, part protest, and part activist reunion.

On Friday and Saturday students and activists will hear from speakers, attend breakout sessions, and party to folk music. On Sunday the weekend culminates with a procession and prayer vigil outside of the gates of the Fort Benning army complex, located here.

NCR will be following the conference throughout the weekend with short story updates, photo slideshows, and video clips from the events. Stay tuned to NCRToday for coverage.

Dead Zone

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People keep hanging up on me these days. OK, it only happened twice. I am used to my calls getting dropped. But for someone to hang up on me? The nerve!

A couple of weeks ago I got a text message that told me I had won a gift card from Wal-Mart and told me to call an 800 number to claim it. My scam alert turned on, but an 800 number seemed fairly innocuous. The woman who answered had an Indian accent and my alert went up a notch.

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July 17-30, 2015

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