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Anti-Guantanamo protesters acquitted in DC court

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A District of Columbia judge today acquitted 24 peace activists who had been charged in January with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly while protesting the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

According to defendant Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan said the prosecution failed to show that the group’s activities threatened a breach of the peace.

The activists, all of whom represented themselves with the assistance of “attorney advisors,” engaged in two actions Jan. 21 in separate groups, one on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and a second inside the Capitol Rotunda. Those outside, dressed in orange jump suits and black hoods, carried signs and called out the names of those imprisoned in Guanatanamo. The group inside the Rotunda chanted and prayed while strewing rose petals, according to the defendants and a police report.

New President at CUA

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The Catholic University of America will be announcing its new president at a press conference tomorrow morning. A source tells NCR that the CUA Board selected John Garvey, currently Dean of the Law School at Boston College. Garvey will take over the leadership of the nation's only pontifical university from Bishop-elect David M. O'Connell who will be ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Trenton on July 30.

President Obama on Video: 'I especially want to thank Sr. Carol Keehan'

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In a video presented at the Catholic Health Association Meeting today in Denver, President Obama praised the group for their assistance in passage of the health care reform legislation that "protects your longstanding beliefs."

The president's comments can be found about eight minutes in to the video.

Obama, Casey laud Catholic Health Association

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Denver, Colorado -- In a video tribute played during the annual assembly of the Catholic Health Association this morning, President Barack Obama lauded the association for its “help and courage in passing health care reform.”

tObama also praised Daughter of Charity Sr. Carol Keehan, President of the Catholic Health Association, for “the extraordinary leadership she’s shown in advancing our national discussion.”

As plans for KC nuke plant advance, feds admit toxic contamination

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Five days before a planned rally and conference in opposition to a major nuclear weapons manufacturing center in Kansas City, Mo., organizers have received help for their cause from an unexpected source: the federal government.

Speaking to the local NBC news affiliate June 11, the regional administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), Jason Klumb, admitted that the Bannister Federal Complex has in the past been responsible for the leak of a dangerous toxin called beryllium.

“We got it wrong, and we're going to get it right,” said Klumb. “We're going to find it and we're going to bring in an outside expert and pay them on a contract basis to go through everything to tell us exactly what we've got.”

The Bannister Federal Complex is located about 13 miles south of downtown Kansas City, Mo. and currently houses what is known as the Kansas City Plant, a major nuclear weapons manufacturing center responsible for the production and assembly of approximately 85 percent of the non-nuclear components of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Seeing Is Believing -- Why Respect for Women as Senators Makes a Difference

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When in Rome, the Vatican rulers don't do as the Romans do when it comes to treatment of women. Italians include many enthusiastic feminists while the officials who oversee ground zero of the Catholic church decry "radical feminism" at every sign that women seek ordination or other steps to make them equal partners in Catholicism. The two nation states share the same succulent foods but go separate ways with regard to the roles of women.

That doesn't mean the Vatican can retreat behind its sovereign walls and consider the matter settled. Women's status remains the most crucial issue in Catholicism's future and continued efforts to stay within that conceptual (not theological) fortress will increasingly hamper attempts to soldier on. Ignoring it by decree, as Pope John Paul II did by forbidding even discussion of wormen's ordination, and by launching investigations to suppress feminist thought and action only postpone dire results.

The Vatican & AIDS

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The Vatican’s statement to the UN Conference on AIDS stressed the urgency of the situation, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. It called for more funding, and warned that the failure to provide more funding for treatment could result in a renewed spreading of the epidemic with horrific consequences.

But, the text also speaks about the need for values-based sex education to limit the spread of the disease. I am all for values-based sex education. And, I am not dismissive of the Vatican’s concern that a contraceptive mentality is bad for a culture, that the separation of sex from its consequences is a recipe for a moral universe in which women will constantly be put down and children will pay for the lack of moral seriousness in their parents. There is such a thing as a slippery slope no matter how much we wish to think we know how to stop the slide at a morally appropriate point.

Fla. governor and his abortion bill veto

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Judy Gross, an NCR contributer from Florida sends this report:

Florida Governor Charlie Crist Vetoes Abortion Bill

By Judy Gross

Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist is walking a tightrope. Earlier this year, he got rid of his safety net by eschewing the Republican Party to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent. Then Friday, he enraged the anti-abortion crowd by vetoing a bill that would have required a woman wanting a first trimester abortion to pay for and watch an ultrasound image of their fetus.

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October 10-23, 2014

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