Prayer and Meditation for Tuesday, November 21, 2017 — “I will prove myself worthy of my old age and I will leave to the young a noble example.”

Peace and Freedom

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 498

Reading 1 2 MC 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape…

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Arab League chief condemns Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, supported by Iran

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© AFP/File | Arab diplomats have condemned Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, whose members are seen here in October 2016 during Ashura commemorations in southern Beirut

BEIRUT (AFP) – Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Monday Lebanon should be “spared” from spiralling regional tensions, during a visit to Beirut a day after Arab diplomats condemned Lebanese movement Hezbollah.The Arab League held an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday in Cairo at the request of Saudi Arabia, which called the ministerial-level session to discuss “violations” by its rival Iran.

Despite the meeting’s strongly worded concluding statement, Abul Gheit said Arab nations sought to keep Lebanon insulated from harm.

“No one can accept, or want, any harm to happen to Lebanon,” Abul Gheit said after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun in Baabda.

“Lebanon has a special character, a particular and special structure. The League recognises this,” he told reporters.

Earlier Abul…

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The Varied—and Global—Threats Confronting Democracy

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As China and Russia proffer alternatives, the U.S. system shows signs of strain

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Just over a year has passed since Election Day 2016, and a special counsel plus three congressional committees continue to struggle to figure out whether Russia colluded with the Trump campaign to help tip that election.

That is a hugely important question, of course. But the danger in focusing on it too much is that the country could lose sight of a broader and more pernicious reality: Whatever Russia did last year amounted to an attack on American democracy. Worse, that is only one of several ways the democratic model is under threat.

William Burns, a career foreign service officer who served as both ambassador to Russia and deputy secretary of state, sees “a conflict of ideas and models” playing out on the world stage. Both Russia and China…

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China’s Top Economic Risk? Education.

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Chinese schools are often dismal. Fixing them is the key to long-term growth.
Help wanted.

 Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently laid out a bold vision for transforming his country into a fully developed economy by 2050, with a particular emphasis on spurring innovation and technology. Given China’s current level of human capital — and some looming changes in the world economy — that may be harder than he expects.

A widely held view in the West is that China’s schools are brimming with math and science whizzes, just the kind of students that companies of the future will need. But this is misleading: For years, headline-grabbing studies showing China’s prowess on standardized tests evaluated only kids in rich and unrepresentative areas. When its broader population was included, China’s ranking dropped across all subject areas.

Official data bears out this dynamic…

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Lebanese President Vows To Resist Israel “By All Available Means”

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 NOVEMBER 20, 2017 15:32

Lebanese President Aoun claims that it is Lebanon’s right to resist Israel.

Michel Aoun

Michel Aoun. (photo credit:REUTERS)BEIRUT – The Lebanese president appeared to defend Hezbollah as necessary to resist Israel on Monday, after an Arab League statement accused the group of terrorism and noted it is part of Lebanon’s coalition government.

“Israeli targeting still continues and it is the right of the Lebanese to resist it and foil its plans by all available means,” President Michel Aoun’s office quoted him as saying in a Tweet.

The heavily armed Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah, formed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, fought Israel’s occupation of Lebanon in the early 1980s and says its weapons are still needed against Israel.

Saudi Arabia, a regional rival of Iran, opposes Hezbollah’s role as a military force in Syria and has accused it of helping the Houthi group in Yemen and militants in Bahrain.

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Hezbollah says ready to pull forces from Iraq after IS defeat

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© AL-MANAR TV/AFP | An image grab taken from Hezbollah TV on November 20, 2017 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese Shiite movement, giving a televised address from an undisclosed location in Lebanon

BEIRUT (AFP) – Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Monday he was prepared to pull his forces from Iraq, after the Islamic State group lost control over its last urban stronghold in the country.In a televised address on Monday evening, Nasrallah said the Lebanese movement had deployed “large numbers of our commanders and cadres” to Iraq to fight IS.

“We consider that the mission has been accomplished, but we are waiting for the final, Iraqi announcement of victory,” he said.

Once that official declaration came, Hezbollah would reassess its presence in Iraq and may pull its members out.

“If we find that it’s over, that there is no need for the presence of these brothers, they…

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Trump declares North Korea ‘sponsor of terror’

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BBC News

Media captionTrump: “North Korea supports acts of international terrorism”

President Trump has announced that the US is re-designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, nine years after it was removed from the list.

In a cabinet meeting, he said the move would trigger “very large” additional sanctions to be announced on Tuesday.

Mr Trump blamed the country’s nuclear programme, and support for what he called international acts of terrorism.

While announcing the decision, the US president said it “should have happened a long time ago”.

Mr Trump said that North Korea had “repeatedly supported international acts of terrorism” and added that the regime must act lawfully and also cease its nuclear weapons programme.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to pursue nuclear weapons and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council…

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