Christians unite in spirit through Easter song

Christians from more than 30 churches in the New York City area sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” from their balconies, windows and waterfronts to celebrate Easter Sunday. (April 12)

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Coronavirus: Popular central Paris street full of shoppers on Easter Sunday | AFP

As Christians celebrate Easter Sunday under coronavirus lockdown, with the French government tightening controls to prevent Parisians from going away for the long weekend, the scenes on a popular Paris street shows many residents out to stock up on provisions. IMAGES

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Trump sends out Easter message amid virus

President Donald Trump sent out an Easter message from the Oval Office Friday as Christians around the world are encouraged not to gather for the holiday amid the coronavirus pandemic. (April 10)

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Coronavirus around the world – 9th April edition | AFP

The number of coronavirus cases around the globe now stands at more than 1.5 million. For doctors and nurses the battle to save lives continues, while leaders and the world’s poorest citizens alike grapple with the economic effects of lockdown. A ban on gatherings means Jews celebrating Passover and Christians preparing for Easter have to get creative. And in Japan, one lockdown-free region continues to play host to a stranded delegation of athletes from South Sudan.

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Coronavirus: world cases top 1.5 million – 9th April

The number of coronavirus cases around the globe now stands at more than 1.5 million. For doctors and nurses the battle to save lives continues, while leaders and the world’s poorest citizens alike grapple with the economic effects of lockdown. A ban on gatherings means Jews celebrating Passover and Christians preparing for Easter have to get creative. And in Japan, one lockdown-free region continues to play host to a stranded delegation of athletes from South Sudan.

Coronavirus: French churches ring bells for ten minutes to show support for medical workers | AFP

The bells of the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur in Paris rang in chorus with other churches across France for ten minutes on Wednesday to show solidarity and support for medical workers battling the coronavirus. Wedneday was also Annunciation, when Christians mark the appearance of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary.

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Jerusalem’s Church of Holy Sepulchre closed as Israel ups anti-virus measures | AFP

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed by Christians to house Christ’s tomb, is closing its doors, as Israel tightens movement restrictions and the Palestinians announce their first novel coronavirus death.

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Meet Trump’s CDC Director Who Has a History of Controversial Health Decisions

You might have seen him lurking behind Vice President press while he’s delivering an update on the administration’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. Or looking on as President Trump touts his own medical know-how during what’s meant to be an update on the administration’s efforts to contain the coronavirus.

He’s Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while Trump’s approach to the epidemic to date seems to involve minimizing the issue, Redfield oversees the federal agency tasked with actually responding to it. So who is he?

Redfield is no stranger to epidemics, seeing as he’s a virologist. When he was announced as the CDC director in 2018, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar cited his pioneering contributions to advancing our understanding of HIV/AIDS.

But some of those contributions have been controversial.

As the U.S. Army’s chief AIDS researcher in the 1980s, Redfield supported mandatory HIV screening for the military, which kept recruits from serving if they tested positive, and led to several active duty troops being segregated — a practice Redfield defended at the time as necessary to control the AIDS epidemic.

In 1992, the Defense Department investigated Redfield after he was accused of overselling the effects of an experimental HIV vaccine he oversaw. Though no evidence of misconduct was found, the vaccine ended up failing.

That same investigation criticized Redford for having an inappropriately close relationship with a non-profit founded by evangelical Christians, which worked to contain the HIV/AIDS outbreak by advocating for abstinence before marriage, rather than passing out condoms — a view he says he’s since changed.

When it comes to the U.S. response to the coronavirus, the CDC is playing catch up. And Redfield is one of the key people who’s going to be answering for it. The agency shipped its first test kits to state labs in February, a month after the world learned of the outbreak in China. But some of those kits were flawed, thanks to a contaminated reagent, leaving labs with inconclusive results.

As of March 9, the CDC and state health labs had conducted more than 8-and-a-half thousand tests, resulting in 423 confirmed cases. Compare that to the UK, which has a similar number of confirmed cases — 319 — but has managed to test nearly 25,000 people.

Those numbers are already out of date, but whatever they are by the time you read this, it’s likely that Trump will be seeking to downplay them.

That shouldn’t matter to the director of the CDC, whose first concern should be the health of Americans, not the health of his boss’s ego. So it’s not exactly inspiring when, on Trump’s visit to the CDC, Redfield said the most important thing he wanted to say … was a thank you to Trump, for visiting the CDC.

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Pope Francis delivers his first livestreamed prayer from the Vatican | AFP

Christians gather on Saint Peter’s Square to watch the first livestreamed prayer delivered by Pope Francis. The pontiff is breaking with centuries of tradition and reverting to the use of streaming technology at the request of the Italian authorities, a move designed to keep down the number of people turning out to watch the traditional Angelus Prayer. The pope did take the time to wave at the crowd from his window at the end of the livestream. IMAGES

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AP Top Stories January 6 P

Here’s the latest for Monday, January 6: Huge crowds gather in Tehran for Qassem Soleimani funeral; Harvey Weinstein is indicted on new sex crime charges in Los Angeles; A 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocks Puerto Rico; Christians celebrate the Epiphany.

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AP Top Stories December 25 P

Here’s the latest for Wednesday December 25th: Police and protesters clash in Hong Kong; Protests in India continue; Christians in Bethlehem mark Christmas; Swimmers brave cold waters for Christmas plunge.

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Bethlehem welcomes pilgrims for Christmas celebrations | AFP

Pilgrims from around the world gather in the biblical city of Bethlehem, revered by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus, to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land.

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Santa Claus floats to Tel Aviv on his standup paddleboard | AFP

Harout Torossian, an Israeli lifeguard from the Armenian Orthodox Christian minority dressed up as Santa Claus, standup paddleboards along a beach in the Mediterranean coastal Israeli city of Tel Aviv as Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the holy day.

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Pastor speaks on Christian magazine’s Trump stance

A major evangelical Christian magazine published an editorial on Thursday calling for President Donald Trump’s removal from office. But one pastor is confident evangelical Christians will again throw their support behind Trump in 2020. (Dec. 20)

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Sri Lanka Muslims fear backlash after Easter Sunday attacks

Muslims in Colombo fear a backlash after the Easter Sunday attacks which killed more than 350 people. Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million, of which the majority are Sinhalese-speaking Buddhists. Muslims account for 10 percent of the population and are the second largest minority after Hindus. Just over six percent are Christians.

DISTURBING: Bloody aftermath at St. Anthony’s Church, where one of 6 blasts struck in Sri Lanka

Six explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with at least 140 killed and hundreds more injured.

Footage from Colombo’s St. Anthony church shows shattered glass and people lying on the ground. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9sq1

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Sri Lanka blasts: People gather outside Colombo hospital demanding answers about their relatives

Six explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with more than 40 killed & hundreds injured, local authorities confirmed. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9sq1

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GONZO: Street poets and beignets in Nola (E8)

GONZO heads into the home of fracking, Denton, Texas, to chat to Dr. Adam Briggle, author of ‘A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking’. The idea of field philosophy is to take ideas about ethics and justice and bring it to the real world. Fracking is a justice issue and both the politics and the economics of the alleged bonanza turned out to be a big dud and a land use planning nightmare. They talk about the philosophy of hubris and narcissism and find that fracking is about the lesson of Frankenstein – we create something without considering the wider ramifications and without plans to deal with the out of control nature of our inventions. Denton voted to ban fracking but the state government then intervened with legislation to prevent citizens from having the democratic right of local self-determination on such matters related to Big Oil. We are waiting for a tech fix but fracking was a tech fix to declining oil reserves. Max and Dr. Briggle ride their bike off into the distance with plans to go form the church of no fracking.

Max and Stacy leave Texas on the way to New Orleans while discussing the frackers versus ranchers battle brewing in Texas as each vie for limited water resources. In Nola, they discuss the aftermath of about Hurricane Katrina which Obama’s education secretary considered the best thing to ever happen to public education in America as it opened up an entire city to the charter school movement which, in turn, opened the city up to privatisation and gentrification. They also discuss the legacy of Huey Long and how we now dismantle public infrastructure rather than build it. Blumenthal mentions ‘Cancer Alley’ in one of the first town of freed persons where cancer rates now are so high due to industrial pollution. They also ask, “How did we end up with Trump?” And the role of John Hagee and the evangelical Christians in putting him in power in order to get them the Supreme Court, which they now effectively own. Finally, Stacy and the two Maxes eat beignets, talk about the swamp expanding, the legacy of Bourdain and then talk to some street poets who compose a poem for GONZO.

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