ROMA CIUDAD ROMANTICA Y PARADIGMATICA

ROMA CIUDAD ROMANTICA Y PARADIGMATICA

Roma es una ciudad que no pierde jamás su vigencia. Para el día de los enamorados, el diario “El país” declaraba Roma entre las 10 ciudades más románticas del mundo,  Para ilustrar esta afirmación afirmaba: En Vacaciones en Roma, de William Wyler, Audrey Hepburn interpreta a una princesa que baila, se corta el pelo, monta en Vespa y se deja camelar por un periodista con principios llamado Gregory Peck, en la historia en blanco y negro de un breve romance vacacional que da la vuelta al argumento de La Cenicienta.

.Este romance vacacional se llevaba a cabo entre los lugares más emblemáticos de la Roma histórica como son el Coliseo, el Foro Romano, el Panteón, la Plaza de España, la Boca de la Verdad, el Arco de Constantino, Palacio Barberini, Palacio Colonna. Gregory Peck improvisado Guía de Roma en Vespa utilizaba estos lugares para enamorar a su princesa camuflada.

 

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Sin embargo, Roma no es sólo una ciudad romántica. Roma es una ciudad que sigue dando lecciones políticas, especialmente en estos momentos de grandes conflictos entre integración racial y posiciones hostiles hacia el habitante extranjero. La Roma Antigua que deslumbró el mundo durante un milenio, para algunos, debe  en gran medida su excepcionalidad a una cultura política con rasgos de apertura que eran extraordinarios para los estándares del mundo de entonces. Para la historiadora Mary Beard, ninguna ciudad griega fue ni remotamente tan integradora, como fue Roma. Los ciudadanos de los territorios ocupados,   recibieron gradualmente la protección del derecho de Roma. El proceso culminó con la concesión de la ciudadanía a todos los habitantes libres del imperio en el 212 dc. La élite de las provincias se incorporó a la cúpula política. Roma tuvo emperadores procedentes de la península ibérica y África. Fue un proceso integrador revolucionario que abarcó las etapas monárquica, republicana e imperial y que es quizá la mayor clave del éxito de Roma durante un milenio y de sus extraordinarias aportaciones al desarrollo de la humanidad.

Pero Roma atesora otras lecciones. Una es la de 1957, como sede de la firma del tratado de la que hoy es la Unión Europea. Se recuerda a menudo que la experiencia comunitaria ha sido clave en garantizar el mayor lapso de paz en el continente que se recuerde. Pero hay más. Un dato: en el año 1989, los ciudadanos de Polonia y Bielorrusia tenía la misma esperanza de vida, 71 años, según datos ONU. En 2014, en Polonia la cifra había llegado a 77; Bielorrusia, 73. Pertenecer a una sociedad abierta –la UE es un paradigma- aporta beneficios reales.

Una última lección de Roma podría recordarse. La marcha sobre ella de 1922. Una vez más la ciudad se convertía en vanguardia mundial de un proyecto político. Esta vez el fascismo, imbuido de conceptos nacionalistas, proteccionistas y autárquicos. Resuenan mucho hoy; todos saben cómo terminó entonces.

 

POPE FRANCIS INDICATES LITTLE CONCERN OVER CONDOM USE IN FIGHT AGAINST AIDS

Associated Press – November 2015

Pope Francis has dismissed a question about whether condoms can be condoned in the fight against Aids by saying there are more important issues confronting the world, like malnutrition, environmental exploitation and the lack of safe drinking water.

Francis was asked about the church’s opposition to condoms while returning Monday to Rome from Kenya, Uganda and the Central Africa Republic,  Africa in general and Kenya and Uganda in particular have been hard hit by the Aids epidemic, and the Catholic church has faced criticism that its position has contributed to the problem.

Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, earned the wrath of healthcare professionals, gay rights activists and the United Nations by saying on a visit to Africa that condoms were not the answer to fighting HIV and could actually make it worse.

Francis has made scant reference to Aids in his speeches this past week. He did, however, visit HIV-infected children at a Uganda hospital and kissed each one, listened to moving testimony from a girl born with the virus and thanked the church’s healthcare workers for caring for those infected.

A clearly irked Francis criticized the question directed at him during his in-flight press conference about whether the church should change its position on condoms to limit HIV’s spread. He said it “seems too small, partial”, when there are bigger issues confronting humanity.

“I don’t like getting into questions or reflections that are so technical when people die because they don’t have water or food or housing,” he said.

He said when those problems are taken care of, questions like condoms and Aids can be addressed.

Francis has previously signalled that he doesn’t want to get drawn into culture war issues over contraception or abortion, and his response Monday was very much in line with such comments.

Francis was euphoric, though, about his first trip to  Africa, saying he was constantly surprised by the continent and the ability of its people to find joy with so little.

He denounced how Africa has constantly been exploited by foreign powers, citing the slave trade and those who “only look to take Africa’s riches”.

“Africa is a martyr. It’s a martyr of exploitation over history,” he said. “I love Africa for this.”

VATICAN CONDOM ROW: POPE PREVAILS AS KNIGHTS OF MALTA CHIEF RESIGNS

VATICAN CONDOM ROW: POPE PREVAILS AS KNIGHTS OF MALTA CHIEF RESIGNS

THE GUARDIAN- Harriet Sherwood –Religion correspodent –

 Catholic order’s British leader, Matthew Festing, had been in conflict wiht liberalising pontiff over charity project

The head of the Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic order, has resigned over a dispute with the Vatican about free condoms that has become a battle of wills between the heads of two of the world’s oldest institutions and a test of   Pope Francis’s authority.

The Rome-based chivalric and charity institution said Grand Master Matthew Festing, 67, resigned after the pope asked him to step down on Tuesday. Grand masters of the institution, which was founded in the 11th century, usually hold their posts for life.

“The pope asked him to resign and he agreed,” the order’s spokesperson said, adding that the group’s sovereign council would sign off on the highly unusual resignation within days.

Confirming Festing’s departure, the  Vatican  said Francis had “expressed his appreciation and recognition for [Festing’s] loyalty and devotion to the successor to St Peter [the pope] and his readiness to humbly act in the interests of the Order and the Church”.

Ludwig Hoffmann-Rumerstein will act as the order’s interim Grand Master until an election can take place.

The Vatican said it was taking the unusual step of appointing a pontifical delegate to the order – a move seen by some as an attempt to curb its conservative faction. 

Festing and the Vatican have been locked in a dispute since early December, when one of the order’s top officials, Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, was sacked after the charity distributed condoms as part of a project for the poor.

 

Von Boeselager and his supporters claimed the condom issue was an excuse by Festing and the papal envoy to the order, Cardinal Raymond Burke – an American arch-conservative who has accused the pope of being too liberal – to increase their power.

Some Vatican observers have seen the Knights of Malta drama as a proxy battle between Francis and Burke. The US cardinal has been outspoken in his criticism of the pope’s efforts to reform Catholic teaching on the family, marriage and divorce. He was one of four cardinals who signed an open letter to Francis last year questioning new guidance allowing priests to decide whether divorced and remarried believers should be able to receive communion.

After Von Boeselager was sacked by Festing, he appealed to the pope, who appointed a five-member commission to look into the unusual circumstances of the dismissal.

Festing, a Briton who has been grand master for nine years and is seen as a conservative, refused to cooperate, saying the papal commission was an illegitimate intervention in the order’s sovereign affairs. He established his own internal inquiry.

The Vatican, in turn, rejected what it said was an attempt to discredit members of the commission and ordered the leaders of the institution to cooperate with the papal commission, which was due to deliver its findings in the next week.

“Behind this dispute is an internal struggle within the Knights between reformers who want the order to focus on humanitarian work and a traditionalist clique out of step with Francis,” said Austen Ivereigh, the pope’s biographer.

“Historically, the Knights have mixed ecclesiastical policy and high finance in a way which is repugnant to Francis. He is naturally inclined to support the reformers, and seized the opportunity to encourage them.”

Andrew Chesnut, professor of Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the row could be “read as a proxy battle between Burke and Pope Francis.  Writ large, it’s really about the reformist vision of Francis versus the arch conservative old guard-ism of Burke.”

He added: “The Vatican hierarchy tends to be more conservative than the laity in general, but Francis has the backing of the vast majority of parishioners – he’s still wildly popular, he has momentum.” For now, Francis had reasserted his authority, “but only time will tell how far his reform project can be pushed.”

The all-male leaders of the Knights of Malta take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the pope. The institution has 13,500 members, 25,000 employees and 80,000 volunteers worldwide.

The order – formed in the 11th century to provide protection and medical care for pilgrims to the Holy Land – maintains diplomatic relations with more than 100 states and the EU, and permanent observer status at the United Nations.

When Festing fired Von Boeselager, he accused the German of concealing his authorisation of the use of condoms when he ran Malteser International, the order’s humanitarian aid agency.

The church forbids the use of condoms as a means of birth control and says abstinence and monogamy in heterosexual marriage is the best way to control the spread of Aids.

Von Boeselager said he closed two projects in the developing world when he discovered condoms were being distributed, but kept a third running for a while because closing it would have abruptly ended basic medical services to the poor.

Francis has said he wants the 1.2 billion-member church to avoid so-called culture wars over moral teachings and show mercy to those who cannot live by all its rules, especially the poor.

 

 

Wednesday 25 January 2017

ITALIAN FOOD & KINDER SURPRISE

ITALIAN FOOD & KINDER SURPRISE

We learn that pasta won’t make you gain weight! 
If you’d banished pasta from your cupboard due to concerns over weight gain, then think again: an Italian study found that the more pasta you eat, the less likely you are to gain weight.
If you’ve banished pasta from your kitchen cupboard in the hope of squeezing into last year’s Speedos or bikini before your summer holidays, you’re making a terrible mistake.

An Italian study published in the journal ‘Nutrition and Diabetes‘ this month, reveals for the first time a link between how much pasta you eat and how slim you are likely to be.

The study questioned some 23,500 men and women of varying ages and social backgrounds across Italy about their dietary habits and recorded their body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio.

The results of the study were surprising and good news for pasta-lovers everywhere.

“Our findings show a negative association of pasta consumption with general and central obesity” the authors wrote. In short: the more you eat pasta, the less you are likely to be overweight.

Body mass was found to decrease with pasta consumption in men and women. Source: ‘Association of pasta consumption with body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio’. Nature and Diabetes, July 2016

The results run contrary to the popular belief that servings of pasta will have you piling on the pounds, a misconception which has caused pasta consumption to fall worldwide.

Even Italians are turning away from pasta, a food which has played a central role in the country’s famed Mediterranean diet since medieval times.

The traditional Italian diet, based around cereals, legumes, seasonal fruit and veg and lashings of olive oil is considered to be one of the healthiest ways to eat.

But if the traditional Italian diet is so healthy, how did pasta get such a bad reputation?

The researchers lay the blame squarely at the feet of fad diets.

“Pasta consumption has decreased as the concept of adopting low-carb, high-protein diets against obesity has increased,” the authors wrote. But in spite of their popularity, there is still significant scientific debate surrounding the possible negative effects of such diets on kidney and bone health.

It turns out, that even among people who don’t follow a healthy Mediterranean diet, pasta is still associated with a more streamlined physique. But why does pasta make you slimmer?

The precise mechanisms are still a mystery, but scientists think it has to do with the foods we tend to eat pasta with.

“Pasta intake was observed as being associated with the intake of other important food groups, such as tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and onions,” – foods, which can all be helpful when losing weight.

The true extent of pasta’s weight loss powers will perhaps be revealed by a future study. Until then, feel free to tuck into as much pasta as you like, safe in the knowledge that a plate of spaghetti in and of itself is not going to cause you to balloon. Buon appetito!

(more…)

VATICAN NEWS 2

VATICAN NEWS 2

Pope Francis delivers his speech from the balcony of St Peter’s basilica. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
Tens of thousands of worshippers gathered at the Vatican on Sunday to hear Pope Francis address the world’s Christians, as Europe marked Christmas under ramped-up security after the Berlin attack.
The leader of 1.2 billion Catholics deplored violence around the globe as he gave his fourth “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and The World) Christmas message from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
The 80-year-old Argentine called for guns to fall silent in Syria, saying “far too much blood has been spilled” in the nearly six-year conflict.
And he urged Israelis and Palestinians to “have the courage and the determination to write a new page of history” in his message from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica to a crowd of 40,000 gathered in the square below which, despite the sunny weather, was far from full.
Religious leaders from the Vatican to Bethlehem struck a sombre note on Christmas Eve, warning that war, fear and divisions lie ahead in 2017 after a tumultuous year.
As Europe ramped up security for the holiday just days after the truck attack that left 12 dead at a Berlin Christmas market, the pontiff said he hoped for “peace to those who have lost a person dear to them as a result of brutal acts of terrorism”.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.
In Milan, where suspected Berlin attacker Anis Amri was killed in a police shootout on Friday, there was a heavy police presence around the cathedral.
The entrance has been protected by concrete barriers since the Berlin attack.
Locals and tourists alike however are still visiting the German capital’s Breitscheidplatz market, with many stopping to light a candle or lay flowers for the victims.