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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 146402 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #7485 on: Oct 19th, 2012, 10:32am »

Reuters

Turkey fires on Syria in retaliation incident: state TV

Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:11am EDT
BESASLAN, Turkey (Reuters)

Turkey's army fired on Syria on Friday after two shells launched from Syria landed in Turkish territory, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported, underlining how tension between the two neighbors remains dangerously high.

TRT did not specify where the incident occurred and no further details were available. There were no reports of any casualties resulting from the exchange of fire.

Turkey has carried out a series of retaliatory strikes against President Bashar al-Assad's forces fighting rebels along the border since Syrian shelling killed five Turkish civilians in a Turkish frontier town at the start of October.

Syrian rebels clashed with Assad's troops in a town near the Turkish border province of Hatay on Friday ahead of moves to broker a brief ceasefire, a Reuters witness said.

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising from the Syrian town of Haram after an explosion around midday (0900 GMT). The morning was punctuated by sounds of small blasts and gunfire, said witnesses in the nearby Turkish village of Besaslan.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Friday for all sides involved in the Syrian conflict to observe a ceasefire during the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival next week.

U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is expected in Damascus later in the day to try to broker that ceasefire.


(Reporting by Osman Orsal; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/us-syria-crisis-turkey-retaliation-idUSBRE89I0K220121019

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« Reply #7486 on: Oct 19th, 2012, 10:33am »

Washington Post

CIA seeks to expand drone fleet, officials say

By Greg Miller, Published: October 18

The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said.

The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said.

If approved, the CIA could add as many as 10 drones, the officials said, to an inventory that has ranged between 30 and 35 over the past few years.

The outcome has broad implications for counterterrorism policy and whether the CIA gradually returns to being an organization focused mainly on gathering intelligence, or remains a central player in the targeted killing of terrorism suspects abroad.

In the past, officials from the Pentagon and other departments have raised concerns about the CIA’s expanding arsenal and involvement in lethal operations, but a senior Defense official said that the Pentagon had not opposed the agency’s current plan.

Officials from the White House, the CIA and the Pentagon declined to comment on the proposal. Officials who discussed it did so on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of the subject.

One U.S. official said the request reflects a concern that political turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa has created new openings for al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

“With what happened in Libya, we’re realizing that these places are going to heat up,” the official said, referring to the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. No decisions have been made about moving armed CIA drones into these regions, but officials have begun to map out contingencies. “I think we’re actually looking forward a little bit,” the official said.

White House officials are particularly concerned about the emergence of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa, which has gained weapons and territory following the collapse of the governments in Libya and Mali. Seeking to bolster surveillance in the region, the United States has been forced to rely on small, unarmed turboprop aircraft disguised as private planes.

Meanwhile, the campaign of U.S. airstrikes in Yemen has heated up. Yemeni officials said a strike on Thursday — the 35th this year — killed at least seven al-Qaeda-linked militants near Jaar, a town in southern Yemen previously controlled by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the terrorist group’s affiliate is known.

The CIA’s proposal would have to be evaluated by a group led by President Obama’s counter­terrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, officials said.

The group, which includes senior officials from the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, is directly involved in deciding which alleged al-Qaeda operatives are added to “kill” lists. But current and former officials said the group also plays a lesser-known role as referee in deciding the allocation of assets, including whether the CIA or the Defense Department takes possession of newly delivered drones.

“You have to state your requirements and the system has to agree that your requirements trump somebody else,” said a former high-ranking official who participated in the deliberations. “Sometimes there is a food fight.”

The administration has touted the collaboration between the CIA and the military in counterterrorism operations, contributing to a blurring of their traditional roles. In Yemen, the CIA routinely “borrows” the aircraft of the military’s Joint Special Operations Command to carry out strikes. The JSOC is increasingly engaged in activities that resemble espionage.

The CIA’s request for more drones indicates that Petraeus has become convinced that there are limits to those sharing arrangements and that the agency needs full control over a larger number of aircraft.

The U.S. military’s fleet dwarfs that of the CIA. A Pentagon report issued this year counted 246 Predators, Reapers and Global Hawks in the Air Force inventory alone, with hundreds of other remotely piloted aircraft distributed among the Army, the Navy and the Marines.

Petraeus, who had control of large portions of those fleets while serving as U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, has had to adjust to a different resource scale at the CIA, officials said. The agency’s budget has begun to tighten, after double-digit increases over much of the past decade.

“He’s not used to the small budget over there,” a U.S. congressional official said. In briefings on Capitol Hill, Petraeus often marvels at the agency’s role relative to its resources, saying, “We do so well with so little money we have.” The official declined to comment on whether Petraeus had requested additional drones.

Early in his tenure at the CIA, Petraeus was forced into a triage situation with the agency’s inventory of armed drones. To augment the hunt for Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric linked to al-Qaeda terrorist plots, Petraeus moved several CIA drones from Pakistan to Yemen. After Awlaki was killed in a drone strike, the aircraft were sent back to Pakistan, officials said.

The number of strikes in Pakistan has dropped from 122 two years ago to 40 this year, according to the New America Foundation. But officials said the agency has not cut back on its patrols there, despite the killing of Osama bin Laden and a dwindling number of targets.

The agency continues to search for bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and has carried out dozens of strikes against the Haqqani network, a militant group behind attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The CIA also maintains a separate, smaller fleet of stealth surveillance aircraft. Stealth drones were used to monitor bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Their use in surveillance flights over Iran’s nuclear facilities was exposed when one crashed in that country last year.

Any move to expand the reach of the CIA’s fleet of armed drones probably would require the agency to establish additional secret bases. The agency relies on U.S. military pilots to fly the planes from bases in the southwestern United States but has been reluctant to share overseas landing strips with the Defense Department.

CIA Predators that are used in Pakistan are flown out of airstrips along the border in Afghanistan. The agency opened a secret base on the Arabian Peninsula when it began flights over Yemen, even though JSOC planes are flown from a separate facility in Djibouti.


Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-seeks-to-expand-drone-fleet-officials-say/2012/10/18/01149a8c-1949-11e2-bd10-5ff056538b7c_story.html?hpid=z1

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« Reply #7487 on: Oct 19th, 2012, 10:42am »

Daily Mail


Man photographs 'UFO' floating in the clouds moments before ten dead birds 'mysteriously' appear in neighbour's garden

Photograph shows a disc shaped outline in the clouds.
Neighbour believes UFOs are linked to bird deaths.

By Alex Ward
PUBLISHED: 06:16 EST, 19 October 2012
UPDATED: 09:41 EST, 19 October 2012


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UFO outline: Just above the chimney is the strange shape Calum Sherwood saw in the sky in Salterbeck, Cumbria, an area which UFO investigator Sharon Larkin says is a hotspot for supernatural activity



A UFO-like object floating in the clouds was caught on camera on the same day ten dead birds were found in a nearby garden.
Calum Sherwood, 23, was shocked to see the outline of what appeared to be a UFO while riding on a bus in Salterbeck, south of Workington, Cumbria, on Monday.
Sharon Larkin, UFO enthusiast and Mr Sherwood’s friend who lives nearby, found ten dead birds in her garden that day.

Ms Larkin claims that ‘dead birds are associated with sightings of UFOs’, but the object closely resembles a rare cloud formation.

She claims the area, which is close to Sellafield nuclear power plant, was a hotspot for unusual activity.

Ms Larkin said: ‘There is something about this picture. The line around the edge of the UFO is very clear and very specific.
‘I’ve shown it to other people and some people have suggested it might be an unusual cloud formation, but the perimeter is very clear and I don’t think that’s the case.
‘What’s really strange is that the day Calum took this picture I discovered about ten dead birds in my garden, the back and the front.
‘They were sparrows and blackbirds. It could just be a co-incidence but the discovery of dead birds is associated with sightings of UFOs.’

A spokeswoman from the Met Office said: 'It looks like a it’s just a persisting circular contrail (a condensation trail of ice crystals produced by jet engines at high altitude).

'There’s patchy high cirrus cloud around, so the atmosphere is moist enough to allow contrails to last for some time.

'It’s hard to tell whether the contrail is above or below the cloud around it but we suspect that in some places it is below, and the grey bits are then where the contrail shadow falls on the cloud beneath it.
'It’s unusual for a civil aircraft to be doing this sort of thing so it’s probably military.'

Ms Larkin said she had also heard unusual noises in the sky which sounded like ‘metal being scraped against metal’.

more after the jump:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220103/Man-photographs-UFO-dead-birds-appear-neighbours-garden.html?ITO=1490

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« Reply #7488 on: Oct 19th, 2012, 12:27pm »

Interesting picture. few more details would help.

I wondered about the difference in the light levels between the area immediately around the ring and the rest of the sky.

Was it taken through a window ?

Metallic noises in the sky. Reminds me of 'The Warminster Thing' reports.

HAL
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« Reply #7489 on: Oct 19th, 2012, 9:26pm »

on Oct 19th, 2012, 12:27pm, HAL9000 wrote:
Interesting picture. few more details would help.

I wondered about the difference in the light levels between the area immediately around the ring and the rest of the sky.

Was it taken through a window ?

Metallic noises in the sky. Reminds me of 'The Warminster Thing' reports.

HAL


Hi HAL,

I re-read the article but couldn't find any reference about whether he took the photo through a window. Odd, odd and odder.

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« Reply #7490 on: Oct 20th, 2012, 08:08am »

There is a definite brighter square around the object in that photo! It doesn't look like a reflection because it outlines the object too symmetrically cropped and does not seem to be random!
I think it's a badly layered Photoshopped rendition!
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« Reply #7491 on: Oct 20th, 2012, 08:23am »

on Oct 20th, 2012, 08:08am, LoneGunMan wrote:
There is a definite brighter square around the object in that photo! It doesn't look like a reflection because it outlines the object too symmetrically cropped and does not seem to be random!
I think it's a badly layered Photoshopped rendition!
My two centavos!

Lone


Good morning Lone,

I don't know anything about photoshopping so can't say but nowadays that has to be one of the options. People seem to love doing that.

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« Reply #7492 on: Oct 20th, 2012, 08:25am »

Reuters

Leader says Libya not "fully liberated" year after Gaddafi death

By Ali Shuaib
Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:36am EDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Mohammed Magarief has said not all areas of the North African country have been fully "liberated", one year after the capture and death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya was declared "liberated" a few days after his death on October 20, 2011, and while its new rulers have led the nation to elections, they have struggled to impose their authority on a country awash with weapons.

Speaking on Libyan television late on Friday, the national congress leader singled out the town of Bani Walid, some 160 kms (100 miles) south of Tripoli, a former Gaddafi stronghold which has seen deadly clashes in the last few days as the army struggles to impose order.

"The campaign to liberate the country has not been fully completed," Magarief said.

He cited "delays" in the formation of the army and police and the failure to disarm and integrate former rebels.

"This lack of care has led to the spread of chaos that has lured the old regime to infiltrate the country's institutions inside and to conspire with the regime loyalists on the outside," Magarief said.

"And the chaos has lured others to kidnappings, stealing, and to create non-legitimate prisons. What has happened in Bani Walid in the last few days falls under this ... it has become a safe haven for a large number of those who are outside of the law."

Militias, aligned with the Defence Ministry, have shelled the hilltop town of 70,000 for several days and a spokesman for Bani Walid fighters, Colonel Salem al-Wa'er said fighting had started again on Saturday morning.

GRIEVANCES

Many of those in the militias were from the rival town of Misrata, which was enraged by the death of rebel fighter Omran Shaban after two months in detention in Bani Walid.

Shaban, from Misrata, was the man who found Gaddafi hiding in a drain pipe in Sirte on October 20, 2011.

Libya's congress ordered the Defence and Interior Ministries to find those responsible for abducting Shaban and suspected of torturing him to death. It gave Bani Walid a deadline to hand them over.

The army chief of staff said on Thursday the army was heading to the town to try and restore order.

"This is not targeting a region, a tribe, or unarmed civilians but outlawed men," Magarief said.

Tensions between Misrata and Bani Walid underscore the challenge Libya's new rulers face in reconciling groups with long-running grievances.

While Misrata spent weeks under siege by Gaddafi forces in last year's war, Bani Walid was one of the towns that remained loyal to Gaddafi longest. It remains isolated from the rest of Libya and former rebels say it still harbors pockets of support for the old government.


(Editing by Sophie Hares)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/20/us-libya-gaddafi-idUSBRE89J07W20121020

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« Reply #7493 on: Oct 20th, 2012, 08:34am »

Scientific American

Scientists Read Dreams

Brain scans during sleep were successfully used to decode some of the visual content of subjects' dreams

By Mo Costandi
October 19, 2012

Scientists have learned how to discover what you are dreaming about while you sleep.

A team of researchers led by Yukiyasu Kamitani of the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, used functional neuroimaging to scan the brains of three people as they slept, simultaneously recording their brain waves using electroencephalography (EEG).

The researchers woke the participants whenever they detected the pattern of brain waves associated with sleep onset, asked them what they had just dreamed about, and then asked them to go back to sleep.

This was done in three-hour blocks, and repeated between seven and ten times, on different days, for each participant. During each block, participants were woken up ten times per hour. Each volunteer reported having visual dreams six or seven times every hour, giving the researchers a total of around 200 dream reports.

Perchance to dream

Most of the dreams reflected everyday experiences, but some contained unusual content, such as talking to a famous actor. The researchers extracted key words from the participants’ verbal reports, and picked 20 categories — such as 'car', 'male', 'female', and 'computer' — that appeared most frequently in their dream reports.

Kamitani and his colleagues then selected photos representing each category, scanned the participants’ brains again while they viewed the images, and compared brain activity patterns with those recorded just before the participants were woken up.

The researchers analyzed activity in brain areas V1, V2 and V3, which are involved in the earliest stages of visual processing and encode basic features of visual scenes, such as contrast and the orientation of edges. They also looked at several other regions that are involved in higher order visual functions, such as object recognition.

In 2008, Kamitani and his colleagues reported that they could decode brain activity associated with the earliest stages of visual processing to reconstruct images shown to participants. Now, they have found that activity in the higher order brain regions could accurately predict the content of the participants’ dreams.

“We built a model to predict whether each category of content was present in the dreams,” says Kamitani. “By analyzing the brain activity during the nine seconds before we woke the subjects, we could predict whether a man is in the dream or not, for instance, with an accuracy of 75–80%.”

The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans, Louisiana, earlier this week, suggest that dreaming and visual perception share similar neural representations in the higher order visual areas of the brain.

“This is an interesting and exciting piece of work,” says neuroscientist Jack Gallant at the University of California, Berkeley, of the work presented at the meeting. “It suggests that dreaming involves some of the same higher level visual brain areas that are involved in visual imagery.”

“It also seems to suggest that our recall of dreams is based on short-term memory, because dream decoding was most accurate in the tens of seconds before waking,” he adds.

Kamitani and his colleagues are now trying to collect the same kind of data from the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, which is also associated with dreaming. “This is more challenging because we have to wait at least one hour before sleeping subjects reach that stage,” Kamitani says.

But the extra effort will be worth it, he says. “Knowing more about the content of dreams and how it relates to brain activity may help us to understand the function of dreaming.”


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scientists-read-dreams

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« Reply #7494 on: Oct 20th, 2012, 08:39am »






Uploaded by TheVideoCellar on Jan 9, 2011

In a town called Suddenly, a team of gangsters with the contract to assassinate the President take over a small hilltop house, holding a widow and her son hostage.

Frank Sinatra gives one of his best performances as the lead gunman. Also stars Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, and Nancy Gates.

Written by Richard Sale. Music by David Raksin.
Produced by Richard Bassler. Directed by Lewis Allen.

Original film 1954 (Public Domain).

Category:
Entertainment

~

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« Reply #7495 on: Oct 20th, 2012, 08:56am »

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Lightning!

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2012) — Australian scientists have unveiled a new theory which explains the mysterious phenomenon known as ball lightning.

Sightings of balls of lightning have been made for centuries around the world -- usually the size of a grapefruit and lasting up to twenty seconds -- but no explanation of how it occurs has been universally accepted by science. Even more mysterious are sightings of balls of lightning forming on glass and appearing in homes and in airplanes.

CSIRO scientist John Lowke has been studying ball lightning since the sixties. He's never seen it, but has spoken to eye witnesses and in a new scientific paper, he gives the first mathematical solution explaining the birth of ball lightning -- and how it can pass through glass.
Previous theories have cited microwave radiation from thunderclouds, oxidizing aerosols, nuclear energy, dark matter, antimatter, and even black holes as possible causes. Lowke disputes these theories.

He proposes ball lightning is caused when leftover ions (electric energy), which are very dense, are swept to the ground following a lightning strike. As for how they pass through glass, he says this is a result of a stream of ions accumulating on the outside of a glass window and the resulting electric field on the other side excites air molecules to form a ball discharge.

According to Lowke ball lightning is rare, but it has been witnessed in Australia many times. People just don't realize what it is when they see it.

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by CSIRO Australia.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121019102800.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmatter_energy+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Matter+%26+Energy+News%29
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« Reply #7496 on: Oct 20th, 2012, 2:51pm »

Lone,

That was my first thought.

Also if you look at the bottom of the picture the clouds seem to be in front of the houses.

HAL
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« Reply #7497 on: Oct 21st, 2012, 09:56am »

"Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Lightning!"


Good morning Swamprat,

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« Reply #7498 on: Oct 21st, 2012, 09:58am »

on Oct 20th, 2012, 2:51pm, HAL9000 wrote:
Lone,

That was my first thought.

Also if you look at the bottom of the picture the clouds seem to be in front of the houses.

HAL


Good morning HAL and Lone,

There does seem to be some reflection at the bottom of the photo left.

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« Reply #7499 on: Oct 21st, 2012, 10:00am »

New York Times

October 21, 2012

Pope Canonizes 7 Saints, Including 2 With New York Ties

By RACHEL DONADIO

VATICAN CITY — Tens of thousands of faithful, some wearing feathered headdresses and beads, others in colorful Hawaiian shirts and leis, turned out Sunday as Pope Benedict XVI canonized seven saints, including the first Native American and a 19th-century nun who tended to lepers on Hawaii.

Cheers rose from the crowd when the pope named Kateri Tekewitha, known as “Lily of the Mohawks” and beloved by Native Americans; and Sister Marianne Cope, a German-born nun who was raised in Utica, N.Y., before moving to Hawaii. But the loudest cheers were for Saint Pedro Calungsod, a 17th-century Filipino martyr, from a large contingent of Italy’s Filipino community thatcame out to celebrate.

The canonization Mass comes amid a meeting of bishops aimed at shoring up religious belief worldwide and several of the saints were missionaries.

Benedict prayed that “the witness of the new saints” would “speak today to the whole church. “May their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world,” he added.

Kateri was born in Auriesville, N.Y., about 40 miles west of Albany, to an Algonquin mother and father who was Mohawk. She was baptized by French Jesuits at age 20 after losing her parents in a smallpox epidemic. After being persecuted by some of her contemporaries for her faith, she fled to an Indian settlement in what is now Canada, where she died at age 24.

“Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture,” Benedict said, as he sat on a golden throne wearing a cream-colored mantle with golden stripes and a miter with red trim.

“May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are,” he said. “Saint Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust you to the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America.”

Native Americans from across the United States and Canada came to Rome to celebrate Kateri, who had long been a symbol of hope. Early Sunday morning, a group from the First Nation of the Ojibwe in Manitoba, Canada, stood in a circle in Saint Peter’s Square sounding round leather drums and singing “Kateri oh Kateri, you’re in my holy plan.”

“We’re very excited and happy to be here,” said one singer, Nancy Bruyere, who wore two long black braids and leather clothing with fringes.

Last year, Benedict confirmed that an 11-year-old Native American boy from Washington State had been miraculously cured from a flesh-eating bacteria after his parents prayed for intervention through Kateri in 2006 — the second miracle needed to confirm sainthood.

Some Native Americans have said that canonizing Kateri is an implicit offense to Native American traditions, but Eleanor Smith, a youthful 80, from Albuquerque, did not agree.

“It’s a combination of your Catholic and your native traditions blending together,” Ms. Smith said who is from Mississippi Choctaw and Navajo heritage. “We all believe in the same creator. God, creator, Father Sky — it’s all the same.”

Others came to honor Saint Marianne Cope, a former mother superior of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis in Syracuse, N.Y., who moved to the island of Molokai in 1883 to tend those with Hansen’s disease, or leprosy. There, she worked with Father Damien De Veuster, a Belgian priest who was canonized in 2009.

Benedict called Saint Marianne, who died in 1913, “a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis.”

Kathleen Ford, 67, came with a group from the Diocese of Syracuse. “You can relate to her. She was a forerunner in health care,” Ms. Ford said as she stood in a group wearing white kerchiefs that read, “Sisters of Saint Francis. Beloved lover of outcasts.”

The Vatican confirmed that a woman from Syracuse was cured from complications of pancreatitis in 2005 after praying to Mother Marianne, the second miracle needed to assure the nun’s sainthood.

Yvonne Pascua, 65, said she had come to Rome from Kapaa on the island of Kawaii for the canonizations of both Saint Marianne and Saint Damien. “After Father Damien, Sister Marianne stepped up to the plate,” she said.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said it was an honor to have two saints with ties to New York. “This is extraordinarily blessed day for New York, with now Saint Kateri and Saint Marianne Cope,” he said after Sunday’s Mass.

“We share them. The Canadians love Saint Kateri and the Hawaiians Saint Marianne Cope, but boy oh boy are we ever holding our heads high in New York,” added the cardinal, who is expected to travel to Syria this week as part of a delegation chosen by Benedict to deliver spiritual support to the war-torn region.

Among the other saints named Sunday was Saint Pedro Calungsod, who was killed by tribesmen on Guam in 1672 when he was helping Spanish Jesuits convert the natives; Jacques Berthieu, a 19th-century Jesuit missionary who was killed by rebels in Madagascar; Carmen Salles y Barangueras, a Spanish nun; and Giovanni Battista Piamarta who founded a Catholic press in Brescia, Italy.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/nyregion/pope-canonizes-kateri-tekewitha-and-marianne-cope.html?hp&_r=0

Crystal
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