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Tuesday, Sep 02nd

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First evidence of Neanderthal/human mix

neanderthalAncient skeletal remains found in Italy may be of a human/Neanderthal hybrid, the first such known instance of the species interbreeding, scientists say. If further analysis of the 40,000-30,000-year-old skeleton confirms it, it would be the first direct evidence that humans and Neanderthals interbred, they said.

Researches from the University of Ai-Marseille in France have conducted DNA and imaging studies on jawbone unearthed at a rock-shelter called Riparo di Mezzena in the Monti Lessini region of Italy, from a time when both Neanderthals and modern humans inhabited Europe.

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Statutes of Limitations Are Expiring on Some Bush Crimes

Statues of LImitations on Bush war crimesAmericans have been facing a number of momentous deadlines, including the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the “sequester” of $1 trillion from federal programs. But another critical deadline is fast approaching without attracting much notice.

Statutes of limitations applicable to possible crimes committed by former President George W. Bush and his top aides, with respect to wiretapping of Americans without court approval and to fraud in launching and continuing the Iraq War, may expire in early 2014, less than a year from now.

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Miami archdiocese settles sex-abuse claims by former altar boy

Rafael EscalaWhen the Rev. Rafael Escala served at St. Timothy Catholic Church in West Kendall in the late 1980s, he caught a teenaged altar boy stealing $60 from the collection.

Escala threatened to report the teen to his father and the police. But rather than carry out the threat, the priest sexually abused the 16-year-old boy, according to the victim, who obtained a financial settlement from the Archdiocese of Miami in January.

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‘Dirty War’ Questions for Pope Francis

Pope Francis and the Dirty WarIf one wonders if the U.S. press corps has learned anything in the decade since the Iraq War – i.e. the need to ask tough question and show honest skepticism – it would appear from the early coverage of the election of Pope Francis I that U.S. journalists haven’t changed at all, even at “liberal” outlets like MSNBC.

The first question that a real reporter should ask about an Argentine cleric who lived through the years of grotesque repression, known as the “dirty war,” is what did this person do, did he stand up to the murderers and torturers or did he go with the flow. If the likes of Chris Matthews and other commentators on MSNBC had done a simple Google search, they would have found out enough about Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to slow their bubbling enthusiasm.

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Child abuse cases covered up by papal elector are settled in $10m deal

LA church child abuse casesRoger Mahony, who is at Rome conclave choosing next pope, protected Los Angeles priest who admitted molesting children Two child abuse cases involving a cover-up by one of the cardinals electing the next pope have been settled as part of a $10m (£6.6m) out-of-court deal in Los Angeles.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will make the payouts to victims of a now-defrocked priest who told Cardinal Roger Mahony nearly 30 years ago that he had molested children. The cases involving ex-priest Michael Baker span 26 years, from 1974 to 2000. Two were set for trial next month. The cases were settled this week.

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Bishops Oppose Violence Against Women Act Because Of LGBT Provisions

Bishop CordileoneFive key Catholic bishops are opposing the newly authorized Violence Against Women Act for fear it will subvert traditional views of marriage and gender, and compromise the religious freedom of groups that aid victims of human trafficking.

The act, to be signed into law by President Obama on Thursday (March 7), is intended to protect women from domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, and allows the federal government to spend money to treat victims and prosecute offenders.

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Mother Teresa: anything but a saint...

Mother TeresaThe myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal's Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Education. The paper will be published in the March issue of the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses and is an analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa.

Like the journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, who is amply quoted in their analysis, the researchers conclude that her hallowed image—which does not stand up to analysis of the facts—was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media relations campaign.

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