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Associated Press/Photo by Gurinder Osan New Delhi

The Buzz

Need-to-know news

Issue: "Tiananmen massacre," June 6, 2009

India polls

Election results in India surprised political observers on May 16, as many predicted the country's ruling Congress party would suffer significant losses and perhaps lose control of the government. Instead, some 400 million voters handed the Congress party a resounding victory that secures its ability to press for its progressive agenda in a country of 1 billon people. Two groups lost big: Communists and members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party. Communists had long opposed the Congress party's efforts to move away from socialist policies and toward capitalism. But Communists lost more than half their Parliament seats. The BJP-a Hindu nationalist group-also lost seats and failed to tip power in their favor. That failure pleased Christian groups worried that the BJP would continue a campaign against religious minorities.

Astro_Mike

Astronaut Mike Massimino took Twitter into space with him, along with about 324,000 followers from the social messaging site, on the May mission aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. It was the second Hubble repair mission for the 46-year-old ­mission specialist, who spent several hours on two spacewalks this time, but his first with an online audience:

  • From orbit: Rendezvous and grapple were great, getting ready for our first spacewalk - 7:59 AM May 14th from web
  • From orbit: Just flew over the US, Baja to Miami in about 10 minutes! Beautiful Day!! - 11:35 AM May 18th from web
  • From orbit: Hard to sleep last night after my spacewalk, images of the work and the views still vivid in my mind. - 11:36 AM May 18th from web
  • From orbit: Eating chocolates in space, floating them in front of me then floating and eating them like I am a fish - 4:26 AM May 19th from web
  • From orbit: We see 16 sunrises and sunsets in 24 hrs, each one spectacular as the sun lights up the atmosphere in a spectrum of colors - 6:06 PM May 19th from web
  • From orbit: Finished packing up our big white spacewalking suits and securing them for a safe landing. - 9:51 AM May 21st from web

Murphy's lawlessness

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Documents revealed in an ongoing fraud case against the Milwaukee archdiocese show evidence of a cover-up in one of the worst molestation scandals to rock the Catholic Church. The documents indicate that former priest Lawrence Murphy, who died in 1999, abused as many as 200 children over a two-decade period. They further disclose the attempts of former Archbishop Rembert Weakland to suppress public awareness of such crimes. The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) contends that the church has never fully acknowledged the extent of Murphy's actions at St. John's School for Deaf, which no longer exists. The archdiocese claims that it has long since acknowledged and condemned Murphy's acts as "a horrendous betrayal of his priestly vows." The church insists that necessary measures and policies are now in place to prevent any such conduct in the future.

Out of jail

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick walked out of federal prison May 20, but his debt to society and the NFL, along with considerable debts to creditors, aren't fully paid. The superstar athlete, who spent 21 months behind bars after pleading guilty to charges of bankrolling a dog-fighting ring out of his home, must now spend two more months in home confinement, convince NFL commissioner Roger Goodell of his contrition, and submit a new plan to emerge from bankruptcy after a judge rejected an initial proposal for Chapter 11 in which Vick would maintain possession of two houses and three cars. Should Vick successfully navigate all such waters, the question remains as to whether any team will sign him. In the meantime, Vick plans to work with the Humane Society in a campaign to discourage young people from dog-fighting.

Idol upset

American Idol fans cast a record-breaking 100 million votes May 20 to hand Kris Allen a surprise victory over Idol favorite Adam Lambert. Although never referenced on the show, many commentators believe Allen's Christian faith was a factor in helping the 23-year-old church worship leader triumph over the theatrical Lambert, 27. As one of television's more family-friendly shows, Idol draws Christian viewers who may have sided with Allen after fellow Christian Danny Gokey was voted off the show.

Challenged

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh shouted, "I challenge you, MSNBC!" to his talking-head rivals. Irked by overexposure on the network, Limbaugh is asking his "good friends" at MSNBC to go a full month without discussing him on the air: "It is clear to me that MSNBC is hoping to build its ratings on my back." No word if MSNBC's evening tag-team of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, both removed from NBC's presidential election coverage last fall for their bias, will consent to Rush withdrawal. But Limbaugh gave them some advice: "Stand on your own two feet. Stand on liberalism. Stand on what you believe."

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