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MLK remembered

"MLK remembered" Continued...

Issue: "Remembering 9/11," Sept. 10, 2011

Make a difference

Voting continues until Sept. 30 in the sixth annual WORLD Magazine Effective Compassion contest. The four regional finalists-from New York, Kentucky, Missouri, and California-will each receive $5,000, and the national winner will receive $20,000 more. Funding plus national publicity will allow all of these small, local organizations, and especially the winner, to increase their reach. Please visit worldmag.com/compassion to learn about the final four and vote for the one you believe most worthy.

Contract hit

A county judge in Illinois on Aug. 18 ruled against a bid by Catholic Charities to preserve its foster care and adoption contracts with the state. Illinois ended its contracts with Catholic Charities this summer after passing a law recognizing same-sex civil unions. The state had informed the organization, an arm of the Catholic Church, that its policy of limiting foster and adoptive parents to heterosexual married couples violates the new civil unions law. Three major Illinois dioceses sued the state, arguing that religious adoption agencies have specific protection under the civil unions law, which is titled "The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act." Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt didn't address the question of whether religious organizations with state contracts have religious freedom protections, but wrote in a three-page ruling that the state could decide to renew or not renew contracts as it wished. "No citizen has a recognized legal right to a contract with the government," Schmidt wrote. Catholic Charities handled 20 percent of the state's foster care and adoption caseload. Lawyers for the group are reviewing the ruling and "considering next actions," they said. As the case stands, Catholic Charities in Illinois will need to find other organizations to provide for the 2,000 foster children in its care.

Eastern quake

"Was that just an earthquake? On the East Coast?" That was the sentiment of tens of millions of people on Aug. 23 after a 5.8-magnitude quake rocked their afternoons. The strongest East Coast tremor in 67 years lasted less than a minute but was felt from Georgia all the way to southern Canada. In Washington, D.C., located 84 miles from the quake's epicenter, sidewalks buckled, buildings rumbled, and thousands poured out of offices with stunned looks on their faces. The quake damaged the National Cathedral, cracked the top of the Washington Monument, and had some Pentagon evacuees recalling the 9/11 attacks.

But the quake mostly will be remembered for causing little serious damage or injuries. At its epicenter in Mineral, Va., a town of less than 500 people, the quake shattered glass and turned sections of buildings into piles of rubble. But it did not damage two nearby nuclear reactors. Soon after its bucking had stopped, most of the quake's action had shifted online. People posted pictures on Facebook showing images such as toppled lawn chairs and competed on Twitter for funniest description (Earthquake in DC. Do not panic. A Super Committee will be formed to at some point possibly decide what to do). A 7.3-magnitude quake that hit the Charleston, S.C., area in 1886 remains the largest quake ever to hit the East Coast.

Lawless land

Six months after the March assassination of Pakistan's Minister of Minorities Shabaz Bhatti, authorities have arrested no one in connection with the daylight killing, and have suggested that Bhatti, the top-ranking Christian official in the country, could have been killed by relatives in a property dispute. An Aug. 24 report by the Inspector General of Police laid blame on two militants connected with Tehrik-i-Taliban, who claimed responsibility at the time for the killing, but said they had fled the country. "Sharia Law prohibits Christians testifying against Muslims in court," points out Elizabeth Kendal of Religious Liberty Monitoring, essentially guaranteeing Muslims impunity for crimes against Christians, and "Sharia provisions are increasingly being enforced to appease politically powerful hardline Islamists, even though these provisions conflict with the law of the land" in Pakistan.

Losing Jobs

The Steve Jobs era at Apple is over-again. The aggressive and visionary businessman who overcame several setbacks to give the world the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad announced his resignation as CEO of Apple on Aug. 24. "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know," said Jobs in a statement. "Unfortunately, that day has come." Jobs, 55, has been battling cancer.

Jobs began Apple in 1976 with engineer Steve Wozniak. The first Apple computer was a flop, but Apple II made the company a success. Forced to leave Apple in the 1980s after the failure of the Lisa computer, Jobs didn't return until Apple bought his second company, NeXT Computer. Apple under Jobs transformed the mobile market and became one of the most valuable companies in America. Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer since 1998, will take over as CEO of the company. Jobs will remain as chairman of the board.

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