The “world’s greatest cat benefactor” is Italy’s Albertina Di Mascio.
This 70-year-old woman gives up almost all of her and her husband’s entire monthly retirement check to care for stray cats in the area.
“If I didn’t have the cats, I’d be at home all the time. Instead they keep me in good health,” Di Mascio said. “It’s an addiction, caring for so many animals.”
This lover of cats wakes up early every morning and prepares water, cat food, and milk before going on her daily rounds to feed at least 120 stray cats in the north Milan quarters of Niguarda and Greco, Italy. She cares for all of the cats by herself. She takes sixty cans of cat food, two quarts of milk, and fifteen quarts of water, and six pounds of cat biscuits with her.
She purchases so much cat food that a wholesale company now delivers it to her own door twice a month.
It all began 15 years ago when her daughter brought a stray cat home. Di Mascio then found other cats in the basement and in the neighborhood. People started to tell her where there were more stray cats. As she started to care for the stray cats in the area, she saw that their health improved. The cats are all beautiful and healthy now because of Di Mascio’s efforts and hard work.
Di Mascio spends so much of their retirement money on feeding the cats that there is not much left for her and her husband. She said her and her husband live on bread, tomatoes, tuna, and watermelon. The rest of the money goes on cat food.
She and her husband don’t mind giving up luxuries, and she said that is why she is healthier for it.
Di Mascio also has 30 cats of her own at their house.
A grassroots effort by pet owners in Texas seeks modification of existing law to allow senior and sick pets to forego state-mandated rabies vaccinations.
A petition recently presented to the Texas Department of Health Services, Zoonosis Control Department asks the Department to give attending veterinarians discretion in assessing the risk of rabies exposure versus the risk of an adverse or potentially fatal reaction to a rabies vaccine.
Supporters of the proposed change in policy hope that companion animals will qualify for an exemption if they previously submitted to at least two rabies shots and suffered adverse reactions, or if they are prone to reactions, or are in the care of a licensed veterinarian for a chronic or acute illness. The exemption would not excuse pet owners from licensing their pets according to local ordinances, but it would allow them to protect the animal’s health and remain in compliance with state law.
The Texas Department of Public Health adopted a 3-year interval between rabies vaccinations for dogs and one year for cats in 2003, bringing state law into accord with recommendations to curb unnecessary vaccinations made by many veterinary medical schools and professional associations. However, the final decision about the interval for rabies booster shots has been left to each individual community.
Many Texas counties and cities still require annual rabies vaccinations, regardless of the condition of the animal. No provision has been made for companion animals with acute or chronic health issues being treated by a licensed veterinarian.
All rabies vaccines licensed by the USDA specify on their label, “For administration to healthy dogs and cats.”
Pamela Picard, a Texas pet owner who launched the petition declared, “To require re-vaccination when a booster shot will put the patient’s life at risk in direct contradiction to the manufacturer’s labeling is state-sanctioned malpractice. A pet owner should not have to choose between endangering an animal’s health and obeying the law.”
Many veterinary services, grooming and boarding services, trains and airlines require proof of a current rabies vaccination. This forces Texas pet owners to obey the current law or risk denial of services and/or possible seizure of their pet by animal control authorities.
Dr. Bob Rogers, D.V.M. a Houston, TX veterinarian who is providing the science to support the need for a rabies exemption, believes that granting this exemption poses little risk to any community.
By contrast, the consequences of repeated vaccinations for an animal in a compromised state of health can be serious. Veterinarians worldwide cite an epidemic of common problems that they believe are linked to vaccines, including ear or skin conditions, chronic discharges, itching and behavior problems.
Alabama event planner Carron Morrow was hanging Japanese lanterns for a wedding last summer when she suffered her fourth heart attack. A week later, the doctor told the 58-year-old mother of two she was a walking time bomb: The right side of her heart was functioning at less than 50 percent. They tried stents and a defibrillator. Then she was put on the heart transplant list.
"All I could do was cry," she says. "I just thought, 'I'm about to die.' There's 100,000 people waiting for a heart."
By fall, she grew worse.
"I couldn't walk 20 feet without being on somebody's arm," Morrow says. "I couldn't go to the mall. My legs just wouldn't carry me. I knew I had really gotten worse."
Her church rallied around her. "Each time I've had one of these heart attacks, the church has surrounded me in prayer," she says.
'I started praying'
Morrow's nurse from her third heart attack had been researching adult stem-cell therapy and came across a groundbreaking study at the Texas Heart Institute. Her health records were sent to Texas.
"Within a month's time, I was in Texas," she says.
But just 30 people would be admitted to the study: 20 would receive stem-cell therapy, and 10 would receive a placebo.
"I started praying," Morrow says. "They called me at a quarter to five." She would be part of the research that began in Brazil more than a decade ago.
First, she had to sign liability papers for the surgery, which is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
"My next choice was just to drop dead, so I signed everything," she says, "and had full confidence in that group."
On Oct. 14, 2006 her birthday she went into surgery. Doctors removed about 50cc of bone marrow from her left hip. Then the cells were cultivated. Four hours later, she was back in surgery, where 30 million stem cells were injected into the right side of her heart.
Morrow stayed in Texas for nine days and returned every two weeks through January. A local businessman, for whom she had catered, paid for all of her plane trips.
'I could sing a whole song'
"I knew within two months something was going on," Morrow says. "I could sing a whole song at church."
By December, she "was plating food as hard as any other chef there."
In April, "I had a huge wedding in Jackson, Mississippi. We put in 80 hours that week. My sister said, 'Carron, you know you have the stem cells.' "
The following week in Texas, it was confirmed: "This little bitty envelope had 'stem cell' in it."
This month, she returned to the University of Alabama, where she had received dire news just a year ago. She had another CT scan to see how her heart was functioning.
"The doctor calls and says, 'Ma'am, the right side of your heart is normal.'"
She thought he had the tests messed up and had the report faxed to Montgomery. "I was in la-la land for several days."
PBS featured her on a documentary that aired June 7.
"I told the doctor, 'I don't understand why we have this huge political mess going on about stem cells,'" Morrow says. "I'm living proof that adult stem cells work far better than embryonic. And why should embryonic even be in discussion?
"I'm here to say, 'I'm living proof. It saved my life.'
"I'm just doing great."
She doesn't even need her $85,000 defibrillator anymore. The cost to culture the stem cells, Morrow says: Less than $600. "This is going to revolutionize heart disease.
"This community has been such a strength for me," she says. "I am just so blessed. I feel so undeserving. I am not a perfect person. I just am overwhelmed with how good God is to me.
"I have been given an opportunity … it just blows me away, at how good God is, even when we don't deserve it. I am very, very grateful.
"I hope God lets me shout it from the rooftop, 'Your own stem cells work.'
"I am just so excited about the study of stem cells, the possibilities."
Kidnapping of Christian children on the rise in Nigeria http://freecopts.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=490&Itemid=9 Written by Compass Direct Saturday, 14 April 2007 13year-old Christian boy, Victor Udo Usen - who was kidnapped in the Nigerian state of Sokoto in Northern Nigeria last November - was recently discovered in a Muslim neighbour's house where he had been held for more than six months. The boy's mother, Esther Udo Usen, ran to the house where he had been seen, and managed to enter the house by force and pull the boy away. However, a mob gathered together and recovered the boy, returning him to the Muslim household. Apparently the Muslim family had changed the boy's name to Abdulkarim and forcibly converted him to Islam. The matter has been reported to police by the Udo Usen family, with the support of their local pastor. However, police have so far been unhelpful.
Christian leaders are worried that the kidnapping trend is on the increase, creating tensions between Muslims and Christians in Sokoto. "Sometimes Muslims force our young boys and girls into Islam," said Kevin Aje, Roman Catholic Bishop of Sokoto. "These are some of the challenges facing Christians here."
?Analysis: What kind of tactic is kidnapping? While some moderate Muslims argue passionately that Islam forbids the kidnapping of innocents, kidnapping itself is still widely practised throughout the Muslim world. Whether it is the kidnapping of aid workers and journalists in the Middle East, or Christian girls in Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh, or civilians being taken off the street and held for ransom in Iraq, it is clear that many Muslims do not see abduction as incompatible with their religion. Indeed, interviews with, and videos of, the perpetrators of these crimes often reveal a strongly religious motivation behind their activities. Moreover, back in 2004, the SITE Institute - a website monitoring extremist and terrorist activities - exposed an al-Qaeda training manual which described how to conduct effective kidnappings as a tool of Islamic jihad (holy war).
Historically, the kidnapping of Christian boys was practised by Muslim armies during the Ottoman empire, for the purpose of converting them to Islam and satisfying the need for more soldiers. More recently, there have been reports of this activity still going on in places like rural Pakistan.
Sometimes, where Christian-Muslim marriages occur - or where parents convert to Christianity - the abduction of children from the union is seen as justified. Other family members may kidnap them to ensure the children are raised as Muslims, not Christians.
In this Nigerian case, the real reason for the kidnapping is unclear - perhaps the family wanted a servant boy, saw their opportunity, and took the child captive. This in itself amounts to slavery. Slavery still exists around the world, and the trafficking of human beings is a huge human rights issue, affecting not only those in Muslim countries, but also thousands of vulnerable people in non-Muslim Asian, African and European countries as well.
SALT LAKE CITY – A small shrub that was in the heart of the largest wildfire in state history survived the scorching flames, leading rangeland officials hopeful that the plant could help prevent future fires.
The kochia shrub withstood the Milford Flat wildfire, which burned almost 550 square miles last month in Beaver and Millard counties.
“It's a miracle plant,” said research geneticist Blair Waldron with the federal Agriculture Research Service.
The shrub was planted after wildfires in Milliard County in 1984. Most reseeding efforts to restore other vegetation to the burned-out land failed. But in the late 1980s, researchers planted a 15-acre plot of kochia about 10 miles west of Kanosh.
When officials returned to that area last month, they discovered the July fire came up to where the plants were but couldn't burn through the kochia, which had spread in recent years. The kochia also helped protect native shrubs such as shadscale, while other plants just outside where the kochia was were destroyed.
Scientists said research has shown that kochia reduces the length of and intensity of flames or even stops wildfires.
“None of us were surprised,” said plant geneticist Mike Peel. “But the area was in much better condition than we had expected.”
Experts are advising state officials that kochia, along with crested or Siberian wheatgrass and Russian wildrye should make up 75 percent of reseeding mixes on harsh, dry desert ranges. Seeds from several native species had been planted after the 1984 fire, but only winterfat was able to grow in the degraded dust bowl area, officials said.
Kochia can compete with cheatgrass, an invasive plant that depletes the soil and fuels wildfires.
Because the seed supply isn't likely to meet the demand, land managers are recommending planting kochia only as firebreaks.
Waldron said it's crucial that charred lands be replanted this year – before invasive species like cheatgrass take over.
“It is important to understand that even one inch of lost soil can take thousands of years to replace,” Waldron said.
A Muslim immigrant working on contract for Microsoft filed a complaint against the company saying he was interrogated about his Muslim-inspired, anti-war Web site, then abruptly fired. Two former Kentridge High School students, whose Bible club was denied a charter at the school in part because it required members to swear allegiance to Jesus Christ, are awaiting a federal-court decision in their lawsuit. And 14 months ago, the Red Robin restaurant chain settled with a server it had fired from its Bellevue restaurant for refusing to cover up wrist tattoos he said are part of his ancient Egyptian Kemetic faith.
Across the country, complaints alleging religious discrimination are up dramatically, with confrontations arising over how people publicly observe their faith, when and where they pray, how they dress, what hours they work - and generally what they believe.
Between 2002 and 2006, the number of religious-discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) nationally rose more than 30 percent from the previous five years. Among the factors fuelling the tensions are fallout from the war on terror, the growing convergence of politics and religion and an increasingly diverse population.
Religious disputes can arise over anything from working on the Sabbath to the use of a company lunch room for prayer meetings. The Rev. Joe Fuiten, pastor of Cedar Park Assembly of God, said concerns have arisen within his church, coming from a teacher who couldn't keep a Bible on her desk and a child told by a teacher that he was not allowed to say "Merry Christmas." "Separation of church and state has suddenly become separation of church and public life," Fuiten said.
Labor lawyers and human-resource experts say employers should establish clear policies and an atmosphere that does not tolerate harassment. And they are required to accommodate, within reasonable limits, the "bona fide" religious beliefs and practices of employees. "I tell employers to go the furthest step that a reasonable person would ask you to go and then go one step further - and you'll win," said Liebman, the employment attorney in Portland. Determining what's bona fide can get tricky.
A Roman Catholic Church in the Kavango Region burnt to the ground immediately after a memorial service for a traditional doctor who died last week.
The thatched-roof Shamangorwa Catholic Church, located some 160 km east of Rundu, was completely burnt down.
Acting Priest Michael Hausiku confirmed the incident but could not explain how the fire started.
It is reported that after the memorial service for the traditional healer, mourners witnessed a strong wind that was immediately followed by what sounded like an explosion.
Father Hausiku said the decision to take the corpse of the traditional healer into the church for the service sparked disagreement among parishioners, as some objected to conducting a church service for the late traditional healer inside the church.
Some community members apparently argued that the witchdoctor did not deserve a church service, as he was not a Christian when he was alive.
HEART SURGEON RELATES ASTOUNDING ACCOUNT OF A RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD
The audience of 120 doctors from 50 countries sat in stunned silence as a renowned heart doctor produced evidence of how, after he had prayed for a patient who had died and was being prepared for the morgue, was brought back to life after prayer.
Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall IV, who serves at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, made his dramatic presentation at the 4th Annual World Christian Doctors Network Conference in Miami, Florida. He produced dramatic evidence that was shown on the screen and then, afterwards, agreed to tell the story to Assist News Service in an interview with Dan Wooding. The following is the interview as conducted by Dan:
Dr. Crandall began by saying that the dramatic incident took place almost a year ago in West Palm Beach, Florida. "We had a fifty-three year old man who came to the emergency room with a massive heart attack and actually his heart had stopped," he said. "The medical people had worked on him for over forty minutes in the emergency room and then declared him dead. "They called me in to evaluate the patient towards the end of his treatment where they had unsuccessfully tried to revive him.
The nurse was preparing his body to be taken down to the morgue when the Holy Spirit told me to 'turn around and pray for that man.' When the Holy Spirit talks to you, you have to respond. It's sometimes a quiet voice and this was a quiet voice and to honour the Lord I did turn around and I went to the side of that stretcher where his body was being prepared.
"There was no life in the man. His face and feet and arms were completely black with death and I sat next to his body and I prayed, 'Lord, Father; how am I going to pray for this man? He's dead. What can I do?' All of a sudden, these words came out of my mouth, 'Father, God, I cry out for the soul of this man if he does not know You as his Lord and Saviour, please raise him from the dead right now in Jesus name.
"It was amazing as a couple of minutes later, we were looking at the monitor and all of a sudden a heart beat showed up. It was a perfect beat; a normal beat; and then after a couple more minutes, he started moving and then his fingers were moving and then his toes began moving and then he started mumbling words. "There was a nurse in the room-she wasn't a Believer-and she screamed out and said 'Doctor Crandall, what have you done to this patient?' And I said, 'All I've done is cry out for his soul in Jesus name.'
"We quickly rushed the gentleman down to the intensive care unit, and the hospital was by now buzzing about the fact that a dead man had been brought back to life. After a couple of days he woke up. He had an amazing story to tell after I had asked him, 'Where have you been and where were you on that day that you had that massive heart attack? You were gone and we prayed you back to life in Jesus name.'
"He said, 'Doctor Crandall, it's the most amazing thing. I was in a dark room and there was no light. It was complete darkness and I felt I was in a casket and I kept repeating that I was so disappointed.' He said the disappointment came from the fact that none of his family, friends or colleagues, had come to visit him. Then he told me, 'All of a sudden, these men came in and they wrapped me up and they threw me in the trash.'
"Dan, he was in hell that day and as he told me that story, I cried out, 'Lord, this gentleman needs to accept You as Lord and Saviour.' I then explained the salvation message to this man as he sat in that bed and I held his hand and I cried out, 'Father God, in the name of Jesus, I pray that this man accepts you as his Lord and Saviour right here in the intensive care unit.' He held out his hand and accepted Christ as his Saviour with tears rolling down from his eyes and now he's a child of God. "I told him, 'You never have to be thrown in the trash into total darkness now. The life of Christ is in you and the light of the kingdom of Heaven is on you now."
I asked Dr. Crandall if there had been any brain damage to the patient. "No there was no brain damage at all; his brain was completely normal," he said. "I was most concerned about his hands because his fingers were completely black and he had some numbness in his fingers and his feet, but now that is totally resolved."
I asked Dr. Crandall if he could give the name of the man and he said he couldn't as the patient had requested that it would not be revealed. "All I can say is that he was fifty-three years old and he was a car mechanic," he said. "He had a family who were Believers, but he left them twenty years ago because he didn't believe in the Lord. His family continued to pray for twenty years for his salvation, and his ex-wife was on her hands and knees praying for the salvation of her ex-husband, who came to know the Lord that very day".
I concluded the interview by asking Dr. Crandall what he would like to say to doctors who do not believe in supernatural healing."I would just like to say to my colleagues and physicians out there, that the Lord is real. We've seen many miracles and we pray for our patients daily. There is not one week that goes by that we don't see a mighty miracle in our office. The people need this; they need the power of Christ in their life and they need the power of Christ for healing.
"I would just encourage my fellow doctors to get involved in a church, meet with a minister, and attend a healing service run by people that believe in the power of Jesus Christ. We love our colleagues in medicine-we pray for them."
DISCOVERY OF HUGE UNDERGROUND LAKE IN DARFUR COULD BRING END TO CONFLICT
According to geologist Farouk El-Baz, director of the Boston University Centre for Remote Sensing, a huge underground lake (the size of Lake Erie) has been found in Sudan's Darfur region which could help end the conflict in the arid region, and with the agreement of the Sudanese government, as many as 1,000 wells could be drilled in the region.
"Much of the unrest in Darfur and the misery is due to water shortages," El-Baz told Associated Press. "Access to fresh water is essential for refugee survival, will help the peace process, and provides the necessary resources for the much needed economic development in Darfur."The discovery is "very significant", Hafiz Muhamad from the lobby group Justice Africa said. "The root cause of the conflict is resources-drought and desertification in North Darfur."
IN FRANCE, MUSLIMS CONVERTING TO CHRIST BY THE THOUSANDS DESPITE DEATH THREATS
Muslims are converting to Christianity by the thousands in France, even though they face death threats and exclusion from their families. Most Muslims hide their conversion and pastors do their utmost to protect them. It is estimated that every year in the world some six million Muslims convert to Christianity, and in France that translates to about 15,000 Muslims each year.
One example is comedian Siad Oujibou, who used to pray five times a day but found his questions about death and his desire for a God lacking within Islam. He is now a Christian pastor. Since then, he has "faced many reprisals and humiliations from his family and was even under a sentence of death." Said Oujibou, "We are under this law if we change our faith. In certain countries we would be condemned to death because we have converted. But I haven't changed my religion. I don't believe in religion, I believe in God. And God and religion are two very different things."
As you may remember, I
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I just got back for the
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It seems that the
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