Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oldest New Testament Bible heads into cyberspace

Reuters - Tuesday, July 22
By Dave Graham

BERLIN - More than 1,600 years after it was written in Greek, one of the oldest copies of the Bible will become globally accessible online for the first time this week.

From Thursday, sections of the Codex Sinaiticus, which contains the oldest complete New Testament, will be available on the Internet, said the University of Leipzig, one of the four curators of the ancient text worldwide.

High resolution images of the Gospel of Mark, several Old Testament books, and notes on the work made over centuries will appear on www.codex-sinaiticus.net as a first step towards publishing the entire manuscript online by next July.

Ulrich Johannes Schneider, director of Leipzig University Library, which holds part of the manuscript, said the publication of the Codex online would allow anyone to study a work of "fundamental" importance to Christians.

"A manuscript is going onto the net which is like nothing else online to date," Schneider said. "It's also an enrichment of the virtual world -- and a bit of a change from YouTube."

Selected translations will be available in English and German for those not conversant in ancient Greek, he added.

Dating from around 350, the document is believed by experts to be the oldest known copy of the Bible, along with the Codex Vaticanus, another ancient version of the Bible, Schneider said.

The vellum manuscript came to Europe piece by piece from Saint Catherine's Monastery by Mount Sinai after German biblical scholar Konstantin von Tischendorf found a number of folios there in 1844. He was allowed to take some to Leipzig.

Tischendorf returned to the monastery in 1859 with Russian backing and acquired the biggest section of the Bible for his imperial sponsors. It remained in St. Petersburg until the Soviet Union sold it to the British Museum in 1933.

"The first section was clearly a gift to Tischendorf, but that's not so clear in the case of the second portion. The monks all signed a contract at the time, but the rumor persists that they were given a raw deal," said Schneider.

"And there is probably some truth to this."

Subsequent discoveries meant that the original Codex, missing roughly half the Old Testament, is now housed at four locations in Europe and the Middle East.

The project, launched in cooperation with the Russian National Library, the British Library and Saint Catherine's Monastery, also details the condition of the Bible, believed to have been written by early Christians in Egypt.

"I think it's just fantastic that thanks to technology we can now make the oldest cultural artifacts -- ones that were once so precious you couldn't show them to anyone -- accessible to everyone, in really high quality," said Schneider.

source: Yahoo.ph News

Monday, July 14, 2008

Philippine Alliance of ExSeminarians (PAX)

An update on the creation of the Alliance of ExSeminarians was sent to me by Bolano Peter Marlon last July 9. I thank him for sending me these updates which also give me the opportunity to help spread the endeavor to fellow Exseminarians.

I learned that the creation of the Philippine Alliance of XSeminarians (PAX) had been started a long time ago. From the update that I received - a brief history was included and the following in italics are also from the update. If you are an ExSeminarian and wants to know more about the Philippine Alliance of XSeminarians (PAX), please contact me and i will be very glad to forward to you the updates and current undertakings sent to me by Bolano Peter Marlon.

-It was learned that sometime in the early 70’s an attempt was made to form an association of ex-seminarians through the initiative of the late Orly Punzalan from the UST Central Seminary. Unfortunately, the initiative fizzled out despite the initial gathering of several ex-seminarians which had now Justice Feria as its guest speaker.
-Another attempt was made sometime in 1992 with an assembly of over 100 ex-seminarians from different seminaries which was held at the Guadalupe Minor Seminary at Makati City. For some unknown reasons, there was no other meeting called thereafter.
-The last attempt was made in early 2003 when a group of ex-seminarians met in San Carlos Seminary at Makati City. The group also fizzled out.

With the theme “ut unum simus” (that we may be one) Please Foundation Inc, (Palo Leyte Alumni of the Seminary) initiated the move to organize all ex-seminarians nationwide.


1. MORINGA PROJECT — The group adopted the proposal of Atty. Ribo to plant Moringa/Malungay in a two-hectare land pilot area and to build a factory for this purpose. A multi-purpose cooperative was created to handle this project. This project will then be replicated in other dioceses to benefit the local ex-sems. This project and other future project will make the Alliance financially self-sufficient, provide employment for the ex-sems and augment their incomes. This, and other future similar projects, is the answer to Objective No. 1 (Better economic opportunities (employment and business) and Issue No. 3 (Logistics).

2. WEBSITE — An official website to be called “paxinterra.org” is now being designed by Roderick ”Derek” C. Madrunio, a Benedictine ex-sem. This website will contain (a) links to all the alumni websites, the Vatican, the CBCP, and related sites; (b) the directory, relevant and non-confidential information of the members; (c) forum for discussion on relevant issues concerning the alliance; (d) a page for the projects and activities of the alliance; (e) an advertisement of the businesses of the members for a fee; (f) announcement of issues relevant to the alliance and its members; and (g) other features which the members may propose. This website will be our means of knowing and getting-in-touch with each other.

3. Creation of Political Affairs and Good Governance Committee — Though there was a general agreement on the need for moral change and promote good governance in government, it was emphasized that the alliance must respect the political persuasions of each ex-sem. This will is also answer Objective No. 4 (Better participation in governance). Reflecting on this matter later with a friend, I will share some of my ideas on what’s wrong with our political system.

Sometime in 2005, at the height of the “Hello Garci” controversy, Pres. Arroyo justified her “lapse in judgment” (whatever she meant by it) in the political culture prevailing in the country. While it is not a excuse for her “lapse in judgment”, she has a point. In her youth she studied in Assumption College. Like her most of the people in government attended good schools (private Catholic and protestant schools, public schools like UP), where virtues and idealism were inculcated. Like her, we had been idealists who refused to compromise good with evil, we had been dismayed with the way we have been governed, we had hoped to change the system for the better when our time comes; we hoped to change the world, our country and our community. Like her, we lose our idealism to the practicalities of survival and the realities of life.

If we wish to change the world, our country, and our community, we have to change within, we have to change ourselves, we have to go back to the idealism of our youth, we have to remember and practice what were taught to us when we were young. And we have to do them collectively. These are the things which the bishops have been telling us in their pastoral letter “Seeking the Truth, Restoring Integrity” dated February 26, 2008: “For the long term we reiterate our call for “circles of discernment” at the grassroots level, in our parishes, Basic Ecclesial Communities, recognized lay organizations and movements, religious institutions, schools, seminaries and universities. It is through internal conversion into the maturity of Christ through communal and prayerful discernment and action that the roots of corruption are discovered and destroyed. We believe that such communal action will perpetuate at the grassroots level the spirit of People Power so brilliantly demonstrated to the world at EDSA I. It is People Power with a difference. From the grassroots will come out a culture of truth and integrity we so deeply seek and build. We instruct our CBCP Commissions to take active role including networking for this purpose.”

The epitaph of an American Cardinal and borrowed by Sen. Raul Rocco is best to describe it. It says: “When I was a boy I dreamed to change the world, when I became a young man I hoped to change my country, when I became old I hoped to change my community; but now that I am dying I realize that I have to change myself first.”

The Alliance, being an amalgamation of SAA’s and exsems, is in a better position to do this because of the common traits and training of its members. If we could help place enough ex-sems in government by appointment and elections, especially in critical and high positions, we will be in better position to influence the way policies and laws are formulated, enacted and implemented. Without breaking the rule on the separation of state and church, we could instill in the government the social and moral principles taught by the bishops and the Church.

On July 6, a group of 5 exsems were selected as members of this committee. They were mandated to study on how the alliance could better achieve this goal.

4.Creation of Religious Affairs Committee — This committee shall be responsible for religious projects and programs, especially for the holding of retreats.

5.Extension of the date for Relief Efforts for the Victims of Typhoon Frank — This will be the first civic project of the Alliance. For more information please contact Atty. Ricky Ribo at 09193274512.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

World Youth Day

World Youth Day will be in Sydney, Australia from July 15 to 20, 2008. For the official website and for the scheduled activities and events, please see here. Chronicles of World Youth Days can be viewed from the Official website of The Holy See.

World Youth Day established by Pope John Paul II in 1986 as an annual event to reach out to the youth of the world. He was inspired by massive gatherings of young people in Rome celebrating the Youth Jubilee in 1984 and the United Nations International Year of Youth in 1985. He wanted to bring together young Catholics from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis.

Pope John Paul II saw WYD as away to reach out to the next generation of Catholics, to demonstrate confidence in them, to rejuvenate the Church and ensure that the core teachings of Christ are transmitted and lived. World Youth Day is a pilgrimage of faith, where young people from diverse backgrounds meet and experience the love of God.

The first World Youth Day was held in Rome in 1986 on Palm Sunday. Each year since, World Youth Day has been celebrated at a Diocesan level on Palm Sunday.

Every two to three years, World Youth Day is taken to an international host city. The international World Youth Days are a week-long series of events attended by the Pope and hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world.

The week culminates in a Final Mass celebrated by the Pope on the last day (the actual World Youth Day). Typically, it is the largest event of the week and, overseas, has drawn millions of people.

The Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL) - a key Vatican body - is responsible for World Youth Days globally .

The Tallest 10 Buildings Completed in 2007

Rising 333 meters high, with 72 stories and 480 suites, the Rose Rotana Tower in Dubai heads the list of the tallest ten buildings completed in 2007. The tower, designed by architects Khatib & Alami and developed by the Bonyan International Investment Group, also becomes the world’s tallest single-use hotel building, taking the title from the Shimao International Plaza in Shanghai. Coming in at second on the list is the New York Times Tower at 319 meters high. The building – the third tallest in New York upon completion – was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FX Fowle Architects and developed by Forest City Ratner Companies. Third on the list is the China International Center Tower B in Guangzhou, whilst fourth is the Naberezhnaya Tower C in Moscow, which at 268 meters high also becomes Europe’s tallest building. All ten tallest buildings constructed in 2007 are outlined in the diagram on the back cover of this journal.

Geographically this list reinforces the current trend of the world’s tallest buildings being completed in the Middle East or Asia; four of the list are located in the Middle East, four in Asia, one in North America, and one in Europe. In terms of program, five of the list are office towers, one accommodates solely hotel function and the remaining four are mixed-use buildings. As always, strict criteria have influenced the putting together of this list; buildings are only eligible if they are topped-out, fully-clad and either ‘open for business’ or at least partially occupied.

The current year, 2008, also promises to be an exciting time in terms of high-rise construction. With the 331 meter high Minsheng Bank Building already completed in Wuhan, and buildings such as the Shanghai World Financial Center (492m, Shanghai), Bank of America Tower (366m, New York), Almas Tower (360m, Dubai), China World Trade Center Tower III (330m, Beijing), One Island East (308m, Hong Kong) and the Burj Dubai Lake Hotel (306m, Dubai) already topped out, this year’s ‘tallest 10’ is set to include at least seven ‘super-tall’ buildings (those with a height of 300 meters or more), a feat that is unprecedented in tall building history. However, it is the year 2009 that is expected to be the pinnacle of the current high-rise construction boom, with the CTBUH predicting the completion of some 20 super-tall towers, led by the phenomenal 800m+ Burj Dubai.

Click here to download the full Tallest 10 Buildings Completed in 2007 list.

source: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Past Life

While browsing on the users of socialspark.com, i stumbled on sleinah's page and viewed her blog, Simple Reveries. Her blog was great and i just kept on browsing on her posts until i found this title, "Past Life Tests". I find it so interesting, so i tried it for myself. And who am I in the past?

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Famous Monk.

Where You Lived: North Canada.

How You Died: Killed in Battle.

Senator Mar Roxas - Mr Palengke

‘Mr. Palengke’ is Senator Mar Roxas, the son of the illustrious Senator Gerry Roxas, and the grandson of the venerable President Manuel Roxas whose public service careers have greatly benefited the country.Elected to the Senate in 2004 with a staggering 20 million votes, the largest ever obtained by a candidate in any Philippine election, Mar Roxas has made it his business to champion the people’s agenda on quality education, livelihood opportunities through small and medium enterprises, information technology, consumer welfare and good governance.

His concerns are national and his range international. His consistent performance as an exemplary public official has elevated him with the stature of a respected global leader. The Singapore government chose him as the 16th Lee Kuan Yew Fellow and the World Economic Forum acknowledged him as ‘one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow who is expected to shape the future.’ ‘One of the young leaders in politics and business who will bring Asia and the Pacific to the forefront of world affairs’ was how the international community described him.

Mar Roxas stamped his mark early at the House of Representatives where, as a congressman, he espoused consumer protection, underscoring the right of every Filipino to affordable medicines, as his personal advocacy.

This consumerist crusade found a larger expression in ‘Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya’ program which he launched during his tenure as trade and industry secretary. The program benefited millions of Filipinos in need of effective but cheaper medicines. In the Senate, this crusade continues with Mar’s authorship of Senate Bill No. 2139, which seeks to lower the cost of medicines by amending the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. With the approval of this bill, prices of quality medicines are expected to drop resulting in savings for the poor, and better health for all.

Nursing back the economy to robust health through education, information technology, job creation, and development of small and business enterprises are his other passions, reflected in his work as chairperson of the Senate Committees on Trade and Commerce and on Economic Affairs and as co-chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Electronic Commerce Law.

His heart goes for consumers who are shortchanged in buying, among others, defective and substandard products. Thus, he initiated inquiries, with the end in view of strengthening the Consumer Code of the Philippines, on such legislative proposals as the ‘Lemon Law’, proper labeling of milk, toys, and food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and stronger safeguards against pyramiding and other similar scams.

When the pre-need industry succumbed to a mismanagement-spawned financial crisis, which threatened to wipe out the investments of thousands of consumers in pre-need plans, he filed a bill, the Pre-Need Act of 2005, to improve and strengthen industry regulation and safeguard consumer interest. Senator Mar’s leadership at the time provided pre-need plan holders a veritable lifeline.

Guided by lofty ideals yet gifted with the common touch, Mar Roxas adheres to the philosophy of ‘palengkenomics’, which considers the palengke as the economy’s weathervane and the mirror by which its over-all health can be seen and measured.

Senator Mar conducts weekly monitoring of the prices of prime commodities and maintains strong linkages with suppliers, traders, and vendors in the different wet markets. “Price is an important economic indicator. It is a crucial determinant of activity in the market place,” he said.

Information and communications technology has found in Mar Roxas a staunch advocate. Hailed as the ‘Father of the Call Center and Business Process Outsourcing Industries’, he saw—and cultivated—the potential of the Philippines as a global e-services hub. As trade and industry secretary, he launched ‘Make IT Philippines’ and organized the first IT-enabled services (ITES) to the US which inevitably led to the biggest global industry names to invest in the country, thereby creating thousands of jobs for Filipino IT workers.

In education, he authored the ‘PCs for Public Schools Project’ to provide student and teachers IT access. To date, the program has distributed 30,000 computers to over 2,000 public high schools nationwide, opening doors on hands-on computer training to 500,000 students yearly and reducing the computer backlog in public high schools by more than half, from 69 percent to 31 percent.

For Roxas, the exercise of public leadership entails accountability and transparency which should bring about people empowerment. He has called for a paradigm shift in policy-making, rejecting incrementalism, or the tingi mentality, which has resulted to ‘doing a little bit of everything to please a little bit of everyone.’

“People can hardly feel the impact of incrementalism. Government must target the people’s most pressing concerns and focus its resources on completely addressing these problems. We can’t be doing what we used to do in the past simply because if we did, there is no reason to expect that the future would be any different,” he says.

He complements his youth and dynamism by listening to the voices of the common Filipino, reaching out to them through personal interaction, the media, and various IT tools. His website, www.marroxas.com, is a sampler of his IT inclination, an interactive site that dispenses user-friendly information and serves as repository of public sentiment.

Mar Roxas has distinguished himself as a public servant in his own unique way, following the imprints of his forbears yet with the courage and competence to carve his own path as a national leader.

source: http://www.marroxas.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just Something for Fun

A post from My Little World, the blog of deatren (a new friend in socialspark.com) caught my attention, and tried it also for myself.. Just for fun....

Enter your date of birth (e.g. November 10) into the Wikipedia search field.

1. List five (5) famous people - dead or alive - born on that day.
- 1433 - Charles, Duke of Burgundy (d. 1477)
- 1483 - Martin Luther, German Protestant reformer (d. 1546)
- 1810 - George Jennings English sanitary engineer (d. 1882)
- 1871 - Winston Churchill, American novelist (d. 1947)
- 1933 - Ronald Evans, American astronaut (d. 1990)

2. List five (5) historical events on that day.
- 1619 - René Descartes has the dreams that inspire his Meditations on First Philosophy.
- 1942 - World War II: Germany invades Vichy France following French Admiral François
Darlan agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.
- 1951 - Direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service begins in the United States.
- 1970 - Vietnam War: Vietnamization - For the first time in five years, an entire week
ends with no reports of American combat fatalities in Southeast Asia.
- 1995 - In Nigeria, playwright and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa along with
others from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop) are
hanged by government forces.

3. List any days of national or religious observance that occur on that day.
- Christianity - the feast day of Pope Leo I the Great and Andrew Avellino
- Russia - Day of Militsiya (analogue of police in Russia)
- United States Marine Corps Birthday

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vinci on board for Qatar-Bahrain bridge

Construction of the Qatar-Bahrain causeway, at 40 km said to be the world’s longest bridge, is due to start next year.

This will be a design-build operation in the hands of a consortium of construction companies led by Vinci Construction Grands Projets. The Middle East Dredging company Medco, a subsidiary of the Vinci Group company CFE, will carry out the dredging work required to build the motorway connection between Qatar and Bahrain.

The value of the contract recently signed between Vinci and Qatari Diar (causeway foundation) is put at US$3 billion.

The project is a joint venture between Vinci Construction Grands Projets and QDVC, a Qatari subsidiary owned 51 per cent by Qatari Diar and 49 per cent by Vinci and its contracting partners.

Other companies in the consortium are Hochtief and Athens based Consolidated Contractors International. The Danish engineering consultant COWI, which conducted pre-contract studies of the causeway, is working as design consultant for the consortium.

A further contract is expected to be awarded shortly for the client representative and program management role. The successful bidder reporting directly to Qatari Diar will be responsible to the client for managing construction of the project.

The causeway calls for design and construction of a dual carriageway motorway connection between the two island states. It will run over a total of 18 km of embankments where the sea is shallow and 22 km of viaducts and bridges over deep water. These will include two 400m cable stayed bridges over shipping channels.

Known as the Friendship Bridge, the causeway will reduce the journey time between Qatar and Bahrain to about 30 minutes compared with five hours by road at present. Work is to start after nine months of further studies and the structure itself is due for completion in 51 months.

source: International Construction Review


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