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Figures & Facts
Vatican's rare step: Pope Benedict XVI admits errors, takes frank look at controversy over Holocaust-denying bishop
Pope Benedict XVI has made an unusual public acknowledgment of Vatican mistakes and turmoil in his church over an outreach to ultraconservatives that led to his lifting the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. In an attempt to end one of the most serious crises of his papacy, he said in a letter released Thursday that the Vatican must make greater use of the Internet to prevent other controversies.
The Vatican took the rare step of releasing the German-born pope's personal account of the incident addressed to Catholic bishops around the world. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the letter — released in six languages — was "really unusual and deserving of maximum attention." read more »
Taxes, taxes, taxes: hard times mean a hard look at taxes - how much we pay, who skates through loopholes and more
Where the Money Comes From
How the cash flows into Uncle Sam's coffers.
Individual income taxes: 50.4%
Payroll taxes (FICA): 31.4%
Business income taxes: 14.6%
Excise and other taxes (tobacco, gas, etc.): 3.6%
Total tax revenue for 2007 = $2,709,798,000,000
One Family's Burden
How much a typical family in Philadelphia earning $50,000 paid the tax man in 2007.
Federal taxes: $6,007 (41%)
Sales tax: $803 (5%)
Property tax: $4,235 (29%)
State/local income tax: $3,361 (23%)
Auto tax: $231 (2%)
Total = $14,637 or 29.3% of income
Illustrations courtesy of Carlos Aponte / Reader’s Digest
Original Source: Reader’s Digest
When Einstein was born, his mother worried that his head was too large and his grandmother exclaimed that he was "much too fat." A few years later, when Einstein was four or five, he had his first scientific experience: his father showed him a pocket compass and the young boy marveled at the fact that regardless of where the compass was turned, the needle always pointed north. The needle's invariable northward swing, guided by an invisible force, profoundly impressed the child. The compass convinced him that there had to be "something behind things, something deeply hidden."
Einstein's formal education began at age six, when he enrolled in the Petersschule on Blumen- strasse, a Catholic elementary school in Munich. Since his parents were not practicing Jews, they cared more about the school's academic standards than its religious affiliation. Einstein did well in school, but he was a quiet child and kept his distance from his peers. He was uncomfortable with the principle of absolute obedience and the military drills that dominated the school's atmosphere. read more »
Shoe has position in politics? Never before as it does now. Iraqis divided over jail sentence for shoe thrower
Does Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi deserve fifteen years in jail, or "a statue erected in his honor"?
In a land replete with martyrs and miscreants, Iraqis are divided over which label applies to Muntazer al-Zaidi. The once obscure television journalist who shot to fame for hurling his footwear at then President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference late last year was sentenced on Thursday to three years in prison after being found guilty of "assaulting a foreign leader on an official visit." But despite the verdict of Baghdad's Central Criminal Court, many ordinary Iraqis still hail the 30-year-old Shi'ite shoe thrower as a national hero.
Photo: 3-year-old boy saying goodbye to his father who was being deployed as part of Massachusetts National Guard
Picture of three-year-old Morgan Riddick saying goodbye to his father who was being deployed during a ceremony of the 772nd Military Police Company, Massachusetts National Guard on Taunton Green. Taken by John Tlumacki, this photo was the Overall Winner in the annual Boston Press Photographers Association competition, and also won 1st Place in General News.
Photos courtesy of John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Original Source: Boston Globe
Protesters in Berlin rage at economic plight by torching expensive cars - symbols of German wealth and power
While youths in Athens protest by throwing Molotov cocktails, in Paris by toppling barricades, and in Budapest by hurling eggs at politicians, protesters in Berlin rage at their economic plight by targeting the most expensive cars -- symbols of German wealth and power. At least 29 vehicles were destroyed in arson attacks this year, most of them luxury cars, according to police. The number is already about 30 percent of the total for 2008. The latest to go up in flames was a Porsche, on Feb. 14, two days after a Mercedes was set alight in a public car park.
A group calling itself BMW -- the initials stand for Movement for Militant Resistance in German -- has claimed responsibility for several attacks in left-wing magazines and Web sites, police spokesman Bernhard Schodrowski said. One-third of the incidents are classed as “political,” prompting officers to assign a special unit to investigate, Schodrowski said. No arrests have been made. Schodrowski attributed the arson to “a protest against the world economy and rising rents.”
German unemployment began to rise last November after almost three years of declines. Deutsche Bank AG Chief Economist Norbert Walter predicts the German economy, Europe’s biggest, may shrink by more than 5 percent this year. The worst recession since World War II is fueling anger among youths across Europe who “perceive their future as rather precarious,” said Margit Mayer, a politics professor at Berlin’s Free University.
On Mar 2, 1969 world's first supersonic jetliner Concorde took flight, feat of collaboration eng. & work of beauty
It was a feat of engineering and a work of exceptional beauty and grace. It won the hearts and minds of millions of people.
Forty years ago today the supersonic Concorde took its first test flight, and a design paragon flashed across the skies over Toulouse. With its droop nose and delta wing, the Concorde was a high point of 20th century engineering (its maiden flight came three months before the first moon landing) and the kind of cooperative effort that now seems beyond us. As we enter a period of infrastructure spending, it’s worth noting what kept the Concorde aloft for 27 years.
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