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Extreme Cold Hits Midwest, Northeast: 10 Dead

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The bitter cold in Chicago has kept hospitals busy, with doctors at one facility during the brunt of an Arctic freeze treating 50 frostbite victims, including some people who may lose an arm or a leg.

“It’s a horrific situation,” says Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, the head of burn and wound care services at Cook County Health.
Poulakidas works at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, a level 1 trauma center, that in a really bad year will see 150 cases of frostbite for the season. He said based on what he has seen thus far, this could be one of those years.
Half of the patients that came in over the past few days are homeless, while others had jobs that kept them out.
Poulakidas said they’ve seen “horrific injuries to feet and hands,” some so severe that some victims may lose limbs.
Frostbite in these extreme conditions can set in as quickly as three to 10 minutes, depending on age or exposure or other factors, such as wet gloves and socks, or even alcohol consumption, he said.

The brutally cold weather that’s held millions in its frozen grip for days was so intense Thursday morning that 11 states in the continental United States hit a temperature lower than the one recorded in Alaska’s northernmost city.
The Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania all saw temperatures fall below -14 degrees. That was the temperature in Utqiagvik (also known as Barrow) a town of about 4,400 that sits north of the Arctic Circle.
But the end is in sight. The historic deep freeze that’s killed 16 people will let up by the end of the week.

At the cold’s peak Thursday morning, about 7 a.m. ET, more than 216 million people saw temperatures below freezing, including 84 million who dealt with subzero temperatures.
By the afternoon, about 30 million people were still under wind chill warnings and advisories — down from a peak of 140 million in the morning.
But the misery will slowly melt away Friday, with a warming trend that could give many Americans thermal whiplash.

“Today is the last of the extreme cold air,” Hennen said Thursday. “Temperatures will rebound quickly over much of the area that saw the extreme cold, creating a yo-yo effect of extreme temperature difference.”
Chicago, for example, will see a temperature rise of almost 75 degrees — from extreme cold of 20-25 below zero to temps in the low 50s on Monday.
And Atlanta, which has shivered in the 20s this week, will enjoy temperatures in the 60s when it hosts the Super Bowl on Sunday.

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Irish Bishop Against Practicing Yoga in Christian Schools

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An Irish bishop has written to Catholic schools urging them to ban yoga as it is ‘not of Christian origin’ and the children should spend their time ‘in adoration of Jesus’ instead.

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, wrote to principals, teachers and school staff members in Waterford City and County, Ireland, on October 10.

In his letter, he said: ‘Yoga is not of Christian origin and is not suitable for our parish school setting and especially not during religious education time.

‘I have been asked by several people to say a word on yoga and mindfulness. My question is, ‘Will they bring us closer to God or replace him?’

The bishop claimed that Christian Mindfulness is ‘meditation on Christ’ which empties the mind of ‘everything unnecessary’ in order to become ‘aware of the presence and love of Christ’.

While he also quoted Pope Francis that practices like yoga are ‘not capable of opening our hearts up to God’.

The bishop added how people can ‘take a million courses in spirituality’ but this activity ‘will never be able to give you freedom’, echoing Pope Francis’s speech in 2015.

He said Pope Francis’s philosophy was in keeping with Ireland’s Grow In Love programme. This touches on Christian doctrine, Scripture, morality and prayer.

Teacher’s were reminded that October is the ‘month of the Rosary’ and they should each pray in a bid to get closer to Jesus, in the letter.

But the primary school curriculum allows a degree of flexibility about how its implemented, according to the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who hit-back at his view.

John Stokes, a yoga instructor in Waterford, said the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness should be ’embraced’ in ‘an age where children are really suffering from anxiety and stress’.

‘There is no dogma taught in our classes and Yoga in it’s truest sense is a movement and breath awareness practice for health and wellbeing.

They said ‘here’s to tolerance, love and unity’ and invited him to a one-to-one yoga session or class of his choice’ at their Wellness Centre in Youghal, Ireland.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation said the primary school curriculum allows schools a certain amount of flexibility and autonomy with regard to its implementation.

They said the schools ‘are best placed’ to make the decisions about how the subjects are taught, taking into consideration the ‘school culture, ethos and needs of the pupils’.

This is not the first time Bishop Cullinan has received backlash for his views as he said he was to establish a ‘delivery ministry’ group to rid people of the devil through exorcism, last year.

He also claimed the cervical cancer vaccine could lead to promiscuity in 2017.

The bishop said the vaccine ‘lulls girls into false sense of security’ and encourages sexual activity, adding: ‘Prevention, the number one and most effective protection, is abstinence. A good old traditional value.’

He later apologised and admitted he was not fully informed about the vaccination programme. Cullinan’s ‘intention was solely motivated to protect people from HPV’.

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China Demolishes 3,000-Seat Megachurch during Worship Service

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The People’s Republic of China destroyed a church that reportedly could seat 3,000 people and detained its pastors, according to a human rights organization.

An international nonprofit Christian human rights group based in Texas, reported the incident in a statement released Saturday. According to the group, Chinese authorities provided no legal papers to justify the demolition.

The church was located in Funan, Anhui province. Its pastors, Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao, were detained under suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”

China Aid President Bob Fu said in a statement that the incident was “yet another clear example showing the escalation of religious persecution today by the Chinese Communist regime.”

“The total disregard of religious freedom’s protection as enshrined in the Communist Party’s own Constitution tells the whole world President Xi is determined to continue his war against the peaceful Christian faithful. This campaign will surely fail in the end.”

While China’s persecution of religious groups has existed for many years, recently under President Xi Jinping a wave of crackdowns on religious practices in China has taken place.

The Communist government has destroyed or damaged several churches, reflecting concerns about the increasing Christian population of the country.

In the summer, True Jesus Church in Henan province was razed to the ground, according to persecution watchdog Bitter Winter. Police officers reportedly dragged out all believers from the church before they demolished the property.

Bitter Winter also reported last month that the Ten Commandments have been removed from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue in a county of Luoyang city and replaced with the President Xi Jinping’s quotes as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity.

In addition to cracking down on its Christian minority, China has engaged in violent persecution of its Uighur Muslim and Falun Gong communities.

The China Tribunal, a human rights group, told the United Nations Human Rights Council last month that the Chinese government is harvesting organs from religious minorities, with possibly hundreds of thousands of victims.

“Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale, and that it continues today. This involves hundreds of thousands of victims.”

“Victim for victim and death for death, cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people constitutes one of the worst mass atrocities of this century.”

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