News Bites

Saints' Daze. A few days before Christmas, Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa, elevating her to the rank just below sainthood. Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, still lingers as a "Servant of God." When a miracle is attributed to Day, she will advance to the title "Venerable," two steps below sainthood.

Silver and Resistant. More than 100 people staged a "die-in" in December at a Denver military recruitment center to protest war in Iraq. Two Christian Peacemaker Team reservists, interviewed by local press, held a sign proclaiming "Grandmothers for Peace." "It was affirming to see that people are interested in what little old ladies have to say about current events," said CPT member Marilyn Miller.

Maid to Order. In January, a former maid became Brazil's minister of the environment and, some say, the potential savior of the Amazon rain forest and its communities. Although one of Marina Silva's first jobs was as a domestic, she worked for many years with Amazon activist and martyr Chico Mendes.

Art House. It's been 50 years since the release of Salt of the Earth, a movie chronicling the 1950 strike by zinc miners in Silver City, New Mexico. The film's director, Herbert Biberman, spent six months in prison as one of the Hollywood Ten who refused to give testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Knights for Peace. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers actor Viggo Mortensen appeared on PBS's Charlie Rose show wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "No Blood for Oil." Mortensen said he wore the shirt to protest an interpretation of the movie as an endorsement for invading Iraq.

Sweet Success. The Protestant Church of North India is now training women for ordination, despite initial resistance. Following the success of Sonal Christian, the first female pastor in the diocese of Gujarat, four more women are at various stages of preparation for ordination.

Eat Jets. Brazil's president Luiz da Silva suspended the $700 million purchase of 12 supersonic fighter jets, choosing instead to devote more of Brazil's federal budget to fighting poverty.

African Bush. "Only by presenting a comprehensive plan to fight AIDS in Africa, with adequate funding, can the Bush administration show it takes seriously the development crisis affecting the continent," said Dr. Paul Zeitz of the Global AIDS Alliance. "Frankly, we are getting tired of the empty rhetoric and false claims of leadership."

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