St. Peter’s Square

Okay, so I fell for it! This photo is pretty incredible!

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The Washington Post reports,
“But the top photo (shown above), which shows an audience with far fewer gadgets was taken during the funeral procession of Pope John Paul II — a very different mood and event type. There was no one addressing the crowd from the balcony, for example. So, the comparison isn’t quite accurate.”

The bottom photo in 2013 was taken during the election of Pope Francis.

Here’s a more accurate portrayal.

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As you can see, the smart phones and tablets aren’t there yet in 2005.

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Day One for Pope Francis

On the first day of Pope Francis’ papacy, he emphasized the need to move the Catholic Church forward, calling on the cardinals to have courage. He spoke to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the first pontiff from Latin America. He’ll lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

In his first homily as pope, Francis delivered a short, simple message to the cardinals who elected him, “our life is a journey, and if we stop, things don’t go well.” He spoke in Italian.

Pope Francis spoke solemnly at a celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel. There was symbolism behind his message as the church is involved in scandal and a Vatican government that is dealing with dysfunction and corruption.

He warned the cardinals that when “you don’t pray to Jesus, you pray to the worldliness of the devil.”

Teddy Bear Patrol in the Seattle Area

Awww, this is a sweet story. Bartell Drugs, based in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, is giving out “bear hugs” to children in stressful or traumatic situations. It’s all part of the “Teddy Bear Patrol” campaign, now through March 30.
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All 58 Bartell locations are accepting teddy bears donations. The annual drive puts teddy bears in the hands of community police departments, hospitals and emergency response teams. They can give the bears to children and comfort them during challenging situations.

In the past several years, Bartell’s has collected over 74,000 bears for this cause.

• Purchase an official “Bartell  Bear” for $7 and Bartell Drugs will donate a second bear to the campaign

• Donate a new or gently used bear, under 12 inches

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For more information on the program and nearby Bartell Drugs locations, visit the Bartell Drug’s website. 

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! On this day, thousand of events are held around the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements.

This year, women in the U.S. won the right to serve on the front lines in combat. President Obama inched closer to pushing equal pay for men and women.

While many achievements have been made, there are still many more sad truths that women face around the world. Such as genital mutilation, child brides, human trafficking and many more. And then there were anti-women’s health politicians in Congress who made a series of  gaffes about women’s bodies and rape.

Advocates from around the world gather at UN headquarters for the annual Commission on the Status of Women meeting. Millions recognize the advancements made in human rights and the struggles and challenges women continue to face in politics, education, employment and other areas of life.

International Women’s Day can be traced back to March 8, 1857, when garment workers in New York City protested against inhumane working conditions and low wages. That’s according to the United Nations. In that incident, police attacked the protestors and dispersed them, but the movement let the creation of the first women’s labor union.

On March 8, 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York City for shorter work house, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labor. The slogan “Bread and Roses” was created. Bread symbolized economic security and roses for better living standards.

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Today, there’s a Google Doodle and a White House proclamation.

On this day a new slogan is in circulation, “a modern progressive world needs equality.”

Tuition Freeze at Purdue University

Here’s some welcome news for my fellow college students dealing with expensive tuition! Purdue University is freezing tuition costs for the next two years in response to the nation’s weak economy. Temple University, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Main and all public colleges in Arizona are among other schools that have already implemented a tuition freeze. The Daily Nebraskan is also reporting that the University of Nebraska is proposing a tuition freeze for in-state students.

The cost of basic in-state tuition for students at Purdue’s main campus will remain about $10,000 until the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement “in this period of national economic stagnation, it’s time for us to hit the pause button on tuition increases.”

He says Purdue’s students and families “deserve a high-value education that they can afford.”
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The Journal & Courier reports that under the freeze, the current base tuition for Indiana and out-of-state students on the West Lafayette campus will remain unchanged for two years.

Purdue will announce a savings plan with a focus on administrative efficiency.

In other great news for Pudue, the school received a $65M anonymous donation last month.  Purdue Board of Trustee Chairman Keith Krach and Provost Tim Sands previously said the university donor base and potential new donors were excited by Daniels becoming president and that large gifts were likely to follow.

Purdue spokesman Chris Sigurdson said, “The anonymous couple pledged the money as an estate gift that will go to the school following their deaths.” Mr. Sigurdson says the gift is worth $65 million, but that will continue to grow.

The money will come to the College of Agriculture without any restrictions, so the college can decide how the money is spent.