Voices from Russia

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Abuse Victim Sues St George’s Former Pastor, Church

00 Rev Abdelahad. 25.09.12

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A Holden woman who charged in 2012 that the former pastor of St George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral sexually abused her over a three-year period sued the clergyman, who was convicted, and several Antiochian church organisations. Recently, Susan Manter filed a civil suit in Worcester Superior Court seeking a minimum of 40,000 USD (1.275 million Roubles. 41,160 CAD. 41,340 AUD. 29,200 Euros. 27,800 UK Pounds) in damages against the pastor, Rev Charles M Abdelahad; the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of New England; the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Worcester, and St George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral. Several individuals in leadership or staff positions at the cathedral or within the church network were also named as defendants in the suit, being, Fawaz Elk Khoury, Maureen Butler, Jeff Solof, Philip Saliba, John Abdalah, Robert Laham, Steve Husson, Mary Ann Kourey, Victor Kourey, Diane Kourey, Ed Hughes, Brian Hurley and Gregory Abdalah. Bishop Saliba is the archbishop of the Diocese of New York and the Antiochian Metropolitan of North America. Bishop Abdalah is the Auxiliary Bishop of Worcester. Mr Hughes is a priest in the Lowell-Lawrence area, who also serves as dean in the New England Diocese. Mr Solof is a deacon at St George.

The suit said that the individual defendants should’ve known about the abuse and should’ve reported it to authorities. Rev Abdelahad was sentenced to serve 90 days of a 2-year term in the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction after being convicted in May 2012 of abusing Ms Manter, then 45, during counselling sessions held at the Anna Street church. Rev Abdelahad was released from jail in August 2012. On Thursday, his status with the church couldn’t be determined Thursday. The priest took a voluntary leave of absence after he was charged. According to the suit, Rev Abdelahad abused Ms Manter from 2007 until 27 September 2010. Information from the suit and the criminal trial proceedings indicated Ms Manter was hit, kicked, bitten, and slapped in the head and body. She said she also endured emotional and sexual abuse. The suit said that Ms Manter suffered broken bones, concussions, and other serious injuries requiring hospitalisation and numerous trips to doctors and dentists. The events surrounding Rev Abdelahad caused a rift at St George Cathedral between supporters and opponents of the priest. Attempts to reach some of the defendants were not successful Thursday.

18 October 2013

Bronislaus Kush

Worcester (MA) News Telegram

http://www.telegram.com/article/20131018/NEWS/310189850/1160/SPECIALSECTIONS04&source=rss

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Russia: Beware of Foodie-Bears!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Was it Your Turn to Lick the Spoon. 2012

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T-shirts in souvenir shops in Moscow’s Arbat tourist district read, “I’ve been to Russia, there are no bears”. The print mocks the popular stereotype that Russia’s all about endless cold winters, vodka, and bears have rescued a couple after a bear broke into their countryside home, attracted by the smell of fresh borshch. A patrol turned up in the early hours after a neighbour raised the alarm and found the couple hiding in their sauna, where they temporarily lived as their home was under renovation. Meanwhile, the bear enjoyed hot borshch in their garden. A warning shot was enough to scare the intruder back into the woods. No one was hurt, although the bear damaged the building. The couple said that they’d left the homemade borshch to cool on the porch and went to bed. They woke to “loud banging” and saw a bear breaking the windows of their glassed-in porch. Then, it got inside and treated himself to all the borshch, which was still hot and delicious. Often, people spotted bears looking for food around dachas in the area before, but happily, no one reported any attacks.

Although the case may seem funny to some Americans, but he who laughs last laughs best, as encounters between bears and humans are actually not that rare in the USA and Canada, and may far exceed those reported in Russia. Thus, recently, hungry grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park were really determined to share a meal with people. Since the area is popular with tourists, officials had to issue a warning after they recorded several bear attacks on visitors in the park straddling Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Officials with the park and two national forests that border it said that numerous recent sightings of bears seeking berries and other foods near roadways and popular trails prompted them to issue the advisory, which called on campers to take precautions like carrying bear spray and hiking in groups. Some 600 federally-protected grizzly bears wander around Yellowstone and its border areas. Each year in the region there are about five encounters between bears and humans that result in injuries. Fatal attacks are rare.

In recent years, conservationists said that climate change caused a decline in whitebark pines, which produce the nuts that are a food source for grizzlies and black bears, forcing them to roam around, starving and frustrated. Late summer and early fall are typical times for encounters, as bears begin to seek out more food to pack on pounds before going into winter hibernation. At the same time, summer is the peak tourist season for national park visitors. In July 2010, a grizzly killed a camper and injured two others in a national forest in Montana near Yellowstone. The following year, in separate attacks, bears fatally wounded two hikers. On 15 August, a grizzly wounded two hikers at Yellowstone, but a second pair of hikers warded off the bear with bear spray. The same day, a grizzly bit two biologists collecting grizzly habitat data in Idaho near the park. The scientists drove off the bear with bear spray.

Meanwhile, Nevada wildlife officials pressed local governments near Lake Tahoe to penalise residents for not having bear-proof trashcans, saying that existing regulations to address trash-raiding black bears are insufficient. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Nevada Department of Wildlife Director Tony Wasley told trustees that they could address the vast majority of human-bear conflicts by decreasing the availability of human garbage. He said, “Ultimately, total removal of human food sources as an attractant for bears is the only way to avoid these types of human-bear conflicts”. Wasley also thought that it would help matters if the district enforced existing laws that penalise residents for being careless with their trash. Local jurisdictions already have rules on the books to address problems posed by trash-raiding bears, but many residents don’t think that they go far enough.

In the Canadian province of Ontario, the bear population dangerously grew to an alarming number. According to a recent census by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, there are some 150,000 bears in Ontario; no one is entirely sure of really how many of them there are precisely. The bear population has increased every year since the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in 1999, and so has the number of incidents involving bears, including a vicious and unprovoked attack on a woman near Peterborough. Thus, some local activists favour an early season hunt.

In the northern part of the Canadian province of Manitoba, a polar bear chased and bit a man. Earlier this month, the bear chased Garett Kolsun whilst he was walking home after a night of celebrating with friends in Churchill. It cornered him on a porch, swiped at him with his paw, and sank its teeth into his hip until Kolsun said he managed to distract it with the light from his mobile, which allowed him to flee to safety. The Hudson Bay community has fame as the polar bear capital of the world, and it attracts tourists coming for at least one glimpse of the predator. Nevertheless, the animals pose a threat to residents, and when they’re captured, they’re kept in a holding facility that’s commonly referred to as the polar bear jail.

However, this particular offender got a new home in a Winnipeg zoo. Margaret Redmond, president of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said that, within the next few weeks, the bear would be transported from Churchill to the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre. Redmond said that this would be the first polar bear from the wild to be housed at the facility, which the conservancy opened last year. On Saturday, Redmond said, “Otherwise, it was determined that he was going to be euthanised because he was such a danger”. His new home will eventually be part of a new four-hectare (10 acres) exhibit, due to open next June, that profiles northern Canada’s animals and its fragile environment. Redmond said that she hasn’t personally spoken with Kolsun about how he feels about the polar bear’s new home in Winnipeg, but she said that provincial officials talked with him before the decision was made. Kolsun suffered only a few superficial puncture wounds and scratches from the attack. Redmond said, “He feels very good about this option, he sees that this is an opportunity for the animal, rather than having to be euthanised, to serve as an ambassador to his species in what will ultimately be a very large and comfortable area for the bear”.

That was a lucky escape for the Canadian bear, but his black pal captured after it wandered through Athol MA wasn’t that lucky, as Massachusetts Environmental Police euthanised it. They caught the bear after it climbed a tree and police tranquilised it. A spokesman for the state environmental affairs office told the Athol Daily News that, after that, the bear couldn’t be released in New Hampshire or Vermont, as both states are holding black bear hunting season; they have an agreement with Massachusetts that any “chemically immobilized” animal can’t be released into the wild within 45 days of the season’s start. It’s not hunting season in Massachusetts until November. However, the spokesman said Environmental Police euthanised the bear, instead of releasing it, because the chemicals used to tranquilise it are potentially fatal to any hunter who might shoot the bear, then eat it.

Another black bear felt at home in Gatlinburg TN and was caught on camera walking the city’s streets, climbing up the steps of the local convention centre, and even following the crosswalk to cross the street. ABC News said that Tricia Alexander captured a video of the bear, then, posted it to her Facebook page. She was sitting in her car, but not everyone had the good sense to keep at a distance. As the bear made its way through the city’s streets, weaving in and out of restaurant-goers, people clamoured to come within just feet of it in order to get a good picture of with their mobile-phone cameras. Dr Marcy Souza of the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine told local ABC affiliate WATE, “Unfortunately, a lot of people in our society are getting more desensitised to wild animals, as we move more and more into this digital age, and we don’t actually get out into the woods, so, you don’t encounter these animals very frequently except for on TV. Although he looks cute and cuddly, they can actually be pretty fierce. That bear probably weighed somewhere in the range of 800 pounds (363 kilogrammes) would be my guess, and they can do some serious damage if he got cornered as he did in some of those situations”.

A commenter on Alexander’s Facebook post wrote that he works near where the video was shot and the bear “comes around all the time”. Alexander herself commented that she had another encounter with a bear on the streets of Gatlinburg in 1997 in a hotel parking lot. The abovementioned cases are just a few in a string of human-bear encounters registered in bear-inhabited communities, so their residents should better not banter about Russians and their hungry bears. The borshch-eating bear was at least decent and well-behaved… he finished his meal and left like an Englishman… with no goodbye.

5 October 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_10_05/Russia-beware-of-foodie-bears-7537/

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Local Russian Community Reacts to Boston Bombings

00 Fr Arkady Migunov. Orthodox priest. Jacksonville FL. 20.04.13

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The Boston bombings hit especially close to home for the local Russian community after reports surfaced that the two suspects might have ties to the Russian region of Chechnya. Rev Arkady Migunov heads a small but growing Russian Orthodox community (Annunciation Orthodox Church) in the Southside, but recently one thing was on his mind whilst he prays. He said, “When I heard about it, I was like ‘oh my gosh’ again, something terrible happened. I didn’t know that those guys were from Chechnya”. Migunov said that he remembered the troubled history his country had with Chechnya for a long time, saying, “The story goes back centuries, there were times when Russia would send forces to Chechnya, and the Chechen people would fight back”. However, in spite of the connection to his homeland, he said that the problem isn’t a matter of nationalities. Members of his church expressed anger and sadness after the attack. Rev. Migunov said, “I’m very sad and I pray for those people who suffered, for those people who got injured, for those people who even did that”. Tonight, Rev Migunov will lead a special prayer for the victims of the Boston bombings at Annunciation Orthodox Church.

19 April 2013

Lorena Inclan

CBS 47 WETV (Jacksonville FL)

http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content/topstories/story/Local-Russian-community-reacts-to-Boston-bombings/WKGAbUHqIkC0FgTv0i02LA.cspx?rss=3568

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Northeastern USA “Blown Away” by Blizzard Nemo, 9 Dead

00 Massachusetts road. Nemo Storm. 10.02.13

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A potentially record-breaking snow storm brought the northeastern USA to a grinding halt and left nine dead. Thousands lost power amidst flight cancellations and a nuclear plant shutdown, as authorities declared states of emergency in five states. A blizzard dumped record snow of 97 centimetres (38 inches) in parts of Connecticut as it continued blowing through Boston and the rest of New England on Saturday. Life was returning to normal in New York City, where up to 31 centimetres (12 inches) of snow fell. New York airports reopened earlier Saturday, after being closed for nearly a day. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “We were very lucky. We avoided the worst of it”.

In neighbouring Massachusetts, snow tapered off in the afternoon after reaching around 60 centimetres (24 inches), and authorities lifted a state-wide ban on all driving after 24 hours. Instruments recorded wind gusts of 120 kilometres an hour (75 miles per hour) through the night at Boston’s Logan International Airport, which wasn’t expected to reopen before late Saturday. On Cape Cod, the hook-shaped Massachusetts peninsula jutting into the Atlantic, waves up to 6 metres (20 feet) high crashed onto beaches. Jane Miller, a resident of Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, told reporters, “This has been like a hurricane with snow”. She said that the island was spared heavy snowfall, but surging tides prompted the local government and Red Cross to open a shelter at a high school for people living near the coast who wanted to evacuate. Coastal flooding was particularly bad along Massachusetts’ southern mainland coastline, a stretch that was also hit in the October hurricane-turned-superstorm Sandy. The US Postal Service suspended service in seven states.

In New York State, media reports said that a car that skidded out of control struck a female pedestrian, and a man died in a tractor rollover while clearing his driveway. A Massachusetts 12-year-old died of carbon-monoxide poisoning when he sat in the family car to warm up after helping his father shovel snow. Named Blizzard Nemo by the Weather Channel, the storm’s heavy snow and terrifically-high winds toppled trees, causing caused power outages for more than 600,000 people across Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Some 400,000 blacked out electric customers were in Massachusetts alone, where the Boston Globe published a photo of total storm whiteout with the headline: “Blown Away”. Late Friday, power outages caused a shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth MA, according to a local radio station.

According to the National Weather Service, parts of Connecticut appeared to have received the heaviest snowfall, ranging up to 97 centimetres (38 inches) in Milford and 91 centimetres (36 inches) in other areas. The coastal town of Portland ME received a record 74 centimetres (29 inches) of snow. A news crew for CNN reported that the doors of their satellite truck had frozen shut overnight on Cape Cod, and it took them an hour to reopen them. Wind whipped snow drifts more than a metre (40 inches) high in Boston. A city worker told the DPA that it was the worst storm since 1978, when a 36-hour blizzard killed 100 people in Massachusetts and neighbouring Rhode Island. In the 1978 blizzard, hundreds of cars were stranded in the snow, and some drivers froze to death along interstate highways. More than 5,000 flights were cancelled since Friday, and, at its height, the storm shut down all rail traffic from Philadelphia to Boston. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Maine declared states of emergency.

Prime News reported that Russian airlines Aeroflot and Transaero plan to maintain scheduled flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday despite anticipating huge snow falls from snow-storm Nemo. Nemo, which hit the northeastern USA on Friday evening, is expected to be one of the most powerful in the history of New York. Over 4,700 flights were cancelled across the USA due to the storm. Aeroflot said, “There’ve been no changes to our timetable”, whilst rival Transaero reported, “departure is expected as normal”, for its morning flight to New York. Meanwhile, the weather was also making life hard in Moscow, where pedestrians and drivers woke on Saturday to find the city covered in a slippery coat of glass-like ice after freezing rain fell overnight, causing accidents on several main highways into the capital.

New England braced on Thursday for a possibly record-setting winter storm, with forecasts of up to 2 feet (61 centimetres) of snow already causing airlines to cancel thousands of flights and utilities to prepare for power outages. The storm was blowing in from the Midwest where it began dropping snow on the Chicago area on Thursday afternoon. It was due to bring light snow to the Northeastern USA on Friday morning before ramping up to blizzard conditions by afternoon. Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said, “This one doesn’t come along every day. This is going to be a dangerous winter storm. Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon, and don’t plan on leaving”.

In Boston, which was expected to see some of the heaviest snowfall, on Friday, Mayor Thomas Menino ordered the city’s schools to close and urged businesses to consider allowing staff to stay home, to reduce the risk of commuters getting stranded. Menino told reporters, “We’re hardy New Englanders, let me tell you, and used to these types of storms. But I also want to remind everyone to use common sense and stay off the streets of our city. Basically, stay home. Stay put after noontime tomorrow”.

City officials up and down the northeastern USA were bracing for the storm, readying fleets of ploughs and salt trucks to keep streets clear, whilst airport officials advised travellers to try to reschedule flights ahead of the storm. The National Weather Service said Boston could get 18 to 24 inches of snow (46 to 61 centimetres) on Friday and Saturday, its first heavy snowfall in two years. Light snow is expected to begin falling around 07.00 EST (04.00 PST 12.00 UTC 16.00 MSK 23.00 AEST) on Friday, with heavier snow and winds gusting as high as 60 to 75 miles per hour (97 to 121 kilometres per hour) as the day progresses. Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton MA said, “It’s the afternoon rush-hour time frame into the evening and overnight when the height of the storm will be”. Cities from Hartford CT to Portland ME expected to see at least a foot (31 centimetres) of snow.

9 February 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_10/US-northeast-blown-away-by-blizzard-Nemo-9-dead-VIDEO/

Editor’s Note:

There was little disruption here in Albany NY, even though it’s at the geographical centre of the Northeast and it’s the transportation hub of the region (all major roads and trunk rail lines in the Northeastern USA converge on Albany). There was a snow emergency declared by Mayor Jerry Jennings, but he cancelled it before it took effect, as so little snow has fallen. We took a lovely motor through the lower Adirondacks this afternoon after services, and there was little snowfall as far north as Lake George (75 kilometres (46 miles) from Albany). The Lake George Winter Carnival was in full swing, with no problems due to the weather (the Carnival runs during the weekends of February… so, if you’re in the region, check it out). It was a fairly-comfy -5 (23 degrees Fahrenheit), with no biting winds (trust me… it can get MUCH more nastier than that in this neck of the woods; it was a balmy winter day by my lights). My Nicky bought a bumper sticker with three bears on it… so, it was a good adventure. No, we didn’t “suffer” in the least. We had no power outages, no heavy snows, and no disruption to normal life. We lucked out.

BMD

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