8/31/075135-16 4/17/064836-12 POLL DATEYANKEESMETSMETS MARGIN 3/24/146127-34 Move over, New York Yankees — there’s a new baseball boss in town. For the first time since at least 1998, Quinnipiac University has found, more New York City baseball fans liked the Mets than the Yankees. Although it was a narrow victory — 45 percent to 43 percent, well within the margin of error — it shows that winning ballgames remains the key to winning the hearts of Big Apple sports fans.The Yankees usually hold a hefty fan advantage over the Mets in New York. Over the last 20 years, the Yankees have averaged a sizable 55 percent-to-31 percent lead over their crosstown rivals. Just three years ago, the Yankees led the Mets 61 percent to 27 percent on the same question Quinnipiac asked this year. 3/25/095655-133429 3/16/005235-17 10/19/004337-6 Average5554-1334310 6/1/126221-41 The Mets do much better when baseball fans are forced to choose between the Mets and the Yankees. While the Yankees lose a statistically insignificant 1 percentage point of support on average, the Mets pick up 10 points of support. This seems to confirm the finding of a nonscientific Reddit poll from three years ago that found the Yankees were the most hated team among baseball fans. In other words, non-Yankee and non-Met fans may pick the Mets when forced to choose between the two of them, simply because they dislike the Yankees more.This year, though, the Mets beat the Yankees on the open-ended version of the question — the version in which they have always done worse. If we take this year’s result and apply the same boost the Mets typically receive in the other version of the question (where fans were forced to choose between the two teams), they would probably hold a 10-point head-to-head advantage over the Yankees. That’s pretty mind-boggling, considering the Mets were down 22 points on that type of question just three years ago.The Mets need to keep winning, however, if they want to maintain an edge over the Yankees. As I wrote about three years ago, the Mets seem to pick up fans when they win and shed them when they lose, but the same didn’t hold true for the Yankees. Now, it seems the Yankees may also gain or lose fans depending on their record. (Before this year, Quinnipiac had never polled after a season in which the Mets made the playoffs — or World Series — more recently than the Yankees.) In the chart below, I’ve plotted the difference between the percentages of Met fans and Yankee fans in New York City against the difference in how long it had been since each team had been in the playoffs.1For the sake of simplicity, I’m using the version of Quinnipiac’s question that allows baseball fans to choose any team, not just the Mets and the Yankees. However, there’s a clear correlation with either question. 3/24/1459%37%-22 3/25/095542-13 Fav. in a Subway Series Average5531-24 4/1/024738-9 Indeed, the Yankee lead climbed as high as 41 points five years ago. That survey was taken after a season in which the Yankees had made the playoffs, while the Mets hadn’t appeared in the postseason in six years. Now the tables have turned: The Mets have made the playoffs two years in a row, even appearing in the World Series in 2015. Meanwhile, the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs last year and they haven’t made a World Series since 2009.Before this year, the only time the Mets ever came close to the Yankees was in May 2007. That year, 49 percent of New York City baseball fans said they’d root for the Yankees in a Subway Series against the Mets, while 48 percent said they’d root the other way. Recent results had an influence then, too — the Mets made it to the National League Championship Series (before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals) in 2006, while the Yankees were knocked out in the American League Division Series.The Mets’ triumph in this year’s poll, however, is far more impressive than when they nearly overtook the Yankees 10 years ago. You’ll notice in the table that there are two types of questions Quinnipiac has asked on this subject in the past: Sometimes they asked baseball fans who they’d root for in a World Series matchup between the Mets and the Yankees, as they did when the Mets came close to the Yankees in 2007. Other times, fans are asked who their favorite baseball team is overall. (That is, fans can choose teams besides the Mets and Yankees.) And in four surveys, Quinnipiac asked both versions of the question. 7/26/015432-22 3/24/146159-2273710 5/28/074948-1 POLL DATETEAM IN MLBIN SUBWAY SERIESDIFFTEAM IN MLBIN SUBWAY SERIESDIFF 5/28/0750%49%-136%48%12 Source: Quinnipiac University YANKEES ARE FAVORITE …METS ARE FAVORITE … 5/28/075036-14 NYC baseball fans like the Mets more than the Yankees for the first time in 20 years Among New York City baseball fansSource: Quinnipiac University Average5138-13 8/31/075152135449 7/28/986028-32 3/25/095633-23 3/31/1743%45%+2 7/29/115926-33 The Mets are more popular when they’re pitted against the Yankees 4/1/055136-15 7/18/064637-9 8/31/075244-8 Poll DateYankeesMetsMets margin Perhaps what’s most interesting about the chart is that, based on prior trends, we would have expected the Yankees to have more fans than the Mets even now. That is, in an environment where the Mets were doing slightly better than the Yankees, the pattern would have been for the Yankees to still have a larger fan base. That might mean Quinnipiac’s new poll is too friendly to the Mets — certainly a possibility, given the margin of error. It could also be the case that the Mets are receiving a “bonus” because they were in the playoffs last year and the Yankees weren’t. Again, we can’t really test that phenomenon because in every previous survey, the Yankees had been in the playoffs as recently (or far more so) than the Mets had been.Either way, it’s clear that New York City is a two-baseball-team town right now. The Mets have caught up to — or perhaps even surpassed — their older brother. Yankee fans need their team to start winning again, or they’ll have to get used to seeing a lot more Mets caps on the subway as they make their commute. 8/15/136223-39 FAVORITE TEAM IN MLB
A van with a Spanish numberplate near the concert venue Maassilo is seen during police investigations after a rock concert was cancelled due to a terror threat, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Photo: AFPDutch police are investigating possible terror links after arresting a Spaniard driving a van containing gas canisters close to a rock concert which was abruptly cancelled over fears of an attack.The man “was arrested and taken to the police station,” Rotterdam police said in a Tweet, following a tip-off from Spanish authorities.The arrest came little under a week after twin car-bomb attacks in Spain killed 15 people, in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.Dutch bomb squad officials “were investigating the van” which was found just two streets away from the Maassilo concert hall where an American rock band was due to play, they added.Earlier in the evening Dutch authorities decided to cancel the concert by Californian group Allah-Las in Europe’s largest port city after a tip-off from Spanish police around 5:30pm (1530 GMT) about a possible terror attack.“In the early evening I was warned by telephone that we had received a threat which had implications for an American concert at the Maassilo in Rotterdam,” the city’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, told a hastily-called press conference.“This signal came from the Spanish police to the Dutch police,” he added.But Aboutaleb, the country’s first Muslim and immigrant-born mayor who has spoken out against Islamic terror groups, added an investigation was under way and “we cannot say now if the van with the canisters was linked to the threat”.The four-piece band, from Los Angeles, had been escorted from the concert hall by police wearing bullet-proof vests.In a statement sent to AFP, they said they were “unharmed and are very grateful to the Rotterdam police and other responsible agencies for detecting the potential threat before anyone was hurt.”Rotterdam police said that afterwards an officer “stationed close to the venue decided to stop a van that he saw driving at around 21:30 hrs”.“The van had Spanish plates and was driven by a Spanish national. Inside the van were a couple of gas bottles. Whether there is a link with the terror threat is being looked into,” the statement in English said, adding “the driver was taken into custody”.Concert hall evacuatedThe international connections of the cell of mostly Moroccan nationals behind the Spanish attacks are being probed as investigators retrace their movements to France and Belgium.Spanish police carried out new raids overnight Tuesday to Wednesday after vehicles ploughed into pedestrians on Barcelona’s busy Las Ramblas boulevard and a seaside promenade in the resort town of Cambrils.Fifteen people were killed and more than 120 others were wounded.Spanish court documents have shown that at least 500 litres of acetone, large quantities of nails and detonators as well as gas canisters were found in raids on a house in the town of Alcanar, south of Barcelona.The Rotterdam building where Wednesday’s concert was to be held, which can hold about 1,000 people, was searched by the Dutch anti-terror squad after the crowd had been evacuated.The Netherlands has so far been spared from the slew of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in past years.But amid a number of scares here in recent months, and reports that people linked to some of the attacks may have crossed briefly into the country, concerned top Dutch security and intelligence officials have been keeping a wary eye on events.A spokesman for the Dutch justice ministry told AFP the threat level in The Netherlands remained at “four” out of a possible five.“Nothing has changed for the moment,” Lodewijk Hekking said, meaning the threat levels remains that there is the real possibility of an attack in the Netherlands.
Elias Hossain and Kabir Ahmed KhanElias Hossain of private television channel SA TV and Kabir Ahmed Khan of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) were elected president and general secretary of Dhaka Reporters unity (DRU) respectively for 2019 in an election on Friday.Elias Hossain bagged 641 votes while his nearest rival Monir Hossain Liton polled 496.Kabir Ahmed Khan got 450 votes to defeat Reaz Chowdhury by 10 votes.Khondoker Kaosar Hossain was elected vice-president getting 416 votes and Jamiul Ahasan Sipu was elected joint secretary uncontested.The other elected office-bearers are finance secretary Ziaul Haque Sabuj, organising secretary Afzal Bari, office secretary Md Jehad Hossain Chowdhury, women affairs secretary Sajida Islam Parul, publicity and publication secretary SK Mahmud A Riyat, training and research secretary Abdul Hai Tuhin, sports secretary Shafiqul Islam Shameem, cultural secretary Md Emdadul Haque Khan, entertainment secretary HM Akter and welfare secretary Kawsar Azam.The executive members are Mohiuddin, Khalid Saifullah, BM Nur Alam (Badal Nur), Mohammad Maksudul Hassan, Mohammad Naimuddin, Rashedul Haque, Md Shahabuddin Mahtab and Khondoker Faruque Ahmed.
Share This! Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,DRYDEN, Mich. (AP) — The visiting priests arrived discreetly, day and night.Stripped of their collars and cassocks, they went unnoticed in this tiny Midwestern town as they were escorted into a dingy warehouse across from an elementary school playground. Neighbors had no idea some of the dressed-down clergymen dining at local restaurants might have been accused sexual predators.They had been brought to town by a small, nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii. For nearly two decades, the group has operated out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse across the country.Again and again, Opus Bono has served as a rapid-response team for the accused.When a serial pedophile was sent to jail for abusing dozens of minors, Opus Bono was there for him, with regular visits and commissary cash.When a priest admitted sexually assaulting boys under 14, Opus Bono raised funds for his defense.When another priest was criminally charged with abusing a teen, Opus Bono later made him a legal adviser.Informational pamphlets for Opus Bono Sacerdotii are displayed with others at The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Detroit, on June 7, 2019. For nearly two decades, the small nonprofit organization called Opus Bono Sacerdotii, operating out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, has provided money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to priests accused of sexual abuse. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)And while powerful clerics have publicly pledged to hold the church accountable for the crimes of its clergy and help survivors heal, some of them arranged meetings, offered blessings or quietly sent checks to this organization that provided support to alleged abusers, The Associated Press has found.Though Catholic leaders deny the church has any official relationship with the group, Opus Bono successfully forged networks reaching all the way to the Vatican.The AP unraveled the continuing story of Opus Bono in dozens of interviews with experts, lawyers, clergy members and former employees, along with hundreds of pages of documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests.In recent months, two of the group’s founders were forced out after Michigan’s attorney general found that Opus Bono had misused donated funds and misled contributors. A third co-founder, a priest, was abruptly removed from ministry earlier this month after the AP began asking about an allegation that he had sexually abused a child decades ago.Still, since 2002, Opus Bono has played a little-known role among conservative Catholic groups that portray the abuse scandal as a media and legal feeding frenzy. These groups contend the scandal maligns the priesthood and harms the Catholic faith.Opus Bono established itself as a counterpoint to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other groups that have accused the church of trying to cover up the scandal and failing to support victims of clergy misconduct. Opus Bono focuses on what it considers the neglected victims: priests, and the church itself.“All of these people that have made allegations are very well taken care of,” Opus Bono co-founder Joe Maher said in a radio interview, contending that many abuse accusations lodged against priests are false. “The priests are not at all very well taken care of.”___Opus Bono’s roots reach back almost two decades to a sex abuse scandal that convulsed The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, a grand stone structure set amid Detroit’s crumbling brick blight.For 25 years, the Rev. Eduard Perrone presided there. Inside the church, commonly known as Assumption Grotto, glossy Opus Bono brochures tout the pastor’s role as the group’s co-founder and spiritual lifeblood. Stern and imposing, the 70-year-old Perrone is a staunch conservative; he refused to marry couples, for example, if he thought the bride’s dress was too revealing.In this June 9, 2019, file photo, the Rev. Eduard Perrone conducts a choir during a Mass at The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Detroit. Perrone was a co-founder of a small nonprofit organization called Opus Bono Sacerdotii, which has provided money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to priests accused of sexual abuse. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)Earlier this month, his parishioners were shocked when Perrone was removed from ministry after a church review board decided there was a “semblance of truth” to allegations that he abused a child decades ago. Perrone told the AP that he “never would have done such a thing.”In the years before Perrone helped start Opus Bono, he and Assumption Grotto took in at least two priests who had been accused of sexual misconduct at dioceses in other states. One of them later admitted to molesting as many as 50 children in the 1980s and ’90s, according to court documents in Texas.In 1999, Perrone welcomed the other priest — a West African clergyman named Komlan Dem Houndjame — to come work at Assumption Grotto. Two years later, Detroit Archdiocese officials say, they asked Houndjame to return to his home country, Togo, after learning of accusations of sexual misconduct against him in Detroit and at an earlier posting in Florida.Instead he went to a treatment facility in St. Louis.In 2002, Detroit police charged him with sexually assaulting a member of Assumption Grotto’s choir.This undated photo, provided by Mary Rose Maher in 2019, shows her as a child standing with the Rev. Komlan Dem Houndjame at The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Detroit. Detroit Archdiocese officials said that two years after he arrived at The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in 1999, they asked Houndjame to return to his home country, Togo, after learning of accusations of sexual misconduct against him in Detroit and at an earlier posting in Florida. Instead he went to a treatment facility in St. Louis. In 2002, Detroit police arrested him and charged him with sexually assaulting a member of the church’s choir. (Courtesy Mary Rose Maher via AP)The 48-year-old parishioner who accused Houndjame of rape said Perrone’s response was to protect the church, testifying in court that he told her, “Just walk by him and ignore him.”Perrone responded to the charges against Houndjame by asking the congregation to support the priest in his time of crisis.Joe Maher was among those who were moved by Perrone’s plea for help.Maher grew up Catholic in the Midwest, then headed to California, where, he said in a podcast, he found work producing live entertainment for Hollywood award shows and other events. “I had access to all the studios,” Maher said. He told a radio interviewer he found his faith again in California before moving his family back to Michigan.Maher led the effort to support Houndjame, serving as media spokesman for the accused priest during the case. Maher even brought the priest home to live with his family, according to his daughter Mary Rose, who was about 10 at the time.In court files, the AP found two other women at Assumption Grotto also had told police about sexual misconduct by Houndjame. But their testimony was never heard in court.When the case went to trial, “it was essentially her word against the priest,” said then-prosecutor Maria Miller. Houndjame was acquitted and moved to Las Vegas. He told the AP that Perrone had been “a real friend.”Joe Maher, meanwhile, was inundated with calls from other desperate priests, begging for help.Out of those pleas, Opus Bono was launched.Around the clock, the organization’s main number rang through to Maher’s cellphone. Maher and fellow co-founder Peter Ferrara, who had worked in accounting, would mobilize, picking priests up in person or buying them plane tickets, then moving them into a hotel, an apartment or one of several “halfway houses.”“We’re on our way to help a priest in need, in the Midwest, so it’s going to be a long trip and not much sleep and it could be potentially a dangerous situation,” Maher said in a homemade video posted on Opus Bono’s Facebook page. He didn’t explain why the mission might be dangerous.___Opus Bono’s client list is confidential, but its promotional brochures say it has helped over 8,000 priests. The Michigan attorney general estimates the real number is closer to 1,000.One of those was Rev. Gregory Ingels, a well-known priest in San Francisco’s archdiocese who was charged in 2003 with abusing a 15-year-old boy in the 1970s. The criminal charges were dismissed after California’s extended statute of limitations was ruled unconstitutional, but the archdiocese later settled a lawsuit filed by another Ingels accuser.Opus Bono made Ingels one of its advisers on canon, or church, law. When reached by the AP, Ingels said the allegations against him were false and said his involvement with Opus Bono was minimal.“With Opus Bono, I only answered canon law questions that they had before I hit retirement age,” he said.The group also provided support to Jason Sigler, a former Detroit priest convicted of molesting dozens of children in New Mexico and Michigan.In a lawsuit, one former altar boy said Sigler forced him into “hundreds of sexual abuse events, each a violation of criminal sexual penetration laws.”Maher visited Sigler in prison regularly, funded his commissary account and took his calls, said Mary Rose Maher. She also says her father introduced her to Sigler before and after he was sentenced to prison, and put her on the phone with him while he was behind bars.“I really didn’t know who Jason was. I had only met him once and I didn’t understand why I had to speak to a priest in prison,” she said.Mary Rose Maher, the daughter of Opus Bono Sacerdotii co-founder Joe Maher, visits a former Opus Bono location in Oxford, Mich., on June 5, 2019. In a February 2017 letter to the state attorney general, she wrote, “A simple investigation into the Michigan non-profit charity Opus Bono Sacerdotii would bring to light the millions of embezzled dollars, years of mail fraud, and the constant systemic abuse of donations.” (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)She told the AP that while she was still a teenager, she and her homeschooled friends began working for her father’s organization — and often spent time with men who were accused of abuse. Sometimes Mary Rose, her father and other employees would meet with accused priests, drive them around town and take them to lunch, she said.Opus Bono also hired accused priest Dennis Druggan, who headed a Catholic seminary high school in Wisconsin for more than a decade. Druggan was put on administrative leave in July 2012 after allegations surfaced that he had engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor at a Catholic high school for Native American teens in Montana in the 1980s.Druggan was later removed from public ministry, according to a 2013 audit of the Capuchin province where he served, and is no longer a member of the order, said the province spokesman Tim Hinkle.Instead, Druggan went to work for Opus Bono, according to employment records the group turned over to Michigan’s attorney general.Druggan occasionally visited Opus Bono’s office to say Mass or conduct other business, according to Mary Rose Maher. She recalls sitting at his side for lessons on fundraising.When contacted by the AP, Druggan said he no longer works for Opus Bono and declined further comment.Another former priest, Robert Kealy, was sent by church officials in Chicago to Opus Bono for “monitoring/therapy” in 2003 after admitting he abused teens. The group described him as an adviser on church law.The exterior of a former location for Opus Bono Sacerdotii is shown in Dryden, Mich., on June 6, 2019. For nearly two decades, the group has operated out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse across the country. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)Earlier, Kealy himself had helped handle sex-abuse cases for the church. Now his out-of-town trips had to be approved by the Chicago Archdiocese, and documents show they outsourced his monitoring to Maher, who was listed as his “Therapist, Spiritual Leader, Doctor, Monitor,” even though there is no indication Maher is a licensed therapist.Kealy also attended a conference Opus Bono put on in Detroit, monitored by Monsignor William Varvaro, a former president of the Canon Law Society of America and an early Opus Bono adviser, records show.Kealy did not respond to requests for comment. Varvaro died in 2007.___From the very beginning, the group won backing from influential members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy who were eager to advocate for the rights of accused priests.In 2002, Maher sent a news article about Opus Bono to Father Richard John Neuhaus, the editor of a conservative Catholic journal who served as an unofficial adviser to President George W. Bush. “Some priests have suggested I write to you and let you know what we’re doing,” Maher told Neuhaus.“More power to you!” Neuhaus replied in a letter the AP located in archives at the Catholic University of America. “The demand that a person ‘must be punished,’ no matter how long ago the offense or the repentance and transformation of the offender is nothing more than a demand for vengeance.”Neuhaus introduced Maher to his friend Cardinal Avery Dulles, the son of John Foster Dulles, the former U.S. Secretary of State. Dulles was a pre-eminent conservative Catholic theologian in his two decades at Fordham University.Both men became Opus Bono’s theological advisers. Correspondence shows they forged critical connections for Maher in Rome with at least three powerful Vatican officials. Photographs of American cardinals Raymond Burke and Edmund Szoka were displayed in the group’s promotional materials, along with pictures of other high-ranking church officials who paid calls to the group’s Michigan headquarters. Others sent donations.Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the former archbishop of Baltimore and now a Vatican official, said he occasionally sent money to Opus Bono over the years but has not done so in at least a year. He said he never met Maher, Ferrara or other founding members and never visited Michigan.“I saw some charity being done and wanted to encourage them. They were very appreciative,” O’Brien said, but added that the next time the group reaches out, he will ask that his photo be removed from its Facebook page.Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the only contact between the Vatican and the U.S. group that he was aware of was the receipt of some promotional materials from Opus Bono years ago. He was not aware of a response.Don Hanchon, an auxiliary bishop in Detroit, said he was surprised his images were featured on the group’s website and in brochures. Hanchon told the AP he might have sent in a donation, but the photograph “seems like I’m a big supporter, and that’s just not the truth.”Szoka died in 2014 and Burke could not be reached for comment.The Rev. Eduard Perrone talks to a reporter in Warren, Mich., on June 7, 2019. In July 2019, Detroit’s Catholic archdiocese removed Perrone, one of Opus Bono Sacerdotii’s co-founders, from public ministry after a church review board decided there was a “semblance of truth” to allegations that he abused a child decades ago. Perrone told the AP that he “never would have done such a thing.” (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)Perrone told an interviewer in 2013 that Opus Bono’s relationship with the Roman Catholic Church was deliberately arms-length.“The church benefits from what we’re doing but it doesn’t give it the support,” he said. “The whole point of this is to be a counterpoint to a movement which is also outside the church, a movement of dissent and against the priesthood.”But the group also presented itself as deeply entwined with the church, right down to its name, which means “work for the good of the priesthood.”“Use of the Latin, which is the official language of the Church, helps to identify OBS with the Catholic Church in Rome and the Papacy,” the group’s founding documents note.In addition to courting religious leaders, Opus Bono also has benefited from connections to wealthy U.S. Catholics.A radio network founded by Tom Monaghan, a billionaire Domino’s Pizza founder who later advised President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, interviewed Maher and Perrone and promoted Opus Bono’s work, according to archived Ave Maria Radio recordings.Monaghan’s Ave Maria Foundation also sponsored a community talk Maher gave at a Detroit hotel, according to the recordings. And a former chaplain at Florida-based Ave Maria School of Law, which Monaghan founded and on whose board he serves, was listed as an Opus Bono adviser on the group’s website.A spokesman for Monaghan declined to comment on Opus Bono. Joe Maher has said that Monaghan never made any direct donations to the group.___In their four locations over 17 years — three of them in towns in rural Michigan — the group didn’t post signs.In 2005, in Oxford, Michigan, Opus Bono retrofitted one side of an old metal-casting facility adjacent to a high school for its headquarters. At noon, metal workers would halt their noisy work to let Opus Bono staffers observe Mass and sometimes join in prayer, two former employees of the group said.The group’s next move, in 2014, was 20 miles away to the village of Dryden. Local officials were puzzled when they heard Maher and Ferrara wanted to set up a Hollywood-style production studio in a dilapidated warehouse off Main Street — again facing an elementary school playground.Nothing was mentioned about priests.“They were very tight-lipped and never talked about anything having to do with priests,” said Gyrome Edwards, a building and zoning official in Dryden. “They were just trying to go unseen.”Each week inside the warehouse, office workers mailed out appeals to potential donors in envelopes featuring pictures of the pope. The letters inside, as well as postings on the group’s website, included testimonials describing the purported experiences of priests who’d faced desperate crises, including false accusations of sexual abuse.One testimonial from May 2018, for example, claimed that a “Father David” had been stalked by a mentally unbalanced parishioner who had accused him of sexual misconduct after he turned down her offers of gifts and money.“Even when a priest has done absolutely nothing wrong,” the testimonial asserted, “the Church will sometimes go to the nth degree, including subjecting some priests to unwarranted psychological trauma, and a very long wait to return to active ministry, all to appease a terribly aggressive accuser.”The testimonials, however, were misleading, an investigation by Michigan’s attorney general found. Opus Bono’s lawyers conceded to state investigators that Maher had concocted them by stitching together stories from various priests.Mary Rose Maher, the daughter of Opus Bono Sacerdotii co-founder Joe Maher, holds a photo from her childhood with her parents in Detroit, on June 12, 2019. Opus Bono’s finances came under scrutiny after authorities were contacted by a once-loyal employee — Mary Rose — who began questioning the way money was spent. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)The state’s investigation began after it was contacted by a once-loyal Opus Bono employee — Maher’s own daughter, Mary Rose, now 27.In February 2017, she wrote a letter to the state attorney general accusing the group of financial misconduct.“A simple investigation into the Michigan non-profit charity Opus Bono Sacerdotii would bring to light the millions of embezzled dollars, years of mail fraud, and the constant systemic abuse of donations,” she wrote.The tip landed on the desk of Assistant Attorney General William Bloomfield, a devout Catholic with a law degree from Ave Maria.The investigation lasted more than a year.Investigators concluded the group’s fundraising solicitations had been deceptive. They also found that Maher and Ferrara had violated state charity laws by using donated funds to cover such personal expenses as sushi lunches, chiropractor visits and power tools to work on their homes, according to a cease and desist order filed by Michigan’s attorney general.Opus Bono Sacerdotii, a Michigan based nonprofit that aims to assist priests accused of sexual abuse, raised more than $8 million between 2002 and 2016. (AP Graphic)Over the years, as the group grew richer — financial records show donations increased from $73,000 in 2002 to $1.3 million in 2016 — Maher’s pay soared from $40,500 to $212,000. Ferrara’s rose from $16,300 to $316,000.“Maher and Ferrara took what they wanted, when they wanted it,” the attorney general’s office wrote, demanding repayment of more than $500,000.A former board member — J. Michael Carrigan, a former Smithsonian Institution director — said that whatever the co-founders paid themselves was only to reimburse the tens of thousands of dollars they spent out of their own pockets supporting priests in Opus Bono’s early days.Ultimately, Bloomfield oversaw a settlement last December that required Opus Bono to pay $10,000 to cover the costs of the state’s investigation and forced Ferrara and Maher from their jobs at the nonprofit. The group’s entire board of directors was replaced.Within weeks of the settlement, Bloomfield left his job at the attorney general’s office and took a job with the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, as general counsel.Bloomfield said his work on the investigation did not represent a conflict of interest because Opus Bono is a nonprofit, separate from the church.But four years before Bloomfield began directing the state’s investigation of Opus Bono, he attended a service chanted by Perrone and the Assumption Grotto choir that moved him “to a deep and joyful praise of God,” he wrote on Facebook. Bloomfield told the AP his parents knew Perrone and that he had attended services at Assumption Grotto on occasion as a youth.Bloomfield also sells religious texts through his own imprint, Sacred Art Series, which sometimes can be found for sale at Assumption Grotto’s gift shop, a clerk said. Bloomfield said he has never sold books there directly, but added it’s possible that his mother, who served on a nonprofit board with Perrone, may have dropped off copies.___Despite the settlement, the story of Opus Bono continues to unfold.The Archdiocese of Detroit has asked the Vatican to review the sexual misconduct allegations against Father Perrone.Mary Rose Maher recently launched her own nonprofit group. She says the group will support survivors of sexual abuse, positioning it squarely in opposition to her father’s organization even as she adapts some of its tactics — offering shelter, legal representation and emotional and financial help. She is soliciting donations to build a “safe haven house” and raising money by selling tickets to a banquet that will be held at an as-yet-determined date.Her father, who was required by the state to never again run a nonprofit in Michigan, has launched a second nonprofit that seems to have the identical mission of helping priests in need.The new group is called Men of Melchizedek, a reference to an Old Testament figure who was thought to be both a king and a priest. It is registered in Indiana, but its website says its “principal office” is located in Michigan. The group lists Maher as its president.In a March letter to the Michigan attorney general, Maher’s attorney described him something akin to a case worker whose labors are “a corporal and spiritual work of mercy; it is how he practices his Catholic faith.” The letter said the new group will provide the same services as Opus Bono, but warned that “more vulnerable beneficiaries may be lost to suicide during the transition.”Both Opus Bono and Men of Melchizedek now list the same canon lawyer, the Rev. David Deibel, as their chairman.Deibel, Joe Maher and Maher’s attorneys did not return multiple messages from the AP.On its website, the new group promises “non-judgmental support and life-time accompaniment for our priest-clients who are so very much in need.”“We turn no priest away,” it says.(Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Garance Burke write for The Associated Press.) Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.,The Village Church sued for more than $1 million over alleged abuse at church camp Catholicism By: The Associated Press Photos of the Week August 30, 2019 The Associated Press Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts Share This! News • Photos of the Week Investigation reveals Chicago Archdiocese’s financial woes By: The Associated Press Share This! News By: The Associated Press The Associated Press,Add Comment Click here to post a comment Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email TagsCatholic Church clergy sex Eduard Perrone homepage featured Komlan Dem Houndjame Opus Bono Sacerdotii Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,You may also like Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email
Explore further As scientists continue to search for life on other planets, more and more they are beginning to concede that if it does exist, it may not necessarily exist in the Goldilocks, or habitable zone. Such planets are all the “right” distance from their star, and hopefully, also have water. But recent evidence has suggested that some chemical reactions could lead to types of life forms where there is no water, which further suggests that it may exist outside of what is now considered the habitable zone. For life to come about in such places, researchers reason, there would likely need to be some sort of action going on—and that is why there has been so much focus on Titan; it is the only object in our solar system, besides Earth, that has both rainfall and erosion due to liquid movement. But the water it has is locked far underground and the moon is too cold to support an impact by water anyway. But, as the researchers with this new effort discovered after poring over data sent back by Huygens, the surface does have hydrogen cyanide in its sediment, brought down from the atmosphere by methane and ethane rain. It was those molecules that drove the design of the simulations—the team wanted to see if they could form the basis of reactions that could lead to the creation of polymers such as polyimine, which the team notes, are conducive to the formation of prebiotic reactions leading to a form of life. Their simulations showed that such reactions are possible and that the structures that came about were also able to absorb sunlight in the wavelengths present on the Titan surface.The researchers suggest their work, and that done by others indicates that a return to the planet by a new probe might be in order, one able to test for a different form of life, or at least its precursors. © 2016 Phys.org Life on other planets could be far more widespread, study finds An image of Titan’s surface, as taken by the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe as it plunged through the moon’s thick, orange-brown atmosphere on Jan. 14, 2005. Today, Cornell scientists have chemical evidence that suggests prebiotic conditions may exist there. Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Cornell University has built and run a simulation that showed prebiotic reactions could possibly occur on the surface of one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, suggesting the possibility of life evolving in a place where it is too cold for water to be a factor. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes the simulation they created in response to the discovery (by the Huygens probe) that polymers such as polyimine might have already developed on the moon’s surface. Citation: Simulation suggests non-water based life could exist on Saturn’s moon Titan (2016, July 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-07-simulation-non-water-based-life-saturn.html More information: Polymorphism and electronic structure of polyimine and its potential significance for prebiotic chemistry on Titan, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1606634113AbstractThe chemistry of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is believed to be central to the origin of life question. Contradictions between Cassini–Huygens mission measurements of the atmosphere and the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan suggest that HCN-based polymers may have formed on the surface from products of atmospheric chemistry. This makes Titan a valuable “natural laboratory” for exploring potential nonterrestrial forms of prebiotic chemistry. We have used theoretical calculations to investigate the chain conformations of polyimine (pI), a polymer identified as one major component of polymerized HCN in laboratory experiments. Thanks to its flexible backbone, the polymer can exist in several different polymorphs, which are relatively close in energy. The electronic and structural variability among them is extraordinary. The band gap changes over a 3-eV range when moving from a planar sheet-like structure to increasingly coiled conformations. The primary photon absorption is predicted to occur in a window of relative transparency in Titan’s atmosphere, indicating that pI could be photochemically active and drive chemistry on the surface. The thermodynamics for adding and removing HCN from pI under Titan conditions suggests that such dynamics is plausible, provided that catalysis or photochemistry is available to sufficiently lower reaction barriers. We speculate that the directionality of pI’s intermolecular and intramolecular =N–H…N hydrogen bonds may drive the formation of partially ordered structures, some of which may synergize with photon absorption and act catalytically. Future detailed studies on proposed mechanisms and the solubility and density of the polymers will aid in the design of future missions to Titan.Press release
05Mar Rep. Pscholka hits icy water to benefit Michigan Special Olympics Categories: News Michigan’s winter has been frigid, and it was an even colder day than usual for state Rep. Al Pscholka as he took a dive into a pool of icy water on the lawn of the state Capitol as part of the Legislative Polar Plunge to support Michigan Special Olympics.Rep. Pscholka, dressed as the Grinch, braved below-freezing temperatures for the fourth consecutive year to participate in the event. The Stevensville Republican in past years has taken the plunge dressed as a shark, a bear and a penguin. More than a dozen lawmakers this year participated in the event, with temperatures in Lansing reading just 16 degrees.“It’s been an honor to participate for the fourth year in a row and raise money for the Special Olympics and all of the athletes it supports,” said Pscholka. “With so many of my colleagues coming out to bear the cold, not only does this event raise awareness for this worthy cause, but it’s fun too.”Nearly 21,000 athletes annually participate in Special Olympics Michigan, which is a year-round program offering sports for those with intellectual disabilities. The ultimate goal of Special Olympics is to help persons with intellectual disabilities participate and receive respect as members of their communities.“Many of my constituents in the 79th District participate in the Special Olympics, and some have advanced to national competitions,” Pscholka said. “This is a small price to pay to support them.”
TV will continue to take the biggest share of the global ad market in 2016, with spend expected to grow by 3.1% this year driven by the Olympic Games and US elections, according to new research.In its Ad Spend Report, media agency Carat said that while digital is “constantly closing the gap”, TV continues to “command the majority of market share” and will account for an estimated 41.4% of total global advertising spend this year.This compares to a 27.0% estimated share for digital ad spend, although this sector is expanding far more rapidly and “continues to be the star performer for growth”, according to Carat.“TV advertising spend is forecast to grow moderately by 3.1% in 2016 supported by major media events including the US presidential elections, the UEFA Euro 2016 football championship and the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Growth in TV advertising spend is estimated to continue at a moderated pace of 2.9% in 2017,” said the report.While TV ad spend continues to grow in real terms, as a proportion of the overall ad market its share is declining slightly – from a 42.0% share in 2015 to a projected 40.7% share in 2017.By contrast, digital ad spend is tipped to grow from a 24.6% share of the global ad market in 2015 to 29.3% in 2017.In cash terms, digital spend is expected to grow by 15.0% this year, driven by an upsurge in mobile (+37.9%), online video (+34.7%) and social media (+29.8%).“The influence of digital media is significantly more complex than the 27% [global ad market share] figure might suggest. We are using a truly digital mindset to plan TV; we buy TV airtime programmatically and use TV to drive search,” said Sanjay Nazerali, chief strategy officer, Carat Global.“We leverage social to boost linear TV ratings and amplify user-generated content. With this mindset we combine TV and rich consumer data to buy against people, not schedules.”Overall global ad spend is expected to grow by US$23 billion in 2016 to reach US$538 billion – a 4.5% year-on-year increase, according to the research.Commenting on the findings of the report, Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of digital marketing and communications company Dentsu Aegis said: “the strength of digital continues to be the dominant element in the growth of the global advertising expenditure whilst TV spend remains as the foundations of our industry.”
Chris Albrecht has signed a contract to remain CEO of US premium cable channel Starz until 2020, simultaneously adding the title of company president.The new deal is effective as of July 1, with Albrecht replacing the long-serving Glenn Curtis as president.The news closely follows the appointment of global marketing president Jeffrey Hirsch as COO.Since joining the John Malone-backed Starz in 2010, former HBO chief Albrecht has overseen a strategic push intooriginal programming through shows such as Power, Outlander, Black Sails and The Girlfriend Experience. Previously, Starz and sister channel group StarzEncore had focused mainly on feature film deals.“Chris has developed Starz into a leading, innovative entertainment brand with award-winning original programing that resonates with US and international audiences,” said Starz chairman Greg Maffei.“He has made remarkable contributions to the business over the past six years, and we look forward to his vision creating even more value for distributors, partners and shareholders.”Albrecht has also been active in various talks over the future ownership structure with the likes of Lionsgate Entertainment, CBS and 21st Century Fox. Merger talks with Lionsgate were confirmed in February, though no deal has materialised.