According to recently publicized files from the Estonian KGB, Patriarch Alexei II, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was an agent for the USSR's intelligence and internal security agency, The Irish Times reports. Allegedly recruited in February 1958, thirty years later he received the agency's Certificate of Honor. Though rumors have been circulating for years, the Keston Institute, an Oxford-based religious rights watchdog monitoring Russia and Eastern Europe, says it is sure that the "Agent Drozdov" could be no one else. ( The Washington Times has a follow-up story.)
"We believe that lawsuits will eventually shut this drug down, but that will take years, and many women's lives will be affected before then," Jenny Biondi of the Right to Life League of Southern California tells the Los Angeles Times. The Federal Drug Administration approved the abortion pill yesterday.
Two days before the U.S. presidential elections, Pope John Paul II will reportedly name Thomas More, the chancellor of England (1529-1532) who was beheaded for refusing to recognize Henry VIII as head of the Church of England, as patron saint of politicians. He will be "a model and intercessor for all those who consider their political commitment as a choice of life." Clifford Davies, history fellow at Oxford's Wadham College, tells The Telegraph, "In standing up for his principles he did quite a lot of nasty things including torturing heretics. He was a lawyer and he did use every trick in the book to try to avoid the consequences. Actually, he was quite an adept politician. But the fact is, he was executed for his principles, so why not make him a patron saint?" The BBC has a related story about what today's politicians can learn from Thomas More, including steadfastness, quotability, and having ideas. And yes, More is compared to Clinton. And Margaret Thatcher. But not Tony Blair, for some reason.
George W. Bush won't be attending the Christian Coalition's "Road to Victory" conference, which The New York Times notes "was a must-stop on the election circuit" for previous Republican presidential nominees. Dick Cheney won't be there either. The biggest name will be Lynne Cheney, Bush's running mate's wife. Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson says Bush's absence is "very risky," for the candidate, but executive director Roberta Combs says it's okay. "Our people really know where he stands on the issues. He's very conservative." The New York Times also notes that though conservatives are more galvanized in their support of Bush than they were of Bob Dole four years ago, some are frustrated that he hasn't said more about gays in the Boy Scouts or Hollywood violence.
Eighty-four students (says Fox News; The Washington Times says 90) will start classes Monday at the first college aimed at homeschoolers. It would be interesting to watch the interaction between the 14 students who weren't exclusively homeschooled (The Washington Times says 10) during high school and the 70 who were.
When a Chicago alderman introduced an ordinance ordering minors to be accompanied by a parent of guardian if they want to play violent or sexually explicit videogames at public arcades, Chicago mayor Richard Daley was quick to support it. Daley's brother is head of the Gore-Lieberman campaign, which has seen a lot of political capital come out of the duo's attack on Hollywood violence. But that prompted an inevitable question: if Daley didn't like violent video games, why did he approve the city's giving $2.2 million to Midway Games, which produces such violent fare as Mortal Kombat? His response was pure Daley: "We did it, so … ," Continued to be pressed on the matter, Daley asserted that not all of their games are violent. "I mean, they are a huge business. … But (violence) is a concern they had better face."
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