attendance shrinks in the West. ......... Africa’s 265 million Catholics made up about 20 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion followers. And that number is growing. ......... the church provided health care, food programs and education to many millions of Congolese. ......... The Congo bishops’ conference, the most vocal in Africa, did not shy away when President Joseph Kabila postponed elections after the completion of his term in December 2016. It organized protests and brought the issue to international attention, helping to force Mr. Kabila to renounce a third term. ......... The church later deployed about 40,000 observers for a presidential election in 2018, announcing that there was a clear winner, but stopping short of saying who it was. Experts agreed that it was Martin Fayulu, the leading opposition candidate, but another opposition figure, Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi, took power. Still, it was the country’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since it achieved independence from Belgium in 1960. .......... “Power is meaningful only if it becomes a form of service,” Francis said, admonishing authoritarianism and greed. ......... Catholics have remained politically engaged. After celebrating Mass on some Sundays, congregations across the country have marched straight from church in large-scale demonstrations, making it more difficult for the authorities to crack down on them. Protesters have demanded fresh elections and an end to the war in the east. .......... M23, or the March 23 Movement, which refers to a failed peace agreement signed on that date in 2009. ......... There are also more than 120 other armed groups and self-defense militias fighting for land and power in the North and South Kivu, Ituri, and Tanganyika provinces. .........
“For more than 90 percent of people, it’s extreme poverty, extreme insecurity.”........... Congo, a country rich in gold, copper, diamonds and two-thirds of the world’s cobalt. ........ China and the United States have been racing to gain control over the global supply of cobalt, an essential part of electric car batteries. Almost all of Congo’s gold ends up in the hands of regional powers, and is then smuggled out to international markets. ......... “Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: it is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered,” Francis said. “We cannot grow accustomed to the bloodshed that has marked this country for decades, causing millions of deaths that remain mostly unknown elsewhere. What is happening here needs to be known.”
Russian Attacks Intensify in East, Ukraine Says
The Ukrainian military reports attacks at dozens of points across the eastern front. Russian forces attacked dozens of Ukrainian positions across the eastern front, the Ukrainian military said on Monday, as Moscow’s assaults widen and intensify ahead of what Kyiv has warned could be the Kremlin’s largest offensive since the first weeks of the war. ....... the chaotic nature of the Russian effort — including waves of inexperienced recruits and former convicts belonging to the Wagner paramilitary group — was limiting its effectiveness. ......... “There was a complete lack of coordination and interaction among the servicemen of Russian occupation troops and the so-called Wagner Group’s mercenaries” ........ Just as Russia used its overwhelming advantage in artillery early in the war to grind out gains in eastern Ukraine, it is now deploying hundreds of thousands of newly mobilized soldiers, in small groups, to probe for vulnerabilities in Ukrainian defensive lines. ......... The eastern front has remained largely the same, running along a 140-mile stretch of territory that forms the shape of a jagged crescent moon. ........ Moscow is determined to break through Ukrainian defensive lines before the anniversary of its invasion, on Feb. 24.
For Better and for Worse, Elon Musk Is His Own Spokesman Under its new owner, Twitter has done away with its press department. One reporter who writes about the company compares it to a “giant black box.” ........ for the journalists who cover the company, the subsequent experience has defied expectations. ....... He has also been cooperative with Walter Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein and is now working on a book about Mr. Musk. ........ Like Twitter, Tesla does not have a designated public relations team. Mr. Musk addressed the decision to do without a Tesla press office (over Twitter, natch) in 2021: “Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product,” he wrote.
The Road to a Supreme Court Clerkship Starts at Three Ivy League Colleges The chances of obtaining a coveted clerkship, a new study found, increase sharply with undergraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale or Princeton..... When Ted Cruz attended Harvard Law School, he liked to study with people who had undergraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale or Princeton. “He said he didn’t want anybody from ‘minor Ivies’ like Penn or Brown” ........ the finding was disturbing. ........ “We don’t really live in a meritocracy,” he said. “The Supreme Court is guilty of perpetuating some of the worst pathologies in American society.” ......... “Elite law school degrees don’t repair or overcome a lower-status undergraduate degree,” she said. “You can’t scrub your undergraduate degree with a law degree.” ......... There can be a clubby quality to the justices’ remarks about the schools they attended. Chief Justice Roberts, who has two Harvard degrees, was asked in 2009 whether Supreme Court justices “could relate to ordinary folks.” ........ The chief justice said he wanted to dispel a myth. “Not all justices went to elite institutions,” he said. “Some of them went to Yale.”
DeSantis Takes On the Education Establishment, and Builds His Brand A proposal by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida to overhaul higher education would mandate courses in Western civilization, eliminate diversity programs and reduce the protections of tenure. ....... Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, as he positions himself for a run for president next year, has become an increasingly vocal culture warrior, vowing to take on liberal orthodoxy and its champions, whether they are at Disney, on Martha’s Vineyard or in the state’s public libraries. .......... rejected math textbooks en masse for what the state called “indoctrination.” .......... If enacted, courses in Western civilization would be mandated, diversity and equity programs would be eliminated, and the protections of tenure would be reduced. .......... His plan for the state’s education system is in lock step with other recent moves — banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, shipping a planeload of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and stripping Disney, a once politically untouchable corporate giant in Florida, of favors it has enjoyed for half a century. ........ His pugilistic approach was rewarded by voters who re-elected him by a 19 percentage-point margin in November. .......... While expressing her love for both the college and its students, Dr. Okker called the move a hostile takeover. “I do not believe that students are being indoctrinated here at New College,” she said. “They are taught, they read Marx and they argue with Marx. They take world religions, they do not become Buddhists in February and turn into Christians in March.” ............ “It seems many of the students that come here have determined that they don’t necessarily fit into other schools,” Ms. Braden said. “They embrace their differences and exhibit incredible bravery in staking a path forward. They thrive, they blossom, they go out into the world for the betterment of society. This is well documented. Why would you take this away from us?” ......... DeSantis’s attack on diversity, equity and inclusion programs coincides with the recent criticisms of such programs by conservative organizations and think tanks. ......... Examples of such initiatives include campus sessions on “microaggressions” — subtle slights usually based on race or gender ........ Critics of the programs say they sometimes gloss over the pitfalls of Western thinking and ignore the philosophies of non-Western civilizations. .......... “The core curriculum must be grounded in actual history, the actual philosophy that has shaped Western civilization,” Mr. DeSantis said. “We don’t want students to go through, at taxpayer expense, and graduate with a degree in Zombie studies.” ........... Manhattan Institute who is known for his vigorous attacks on “critical race theory,” an academic concept that historical patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other modern institutions.
I'm proud to announce that Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed me to the Board of Trustees of the New College of Florida.— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) January 6, 2023
My ambition is to help the new board majority transform New College into a classical liberal arts institution.
We are recapturing higher education. pic.twitter.com/wu7OKRhzhM
The worst offender in US government censorship & media manipulation is an obscure agency called GEChttps://t.co/z6h5975anw— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2023
Why Black Families Are Leaving New York, and What It Means for the City Black children in particular are disappearing from the city, and many families point to one reason: Raising children here has become too expensive. ......... She grew up in mostly Black neighborhoods in Brooklyn, graduated from public schools and attended a liberal arts college on a full scholarship. She went on to start her own event-planning business in the city. ......... But as Mrs. Rodney’s own family grew, she found herself living in a cramped one-bedroom rental, where her three children shared a bunk bed in the living room. It was hard to get them into programs that exposed them to green spaces or swim classes. As she scrolled through friends’ social media posts showing off trampolines in spacious backyards in Georgia, the solution became clearer: Leave. .......... a national trend of younger Black professionals, middle-class families and retirees leaving cities in the Northeast and Midwest for the South. ......... one main cause: the ever-increasing cost of raising a family in New York. ......... Black households have a median income of $53,000, compared with roughly $98,000 for white households .......... In late 2019, Ms. Horry moved to Jersey City through a New York City voucher program, known as the Special One-Time Assistance program, which relocates vulnerable families into permanent housing with a full year’s rent upfront. ......... New York City’s loss of Black residents has been a gain for the South especially. The region’s economy has boomed as newcomers from the city and other urban areas in the North flock there. ........ Bedford-Stuyvesant lost more than 22,000 Black residents while gaining 30,000 white residents. ........ Citywide, white residents now make up about 31 percent of the population, according to census data, Hispanic residents 28 percent and Asian residents nearly 16 percent. While the white population has stayed about the same, the Asian population grew by 34 percent and Hispanic population grew by 7 percent ........ Overall, the public schools have lost more than 100,000 students in the past five years, a crisis facing other urban districts like Boston and Chicago. In 2005, Black children comprised 35 percent of K-12 students in New York City; they now make up closer to 20 percent........ Her oldest son’s Brooklyn Heights school was largely white. In his final year there, fewer than 5 percent of the students and only a small number of teachers were Black. She noticed him growing increasingly insecure about his natural hair; classmates would sometimes try to touch it. ........ “He was starting to feel different,” Ms. Brooks said. “He needed to be around more diversity and see more kids who looked like him.” ....... After a trip to North Carolina in the spring of 2020 revealed how much cheaper life could be elsewhere, the Brooks family chose to move to Charlotte, where a growing Black population makes up more than a third of residents. Most of her sons’ new teachers, and more of their classmates, are Black.