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    A new outdoor shopping mall and casino is officially one step closer to opening in East Hartford.

    The town’s planning commission approved the proposals Wednesday night.

    East Hartford plans to call its new shopping center The Outlet Shoppes at Rentschler Field, which will be located on Silver Lane, next to Cabellas. The 425,000 square-foot mall will hold about 90 retailers and several restaurants.

    Chicago-based Horizon Group Properties Incorporated is funding the $100-million project.

    "They need something like that where you can go shopping or you can do something instead of going to Manchester or going to East Windsor, South Windsor places like that," said East Hartford resident Wendy Lewis.

    The developer has signed leases with businesses, but the names cannot be released yet.

    "What this means to the region and more specifically to East Hartford – it’s about 3,000 jobs. Especially in a town that has a high unemployment rate, we’re really looking to have that for many as an opportunity for residents," said East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc.

    Farther down on Silver Lane sits a boarded-up movie theater, which the city hopes to replace with a casino filled with 1,000 gaming machines and several restaurants and bars.

    The casino is projected to cost at least $200 million and would bring an additional 240 jobs.

    "There’s a lot of people that have to go into the city or even farther away, so this is really great. Maybe a lot of the local people can get a job here,” said Jane Turner, of East Hartford.

    The mayor believes developments along the Silver Lane corridor will also be a catalyst to bringing people to Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, which she says has been underutilized.

    The mall will open in April 2017.

    An opening date for the casino is still in the works.


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    Five human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Connecticut so far this year, including four in Bridgeport and one in Shelton, according to the Department of Public Health.

    All five patients are between the ages of 30 and 80 and are recovering. They fell ill between the third week of August and the second week of September, the DPH said. Four were hospitalized.

    Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said the number of West Nile-infected mosquitoes in Bridgeport have "declined significantly" over the past three weeks, but residents should still take precautions when spending time outside.

    "There is still a risk of new human infections in Bridgeport and several other Connecticut towns where infected mosquitoes have been repeatedly identified, especially along the coast from New Haven to Greenwich," Armstrong said in a statement Thursday.

    West Nile virus has been identified in 23 Connecticut communities so far this year, including Bridgeport, Cheshire, Chester, Darien, East Haven, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, Haddam, Hartford, Milford, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Stonington, Stratford, Waterford, West Haven, Westport, Wethersfield and Wilton.

    Six people were infected with West Nile virus last year. Five were hospitalized.

    More information about the virus is available on the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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    A man and his stepdaughter are facing charges after shutting three children in the trunk of their car while driving in Connecticut earlier this month, according to police.

    John David Harvey, 34, and his stepdaughter, Adrianna Nordin, 20, were arrested Sept. 13 at the Cumberland Farms gas station on South Main Street in Torrington.

    Police said they were driving to Waterbury from Torrington with three other people, including two adults, in the back seat of the car. Those people have not been named.

    Witnesses called police after watching two 10-year-old children and one 8-year-old climb into the trunk of the car, which was shut behind them, locking them in, according to police.

    Police said one of the children is Harvey's and the other two are related to the unnamed passengers.

    The Republican-American cites Harvey's attorney as saying "Harvey made a bad decision to place them in the trunk" because there was no room for the children in the back seat.

    Harvey and Nordin were each charged with risk of injury and breach of peace. They appeared in court Monday, where their cases were continued to Oct. 7.



    Photo Credit: Torrington Police Department

    John David Harvey, 34, and Adrianna Nordin, 20, of Torrington, have been arrested after allegedly shutting three children in the trunk of their car.John David Harvey, 34, and Adrianna Nordin, 20, of Torrington, have been arrested after allegedly shutting three children in the trunk of their car.

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    The new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are hitting stores on Friday and people, as well as a robot, around the world are already lining up.

    Lucy the robot was among the first to wait in the rain in Sydney, Australia.

    "I obviously have my work and other things to attend to and can't spend two days lining up so my boss at work suggested I take one of the robots down and use it to stand in my place," said operator, Lucy Kelly, via an iPad mounted on top of the wheeled robot.

    Analysts are expecting 12 to 13 million people will buy the latest versions of the iPhone this weekend. Apple said pre-orders are expected to beat last year’s first weekend - the company sold 10 million iPhone 6’s when it first launched in 2014.



    Photo Credit: AP

    New iPhone 6s models are on display at an Apple store in Tokyo as Apple Inc. launched the sales of the latest models of its popular smartphone in Japan Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. Apple is counting on sales of the new iPhones to maintain its position as one of the most profitable, and valuable, companies in the world.New iPhone 6s models are on display at an Apple store in Tokyo as Apple Inc. launched the sales of the latest models of its popular smartphone in Japan Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. Apple is counting on sales of the new iPhones to maintain its position as one of the most profitable, and valuable, companies in the world.

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    A Saudi prince of the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia was arrested Thursday for allegedly sexually assaulting an employee at his Beverly Hills mansion, police said.

    Police said Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud, 28, attempted to force a woman to perform a sex act, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

    The alleged assault took place in a gated community at Wallingford Drive.

    Neighbors said they witnessed a woman bleeding as she screamed for helped and tried to climb an 8-foot wall around the property. Around 1:30 p.m., a neighbor led police to the property where the woman was seen and officers arrested Al-Saud.

    LAPD said Al-Saud does not have diplomatic immunity in this case.

    Al-Saud posted $300,000 bail and was released. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 19, according to the LAPD.

    Al-Saud could not be reached for comment.



    Photo Credit: KNBC

    A Saudi prince was arrested in Beverly Hills for allegedly sexually assaulting an employee on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.A Saudi prince was arrested in Beverly Hills for allegedly sexually assaulting an employee on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

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    Police on Thursday arrested a student who attacked a partially blind schoolmate at Huntington Beach High School in southern California in a video circulating on social media.

    The fight occurred Wednesday at about 12:30 p.m., Jennifer Marlett with the Huntington Police Department said.

    Police said the fight was an isolated incident involving three male Huntington Beach High School students under the age of 18.

    "School resource officers, detectives and school officials are working to find out exactly what happened," the Huntington Police Department said.

    The video shows a boy punching another sudent who doesn't appear to fight back. A third boy steps in and punches the attacker, knocking him to the ground.

    The student, who is being called a hero by classmates, asks why the attacker was "hitting a blind kid."

    According to police, the partially blind student and his attacker knew each other and have a history of not getting along.

    “The student who stepped in, his actions were reasonable,” said Officer Jennifer Marlatt of the HBPD.

    Police arrested the alleged bully for misdemeanor battery. He was later released to his parents.

    The brother of the alleged bully said the student was taunting his brother, and he believes his brother was the victim.

    "This so-called hero, he comes up and punches him in the back of the head," he said. "Pretty wrong, if you ask me. He could've killed him."

    No arrest is anticipated for the third student who intervened in the fight. 

    Hetty Chang contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Police were investigating a viral video of a fight at Huntington Beach High School Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.Police were investigating a viral video of a fight at Huntington Beach High School Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.

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    Indianapolis police are investigating after an off-duty officer fatally struck a man with his cruiser. They suspect alcohol may have been a factor, NBC News reported.

    The off-duty officer called in to say he had struck a pedestrian just four minutes after officers were dispatched to investigate an anonymous 911 call reporting an individual walking in the roadway, according to a statement from the Indianapolis Police Department.

    A supervisor dispatched to the scene smelled alcohol on the off-duty officer’s breath and called in additional investigators, said Indianapolis Police Department spokesman Lt. Richard Riddle.

    The male was pronounced dead at the scene.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    Four Waterbury firefighters suffered minor injuries when their engine was struck by a car while responding to an emergency call Thursday evening, according to the fire chief.

    Waterbury Fire Chief David Martin said the fire truck was on the way to the scene of a possible condo fire between 7:30 and 8 p.m. when a car pulled out of a driveway on Oronoke Road and hit the side of the engine.

    Four firefighters were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, including a broken hand, Martin said. People in the other vehicle also suffered minor injuries but were not hospitalized.

    Both the fire engine and the passenger car sustained heavy damage.

    Martin said other fire companies took over the emergency call.

    Police are investigating the crash.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Hamden police are trying to figure out who left a pit bull puppy in a dumpster Tuesday.

    Police said an employee of a restaurant in the Hamden Plaza at 2100 Dixwell Avenue spotted the pup when she was taking out the trash.

    The puppy was rescued from the dumpster and taken to the North Haven Animal Shelter.

    Authorities have not released any information on the dog's condition, but a photo released by the Hamden Police Department appears to show the pup in good spirits.

    Anyone with information or who knows the person responsible is asked to call Animal Control Officer Chris Smith at 203-230-4080.



    Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

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    State police have arrested a 38-year-old Groton man who is suspected of robbing a bank in Old Lyme on Wednesday.

    State police identified Herman E. "Butchie" Smith, of George Avenue in Groton, as the man who robbed the Webster Bank at 7 Halls Road just before noon on Wednesday and fled on a bicycle after putting money in a satchel.

    Soon after the robbery, police released surveillance video of a man wearing a blue-and-white UConn cap,  a white T-shirt with dark-colored sleeves, khaki shorts and white sneakers and said they were looking for him in connection with the robbery.

    The Connecticut Bankers Reward Association also offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to his arrest.

    Police obtained a warrant for Smith on Wednesday after he was identified as a suspect.

    On Thursday, state police from Troop F and the major crime squad, as well as Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police Department, took him into custody at his home.

    Smith has been charged with second-degree robbery and second-degree larceny. Bond was set at $500,000 and he is due in New London Superior Court on Sept. 25.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    Police are searching for the man who robbed a bank in Old Lyme on Wednesday.Police are searching for the man who robbed a bank in Old Lyme on Wednesday.

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    Here is an official translation of Pope Francis' address to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, 2015.

    Mr President,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Thank you for your kind words. Once again, following a tradition by which I feel honored, the Secretary General of the United Nations has invited the Pope to address this distinguished assembly of nations. In my own name, and that of the entire Catholic community, I wish to express to you, Mr Ban Ki-moon, my heartfelt gratitude. I greet the Heads of State and Heads of Government present, as well as the ambassadors, diplomats and political and technical officials accompanying them, the personnel of the United Nations engaged in this 70th Session of the General Assembly, the personnel of the various programs and agencies of the United Nations family, and all those who, in one way or another, take part in this meeting. Through you, I also greet the citizens of all the nations represented in this hall. I thank you, each and all, for your efforts in the service of mankind.

    This is the fifth time that a Pope has visited the United Nations. I follow in the footsteps of my predecessors Paul VI, in1965, John Paul II, in 1979 and 1995, and my most recent predecessor, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in 2008. All of them expressed their great esteem for the Organization, which they considered the appropriate juridical and political response to this present moment of history, marked by our technical ability to overcome distances and frontiers and, apparently, to overcome all natural limits to the exercise of power. An essential response, inasmuch as technological power, in the hands of nationalistic or falsely universalist ideologies, is capable of perpetrating tremendous atrocities. I can only reiterate the appreciation expressed by my predecessors, in reaffirming the importance which the Catholic Church attaches to this Institution and the hope which she places in its activities.

    The United Nations is presently celebrating its seventieth anniversary. The history of this organized community of states is one of important common achievements over a period of unusually fast-paced changes. Without claiming to be exhaustive, we can mention the codification and development of international law, the establishment of international norms regarding human rights, advances in humanitarian law, the resolution of numerous conflicts, operations of peace-keeping and reconciliation, and any number of other accomplishments in every area of international activity and endeavour. All these achievements are lights which help to dispel the darkness of the disorder caused by unrestrained ambitions and collective forms of selfishness. Certainly, many grave problems remain to be resolved, yet it is clear that, without all those interventions on the international level, mankind would not have been able to survive the unchecked use of its own possibilities. Every one of these political, juridical and technical advances is a path towards attaining the ideal of human fraternity and a means for its greater realization.

    For this reason I pay homage to all those men and women whose loyalty and self-sacrifice have benefitted humanity as a whole in these past seventy years. In particular, I would recall today those who gave their lives for peace and reconciliation among peoples, from Dag Hammarskjöld to the many United Nations officials at every level who have been killed in the course of humanitarian missions, and missions of peace and reconciliation.

     

    Beyond these achievements, the experience of the past seventy years has made it clear that reform and adaptation to the times is always necessary in the pursuit of the ultimate goal of granting all countries, without exception, a share in, and a genuine and equitable influence on, decision-making processes. The need for greater equity is especially true in the case of those bodies with effective executive capability, such as the Security Council, the Financial Agencies and the groups or mechanisms specifically created to deal with economic crises. This will help limit every kind of abuse or usury, especially where developing countries are concerned. The International Financial Agencies are should care for the sustainable development of countries and should ensure that they are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence.

    The work of the United Nations, according to the principles set forth in the Preamble and the first Articles of its founding Charter, can be seen as the development and promotion of the rule of law, based on the realization that justice is an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity. In this context, it is helpful to recall that the limitation of power is an idea implicit in the concept of law itself. To give to each his own, to cite the classic definition of justice, means that no human individual or group can consider itself absolute, permitted to bypass the dignity and the rights of other individuals or their social groupings. The effective distribution of power (political, economic, defense-related, technological, etc.) among a plurality of subjects, and the creation of a juridical system for regulating claims and interests, are one concrete way of limiting power. Yet today’s world presents us with many false rights and – at the same time – broad sectors which are vulnerable, victims of power badly exercised: for example, the natural environment and the vast ranks of the excluded. These sectors are closely interconnected and made increasingly fragile by dominant political and economic relationships. That is why their rights must be forcefully affirmed, by working to protect the environment and by putting an end to exclusion.

    First, it must be stated that a true “right of the environment” does exist, for two reasons. First, because we human beings are part of the environment. We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect. Man, for all his remarkable gifts, which “are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology” (Laudato Si’, 81), is at the same time a part of these spheres. He possesses a body shaped by physical, chemical and biological elements, and can only survive and develop if the ecological environment is favourable. Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity. Second, because every creature, particularly a living creature, has an intrinsic value, in its existence, its life, its beauty and its interdependence with other creatures. We Christians, together with the other monotheistic religions, believe that the universe is the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator, who permits man respectfully to use creation for the good of his fellow men and for the glory of the Creator; he is not authorized to abuse it, much less to destroy it. In all religions, the environment is a fundamental good (cf. ibid.).

    The misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion. In effect, a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged, either because they are differently abled (handicapped), or because they lack adequate information and technical expertise, or are incapable of decisive political action. Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offense against human rights and the environment. The poorest are those who suffer most from such offenses, for three serious reasons: they are cast off by society, forced to live off what is discarded and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment. They are part of today’s widespread and quietly growing “culture of waste”.

    The dramatic reality this whole situation of exclusion and inequality, with its evident effects, has led me, in union with the entire Christian people and many others, to take stock of my grave responsibility in this regard and to speak out, together with all those who are seeking urgently-needed and effective solutions. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope. I am similarly confident that the Paris Conference on Climatic Change will secure fundamental and effective agreements.

     

    Solemn commitments, however, are not enough, even though they are a necessary step toward solutions. The classic definition of justice which I mentioned earlier contains as one of its essential elements a constant and perpetual will: Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius sum cuique tribuendi. Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime. Such is the magnitude of these situations and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences. We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges.

    The number and complexity of the problems require that we possess technical instruments of verification. But this involves two risks. We can rest content with the bureaucratic exercise of drawing up long lists of good proposals – goals, objectives and statistical indicators – or we can think that a single theoretical and aprioristic solution will provide an answer to all the challenges. It must never be forgotten that political and economic activity is only effective when it is understood as a prudential activity, guided by a perennial concept of justice and constantly conscious of the fact that, above and beyond our plans and programmes, we are dealing with real men and women who live, struggle and suffer, and are often forced to live in great poverty, deprived of all rights.

    To enable these real men and women to escape from extreme poverty, we must allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny. Integral human development and the full exercise of human dignity cannot be imposed. They must be built up and allowed to unfold for each individual, for every family, in communion with others, and in a right relationship with all those areas in which human social life develops – friends, communities, towns and cities, schools, businesses and unions, provinces, nations, etc. This presupposes and requires the right to education – also for girls (excluded in certain places) – which is ensured first and foremost by respecting and reinforcing the primary right of the family to educate its children, as well as the right of churches and social groups to support and assist families in the education of their children. Education conceived in this way is the basis for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and for reclaiming the environment.

    At the same time, government leaders must do everything possible to ensure that all can have the minimum spiritual and material means needed to live in dignity and to create and support a family, which is the primary cell of any social development. In practical terms, this absolute minimum has three names: lodging, labour, and land; and one spiritual name: spiritual freedom, which includes religious freedom, the right to education and other civil rights.

    For all this, the simplest and best measure and indicator of the implementation of the new Agenda for development will be effective, practical and immediate access, on the part of all, to essential material and spiritual goods: housing, dignified and properly remunerated employment, adequate food and drinking water; religious freedom and, more generally, spiritual freedom and education. These pillars of integral human development have a common foundation, which is the right to life and, more generally, what we could call the right to existence of human nature itself.

    The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species. The baneful consequences of an irresponsible mismanagement of the global economy, guided only by ambition for wealth and power, must serve as a summons to a forthright reflection on man: “man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature” (BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Bundestag, 22 September 2011, cited in Laudato Si’, 6). Creation is compromised “where we ourselves have the final word… The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any instance above ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves” (ID. Address to the Clergy of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, 6 August 2008, cited ibid.). Consequently, the defence of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman (cf. Laudato Si’, 155), and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions (cf. ibid., 123, 136).

     

    Without the recognition of certain incontestable natural ethical limits and without the immediate implementation of those pillars of integral human development, the ideal of “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war” (Charter of the United Nations, Preamble), and “promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” (ibid.), risks becoming an unattainable illusion, or, even worse, idle chatter which serves as a cover for all kinds of abuse and corruption, or for carrying out an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity and, in the end, irresponsible.

    War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and between peoples.

    To this end, there is a need to ensure the uncontested rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation, mediation and arbitration, as proposed by the Charter of the United Nations, which constitutes truly a fundamental juridical norm. The experience of these seventy years since the founding of the United Nations in general, and in particular the experience of these first fifteen years of the third millennium, reveal both the effectiveness of the full application of international norms and the ineffectiveness of their lack of enforcement. When the Charter of the United Nations is respected and applied with transparency and sincerity, and without ulterior motives, as an obligatory reference point of justice and not as a means of masking spurious intentions, peaceful results will be obtained. When, on the other hand, the norm is considered simply as an instrument to be used whenever it proves favourable, and to be avoided when it is not, a true Pandora’s box is opened, releasing uncontrollable forces which gravely harm defenseless populations, the cultural milieu and even the biological environment.

    The Preamble and the first Article of the Charter of the United Nations set forth the foundations of the international juridical framework: peace, the pacific solution of disputes and the development of friendly relations between the nations. Strongly opposed to such statements, and in practice denying them, is the constant tendency to the proliferation of arms, especially weapons of mass distraction, such as nuclear weapons. An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are self-contradictory and an affront to the entire framework of the United Nations, which would end up as “nations united by fear and distrust”. There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the non-proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.

    The recent agreement reached on the nuclear question in a sensitive region of Asia and the Middle East is proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy. I express my hope that this agreement will be lasting and efficacious, and bring forth the desired fruits with the cooperation of all the parties involved.

    In this sense, hard evidence is not lacking of the negative effects of military and political interventions which are not coordinated between members of the international community. For this reason, while regretting to have to do so, I must renew my repeated appeals regarding to the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement.

    These realities should serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the part of those charged with the conduct of international affairs. Not only in cases of religious or cultural persecution, but in every situation of conflict, as in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region, real human beings take precedence over partisan interests, however legitimate the latter may be. In wars and conflicts there are individual persons, our brothers and sisters, men and women, young and old, boys and girls who weep, suffer and die. Human beings who are easily discarded when our only response is to draw up lists of problems, strategies and disagreements.

    As I wrote in my letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 9 August 2014, “the most basic understanding of human dignity compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities” and to protect innocent peoples.

     

    Along the same lines I would mention another kind of conflict which is not always so open, yet is silently killing millions of people. Another kind of war experienced by many of our societies as a result of the narcotics trade. A war which is taken for granted and poorly fought. Drug trafficking is by its very nature accompanied by trafficking in persons, money laundering, the arms trade, child exploitation and other forms of corruption. A corruption which has penetrated to different levels of social, political, military, artistic and religious life, and, in many cases, has given rise to a parallel structure which threatens the credibility of our institutions.

    I began this speech recalling the visits of my predecessors. I would hope that my words will be taken above all as a continuation of the final words of the address of Pope Paul VI; although spoken almost exactly fifty years ago, they remain ever timely. “The hour has come when a pause, a moment of recollection, reflection, even of prayer, is absolutely needed so that we may think back over our common origin, our history, our common destiny. The appeal to the moral conscience of man has never been as necessary as it is today… For the danger comes neither from progress nor from science; if these are used well, they can help to solve a great number of the serious problems besetting mankind (Address to the United Nations Organization, 4 October 1965). Among other things, human genius, well applied, will surely help to meet the grave challenges of ecological deterioration and of exclusion. As Paul VI said: “The real danger comes from man, who has at his disposal ever more powerful instruments that are as well fitted to bring about ruin as they are to achieve lofty conquests” (ibid.).

    The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature.

    Such understanding and respect call for a higher degree of wisdom, one which accepts transcendence, rejects the creation of an all-powerful élite, and recognizes that the full meaning of individual and collective life is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good. To repeat the words of Paul VI, “the edifice of modern civilization has to be built on spiritual principles, for they are the only ones capable not only of supporting it, but of shedding light on it” (ibid.).

    El Gaucho Martín Fierro, a classic of literature in my native land, says: “Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law; keep a true bond between you always, at every time – because if you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside”.

    The contemporary world, so apparently connected, is experiencing a growing and steady social fragmentation, which places at risk “the foundations of social life” and consequently leads to “battles over conflicting interests” (Laudato Si’, 229).

    The present time invites us to give priority to actions which generate new processes in society, so as to bear fruit in significant and positive historical events (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 223). We cannot permit ourselves to postpone “certain agendas” for the future. The future demands of us critical and global decisions in the face of world-wide conflicts which increase the number of the excluded and those in need.

    The praiseworthy international juridical framework of the United Nations Organization and of all its activities, like any other human endeavour, can be improved, yet it remains necessary; at the same time it can be the pledge of a secure and happy future for future generations. And so it will, if the representatives of the States can set aside partisan and ideological interests, and sincerely strive to serve the common good. I pray to Almighty God that this will be the case, and I assure you of my support and my prayers, and the support and prayers of all the faithful of the Catholic Church, that this Institution, all its member States, and each of its officials, will always render an effective service to mankind, a service respectful of diversity and capable of bringing out, for sake of the common good, the best in each people and in every individual.

    Upon all of you, and the peoples you represent, I invoke the blessing of the Most High, and all peace and prosperity. Thank you.
     



    Photo Credit: AP

    Pope Francis arrives at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to lead an evening prayer service, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger via AP, Pool)Pope Francis arrives at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to lead an evening prayer service, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger via AP, Pool)

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    The New York stop of Pope Francis' U.S. tour began at JFK Airport, and it didn't take long for the crowd to erupt with enthusiasm.  But for one local high school student in a wheelchair, the cheers turned to tears and led to hope of a miracle.

    As the pope approached Brooklyn teen Julia Buzzese as he went down the line of people waiting for him, he stopped to bless her.

    For Buzzese, it was more than just a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.

    "It means that he's going to give me a miracle, to walk again," Buzzese said, crying. "I know I will walk again because of him."

    Pope Meets Plush Pope

    There were a few lighthearted moments at JFK, as well. Pope Francis seemed especially pleased when someone in the crowd showed him his likeness in the form of a plush doll.

    The pope's smiled and laughed at the sight of the mini Pope, and even held him up for all to see.

    "I saw his whole face light up," said school teacher Annette Sciascia, who handed it to Pope Francis. "It made his day, I think. It made my day, and our whole school is so proud right now."

    Fifth Avenue Waves 

    New Yorkers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the pope Thursday night as he made his way to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

    And just like his trip to D.C., Pope Francis rode in both his signature black Fiat 500 and his white "Popemobile" Jeep Wrangler, smiling and waving to the crowds along Fifth Avenue.

    Pope Shines at U.N.

    More than 100 world leaders and diplomats from around the world gathered at the United Nations Friday morning to listen as Pope Francis gave a memorable speech, the fifth by a pope at the historic building.

    His speech carried a progressive social message, highlighted by his concerns about the environment famously described in his recent teaching document, "Praise Be."

    "Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity," he said.

    Among those in the crowd listening was Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousefzai, the young Pakistani education campaigner who was shot and gravely wounded by the Taliban. Also on hand were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bill and Melinda Gates.

    Read Pope Francis' full speech to the U.N. here.

    "This Is a Place Where We Cry"

    In perhaps the most emotional moment of his U.S. trip so far, Pope Francis visited Ground Zero on Friday.

    He prayed and placed a white rose at the edge of one of the reflecting pools, and then met with some of the families who lost loved ones in the 2001 terrorist attacks before heading into the museum to lead a multi-religious prayer for peace.

    "I feel many different emotions standing here at Ground Zero, where thousands of lives were taken in a senseless act of destruction," Pope Francis told those in attendance. "Here, grief is palpable. This is a place where we cry."

    Read Pope Francis' full address at the 9/11 Memorial.


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    Here is an official translation of the prepared text for Pope Francis' address at the Ground Zero Memorial in lower Manhattan on Sept. 25, 2015.

    Dear Friends,

    I feel many different emotions standing here at Ground Zero, where thousands of lives were taken in a senseless act of destruction. Here grief is palpable. The water we see flowing towards that empty pit reminds us of all those lives which fell prey to those who think that destruction, tearing down, is the only way to settle conflicts. It is the silent cry of those who were victims of a mindset which knows only violence, hatred and revenge. A mindset which can only cause pain, suffering, destruction and tears.

    The flowing water is also a symbol of our tears. Tears at so much devastation and ruin, past and present. This is a place where we shed tears, we weep out of a sense of helplessness in the face of injustice, murder, and the failure to settle conflicts through dialogue. Here we mourn the wrongful and senseless loss of innocent lives because of the inability to find solutions which respect the common good. This flowing water reminds us of yesterday’s tears, but also of all the tears still being shed today.

    A few moments ago I met some of the families of the fallen first responders. Meeting them made me see once again how acts of destruction are never impersonal, abstract or merely material. They always have a face, a concrete story, names. In those family members, we see the face of pain, a pain which still touches us and cries out to heaven.

    At the same time, those family members showed me the other face of this attack, the other face of their grief: the power of love and remembrance. A remembrance that does not leave us empty and withdrawn. The name of so many loved ones are written around the towers’ footprints. We can see them, we can touch them, and we can never forget them.

    Here, amid pain and grief, we also have a palpable sense of the heroic goodness which people are capable of, those hidden reserves of strength from which we can draw. In the depths of pain and suffering, you also witnessed the heights of generosity and service. Hands reached out, lives were given. In a metropolis which might seem impersonal, faceless, lonely, you demonstrated the powerful solidarity born of mutual support, love and self-sacrifice. No one thought about race, nationality, neighborhoods, religion or politics. It was all about solidarity, meeting immediate needs, brotherhood. It was about being brothers and sisters. New York City firemen walked into the crumbling towers, with no concern for their own wellbeing. Many succumbed; their sacrifice enabled great numbers to be saved.

    This place of death became a place of life too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.

    It is a source of great hope that in this place of sorrow and remembrance I can join with leaders representing the many religious traditions which enrich the life of this great city. I trust that our presence together will be a powerful sign of our shared desire to be a force for reconciliation, peace and justice in this community and throughout the world. For all our differences and disagreements, we can live in a world of peace. In opposing every attempt to create a rigid uniformity, we can and must build unity on the basis of our diversity of languages, cultures and religions, and lift our voices against everything which would stand in the way of such unity. Together we are called to say “no” to every attempt to impose uniformity and “yes” to a diversity accepted and reconciled.

    This can only happen if we uproot from our hearts all feelings of hatred, vengeance and resentment. We know that that is only possible as a gift from heaven. Here, in this place of remembrance, I would ask everyone together, each in his or her own way, to spend a moment in silence and prayer. Let us implore from on high the gift of commitment to the cause of peace. Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. Simply PEACE.

    In this way, the lives of our dear ones will not be lives which will one day be forgotten. Instead, they will be present whenever we strive to be prophets not of tearing down but of building up, prophets of reconciliation, prophets of peace.



    Photo Credit: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

    Pope Francis attends a multi-religious service for the victims of 9/11 in New York on September 25, 2015.Pope Francis attends a multi-religious service for the victims of 9/11 in New York on September 25, 2015.

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    Here is the translation of Pope Francis' address to school children at Our Lady, Queen of the Angels School in Harlem on Sept. 25, 2015.

    I am very happy to be with you today, along with this big family which surrounds you. I see your teachers, your parents and your family members. Thank you for letting me come, and I ask officially pardon from your teachers for “stealing” a few minutes of their class time!

    They tell me that one of the nice things about this school and about the work that is being done here is that some of its students here, some of you, come from other places, and many from other countries. That is nice! Even though I know that it is not always easy to have to move and find a new home, new neighbors and new friends. It is not easy, but one has to begin. At the beginning it can be hard and tiring, right? At times you have to learn a new language, adjust to a new culture, even a new climate. There is so much to learn! And not just the work at school, but many other things. You were playing with your ball.

    The good thing is that we also make new friends, the good friends that we find. We meet people who open doors for us, who are kind to us. They offer us friendship and understanding, and they try to help us not to feel like strangers, like foreigners. It is the work being done by people who help us feel at home. Although sometimes our imagination take us back to our homeland, but we find good people to help us feel at home.

    How nice it is to feel that school, that meeting places, are a second home. This is not only important for you, but also for your families. So school then ends up being one big family for all. One where, together with our mothers and fathers, our grandparents, our teachers and friends, we learn to help one another, to share our good qualities, to give the best of ourselves, to work as a team, to play as a team, that’s very important as well, and to pursue our goals.

    Very near here there is a very important street named after a person who did a lot for other people. I want to talk a little bit about him with you. He was the Reverend Martin Luther King. One day he said, “I have a dream”. He dreamt that many children, many people could have equal opportunities. His dream was that many children like you could get an education. He dreamt that many men and women like you could keep their head high with the dignity of those who can earn their keep. It is beautiful to have dreams. It is beautiful to be able to fight for those dreams. Don’t forget about that.

    Today we want to keep dreaming. We celebrate all the opportunities which enable you, and us adults, not to lose the hope of a better world with greater possibilities. So many here that I’ve been introduced to that also dreamt with you, that dreamt about this, and that is why they have become involved in this kind of work, in your lives, to go with you along this path. We all dream.

    I know that one of the dreams of your parents and teachers and all those that help you, and also Cardinal Dolan as well, he’s a very good man, the dream is that you can grow up and be happy. Here I see you smiling. It is always good to see children smiling. Keep smiling and help bring joy to everyone you meet. There are others in households that are in difficult situations, sickness. But keep dreaming of living with joy. Everyone here, children and adults, you have a right to dream and I am very happy that whether at school, here in this school, in your friends and your teachers, you can find the support you need.

    Wherever there are dreams, there is joy, Jesus is always present. Because Jesus is joy, and he wants to help us to feel that joy every day of our lives. Now who serves sadness, who serves distrust, the enemy and evil desires. Who’s to blame for that? The devil, the devil, the devil sows sadness because he does not want to see us happy, he does not want us to dream. Whether there is joy Jesus is always present, because Jesus is joy and he wants to help us to feel that joy every day of our lives.

    Before going, I want to give you some homework. Can I? It is simple , but a very important one. Please don’t forget to pray for me, so that I can share with many people the joy of Jesus. And let us also pray so that many people can share the joy like yours, like when you feel accompanied, assisted, when you feel that you’re getting advice. There may be problems of course, but you have peace in your heart because Jesus will never abandon you. May god bless you and everyone here and our lady protect you.

    Now can you sing something? Who is the boldest one? (two girls sing)

    Thank you very much. (Then in English) Thank you very much.

    All together one song and then we are going to pray to the lord, say the lord’s prayer. Sing something, yes.

    (girl sings)

    Thank you. Now we’re going to pray. Altogether, we’re going to say the lord’s prayer.

    (crowd recites prayer)

    God almighty, father son, holy spirit. Pray for me. (In English) Don’t forget the homework.



    Photo Credit: NBC

    Pope Francis speaks in East HarlemPope Francis speaks in East Harlem

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    Willimantic police have arrested a homeless man suspected of robbing a local bank three years ago.

    Police said the robbery happened at Liberty Bank, at 1703 West Main Street in Willimantic, in May 2012.

    The robber handed a note to a teller that said, “I won’t shoot anyone or hurt anyone, give me all your money,” according to a news release from police.

    After getting $200, he left.

    In July of this year, there was a hit on DNA from evidence near the Willimantic bank robbery scene and police identified Brennan Fetterman, 52, as the suspect.

    In August, he confessed to the bank robbery, police said.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Police are investigating a stabbing in Waterbury on Friday morning and have taken a suspect into custody.

    The stabbing was reported on Grove Street and the victim’s injuries are not life-threatening, according to police.

    Authorities have not released the names of the victim or suspect.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Waterbury PoliceWaterbury Police

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    A former State Rep. Christina “Tita” Ayala from Bridgeport pleaded guilty on Friday to providing authorities with fabricated evidence that she lived at an address other than her own and will not be allowed to run for elected office for two years, according to the State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice.

    According to the DCJ, 31-year-old Ayala voted in local and state elections in districts other than her own between 2009 and 2012, including Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee elections, a municipal primary election, a state primary election and the 2012 Bridgeport state general election “in districts inconsistent with location of her residence.”

    She was also accused of presenting the Elections Enforcement Commission with false evidence indicating that she lived at an address that was not her own.

    Ayala was charged with eight counts of fraudulent voting, 10 counts of primary or enrollment violations and count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

    On Friday, she pleaded guilty in Bridgeport Superior Court to two counts of providing a false statement and the conditions of her discharge include that she not run for public office for two years. 

    The State Elections Enforcement Commission notified the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney of the alleged misconduct in October 2013, the DCJ said.

    Ayala was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 2012 and was defeated in a primary when she sought the Democratic nomination to seek re-election in 2014.

    She faced domestic violence charges following an argument with her boyfriend in 2013, just weeks before taking office, that were subsequently dropped.

    Ayala was also fined $350 in connection with a hit and run incident.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut House Democrats

    State Rep. Christina Ayala, of Bridgeport, was arrested after allegedly violating state election laws and presenting officials with a falsified home address.State Rep. Christina Ayala, of Bridgeport, was arrested after allegedly violating state election laws and presenting officials with a falsified home address.

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    Surprise! The National Zoo's giant panda cub has a name!

    The month-old cub's name — Bei Bei — was unexpectedly revealed Friday during an event at the zoo. First Lady Michelle Obama revealed the cub's name herself.

    The name means "precious, treasure," according to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

    The zoo had said it would make an announcement about its pandas Friday. However, in the past, the zoo has named its panda cubs at 100 days of age in a nod to Chinese tradition. This cub is significantly younger, so the revelation of its name came as a surprise.

    China's First Lady Madame Peng Liyuan was also at the National Zoo for the announcement. Peng said she and Michelle Obama decided on Bei Bei together.

    Keepers at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda had suggested the name, while keepers at the National Zoo submitted Ping Ping, which means "peaceful and calm." 

    "I expect and am confident that the giant pandas will continue to serve as an important link between our peoples...." Peng said through a translator.

    Before the big reveal, students from Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School in D.C. performed songs for the first ladies. Peng and Obama then unfurled a set of scrolls revealing the cub's name.

    Bei Bei and his twin brother were born to the zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang, Aug. 22. The smaller of the twins died four days later, but Bei Bei has grown and thrived. At four and a half weeks old on Monday, he weighed nearly three pounds -- more than either of his older siblings at a similar age.

    The zoo anticipates that the public will be able to see Bei Bei in person in early 2016.

    Mei Xiang and the zoo's male giant panda, Tian Tian, have two older surviving cubs: 2-year-old Bao Bao, who also lives at the zoo, and 10-year-old Tai Shan, who now lives at a breeding center in China.

    Tian Tian and and Bao Bao were in their outdoor yards when the announcement was made. They got to celebrate with "panda-friendly frozen cakes," the zoo said.

    Bao Bao's name was one of several options presented to the general public, which then voted online for the final choice. Her name -- which, just like her little brother's, means "precious" or treasure" -- was revealed when she turned 100 days old, during a ceremony at the zoo held Dec. 1, 2013.

    Tai Shan's name was also revealed when he was 100 days old. His name means "peaceful mountain."



    Photo Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo
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    Bei Bei weighed close to three pounds at nearly one month old on Sept. 21.Bei Bei weighed close to three pounds at nearly one month old on Sept. 21.

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    Volkswagen's board has named Matthias Mueller, the head of the group's Porsche unit, to be the new CEO and to lead the world's top-selling automaker past a growing emissions-rigging scandal.

     

    Friday's appointment by the supervisory board meeting comes after the previous CEO, Martin Winterkorn, quit the job this week over the scandal, which has damaged the company's reputation and threatens its business.

    Volkswagen has admitted to cheating on diesel car emissions test in the U.S. by using a software on 482,000 cars. It has said some 11 million cars worldwide have the software. The company now faces a mountain of difficulties, from class action lawsuits to fixing the software itself.

    Mueller, 62, on Friday pledged to do everything to win back the trust of the public.

    "We stand by our responsibility," said, adding, however, that "carefulness is even more important than speed."

    Mueller said the company would introduce "even tougher compliance rules" and pledged to make VW "an even stronger company."

    Winterkorn, who had been CEO since 2007, said he took responsibility for the "irregularities" found by U.S. inspectors in VW's diesel engines, but insisted he had personally done nothing wrong.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    The logo of German car maker Volkswagen is pictured at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, central Germany, on September 25, 2015 during the company's supervisory board meeting. Matthias Mueller, head of luxury sportscar maker Porsche, looks set to take the steering wheel at scandal-hit Volkswagen, replacing Martin Winterkorn who quit over the global pollution cheating scandal engulfing the group.The logo of German car maker Volkswagen is pictured at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, central Germany, on September 25, 2015 during the company's supervisory board meeting. Matthias Mueller, head of luxury sportscar maker Porsche, looks set to take the steering wheel at scandal-hit Volkswagen, replacing Martin Winterkorn who quit over the global pollution cheating scandal engulfing the group.

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    State police have arrested a 16-year-old boy suspected of sexually assaulting a woman an East Hartford commuter lot on Sept. 3 and said he is the same teen who was arrested on Thursday in connection with a sex assault at an East Hartford home on Saturday.

    The teen is accused of assaulting a woman in the exit 90 commuter parking lot off Route 15 on Main Street in East Hartford near the Econo Lodge around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3, police said.

    After the assault, the attacker fled in the victim's black Honda Element and led police in a brief chase before crashing, but he ran off and police were not able to find him.

    The original report was that an assault happened, and police determined the victim was not only physically assaulted, but also sexually assaulted.

    As state police investigated the assault at the commuter lot, East Hartford police were investigating the home invasion and sexual assault on Collimore Road on Saturday.

    That investigation led local police to identify a suspect and they worked with state police to obtain a DNA from the juvenile, state police said.

    On Monday, the state lab confirmed through DNA analysis that the DNA profile was a match to the commuter lot assault case, according to state police. 

    On Thursday, detectives from state police served an arrest warrant on the teen at the Juvenile Detention Facility in Hartford.

    He has been charged with criminal attempt/felony murder, aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, strangulation in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree, larceny in the third degree, larceny in the sixth degree, criminal trover in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, robbery of an occupied vehicle.

    No additional information was immediately available.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    East Hartford police are searching for someone who attacked a woman in an East Hartford commuter parking lot near a hotel Thursday morning and stole her car.East Hartford police are searching for someone who attacked a woman in an East Hartford commuter parking lot near a hotel Thursday morning and stole her car.

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