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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

EARTH NOW ONE DEGREE CELSIUS HOTTER


MARCH 23 -Finland's Petteri Taalas, newly named as WMO Secretary-General, speaks to the media about the global climate and extreme weather events during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, March 21, 2016. Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP
The Earth is now one degree Celsius hotter than at the start of the 20th century, halfway to the critical two-degree threshold, as the record-breaking trend has continued in 2016, the United Nations (UN) weather agency warned. In its 2015 annual report on the status of the climate, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) also warned that the national climate change plans adopted so far may not be enough to avoid a three-degree temperature rise. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the carbon dioxide concentrations in the air would be five times the current level in 500 years if no limits are placed on fossil fuel use, which means the planet would be seven to eight degrees Celsius warmer by that time. He said it would then take up to 100,000 years to restore the normal level, noting the urgency of substantially cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the coming few decades. “Many people now think that the problem is solved since we reached a nice agreement in Paris last year… but the negative side is that we haven’t changed our behaviors,” Taalas said. According to the WMO Statement on the Status of the Climate in 2015, the year made history with shattered temperature records, intense heat waves, exceptional rainfall, devastating drought and unusual tropical cyclone activity. READ MORE...

ALSO: Pampanga ready for crucifixion crowd


MARCH 24 -San Fernando Mayor Edwin Santiago said the city government would ensure public safety in the observance of “Maleldo 2016” on Friday as they installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the crucifixion site.
 Jonathan Asuncion/philstar.com, file
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – The local police force here has been placed on full alert as part of security preparations for Good Friday, when tens of thousands of tourists are expected to witness true-to-life crucifixions in Barangay San Pedro Cutud. 



Mayor Edwin Santiago said the city government would ensure public safety in the observance of “Maleldo 2016” on Friday as they installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the crucifixion site.
 Ferdinand Caylao, executive committee chair for Maleldo (Kapampangan for Holy Week), said Telesite company installed CCTV cameras in San Pedro Cutud that would be operational from Holy Thursday until Good Friday. Crucifixion rites annually take place in Barangays San Pedro Cutud, Sta. Lucia and San Juan, but most tourists flock to San Pedro Cutud where “Kristo” Ruben Enaje would be nailed to the cross for the 30th year. An advanced command post will be set up and manned by the police, Caylao said. Jean Fajardo said that TV monitors would help secure the area to avoid any untoward incident and catch pickpockets. 


 The police Traffic Management Division will also reroute motorists in the vicinity of the three crucifixion sites on Good Friday. READ MORE...

ALSO: Lenten heat - Temperature may reach 38.2ºC


MARCH 24 -Workers of Holy Land prepare life size statues of the Crucifixion of Christ, one of the many stations of the religious theme park located in Badiwan, Benguet. Holy Land has become a popular destination for pilgrims during the Holy Week break with its Biblical scenes – from the Garden of Eden to the Resurrection of Christ. ANDY ZAPATA JR.
The weather bureau warned the public of scorching temperatures during the Holy Week, with the heat index likely hitting 38.2 degrees Celsius on Good Friday and Easter Sunday in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) also said yesterday that the heat index, the temperature as felt by the human body, is expected to hit 36.9 degrees Celsius on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday in Metro Manila. In Baguio City, the country’s summer capital, the heat index may reach 27.7 degrees Celsius on Good Friday. PAGASA warned that heat index of 32 to 41 degrees Celsius could cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion. “Continuing activity could result to heat stroke,” it said. PAGASA urged the public to stay indoors as much as possible, avoid wearing thick clothes, use only light-colored shirts and drink plenty of water. The ridge of high-pressure area would continue to bring partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms over Metro Manila and the rest of the country, the weather bureau said. PAGASA said coastal waters throughout the archipelago would be slight to moderate. READ MORE...RELATED, Special features - What you need to know about Holy Week...

ALSO: Pope washes feet of Muslim migrants, says 'We are brothers'


MARCH 25 -Pope Francis kisses the foot of a man during the foot-washing ritual at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center, some 30km (18, 6 miles) from Rome, Thursday, March 24, 2016. L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
 CASTELNUOVO DI PORTO, Italy — Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu refugees Thursday and declared them all children of the same God, as he performed a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time of increased anti-Muslim sentiment following the Brussels attacks.
Francis denounced the carnage as a "gesture of war" carried out by blood-thirsty people beholden to the weapons industry during an Easter Week Mass with asylum-seekers at a shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome. The Holy Thursday rite re-enacts the foot-washing ritual Jesus performed on his apostles before being crucified, and is meant as a gesture of service. Francis contrasted that gesture with the "gesture of destruction" carried out by the Brussels attackers, saying they wanted to destroy the brotherhood of humanity represented by the migrants. "We have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace," Francis said in his homily, delivered off-the-cuff in the windy courtyard of the center. Several of the migrants then wept as Francis knelt before them, poured holy water from a brass pitcher over their feet, wiped them clean and kissed them. Francis was greeted with a banner reading "Welcome" in a variety of languages as he walked down a makeshift aisle to celebrate the Mass. But only a fraction of the 892 asylum-seekers living at the shelter attended, and many of the seats were left empty. Those who came out, though, received a personal greeting: At the end of the Mass, Francis greeted each refugee, one by one, posing for selfies and accepting notes as he moved down the rows. READ MORE..

ALSO: Pope celebrates outdoor Easter Mass; Vatican security tight


MARCH 27 -Pope Francis walks with his pastoral staff as he arrives to celebrate the Easter mass in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is celebrating Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square, where tens of thousands of faithful are patiently enduring tight security to be near him. Police are checking the handbags and backpacks of tourists, pilgrims, Romans and journalists who are streaming toward the square for the pontiff’s traditional noontime blessing and speech on world affairs. For years, Islamist extremists in social media have listed as potential targets the Vatican and Rome, which hosts the headquarters of the Roman Catholic church. Francis last week in two public appearances denounced those carrying out “terrorist acts” while profaning God’s name. The pope appeared solemn Sunday as he sprinkled incense around the altar set up on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. RELATED STORIES Christians in Holy Land, across the world celebrate Easter / After bleak week, Pope Francis offers Easter message WATCH VIDEOS...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Earth now one degree Celsius hotter


Finland's Petteri Taalas, newly named as WMO Secretary-General, speaks to the media about the global climate and extreme weather events during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, March 21, 2016. Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP

MANILA, MARCH 28, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 23, 2016 - The Earth is now one degree Celsius hotter than at the start of the 20th century, halfway to the critical two-degree threshold, as the record-breaking trend has continued in 2016, the United Nations (UN) weather agency warned.

In its 2015 annual report on the status of the climate, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) also warned that the national climate change plans adopted so far may not be enough to avoid a three-degree temperature rise.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the carbon dioxide concentrations in the air would be five times the current level in 500 years if no limits are placed on fossil fuel use, which means the planet would be seven to eight degrees Celsius warmer by that time.

He said it would then take up to 100,000 years to restore the normal level, noting the urgency of substantially cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the coming few decades.

“Many people now think that the problem is solved since we reached a nice agreement in Paris last year… but the negative side is that we haven’t changed our behaviors,” Taalas said.

According to the WMO Statement on the Status of the Climate in 2015, the year made history with shattered temperature records, intense heat waves, exceptional rainfall, devastating drought and unusual tropical cyclone activity.

READ MORE...

The WMO Statement was released ahead of today’s World Meteorological Day celebration.

“Our planet is sending a powerful message to world leaders to sign and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and cut greenhouse gases now before we pass the point of no return,” Taalas said.

The worst-case scenario, he added, could be averted by far-reaching measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The WMO said the global average surface temperature in 2015 broke all previous records by a wide margin, at about 0.76 degree Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, because of a powerful El Niño and human-caused global warming. With 93 per cent of excess heat stored in the oceans, ocean heat content down to 2,000 meters also hit a new record.

The record-breaking trend, the WMO said, has continued in 2016. January and February 2016 set yet more new monthly temperature records, with the heat especially pronounced in the high northern latitudes.

Arctic sea ice extent was at a satellite-record low for both months, according to NASA and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Greenhouse gas concentrations crossed the symbolic and significant 400 parts per million threshold.

“The startlingly high temperatures so far in 2016 have sent shockwaves around the climate science community,” said David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Program, which is co-sponsored by WMO.

But Carlson said that it is premature to determine that 2016 would extend a record-breaking streak.


PHILSTAR

Pampanga ready for crucifixion crowd By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 24, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


San Fernando Mayor Edwin Santiago said the city government would ensure public safety in the observance of “Maleldo 2016” on Friday as they installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the crucifixion site.
 Jonathan Asuncion/philstar.com, file

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – The local police force here has been placed on full alert as part of security preparations for Good Friday, when tens of thousands of tourists are expected to witness true-to-life crucifixions in Barangay San Pedro Cutud. 




Mayor Edwin Santiago said the city government would ensure public safety in the observance of “Maleldo 2016” on Friday as they installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the crucifixion site.


Ferdinand Caylao, executive committee chair for Maleldo (Kapampangan for Holy Week), said Telesite company installed CCTV cameras in San Pedro Cutud that would be operational from Holy Thursday until Good Friday. Crucifixion rites annually take place in Barangays San Pedro Cutud, Sta. Lucia and San Juan, but most tourists flock to San Pedro Cutud where “Kristo” Ruben Enaje would be nailed to the cross for the 30th year.

An advanced command post will be set up and manned by the police, Caylao said.

Jean Fajardo said that TV monitors would help secure the area to avoid any untoward incident and catch pickpockets. 




The police Traffic Management Division will also reroute motorists in the vicinity of the three crucifixion sites on Good Friday.

READ MORE...

The city’s health and disaster management officers would also deploy medical teams in the crucifixion sites.

In Cagayan Valley, thousands of Catholic devotees are expected to visit the region’s major pilgrimage sites this Holy Week.

Chief Supt. Ranier Idio, Cagayan Valley police regional director, said that the region’s police units have tightened security to ensure the safety of motorists, commuters and also to provide assistance to travelers.

The major pilgrimage sites in Cagayan Valley include the Bangan Hill in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya; Dariok Hill in Santiago City, Isabela; the Mount Calvary in Iguig, Cagayan; Our Lady of Guibang in Gamu, Isabela and the miraculous water spring and shrine of Our Lady of Piat in Piat, Cagayan.

The Mount Calvary re-enactment of Christ’s death and resurrection in Bangan Hill is organized yearly by Bishop Ramon Villena of the diocese of Bayombong.

Dariok Hill in Barangay Balintucatoc, Santiago City is the site of 80 life-size replicas of biblical characters.

Devotees could also trek to another Mount Calvary replica site in Iguig town and the miraculous water spring in the Our Lady of Piat shrine. – With Victor Martin


PHILSTAR

Lenten heat: Temperature may reach 38.2ºC By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 24, 2016 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0


Workers of Holy Land prepare life size statues of the Crucifixion of Christ, one of the many stations of the religious theme park located in Badiwan, Benguet. Holy Land has become a popular destination for pilgrims during the Holy Week break with its Biblical scenes – from the Garden of Eden to the Resurrection of Christ. ANDY ZAPATA JR.


MANILA, Philippines – The weather bureau warned the public of scorching temperatures during the Holy Week, with the heat index likely hitting 38.2 degrees Celsius on Good Friday and Easter Sunday in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) also said yesterday that the heat index, the temperature as felt by the human body, is expected to hit 36.9 degrees Celsius on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday in Metro Manila.

In Baguio City, the country’s summer capital, the heat index may reach 27.7 degrees Celsius on Good Friday.

PAGASA warned that heat index of 32 to 41 degrees Celsius could cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

“Continuing activity could result to heat stroke,” it said.

PAGASA urged the public to stay indoors as much as possible, avoid wearing thick clothes, use only light-colored shirts and drink plenty of water.

The ridge of high-pressure area would continue to bring partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms over Metro Manila and the rest of the country, the weather bureau said.

PAGASA said coastal waters throughout the archipelago would be slight to moderate.

READ MORE...

Heavy traffic The Tollways Management Corp., operator of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), expects heavy traffic starting today as volume of vehicles is expected to increase by 10 to 15 percent for the Holy Week rush.

Francisco Dagohoy, media relations officer of TMC, said the average volume of vehicles that passes through NLEX is around 190,000 and 24,000 for SCTEX daily and traffic is expected to build up in the northbound lanes on the afternoon of Holy Wednesday until the late morning of Good Friday.

For vehicles returning to Manila, heavy traffic is expected to start on the afternoon of Good Friday until the early morning of Monday, March 28.

With the expected traffic buildup, NLEX/SCTEX traffic personnel would extend working hours to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. Additional patrol vehicles and enforcers would be deployed from March 18 to 28 to immediately respond to distressed motorists.

Layered toll collection scheme and spare lanes with portable booths would be opened to speed up transactions at the Balintawak, Mindanao and Bocaue toll plazas.

In SCTEX, additional collection points will be opened at Tarlac and Tipo toll plazas on March 18,19, 22 and 23.

More tellers would be deployed at the Dau interchange, San Miguel, Dinalupihan and Sta. Ines toll plazas.

Road works were suspended on March 18 and will resume on March 29. There will be no lane closures during this period unless safety repair is required.

In Cavitex, traffic enforcers would conduct round the clock patrols to assist motorists.

NLEX, SCTEX and Cavitex will also implement its motorist assistance program, Safe Trip Mo, Sagot Ko.

Like in previous holidays, the program will provide free first aid and basic mechanic services to motorists in designated locations along the three roadways. This program will run on March 23, 24, 26 and 27.

Motorist camps will be located in fuel stations in NLEX and Cavitex where information and help desks will be set up.

Free towing services to the nearest exit will be provided to Class 1 vehicles in NLEX, SCTEX and Cavitex from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the said dates.

Motorists can check the latest traffic condition in NLEX via the North Luzon Integrated Guide and Travel Advisory or NLigtas. This travel advisory system can be accessed at the NLEX-SCTEX website www.tollways.net.ph.

A mobile application of NLigtas can also be downloaded through IOS and Android smart phones.

They can also check the NLEX-SCTEX Twitter account @nlextraffic and Facebook page Travel On Great Roads.

In Cavitex, traffic updates are posted on Cavitex’s Twitter account @CaviteXpressway and Facebook page CaviteXpressway.

For other inquiries or assistance, customers may also call (02) 3-5000 or (02) 580-8910 for NLEX and (0920) 9672839 for SCTEX related concerns; these hotlines are available 24 hours. – With Ramon Lazaro

----------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Special features: What you need to know about Holy Week (philstar.com) | Updated March 24, 2016 - 4:15pm 4 21 googleplus0 0



Catholics commemorate the events of Jesus Christ's life in the days leading to his death and resurrection. Filipino Catholics have deep seated traditions linked to Holy Week, which they spend with private expressions of devotions such as by reflection and abstaining from ordinary pleasures. Devotions are also manifested publicly as a community of the faithful in the celebration of the Holy Mass and other services.

 
PALM SUNDAY 2015

Holy Thursday

The Holy Thursday Chrism Mass is celebrated all priests of the diocese in the morning to show union with their local bishop, who leads the celebration. During the Mass, the bishop blesses the oil of catechumens, oil of the infirm and holy chrism to be used in the administration of the sacraments all year.

The Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday makes present the Last Supper, which Jesus shared with his disciples and where he instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which contains the body and blood of Christ in the appearances of bread and wine. The Last Supper is considered the first ever Mass.

READ MORE...

After the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the faithful can proceed to an altar of repose in churches to pray and reflect as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. For this, parishes are usually open until midnight with the altar of repose and ongoing confessions.

Good Friday

After Judas betrayed Jesus around midnight, the Christ is locked up in a dungeon the rest of the night. Jesus is sentenced to crucifixion and death in the morning. Good Friday is one of the only two days of the year (the other being Ash Wednesday) when Catholic adults are required to practice both fasting and abstinence.

Catholics are encouraged to dedicate the day for prayer and veneration of the cross with a kiss and to free it of work and entertainment. The Way of the Cross is prayed by individuals, groups or families in chapels, churches and shrines as a way of walking with Jesus to Calvary, where he was to be crucified at around 3:00 in the afternoon. Liturgical services around this hour can also be attended by Catholics in some major churches.

Holy Saturday

Celebration of the Liturgy are not usually done on this day as the church remembers the body of Jesus laying in the tomb. Upon sundown, however, preparations are made for the Great Easter Vigil in anticipation of the resurrection of Jesus from death. Churches' lights are dimmed and Mass goers light candles at the start of the ceremony. The lights are then lit and the Gloria is sung, while "Alleluia" is mentioned for the first time throughout the 40-day Lenten season.

Don't taint Holy

Week Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma is calling on politicians to respect the solemnity of the Holy Week by refraining from campaigning.

The supremacy of love

Divine love in Jesus is never defeated, but proves supreme every step of the way of the cross. How can he be victorious despite his betrayal and abandonment by his disciples?

How the apostles died and why

That the Apostles persisted in spreading the Word, then endured such persecution, makes us ask, “Why?

10 overlooked movies for Holy Week There are dozens of productions that would help Christians reflect on their faith and live the season of Lent more fully besides the typical movies shown and watched this time of the year.

Here are a few worthy ones to watch all over again.


PHILSTAR

Pope washes feet of Muslim migrants, says 'We are brothers' By Luigi Navarro and Nicole Winfield (philstar.com) | Updated March 25, 2016 - 8:15am 13 730 googleplus1 1


Pope Francis kisses the foot of a man during the foot-washing ritual at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center, some 30km (18, 6 miles) from Rome, Thursday, March 24, 2016. L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP

CASTELNUOVO DI PORTO, Italy — Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu refugees Thursday and declared them all children of the same God, as he performed a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time of increased anti-Muslim sentiment following the Brussels attacks.

Francis denounced the carnage as a "gesture of war" carried out by blood-thirsty people beholden to the weapons industry during an Easter Week Mass with asylum-seekers at a shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome.

The Holy Thursday rite re-enacts the foot-washing ritual Jesus performed on his apostles before being crucified, and is meant as a gesture of service. Francis contrasted that gesture with the "gesture of destruction" carried out by the Brussels attackers, saying they wanted to destroy the brotherhood of humanity represented by the migrants.

"We have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace," Francis said in his homily, delivered off-the-cuff in the windy courtyard of the center.

Several of the migrants then wept as Francis knelt before them, poured holy water from a brass pitcher over their feet, wiped them clean and kissed them.

Francis was greeted with a banner reading "Welcome" in a variety of languages as he walked down a makeshift aisle to celebrate the Mass. But only a fraction of the 892 asylum-seekers living at the shelter attended, and many of the seats were left empty. Those who came out, though, received a personal greeting: At the end of the Mass, Francis greeted each refugee, one by one, posing for selfies and accepting notes as he moved down the rows.

READ MORE...

Vatican rules had long called for only men to participate in the foot-washing ritual, and past popes and many priests traditionally performed it on 12 Catholic men, recalling Jesus' 12 apostles and further cementing the doctrine of an all-male priesthood.

Francis shocked many Catholics within weeks of his 2013 election by performing the ritual on women and Muslims at a juvenile detention center. After years of violating the rules outright, Francis in January changed the regulations to explicitly allow women and girls to participate.

The Vatican said Thursday that four women and eight men took part. The women included an Italian Catholic who works at the center and three Eritrean Coptic Christian migrants. The men included four Catholics from Nigeria, three Muslims from Mali, Syria and Pakistan and a Hindu man from India.

The Vatican's new norms said anyone from the "people of God" could be chosen to participate in the ceremony. While the phrase "people of God" refers to baptized Christians, the decree also said that pastors should instruct "both the chosen faithful and others so that they may participate in the rite consciously, actively and fruitfully," suggesting that the rite could be open to non-Catholics as well.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican norms are meant for traditional liturgies in Catholic communities, not necessarily a unique papal Mass where the overall message is one of universal brotherhood and the love of God for all his children.

"We must always take the pastoral context into account," Lombardi said in an email. "Norms that are appropriate for a parish celebration aren't to be considered binding on a very unique celebration of the pope in a refugee center with a non-Christian majority."

Francis clearly intended the message to be universal.

"All of us, together: Muslims, Hindi, Catholics, Copts, Evangelicals. But brothers, children of the same God," he said. "We want to live in peace, integrated."

___

Nicole Winfield reported from Rome.


INQUIRER

Pope celebrates outdoor Easter Mass; Vatican security tight SHARES: 1 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Associated Press 05:32 PM March 27th, 2016


Pope Francis walks with his pastoral staff as he arrives to celebrate the Easter mass in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is celebrating Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square, where tens of thousands of faithful are patiently enduring tight security to be near him.

Police are checking the handbags and backpacks of tourists, pilgrims, Romans and journalists who are streaming toward the square for the pontiff’s traditional noontime blessing and speech on world affairs.

For years, Islamist extremists in social media have listed as potential targets the Vatican and Rome, which hosts the headquarters of the Roman Catholic church.

Francis last week in two public appearances denounced those carrying out “terrorist acts” while profaning God’s name.

The pope appeared solemn Sunday as he sprinkled incense around the altar set up on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.

RELATED STORIES Christians in Holy Land, across the world celebrate Easter / After bleak week, Pope Francis offers Easter message

EASTER VIGIL

 

SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH 'SALUBONG' AT EASTER

 


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