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Worldcrunch Contributor

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Humanist clergy meeting at the Washington Ethical Society
THE WASHINGTON POST

Clergy Without A God, Humanist Churches On The Rise

WASHINGTON — The name of the gathering almost sounded like an oxymoron: the "Humanist Clergy Collaboratory."

A meeting to organize religious leaders — for people who don't believe in organized religion?

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A view inside the Rotunda in Washington D.C.
THE WASHINGTON POST

In Trump’s America, Checks And Balances Are Doing Their Job

Fascism fears were greatly exaggerated in a system that puts limits on any individual's power.

WASHINGTON — Under the big gray cloud, amid the general gloom, allow me to offer a ray of sunshine. The last two months have brought a pleasant surprise: Turns out the much feared, much predicted withering of our democratic institutions has been grossly exaggerated. The system lives.

Let me explain. Donald Trump's triumph last year was based on a frontal attack on the Washington "establishment," that all-powerful, all-seeing, supremely cynical, bipartisan "cartel" (as Ted Cruz would have it) that allegedly runs everything. Yet the establishment proved to be Potemkin empty. In 2016, it folded pitifully, surrendering with barely a fight to a lightweight outsider.

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Authorities in Punjab region burn seized narcotics in November
India

India's Punjab State Plagued By Opiate Addiction

The northern state of Punjab is known as India's bread basket. But in recent years, it has become a fertile ground not just for crops, but also drug abuse.

FIROZPUR — Until a few years ago, Dheeraj Singh went to the gym every day — with dreams of becoming a professional weightlifter. Now he can barely lift his own body weight. What happened in between was heroin.

"I was against all these things. In fact, I used to help people get off of it," the 35-year-old Indian man recalls. "But my friends kept insisting that I try it once. And when I finally did, I liked it. A few more times and you're addicted. That's what it does."

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Spain

Sign Of The Times: Trophy Killing Of Protected Spanish Wolf

This eternal battle in Spain in not just between man and nature, but among humans. The freshly slain body of a still bleeding wolf was found hanging from a signpost along a highway in northern Spain last weekend, reigniting the debate over the killings of the protected species, reports El País.

Here is a photograph that has been circulating on Spanish websites in the past few days:

Two other dead wolves were found in a parking lot in the Spanish region of Asturias late last week. The grim discoveries have swung the spotlight once again onto the tug-o-war between ecologists trying to protect the species and farmers who say the animals are a danger to their livestock. Restrictions on hunting and other conservation efforts since the 1970s have helped bring the Iberian wolf back from the brink of extinction, but the species remains officially listed as vulnerable.

The environmental division of Spain's State Attorney's office said it would investigate the killings, a decision that came after the World Wildlife Fund had written to the State Attorney's office to denounce "a situation of impunity that creates social alarm."

The last census counted 38 wolf packs living in Asturias. Twenty-nine individual animals in the region were culled in the past year to manage the population, out of a legal maximum of 45.

Manuel Calvo, who heads the principality's National Resources Department, told El País that the man-nature balance can be tricky to maintain. "Farmers say we don't cull enough wolves," he says. For environmentalists we cull too many."

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Is there a method?
Trump And The World

A Very Dangerous Man In The White House

Beyond his media attacks and over-the-top reality TV performances, Donald Trump's lack of command of the issues is what should worry us.

-OpEd-

Donald Trump's first presidential press conference Thursday was ... something else. He ranted, he raved; he denied he was ranting and raving, which is even more bizarre than actually ranting and raving. He bragged again about his (unimpressive, flukish) 306 electoral votes. He repeatedly brought up, unsolicited, his election opponent and repeated his campaign points against her, something essentially unheard of among post-election, let alone sworn-into-office, presidents (they might, as Trump did, dwell on problems they inherited, but personal campaign attacks are normally immediately forgotten the second the networks call the election). He got major and minor factual things totally wrong.

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