Thursday, 25 August 2005

Hurricane Katrina

On 2005-AUG-25, Katrina, as a Category 1 hurricane, struck south Florida. Its classification was raised to Category 4 as it passed over the Gulf of Mexico. It hit New Orleans on August 29. Since most of the land in New Orleans is below sea level, the city is protected by a levee. Unfortunately, it was designed to be capable of only withstanding only about a Category 3 hurricane. The levee was breeched in three places, leaving nearly 80% of the city under water. Other Gulf Coast cities, including Gulfport, MS; Biloxi, MS; and Mobile, AL were severely damaged. Katrina was reclassified as a tropical storm as it passed over central Mississippi. By the time it reached Lake Ontario, it had become only a heavy rain, dumping about two inches of precipitation.

As of SEP-04, the total death toll is unknown; it will probably exceed 1,000. Hundreds of thousands have been dislocated; a quarter million into Texas alone. "The evacuees [from New Orleans], most of them black and poor, spoke of violence, anarchy and family members who died for lack of food, water and medical care." Many have no homes, assets, or jobs to which to return. Property damage is immense.

Within a week, the finger pointing began. Many media commentators place much of the blame on the Federal government's lack of planning for such a event, and their sluggishness in responding to the disaster. According to the Washington Post: "Bush administration officials blamed state and local authorities for what leaders at all levels have called a failure of the country's emergency management."

Responding to Tragedy: Katrina Relief

A Time to Rebuild: Ravaged New Orleans seminary vows to return to urban site (CT, 12 Jun 2007)

Why do disasters like the 2004 tsunami and 2005 Katrina hurricane happen?

Katrina's Warriors (Today's Christian, Sep/Oct 2006)

Hurricane Katrina aftermath creates huge demand for Bibles (Christianity Today, 15 Sep 2005)

Full Coverage: Hurricane Katrina (Yahoo! News)

Hurricane Katrina (Wikipedia)

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Saturday, 6 August 2005

Proselytism in schools a cause for concern

ST Forum, 6 Aug 2005

Singapore has prided itself on being a melting pot where people of different religions and cultures live together in harmony.

However, a sizeable portion of the Christian population engages in activities like proselytism, evangelism and attacks on evolution. Proselytism and evangelism often include verbal assaults on other religions.

I am a secondary school student and have often seen people promoting their religion within the school. While they are free to believe in their faith, what they are doing is against the very Pledge they recite every morning, and an affront to the work our ancestors had put in to establish this nation.

Our ancestors put aside their differences, worked together and built this country through friendship, trust and tolerance, something these 'missionaries' are threatening to undo.

Should there be some religious influence on government decision-making? Nay! I say. The United States has already let religious authorities affect its bureaucracy. Now, half the schools in the country do not teach evolution and that the Earth is about 6,000 years old, despite the scientific evidence.

Are we to devolve to that level?

Alvin Leong Bai Ran

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