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The New York Times 09 October, 2021 - 11:24pm 23 views

Germany's Merkel pays farewell visit to Pope Francis at Vatican

Yahoo News 08 October, 2021 - 11:20am

VATICANCITY – Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks with Pope Francis on Thursday as part of a farewell visit to Italy that will also include meetings with Prime Minister Mario Draghi and her participation at a peace event at the Colosseum.

Merkel and Francis, who have met several times before, spoke privately in the papal library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace for about 45 minutes.

In an interview with a Spanish radio network last month, Francis called Merkel, who has led Germany for 16 years, “one of the world’s greatest political figures”.

At the end of the private part of the audience, Francis and Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, exchanged gifts.

Francis, 84, gave Merkel copies of some of his writings and a miniature reproduction of one of the bronze doors of St. Peter’s Basilica and she gave him a three-volume collection about the gospels and a book on Michelangelo.

The 67-year-old Merkel, whose conservatives lost in the Sept. 26 election to the centre-left Social Democrats, was later due to meet Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, which is based in Germany.

She was due to join the pope and other religious leaders on Thursday afternoon at the Colosseum for the conclusion of a two-day symposium on peace organised by Rome’s Sant’ Egidio Community.

Pope prays for peace with faith leaders: ‘Demilitarize our hearts!’ - Vatican News

Vatican News 08 October, 2021 - 10:00am

The St. Egidio Community has held a two-day peace meeting in Rome which was attended by numerous faith leaders from across the globe.

The 35th International Meeting for Peace concluded on Thursday evening with a prayer for peace at the Colosseum, which was attended by Pope Francis.

Held under the theme, "Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth", the event saw the participation of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Hebraism, Buddhism, Tenrikyo, Hinduism, and Sikhism.

Participants from over 40 countries met to discuss how to “start again” in the “spirit of Assisi”, which is one of friendship and dialogue.

The president of the St. Egidio Community, Marco Impagliazzo, called on everyone not to waste the opportunity presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. “May it become a new beginning, and not just a moment of degradation which separates us one from another,” he said in a video message opening the Peace Meeting.

Pope Francis wrapped up the Prayer for Peace meeting at the Colosseum which was attended by hundreds of people from various faith traditions.

Ahead of a moment of silence for the victims of all wars, the Pope offered the concluding address for the event, asking God to “demilitarize the human heart.”

He opened his address praising the many people who traveled to Rome this week to show that prayer is a “quiet source of strength which brings peace and disarms hate-filled hearts.”

Pope Francis noted how the event—whose theme is “peoples as brothers and sisters”—is taking place against the backdrop of the Colosseum, once a site of fights pitting men against one another in fights to the death for mass entertainment.

The Pope said we too can become “spectators of violence and war, of brothers killing brothers,” as if it were a game we watch from afar.

He recalled that the lives of people and young children are not playthings.

“We must not be indifferent onlookers,” he said. “On the contrary, we need to empathize with those who share our humanity, its aspirations, its struggles and its frailties.”

Everything that happens to our brothers and sisters, he added, affects us, though he added that recognizing this truth takes great courage.

The Pope said war “plays games with human lives” and is a failure of “politics and humanity.”

He then reiterated an appeal launched in the Document on Human Fraternity signed in 2019 with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, who was present at Thursday’s event.

He said the urgent task of religions is “in this delicate historical situation: to demilitarize the human heart.”

“As believers it is our responsibility to help eradicate hatred from human hearts and to condemn every form of violence,” he said. “Let us unambiguously urge that arms be set aside and military spending reduced, in order to provide for humanitarian needs, and that instruments of death be turned into instruments of life.”

Pope Francis then put particular emphasis on the word “peace”, without which people cannot remain brothers and sisters.

Peace, he added, is the path forward for people of all religions.

“If there are those who work to foment division and conflict, we ourselves believe in the importance of journeying together for peace: with one another, and never again against one another,” he said.

Peace, continued the Pope, requires us to purify our hearts, since it is not only an agreement or a value, but above all an “attitude of the heart.”

And he urged the faithful of all religions to overcome the temptation to fundamentalism and to view one another as enemies.

The Pope went on to reflect on the other portion of the event’s theme: “Future Earth”.

He said peace among peoples also involves a “commitment to care for creation and our common home.”

The Pope praised Ecumencial Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, also present, for his reminder that “a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God.”

He said humanity has “poured the pollution of our hearts upon creation.”

Pope Francis concluded his address to participants in the International Meeting for Peace with an appeal for courage, saying prayer and action can change the course of history.

“Let us dream of religions as sisters and peoples as brothers!” said the Pope. “Sister religions to help peoples be brothers and sisters living in peace, reconciled stewards of creation, our common home.”

Merkel gets warm welcome on farewell visit to Rome - Politics - ANSAMed

ANSAmed 08 October, 2021 - 10:00am

Friday, 8 October 2021 | 16:33

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Merkel gets warm welcome on farewell visit to Rome - Politics - ANSAMed

The Catholic Sun 08 October, 2021 - 10:00am

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We Can Delay No Longer: It's Time To Retire Older Fleets - Breaking Defense

Euronews 08 October, 2021 - 07:34am

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Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., commander, Air Force Materiel Command, believes its time to start retiring older fleets. (USAF/Todd Maki)

For those of us charged with repairing the aging US Air Force fleet, we sometimes feel a bit like Sisyphus, the character in Greek mythology whose plight was to roll a giant bolder uphill. Unless you are on the front lines maintaining these 30-, 40- and 50-year old airplanes, it is hard to imagine the scope of the challenge, from chronic parts shortages to the emergence of new and unforeseen safety concerns.

As we pivot towards the new challenge posed by China and Russia — well documented in war games and in other detailed analysis — we must aggressively modernize our force or risk irrelevance. That means it’s time to make tough choices about the reality that we can no longer afford to keep some of our older aircraft. Or, as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown puts it in stark but realistic terms: “Accelerate change or lose.”

Many of the companies that made these airplanes are either no longer in business or no longer make the spare parts for them. For example, one engine common to many older Air Force aircraft currently has approximately 1,000 components that require a “cold start” — an expensive and time-consuming process where Air Force sustainment experts find a qualified manufacturer who must learn how to remake parts, the blueprints of which may or may not still exist. To make matters worse, the list keeps growing as the engine ages and the industrial supply chain diminishes. It literally adds months or years to the repair process and has driven our maintenance costs to unsustainable levels.

For many years, we could get by with often-heroic efforts by repair crews to keep our older airplanes flying, but not anymore.

Maintenance costs are crowding out room in the budget to invest in the modern technology we need to meet future threats from China and Russia, both of whom have spent the past 20 years investing in the newest military technologies. Even as the Air Force embraces a number of best practices in our repair depot operations, 11 “legacy” aircraft have experienced significant growth in repair times since 2016. Four of the legacy platforms — the C-5, C-130, T-38, and A-10 — account for 80 percent of that growth. The C-130 alone has increased depot refurbishment workloads in never before seen areas of repair, now requiring an average of 120 days in depot past expected refurbishment timelines — that’s four months BEYOND when the Air Force planned to have the aircraft for important missions.

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With that comes increased costs, due to flying these older aircraft well beyond their designed service life, increased repair rates, requirements for repairs never before experienced, and increased numbers of aircraft parts that are unfixable or have no source for repair/manufacturing.  This trend will likely continue until new aircraft are fielded to replace these systems.

To solve this problem, we need to be able to retire older fleets. But we will do it intelligently. Age alone can’t be the deciding factor in which aircraft to retire. No two are the same and the decision on what to retire should be based on the capability each aircraft will provide and the cost of providing it.

We must rely on intelligence, war games and other data to dispassionately determine the answer to: “What capability do we need in tomorrow’s fight?”

Scheduled maintenance for the F-35’s engine in the mid-2020s will drive up the price of engine sustainment, just as the Pentagon expects cost reduction goals come to fruition.

By Valerie Insinna

For example, the B-52 bomber, a Cold War icon, is one of our oldest aircraft. But we’re modifying it with new engines to address a sustainability shortfall while capitalizing on its remaining structural life, because the B-52’s ability to carry a wide variety of weapons makes it valuable against modern aerial defense systems like those fielded by China and Russia. Other aircraft, such as the F-15C fighter, require too much money to extend their service time relative to the value the platform has in a future fight, so we are retiring it. This is the calculus we need to accomplish for all legacy platforms.

Having worn the Air Force uniform for nearly four decades, I know the danger that maintaining the status quo poses to America’s ability to fight. The growing cost of sustainment means we will suffer in both the readiness of our older aircraft and our capability to counter future threats.

We’re making the hard choices already. This year, the Air Force has again proposed divesting some of our oldest fighters, tankers, transport, and surveillance aircraft. The proposal would save approximately $1.4B to make way for investments the Air Force needs to maintain, and in some cases regain, the advantage. But more choices — painful choices — are going to be needed going forward.

Today’s technology won’t win tomorrow’s fight and there aren’t enough resources to win while maintaining our current fleet. A modernized force is the only way to keep our nation, allies, and communities safe. America can’t afford to wait until a military defeat spurs us to respond, because at that point it will be too late.

In the end, we must ask ourselves: are these legacy systems the ones we want to send our sons and daughters into combat with, against adversaries with more modern and capable weapons?

I would say the answer is obvious.

Topics: A-10 retirement, air force, Gen. Arnold Bunch, op-ed. op-eds. commentary

Boeing’s lead in digital engineering has underpinned the F-15EX’s success, schedule and low price, and will provide rapid capability growth through open architecture and agile software development.

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“Does (JADC2) increase lethality? The answer should be yes. (JADC2) makes us more lethal. We’re a warfighting organization. That’s what this is designed to do.”—Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, director of C4 and CIO, Joint Staff.

“Does (JADC2) increase lethality? The answer should be yes. (JADC2) makes us more lethal. We’re a warfighting organization. That’s what this is designed to do.”—Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, director of C4 and CIO, Joint Staff.

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Live: Pope Francis leads interfaith prayer for peace at Colosseum - The Global Herald

The Global Herald 07 October, 2021 - 10:12am

The Independent published this video item, entitled “Live: Pope Francis leads interfaith prayer for peace at Colosseum” – below is their description.

Pope Francis is leading an interfaith prayer for peace at the Colosseum.

He is joined by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, President of the European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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