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Ebola: diary of a global outbreak

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One day in early December 2013, a two-year-old child from Guéckédou town in Guinea, West Africa, developed high fever, black stools, and vomiting. No one knew what the boy had or how he got it. He could have picked it up from a half-eaten fruit laced with the saliva of an Ebola-infected fruit bat. When we were children, I remember scooping from the ground sweet chicos and mangoes on which bats had feasted the previous night, with no regard for viruses that could be lurking in them. The Ebola virus, which was first detected in 1976, has been traced to wild animals.

Posted: October 19th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Off-road to Casiguran

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Taking advantage of the 3-day weekend last week, I and my group of middle-aged motorcyclists headed for Baler in Aurora province. It was my second ride to this historic town on Central Luzon’s Pacific Coast. This stretch of highway used to be all dirt; now it’s all paved, except for a few remaining patches. Most of our typhoons used to make landfall on this part of the country, but lately their path has been more erratic. The wild swings in climate patterns have given this beautiful place longer spells of good weather.

Posted: October 12th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Faith and family in the modern world

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Starting today, Oct. 5, Catholic bishops from all over the world are congregating in Rome to discuss for the next two weeks the situation of the family in the contemporary world and the pastoral challenges this poses for the Church “in the context of evangelization.” This extraordinary synod reflects the substance and style of Pope Francis’ leadership of the Catholic Church. It is expressly consultative and collegial. And, judging from the working documents and discussion papers that have been circulated ahead of the synod, the sessions appear to throw open for discussion many Church teachings and practices that have alienated large numbers of the Catholic faithful.

Posted: October 5th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The Kurds and the Isis

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As graduate students in England in the late 1960s, my wife and I struck a close friendship with a classmate from Iraq and his Lebanese girlfriend. He was a Muslim Kurd, and she was a Maronite Catholic. Although he carried an Iraqi passport and was sent to England on a scholarship by the Iraqi government, he insisted on being called a Kurd. He did not seem as emphatic about his religious identity as he was with his ethnicity. Later, I realized that apart from Muslims, there were Kurdish Christians, Kurdish Jews, Zoroastrians, and Yazidis.

Posted: September 28th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The two faces of authoritarianism

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As we look back to that fateful day in September 1972 42 years ago, when Ferdinand Marcos proclaimed martial law, we need to understand how and why many Filipinos accepted one-man rule in the first instance. The threat of authoritarian rule will remain so long as we do not recognize that our inherited institutions of governance, as modern as they are, cannot function properly under conditions of mass poverty and sharp inequality.

Posted: September 21st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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