CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
Sanders becomes Dem. frontrunner after Nevada primary
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders emerged as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination after a commanding performance in the Nevada primary Saturday. Sanders received 46 percent of Nevada’s county delegates, 26.4 percent more than the runner-up, former Vice President Joe Biden. Previously, Sanders had finished a close second to former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucus and won the primary vote in New Hampshire. Heading into the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Feb. 29, Sanders remains ahead of the pack with an estimated 34 delegates. On March 3, 14 states, including Texas and California, will hold primaries, awarding 34 percent of the total pledged delegates in the Democratic primary. Besides Sanders, Buttigieg and Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) remain in the race.
Alcohol is ‘urgent public health crisis,’ says study
A recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that alcohol is increasingly responsible for deaths across the board. Neal Freedman, senior author of the study, said alcohol-related diseases remain an issue regardless of racial, ethnic and gender lines. The study excluded deaths potentially related to alcohol, such as traffic accidents, according to U.S. News and World Report. The study, which examined alcohol-related deaths between 2000 and 2016, also found that the alcohol-induced death rate for women grew annually by 3.1 percent on average. The similar rate for men within the time frame was 1.4 percent. The study concluded that its findings constitute a public health crisis and requires concerted action.
Seattle archbishop responds to protests surrounding resignation of LGBT teachers
Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne issued a statement last week saying teachers in Catholic schools are required to live in accordance with Catholic doctrine, following the mid-February resignations of two Catholic school teachers who plan to civilly marry their same-sex partners. The seemingly sudden resignations sparked protests from students, parents and alumni of Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington. Kennedy Catholic president, Michael Prato, said in a statement that both teachers had signed an agreement to live in accord with Catholic teaching and, upon deciding to pursue civil same-sex marriage, decided to resign on their own accord. Ettiene, in one of his first tests since taking over the archdiocese in September, said that “some choices have particular consequences for those who represent the church in an official capacity.”
Coronavirus reaches Iran, Italy
The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread, reaching Italy and Iran, while South Korea raises its threat alert level. At least eight people have died of the virus in Iran, state television reported, and Pakistan and Turkey have closed their borders with Iran to avoid the virus’ spread into their countries. Italy is the first European country to face a coronavirus outbreak, with more than 50,000 people in 10 towns of the Lombardi region locked down. South Korea has faced 602 confirmed infections and six deaths, leading President Moon Jae-in to put the country on the highest possible alert in its fight against the coronavirus, a move that empowers the government to lock down cities, among other actions. China, where the virus originated, has seen 76,936 cases and 2,442 deaths.
9 dead, 100+ injured after earthquake in Turkey-Iran border region
A 5.7 magnitude earthquake on Sunday near the Turkey-Iran border left nine people dead and more than 100 people injured. The quake also caused more than 1,000 buildings in Turkey to collapse. Among the several aftershocks was a 6.0 magnitude shock coming about 10 hours after the initial tremor. According to Reuters, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world because their land is crisscrossed by major fault lines. State television reported that some villages reported 100 percent damage.
Teen, computer programming ‘nerd,’ to be beatified
Italian teen Venerable Carlo Acutis has been approved for beatification, the Vatican announced Saturday. The announcement followed the approval of a miracle attributed to Acutis’ intercession. Acutis, who passed away in 2006, was a computer programmer who died of leukemia at the age of 15. According to Catholic News Agency, Acutis was “a pious child attending daily Mass, frequently praying the rosary, and making weekly confessions.” One of Acutis’ projects was the development of a website that catalogued Eucharistic miracles. The beatification is expected to take place in Assisi, where Acutis is currently buried.