25-Dec-11 World View — Europe Spreads Christmas Joy with the 'World Book of Happiness'

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Christians in Karachi celebrate Christmas in Pakistan’s largest church
  • Thousands celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem
  • EU president Herman Van Rompuy spreads Christmas joy with ‘World Book of Happiness’
  • Libya celebrates independence from Italy
  • Gorbachev asks Putin to resign before massive protests over election fraud
  • Former Russian finance minister warns of ‘revolution’
  • Drone strikes in Pakistan suspended for six weeks

Christians in Karachi celebrate Christmas in Pakistan’s largest church

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In the 1960s-70s, Karachi, Pakistan at this time of the year used to be engulfed with festive spirit, Christmas trees, celebratory lights, figurines of baby Jesus, Santa Claus and poinsettia flowers. The Christmas of today, much like everything else in Karachi, has changed immensely. The decorations and props are replaced by metal detectors, police patrol cars, and scanners, as Taliban-linked terrorists attack Christians and Shia Muslims alike. This year, however, Christians in Karachi are celebrating Christmas in St. Peter’s Church of Karachi, the largest Christian Church in Pakistan, with a capacity of 5,000 worshippers. The domed, three-story building that towers over the sprawling slum is a Roman Catholic church that was completed in November at a cost of approximately $4 million. Al-Jazeera and Dawn (Pakistan) and God Discussion (blog)

Thousands celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem

Tens of thousands of tourists and Christian pilgrims packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations Saturday, for the highest turnout in more than a decade. The Israeli military said that some 100,000 visitors, including foreigners and Arab Christians from Israel, had reached Bethlehem, up from 70,000 the previous year. Thousands of Palestinians from inside West Bank also converged on the town. “We love to share this holiday with our Christian brothers,” said Amal Ayash, 46, who came to Manger Square with her three daughters, all of them covered in veils. “It is a Palestinian holiday and we love to come here and watch.” AP

EU president Herman Van Rompuy spreads Christmas joy with ‘World Book of Happiness’


Herman Van Rompuy (left) spreads happiness to French president Nicolas Sarkozy
Herman Van Rompuy (left) spreads happiness to French president Nicolas Sarkozy

European Union president Herman Van Rompuy wants to temporarily put aside worries about failing economies, the collapsing euro currency, and the financial crisis. He’s urging world leaders to keep their spirits up and look on the bright side. He’s sending copies of the “World Book of Happiness,” containing essays and haikus on happiness, to 200 world leaders. The essays are from 50 different nations across the world. EU leaders may pay particular attention to a segment entitled, “create your own currency that no one else can buy,” while another section of the book suggests that “money can buy happiness if we spend it on each other.” By the way, you can buy the book online if you want to cheer yourself up. Daily Mail

Libya celebrates independence from Italy

Italy ruled Libya as a colony from October, 1911, until Libya declared independence on December 24, 1951. When Muammar Gaddafi took power trough a coup on December 1, 1969, and became dictator for 41 years, he made it illegal to celebrate Libya’s independence from Italy. So on Saturday, for the first time in decades, Libya is able to celebrate Independence Day. Tunisia Live

Gorbachev asks Putin to resign before massive protests over election fraud


Huge Saturday rally in Moscow on Sakharov Avenue, named after Nobel Peace Prize-winning late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov (Ria Novosti)
Huge Saturday rally in Moscow on Sakharov Avenue, named after Nobel Peace Prize-winning late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov (Ria Novosti)

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Moscow on Saturday to demand new parliamentary elections, following a stream of revelations from around the country that massive election fraud was committed in the December 4 elections. Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won just a hair over 50% of the vote, but opponents believe that figure would have been much lower without election fraud. The protests were the largest that Moscow has seen since the 1991 protests that brought down the Soviet Union, at that time led by Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev on Friday called on Putin to resign, and for the annulment of the recent election, due to “numerous falsifications and rigging,” with results that “do not reflect the will of the people.” Ria Novosti and The Telegraph

Former Russian finance minister warns of ‘revolution’

Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Putin ally warned that the coming March 4 presidential elections must be more democratic, “otherwise it’s revolution, otherwise we will lose this chance which we have today — a peaceful transformation, and the trust which the new elected government must receive.” Putin last week insisted that the results of the parliamentary vote were fair and accused protesters of being funded by foreign powers. Bloomberg

Drone strikes in Pakistan suspended for six weeks

An unnamed Obama administration official acknowledged on Saturday an ongoing six-week suspension of drone strikes in Pakistan. The suspension gives time for the administration to try to repair relations with Pakistan, after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by a drone strike in November. A Department of Defense investigation blamed the killings on miscommunications between U.S. and Pakistani forces, but Pakistani officials continue to insist that there was a deliberate American decision to kill the Pakistani soldiers. Other possible reasons for the suspension of drone strikes could include poor weather, and the ongoing need to develop precise information about new targets. CNN

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