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  • Oscar Nominee ‘5 Broken Cameras’ a Personal Story of Palestinian Struggle

    This weekend when the Hollywood glitterati are walking down the red carpet before the Academy Awards ceremony, there will be a rather unusual sight: a pair of documentary filmmakers from opposite sides of a longstanding conflict. Emad Burnat is a Palestinian. Guy Davidi is an Israeli. They collaborated on the Oscar-nominated Palestinian documentary “5 Broken Cameras.”

    The film tells the story of Burnat, a farmer, and his family, beginning when his son Gibreel is born in 2005. At the same time, the Israeli government builds a separation wall through their village of Bil’in. Burnat documents the villagers’ non-violent resistance to the wall and the Israeli army’s harsh reaction. Over the course of five years of filming, his cameras are destroyed. Burnat and Davidi weave more than 500 hours of footage from five successive cameras to tell their story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    “5 Broken Cameras” is the first Palestinian film to be nominated for an Oscar. It also won the World

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  • Pope Benedict XVI’s Successor and Change in the Church

    Catholics around the world just marked Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. But even this holiest period in the Church calendar seemed to be overshadowed by the stunning news just prior. Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, effective Feb. 28.

    It was the first time in more than 700 years that a Pope willingly chose to step down. Even the heavens seemed to react with shock as a photographer captured a lightning strike on St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican hours after the pope’s announcement.

    The most pressing questions are who Benedict’s successor will be and what changes, if any, the new pope may introduce.

    As pontiffs before him had done, Benedict resisted forces of modernity which called, for example, on a changing role for women. His successor is not likely to change course.

    “The pope follows in the teaching of the Church. That’s over a 2,000-year-long tradition. A particular pope does not have the freedom to make choices that are contradictory to the tradition,” said Rev.

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  • For the last three weeks, residents of Beijing have been breathing thick, soupy air so choked with pollutants that it has registered far off the scale of acceptable levels.

    Yet places like Beijing or New Delhi, India, which has also had extremely unhealthy air quality levels, are far from the only cities to be plagued. Air pollution affects practically everyone on the planet and causes more than 6 million premature deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization. Yet, this insidious and long-standing issue really only generates headlines when it hits extreme levels.

    ABC News correspondent Gloria Riviera reports that levels in Beijing averaged 300 on the Air Quality Index (AQI), a whopping 280 points over what WHO says is good, clean air. Optimal AQI is just 20.

    Explosive economic growth in China means factories are going full tilt 24/7 and millions of people are able to own cars for the first time. China has minimal environmental standards in place. The new pollution

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