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Archive for May, 2010

Quality of Living worldwide city rankings 2010

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 27, 2010

Above: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Mercer survey

Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2010 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich and Geneva follow in second and third position, respectively, while Vancouver and Auckland remain joint fourth in the rankings.

Mercer conducts the ranking to help governments and multi-national companies compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. The rankings are based on a point-scoring index, which sees Vienna score 108.6 and Baghdad 14.7. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city, with an index score of 100.

Mercer’s Quality of Living index list was revised and now covers 221 cities compared to 215 last year, which means direct trend comparison will not be possible until 2011. The new selection includes prominent capital and other major cities from across the world currently available in Mercer’s database and better reflects where companies are sending their expatriate employees in the current business environment.

European cities continue to dominate amongst the top 25 cities in the index. In the UK, London ranks at 39, while Birmingham is at 55 and Glasgow at 57. In the US, the highest ranking entry is Honolulu at position 31, followed by San Francisco at position 32. Singapore (28) is the top-scoring Asian city followed by Tokyo at 40. Baghdad, ranking 221, remains at the bottom of the list.

This year’s ranking also identifies the cities with the best eco-ranking based on water availability and drinkability, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and traffic congestion. Calgary is at the top of this index (score 145.7), followed by Honolulu in second place (score 145.1) and Ottawa and Helsinki in joint third (score 139.9). Wellington in New Zealand (5), Minneapolis (6), Adelaide (7) and Copenhagen fill the next four slots, while Kobe, Oslo and Stockholm share ninth place. Port-au-Prince in Haiti ranks at the bottom of this table with a score of only 27.8

Canadian cities still dominate the top of the index for the Americas region with Vancouver (4) retaining the top spot, followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (16) and Montreal (21). Calgary ranks 28 on the overall quality of living ranking.

Honolulu (31) is the city in the US with the highest quality of living, followed by San Francisco (32) and Boston (37). Chicago and Washington share position 45 and New York – the base city – is in position 49. Newly added cities Philadelphia and Dallas are ranked 55 and 61, respectively.

In Central and South America, Point-à-Pitre, the largest city and economic area of Guadeloupe and new to the index this year, ranks the highest for quality of living at 62. San Juan in Puerto Rico follows at 72 and Buenos Aires at 78. Havana (192) and Port-au-Prince (213) are the lowest-ranking cities in the region.

Europe has 16 cities amongst the world’s top 25 cities for quality of living. Vienna retains the highest ranking both for the region and globally and is again followed by Zurich (2), Geneva (3) and Düsseldorf (6). The lowest-ranking Western European cities are Leipzig (64) and Athens (75). In the UK, London is the highest-ranking city at 39, followed by newcomer to the list Aberdeen (53), Birmingham (55), Glasgow (57) and Belfast (63).

Dubai (75) in the United Arab Emirates and Port Louis in Mauritius (82) are the Middle East and Africa region’s cities with the best quality of living. Abu Dhabi (83), Cape Town (86) and Tunis (94) follow and are, along with Victoria in the Seychelles (95), Johannesburg (96) and Muscat in Oman (100), the region’s only other cities in the top 100. Following the revision of the index a selection of cities from this region has been added, including Doha in Qatar (110), Rabat in Morocco (112), Banjul in Gambia (164) and Abuja in Nigeria (205).

Baghdad (221) remains at the bottom of the table, though its index score has increased slightly (from 14.4 to 14.7 in 2010). A lack of security and stability continue to have a negative impact on Baghdad’s quality of living and its score remains far behind that of Bangui (27.4) in the Central African Republic which is second to last.

Auckland (4) retains its position as the highest-ranking city for quality of living in the Asia Pacific region. Sydney follows at 10, Wellington at 12, Melbourne at 18 and Perth at 21. At 26, Canberra is new to the index. Singapore remains the highest-ranking Asian city at 28, followed by Japanese cities Tokyo (40), Kobe and Yokohama (both at 41), Osaka (51) and Nagoya (57). The region’s lowest-ranking cities are Dhaka in Bangladesh (206) and two cities new to the list – Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan (209) and Dushanbe in Tajikistan (210).

City Rankings

Top 50 cities: Quality of living ranking

Base City: New York, US (=100)

Rank 2010 City Country Qol index 2010
1 VIENNA AUSTRIA 108.6
2 ZURICH SWITZERLAND 108
3 GENEVA SWITZERLAND 107.9
4 VANCOUVER CANADA 107.4
4 AUCKLAND NEW ZEALAND 107.4
6 DUSSELDORF GERMANY 107.2
7 FRANKFURT GERMANY 107
7 MUNICH GERMANY 107
9 BERN SWITZERLAND 106.5
10 SYDNEY AUSTRALIA 106.3
11 COPENHAGEN DENMARK 106.2
12 WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND 105.9
13 AMSTERDAM NETHERLANDS 105.7
14 OTTAWA CANADA 105.5
15 BRUSSELS BELGIUM 105.4
16 TORONTO CANADA 105.3
17 BERLIN GERMANY 105
18 MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA 104.8
19 LUXEMBOURG LUXEMBOURG 104.6
20 STOCKHOLM SWEDEN 104.5
21 PERTH AUSTRALIA 104.2
21 MONTREAL CANADA 104.2
23 HAMBURG GERMANY 104.1
24 NURNBURG GERMANY 103.9
24 OSLO NORWAY 103.9
26 CANBERRA AUSTRALIA 103.6
26 DUBLIN IRELAND 103.6
28 CALGARY CANADA 103.5
28 SINGAPORE SINGAPORE 103.5
30 STUTTGART GERMANY 103.3
31 HONOLULU UNITED STATES 103.1
32 ADELAIDE AUSTRALIA 103
32 SAN FRANCISCO UNITED STATES 103
34 PARIS FRANCE 102.9
35 HELSINKI FINLAND 102.6
36 BRISBANE AUSTRALIA 102.4
37 BOSTON UNITED STATES 102.2
38 LYON FRANCE 101.9
39 LONDON UNITED KINGDOM 101.6
40 TOKYO JAPAN 101.4
41 MILAN ITALY 100.8
41 KOBE JAPAN 100.8
41 YOKOHAMA JAPAN 100.8
44 BARCELONA SPAIN 100.6
45 LISBON PORTUGAL 100.3
45 CHICAGO UNITED STATES 100.3
45 WASHINGTON UNITED STATES 100.3
48 MADRID SPAIN 100.2
49 NEW YORK CITY UNITED STATES 100
50 SEATTLE UNITED STATES 99.8

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Please go to my photo blog for the TOP TEN cities

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The Glorious Feast of Pentecost

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 23, 2010

The readings, appointed for today, indicate the basic religious problem of Western civilization, as well as its proper solution. Western civilization’s basic religious problem stems from the common misunderstanding held by most followers of three dominant faith systems in that part of the world. Many Jews, Muslims and Christians imagine that they worship the same God. Yet, in fact, repeatedly, their interactions seem to indicate, rather, that most of them continue serving their own selfish interests in this world. Despite much eloquent talk about God, the various ways they walk, deny the kernel of what God tries to teach them.

St. Paul instructed the Ephesians, “lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” That’s the right way to grow to the full stature of Christ. St. John wrote, “Whoever says, ‘I have come to know him’, but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5but whoever obeys his word, truly, in this person the love of God has reached perfection.” After tongues of fire descended upon Christ’s disciples, they were filled with gifts of the Holy Spirit. Then, they no longer hid and asked idle questions. Instead, they went out and began speaking boldly “about God’s deeds of power.’

On that very day they began demonstrating what Jesus Christ had told them the night before he died (John 14). They started living the truth in the present. Demonstrating the unity of belief and action that is worshiping in Spirit and in truth, they even did greater works than He had done. They proved their love for Him by keeping His commandments, always conscious of being loved by His Father, as well as by Him Who revealed Himself, by sending the Spirit to them.

Even though Jesus Christ came into His own, and He spent three years exposing various ways in which the God’s chosen people had erred. They had been distorting the spirit of the Law, He had given them through Moses. Cunningly, they enslaved each other, by serving the letter of that Law, while violating its purpose. During His earthly ministry, less than a hundred individuals fully accepted Christ’s interpretation of the Law; and fewer than five showed the courage of their convictions, to be present as He offered Himself as a ransom for many.

Fifty days after Jesus Christ’s victory over death, thousands of those who had probably been yelling, “Crucify Him!” were accepting baptism in His Name, at the hands of His Spirit-filled disciples. However, less than six centuries later, as the Gospel spread throughout the world, so did various corruptions of that message. Scandalous contentions arose over mysteries that no one fully understands. Such wrangling, mixed with political and pseudo-intellectual agendas lost whole cultures, while convincing others. No wonder some felt compelled to seek a new prophet, only to lapse into a new legalism, repeating mistakes that Christ had come to correct.

Once again, we celebrate the Holy Spirit inaugurating the New Jerusalem, the foretaste of God’s coming Kingdom. Therefore, tomorrow, let us embrace the Fast of the Apostles, that we may turn away from whatever keeps us from walking with God, in the present. To complete their mission, we must develop the same level of commitment which prompted disciples, so that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping saints for the work of ministry, building up the body of Christ; until all of us come to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Then we will be know how to use what we have already received to witness to His love for mankind, then, we too, will become fishers of men.

Source: Ninesaintsethiopianorthodoxmonastery

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The Miracles of St. George

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 2, 2010

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church venerates on this Twenty-third day of the month of Miyazia (Ethiopian calendar) the First day of May (Western calendar) the great among the Martyrs for Christ, Saint George.

Saint George was born to a Christian noble family in Lydia, Palestine during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 A.D. His father, Gerontius, (or Anastasius) was a Roman Army Official from Cappadocia and his mother Theobaste was from Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici; they raised their son with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgius (Latin) or Geōrgios (Greek), meaning “worker of the land”. At the age of Fourteen St. George father died; a few years later, George’s mother also died.

After the death of both his parents St. George decided to go to Nicomedia, the Roman Imperial City of that time, and present himself to the Emperor Diocletian, to apply for a career as a soldier. The Emperor welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius or Anastasius who was one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, the Saint was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an Imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.

In the year AD 302 A.D. the Emperor Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. But St. George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best Tribune and the son of his best official. St. George loudly renounced the Emperor’s edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert the Saint, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but St. George never accepted.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts, the Emperor Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution St. George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, St. George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on this date in the year 303 A.D. A witness of his suffering convinced the Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in Martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydia for burial, where Christians soon came to venerate his relics and ask for his prayers.

Source: Ninesaintsethiopianorthodoxmonastery

The Miracles of St. George—to Muslims!

St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Prescott, AZ

The saints love everyone, and help all. Even among Muslims, who don’t even have saints, the knowledge that the Christian saint, the Greatmartyr George of Lydda, helps those who ask him, brings thousands to ask his aid and intercession. And he responds swiftly to help them. How much more will he aid and protect those fellow disciples of Jesus Christ who call upon him in faith, asking for his powerful intercession before God, and granting the gifts of healing and more through his prayers!

The Monastery of St. George Koudounas

This historic Monastery of Saint George Koudounas, on Prince’s Island outside of Constantinople, was according to tradition built by the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros Phokas in 963 AD. A miraculous icon of St. George was brought here from the Monastery of Peace, which was founded by Emperor Justin II, in Athens at that time.

The Monastery was later sacked in the Fourth Crusade. Then in 1302 the pirate Giustiniani plundered all the buildings and monasteries of the island. Not wanting their holy icon stolen by the Franks, the monks hid the icon under the earth and place the holy altar above it. The miraculous icon however was lost for many years.

Later, St. George appeared to a shepherd in a dream and told him where to find his icon. When he approached the area, he heard the ringing of bells, and having unearthed the icon, found it decorated with bells. This is the source behind the epithet “Koudouna” which means “bells”.

The Monastery was later attached to Hagia Lavra in Kalavryta, and eventually to the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The current church was built in 1905.

The miracles of the Saint are many, not only towards Christians [Romans], who approached always with great reverence (in olden times there wasn’t a Christian family which had not visited Koudouna at least once a year), but towards everyone without exception, who approach his grace with faith. Thus there is a great mass of people who come from other faiths from throughout Turkey. The pilgrims number about 250,000 a year, the majority being muslim Turks.

The great iron gate of the Monastery, as we learn from its engraving in Greek and Turkish, was offered from the Muslim Rasoul Efenti, as a gift of gratitude towards the Saint for the healing of his wife.

On April 23rd, in other words the day when the Saint is honored and the Monastery celebrates, tens of thousands of pilgrims arrive, not only from Constantinople but from other cities, to venerate the Great Martyr and to seek help in their problems.

Roughly all of these pilgrims are from other faiths.

Many will return later to thank St. George, who heard their prayer and granted their desire, bringing the indispensable oil for his vigil lamp. You hear with passion how he healed this person’s son, how another became a mother after being barren for many years, how a third acquired a house, etc.

The Monastery also celebrates on the feast of Saint Thekla, and on this feast about 10,000 Muslims visit the Monastery seeking the prayer of Saint George.

Some come barefoot up the hill which takes about 30 minutes to climb to the Monastery, others come with offerings of oil, candles, and sugar so that their lives may be sweet. Some do not speak as they climb up to the Monastery until they kiss the icon of St. George. They follow the services with hands lifted in the air holding lit candles. They ask priests for antidron to bring home with them for a blessing. They have great faith and respect for Orthodoxy.

On September 24 I witnessed at 6:00 AM four modern looking Turkish girls approaching the Monastery. I asked them for what purpose they came. They responded: “Faith in the Saint brought us here. It doesn’t matter that we are Muslims. We prayed that he would help us. We have heard so much about the Monastery.”

Oral came from Smyrna in order to venerate the Saint with her vow. She brought three bottles of oil. When I asked why she, as a Muslim woman among the thousands, visit the Orthodox Monastery, she responded: “It is not forbidden by anyone for us to believe in Saint George. Religions have one common agreement, the one and only God. We could be hiding within us a christian.”

Of the many interviews I conducted that day with Muslims, the responses were basically the same.

A different answer was given by Antil however. He said: “Life in Turkey is difficult. The people need something to give them strength. They have turned to religion. They have been bored by everything so they seek help elsewhere. Why not Saint George?”

And one Turkish newspaper reported: “Saint George has distributed hope to the suffering.”

Testimonies of Monks From the Monastery

Hieromonk Ephraim of Xenophontos, who has lived for three years at “Koudouna”, is astonished with the faith of the thousands of Muslims who visit the monastery. “These people live with their heart”, he affirms, “Because faith is the sight and the strength of the heart, for this reason they can and they do experience our Saints.”

Monk Kallinikos of Xenophontos, who serves as a priest, relates: “We are astonished with that which occurs here. Many times we see people who find the Lord with the faith of the Roman centurion.” To our question if the Saint responds to the supplications of the thousands of pilgrims, he replied: “During my three years here, we ourselves are witnesses of miracles, such as the healing of paralytics, mutes, and the giving birth to children.”

Thus, St. George has become a place of worship for thousands of atheists, Christians, Jews, and especially Muslims, who with every means come to the island and bring their tamata (vows), and place them before the Saint, as they place their hopes in him. And the Saint shows that he does not judge and ‘imparts healing’ to every faithful person.”

Miracles

The Sick Turkish Woman

A Turkish woman from Levkochori had a serious health problem. She had heard a lot about St. George and wanted to come [venerate], but they did not let her come into the church because she was Turkish. But this didn’t deter her from remaining outside the church the whole night. In the morning they gave her holy oil from the vigil lamp of the Saint and she became well. After this, her husband gave many gifts to the church.

St. George Saves a Young Muslim Girl

A Muslim woman with her mother were taking a taxi for a long trip. The Muslims, as is well known, respect St. George very much.

On the road the taxi driver abandoned the proper course and began to show a threatening attitude towards the girl—the women apparently were praying—and at some point the taxi driver stopped the car and attempted to rape the girl. Immediately a police officer on horseback appeared, who ordered the taxi driver in a very powerful manner to the nearest police station. He went full of fear with the policeman, and the policeman on horseback went with him to the station, and issued a complaint for attempted rape. He signed the police book and left. When the taxi driver later came out of the interrogation, they looked in the book and said to him:

There is no hope for you to escape! Do you know who brought you here?” Saint George! (Source.)

Note: These and similar miracles and sentiments do not at all vindicate the false religion of Islam, nor the terrible actions of some Turks against Christians, but the faith and love of some simple Muslims towards Christ and His Saints. Similarly, Christ found in the Roman Centurion greater faith than any in Israel (Matthew 8:10). And often, this presence of the Holy Spirit out of love not only acts to heal the bodies of non-Orthodox, but more crucially the souls, as many later embrace the light and are baptized Orthodox. May Christ grant us all repentance, that we all may be saved, and come to the knowledge of the Truth. St. George the Trophy-bearer, intercede for us all and help us! Amen.

More can be read here about Muslims at Koudouna.

Why Do Muslims Venerate Saint George?

According to Archimandrite Damianos, overseer of the Holy Sepulchre, there are three reasons:

  • His green garments, which for Muslims represents “life” and for which reason they call him “the Green One,”
  • Because many Muslims hear about and experience his miracles,
  • Because as a Trophy-bearer with a cape and sword he inspires a certain amount of fear and respect.

It is because of the great respect for St. George that none of the Orthodox churches dedicated to him in Turkey have been demolished, as well as churches dedicated to the Theotokos who also is greatly respected by Muslims.

(For the full history of this Monastery with many pictures, visit this site.)

Ed’s note:

Well, no wonder why one of the richest men on planet Earth, a Saudi Arabian /Ethiopian business magnate, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi, is seriously involved in the Ethiopian sports club of St. George, for which he is currently building a soccer stadium in Addis Abeba.

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