Marine’s Family Sues Greek Entities for Lost Heart


The parents of a Marine whose body came back from Greece missing his heart amended their federal lawsuit Wednesday to add the Greek government and an Athens hospital as defendants.

Craig and Beverly LaLoup, of Coatesville, are also suing the U.S. Department of Defense over the remains of 21-year-old Sgt. Brian LaLoup.

The Defense Department doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Messages were left with the Greek government and state-run Evangelismos General Hospital.

LaLoup, who was assigned to a security detail at the embassy, had told a colleague he was suicidal over a breakup. The parents believe a Marine supervisor knew about his mindset, but instead of getting help, took him out for drinks. Their lawsuit alleges their son was allowed to get a weapon from a storage area later that night, despite his mood and level of intoxication, and shot himself.

The U.S. government is generally immune from wrongful death lawsuits, so the family is seeking damages only over their emotional distress caused by the missing heart.

They say they learned about the missing organ only accidentally, weeks after they buried their son. They also say they eventually were given a heart that wasn’t his.

“This is his heart. This is his soul. This is what made Brian who he is,” Beverly LaLoup told The Associated Press this week.

LaLoup, who was buried with full military honors, had previously served in Afghanistan and South Africa.

He died on Aug. 12, 2012, at Evangelismos General Hospital, where an autopsy was conducted six days later. The heart was found to be missing during a second autopsy conducted by U.S. military officials on Aug. 22 after the body arrived in Dover, Del.

The family only learned about the missing heart on Sept. 17, two weeks after the funeral.

Christos Failadis, a spokesman at the Greek embassy in Washington, D.C., said the heart was kept for toxicology tests. He declined to answer questions about what happened to it or why the family later received a heart belonging to someone else.

Pathologists say organs are often removed during autopsies for testing, but they said it would be unusual to use the heart, rather than blood or other fluids, for toxicology tests.

Hagia Sophia, the jewel of the ancient Eastern Church, is lost again


The Turks plan soon to repossess the iconic Christian cathedral Muslims stole in 1453

Holy Wisdom cathedral: The biggest of many being seized by Islam.

Holy Wisdom cathedral: The biggest of many being seized by Islam.

If Turkey’s Islamic government has its way, the ongoing elimination of Orthodox and Aramaic Christianity from the country will soon be crowned by transforming the Hagia Sophia, the iconic cathedral of eastern Christianity, into a mosque. “We are looking at a sad Hagia Sophia but hopefully we will see it smiling again soon,” Islamist deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc confirmed last week in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia, which means Holy Wisdom, served as the Byzantine capital’s main church from 537 until the Muslim conquest in 1453.

In 1914, Turkey (then the heartland of the Ottoman Empire) had 12.9 million Muslims and 2.75 million Christians. Today its population stands at 75.6 million, including perhaps 150,000 Christians. The inevitable Greek protests on behalf of Hagia Sophia will be easily ignored. The Orthodox Christian population of Istanbul has fallen from more than 500,000 in 1920 to maybe 2,000, according to Mihail Vasiliadis, who edits the community’s newsletter.

Islam seizes Constantinople in 1453: Eastern Christendom’s ancient bulwark gone.

Islam seizes Constantinople in 1453: Eastern Christendom’s ancient bulwark gone.

Many historic churches and monasteries are threatened

Hagia Sophia’s stunning beauty was widely credited a millennium ago for drawing the pagan Russians toward Orthodoxy rather than Roman Catholicism. When the Turks conquered the city, the sultan immediately declared its cathedral a mosque. Thus it remained until 1934, when the secularizing revolutionary Ataturk converted it to a museum with restored Christian frescoes. In 2002, Turkey’s Muslim Justice and Development Party took power and began the process of rededicating it to Islam.

Recently, a Muslim students’ group demanded that the museum become a mosque again. Its application to the government was accompanied by an opinion poll indicating support by 97 percent of Turks. The government has already removed the structure’s legal definition as a museum. Other historic churches and monasteries in Turkey are being pushed through the same process of dechristianization, warns Vasiliadis, adding that “all this government cares about is consolidating the Muslim-led nation-state.”

The dramatic fall of Constantinople to an Islamic army in 1453, opening eastern Europe to subsequent conquest, is recounted in Chapter 6.


Turkey’s Islamic government jails journalists in record numbers

During the First World War, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed through government-instigated mass murders. Anti-Greek pogroms followed, led by the secret police, in part because ethnic Greeks had sided with the western allies in Turkey’s defeat. An Aramaic-speaking pocket of about 500,000 Christians in southeastern Turkey has been entirely eliminated beyond a handful of older individuals. For decades, Christians have been plagued by Islamic murders and assaults, pushing the survivors toward emigration.

Government pressure is not relenting after a decade in power. This fall Turkey rescinded an Ataturk-inspired ban on women wearing traditional headscarves while working for state institutions. With government backing, Turkish media have been forcibly moved into Islam-friendly ownership. At least 70 opposition journalists are in jail, more than any other country in the world.

Unemployment rate 5.8 per cent in November


The unemployment rate is 5.8 per cent in November.

The unemployment rate is 5.8 per cent in November. Source: ThinkStock

Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 5.8 per cent in November, official figures show.

Unemployment in October was unchanged at 5.7 per cent.

The total number of people with jobs rose 21,000 to 11.660 million in the month, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday. The median forecast for the unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in November, with total employment growth of 10,000, according to an AAP survey of 13 market economists.

Full-time employment rose 15,500 to 8.108 million in November and part-time employment was up 5,500 to 3.552 million.

The participation rate was steady at 64.8 per cent.

The participation rate is the proportion of the population that have a job, are looking for work or are ready to start work.

Employed people in Australia worked a total of 1.634 billion hours in November, the seasonally adjusted ABS figures showed. That was down by 11.7 million hours or 0.7 per cent from the 1.646 billion hours worked in October.

But it was up by 5.8 million hours or 0.4 per cent from the 1.629 billion hours worked in November 2012.

The average amount of time worked per employee fell to 140 hours and 10 minutes in November, from 141 hours and 26 minutes in October, a fall of 75 minutes or 1.0 per cent.

Compared with November last year, the average time worked per employee fell by 34 minutes or 0.4 per cent.

Same-sex marriage laws overturned by High Court in the ACT

Source: CanberraTimes

Six of the same-sex couples who got married in the ACT pose for a group photo at Old Parliament House.

Christians vow to fight on if High Court allows marriage equality in ACT
Same-sex marriage in ACT will go down in history

The High Court has overturned Australia’s first same-sex marriage law, according to a summary published on the High Court website.

The court is due to hand down its findings in the landmark case at 12.15pm, however, a judgement on the court’s website says the court has ruled against the ACT government’s historic Act, saying it conflicted with federal marriage laws.

Scenes from weddings around the capital as same-sex marriage becomes legal in the ACT.

Dozens of couples who married in a five day window before Thursday’s ruling have now had their marriages declared invalid.

The Abbott government swooped on the laws the moment they were passed in October, immediately launching action through the High Court to have the Act overturned.

Attorney-General George Brandis urged the ACT government at the time to wait for the outcome of the High Court challenge before allowing couples to marry.

But a defiant ACT government refused and at least 27 couples have married in the ACT since Saturday.

In its case, the Commonwealth argued it had sole power over marriage in Australia and that the ACT laws were inconsistent with both the federal Marriage Act and the federal Family Law Act.

The ACT government argued its law had created a separate status of same sex marriage that could operate concurrently with federal laws.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said prior to Thursday’s ruling that, regardless of the outcome, the case had put marriage equality squarely on the national agenda.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in talks to keep Toyota in Australia after Holden closure

Source: Yahoonews

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the Federal Government is holding talks with Toyota aimed at keeping the carmaker in Australia, amid union claims the company is seeing to use Holden’s closure to reduce pay and conditions for thousands of workers.

Toyota has warned that Holden’s decision to stop manufacturing by 2017 puts “unprecedented pressure” on its ability to continue building cars in Australia.

Mr Abbott has revealed that he spoke to Toyota’s Australian boss Max Yasuda last night.

“Obviously the Government will be talking to Toyota,” he told Channel Nine this morning.

“We want Toyota to continue.

“They are in a slightly different position to Holden,” he added. “Much more of their local production has been for export. Toyota locally have been much more integrated into the global operations of the company, it seems, than with Holden.”

The Federal Court will decide today whether Toyota can put a new pay deal to its 2,500 strong workforce, a move that would slash costs at its Altona production plant by $17 million.

But the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has advised Toyota workers not to accept poorer work conditions.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver says Toyota is putting unfair pressure on workers, who will vote on the agreement tomorrow if it gets Federal Court approval.

“The problem with Toyota is that they’ve approached their workers to reduce wages and conditions without any plan of future investment,” he said.

“It’s not the wages and conditions that are going to decide the future of Toyota, it’s going to be the knock-on effect of what happens in the auto components sector and what kind of support the Government is going to do.”

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine says it is vital Toyota does not close its Altona factory.

“It is important in terms of jobs, but its also vital for manufacturing capacity, for skills capacity, for the future of these areas in our economy in Victoria,” he said.

“I’ll seize that opportunity to talk to Mr Abbott about the future of Toyota and how the Federal Government can work with the State Government and Toyota and the entire automotive supply chain industry to secure the future of Toyota.”

Toyota worker Phil Hird, who has been employed with the carmaker for 25 years, says he is not confident that his job is safe and that he will be looking for work elsewhere.

“If it’s got to happen, it’s got to happen. [I’m] just seeing what’s out there now and finding out what’s going on,” he said.

“Very shocked and gutted … [I’ve] been here 25 years and the feeling is very empty. It’s been a very very bad 24 hours.”