Remembrance Day at the Ilford chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was marked by the Bishop and congregation paying respects to the memories of the heroes and heroines who gave their lives in the quest for freedom from tyranny and injustice.
How great a freedom we enjoy today as citizens of England is all due to the heroes and heroines who laid down their lives, as well as those valiant men and women who helped negotiate peace and brought forward this day into being.
Brother Jeremy Boyden : "We remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice, like our Saviour, and we mark this day when peace was first agreed between all nations, on 11th November 1918".
The President's wife Sister Saltzman read a poem about Flanders Fields.
The Bishop's son, Brother Michael Onaolapo Jnr : "Greater love hath no man then He who gave up His own life so that others may live."
Sister Shannon Pickering, who was baptised in the Ilford ward two weeks ago, spoke a few words about the loving atmosphere that prevails in this land, thanks to people like her gransparents who did their bit during the war.
Sister Joanne Boyden read a famous poem, starting The glory shines upon my tears....She read the bit about hopes and expectations and stars and then became very emotional. (I asked her later; she explained that her Mother lost two brothers in the war). (For the Fallen, Robert Laurence Binyon).
Brother Michael Lighten paid tribute to the great example of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, recounting events in the Captain's life in the Royal Army Medical Corp, who had to combine civilian with military duties at the front, where he saw within a few hours 189 casualties out of 600. Captain Chavasse worked behind enemy lines for four hours, just 500 yards to safety. On another occasion just 25 yards from enemy trenches. Altogether, Captain Chavasse saved the lives of approximately 20,000 men.
On another occasion, he worked with protection against an attack of mustard gas.
Noel picked up his torch, and rose up in his time, working against impossible conditions of mud, blood and water. Captain Chavasse was decoated with a rare second Victoria Cross. Such men are rare indeed, and we all recall his courage with awe and celebration.
"For their tomorrows, we give our today" John Maxwell Edmonds. That was the spirit of the unknown solider, great soul who's memory we salute today.
We stood and paid our respects to the memories of the men and women who have won the freedoms that have greatly contributed to the enjoyment of peace and peaceful life that England enjoys today.
Bishop Onaolapo made these closing remarks : "We are here because of the sacrifices the soldiers, male and female, have made for us. That is why the great atmosphere of stability and safety, friendliness and love prevails in this nation. I am sure this country will go from strength to strength because of that, and I am proud to be a citizen of this great country of ours."
I believe this sums up the congregations sentiments on this day, when we salute those whose lives were lost, as well as those who brought about peace.
May God's blessings be upon all.
(written by Duru-darshan
LDS Ilford ward)
It seems a frequent occurrence, the coming of typhoons and cyclones that seem to hit the Eastern board of India every year, often hitting Odisha the hardest, together with Andhra Pradesh as well as Bengal.
This October, cyclone Phailin landed at Gopalpur in Odisha with a core speed of 200 Kilometres per hour, reducing to matchsticks the flimsy dwellings in the low-lying areas, flooding vast majority of farmland and dwellings. Fallen trees and power lines added to the problems in travelling. Thanfully early warming of the oncoming SuperCyclone enabled the local municipal authorities put into action evacuation plans, together with assistance from the Army and Navy, which were on standby, and so only a tiny number of people lost their lives this time, compared to the 10,000 last time.
Nearly a million people had been evacuated, with a timely and well-ordinated effort by the authorities. Social media must have helped, emphasising the dangers of flooding and the ferocity of the winds, and, most important, how much time they had to get out of harm's way. Villagers became convinced of the seriousness and left for the safety of higher areas and strong public dwellings, travelling at the last minute by buses laid on by the local councils. Thankfully, so many people saved their lives by not ignoring the messages.
About 100,000 people were similarly affected in Andhra Pradesh also.
Odisha Chief Minister has requested the government in Delhi to provide approximately a billion pounds over and above the 572 million pounds which would be available in the state disaster response fund, such has been the devastation left by Cyclone Phailin.
The government and local authorities are stretched trying to provide food, shelter and rehabilitation for the million plus people affected in the last fortnight.
As if that was not bad enough, another cyclone has hit the same region today, killing 29 and leaving another 85,000 marooned. The government and the local communities have a huge task of rebuilding and rehabilitating nearly 1.3 million people in Eastern states, some of the poorest and least developed in India. It would be a great blessing for the people if this encourages the construction of alternative housing in such areas.
In the meantime, again I pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and Bengal.
Respectfully Invoking our Saviour's prayer I intone :"Winds, be thee still".
May God's love and care be with the people there.
(written by Duru-darshan
Melchizedek priest at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Ilford)
Good news heard today, 9th November 2013.
Indian Prime Minister has announced allocation of funds of 1,000 Crores each for Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. (approx. 1 Billion Pounds each).
Sound bites coming out of Washington this morning suggested that progress had been made on the debt ceiling raise negotiations, but there was still some work to be done.
Indeed, NDTV was stating that a deal had been agreed in principle, to the effect that there would be 'full funding' of the government till 15th January, and thereafter a debt ceiling renegotiation date of 15th February. If that is in fact so, that would be great news for everybody, at least they won't have to worry about the cold winds of November and can have a holiday and relax over Christmas before having to face the cold corridors of Washington in the New Year.
People are counting on the House Fathers Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to bring everybody to the fold and get some agreement in principle, so that it can be presented to the world latest by Thursday.
Optimistically, everybody is waiting for such news.
In the meantime the U.S. Budget Office is issuing advisories in the event that an agreement is not reached. Namely that in the event of a debt ceiling limit not being raised, the government will have run out of authority to issue any more money into the system. In the most unlikely event of that happening, the ramifications would multiply twelve times what has happened under the Sequestration.
(The sequestration cuts totalled $85 billion over twelve months from a Q.E. budget running at $85 billion per month; hence one twelfth, so the effects of a halt would be magnified twelve times. This is just to put in context some meat for the doomsters. I cannot see the wise elected leaders of the U.S. ever leading America down that path, which would of course spell pessimistic scenarios for the world, as all nations trade with the U.S. and lot of people are engaged in producing something for export or working in calls centres and so forth which serves the major economies.)
Ideally, everybody would like to believe that such an agreement will be reached and released to the world, that full funding of the government continues until January, and then once again they can face the cold winds of February to negotiate another debt ceiling raise. In the meantime, the funding will ensure U.S. continues to trade at full strength with the world, and create more jobs at home and abroad, creating a continuation of the Recovery that has gladly blessed this great nation.
Japan is most definitely looking for an endorsement of the QE policies which they have implemented with a huge success, pulling Japan out from a phase of stagnation that lasted 20 years to what are glad welcomes of a Recovery. China likewise is re-focusing on domestic growth; how much better it will be if things continue in a positive way across the globe, so that there is work for the workshops, freight for the transport and the oceans, everyone doing something purposeful, busy, happy, earning their livelihoods, buying houses, cars, sending their children to schools and colleges and universities, a whole world procession in progress, the army of humanity.
How wonderful it will be for those wise leaders in Washington to agree upon and then issue to the world the words that signal the continuation of the economic Recovery at home, and by extension to the world. I pray for this.
Looking for inspiration yesterday, some words occurred to me, which I tweeted, as follows :
"Have faith, just believe. Everything will be all right, by the grace of God."
I sincerely believe that shall be so.
Although some positive soundbites were coming out of Washington as at Friday, there seems no pathway at the moment that could facilitate a decision by Thursday, 17th October, when the authorised fiscal instruments need to be extended.
The U.S. Debt which stands at some $16.7 Trillion, is a sizeable amount, but with the essence and integrity that is the United States of America, the sum is precisely just an overdraft for the productive economy whose turnover is some four trillion dollars per annum.
The main obstacle to the pathway is the President's unwillingness to water-down the Obamacare, which has already been signed and put onto the Statute. The Republicans would like to see it repealed or revoked or at least re-negotiated. It becomes clear to understand why, when the cost implications for the working man and woman are put into focus.
Today on the Huckabee show on Fox News, a woman interviewee stated that her medical insurance costs were previously $75 a month, but under Obamacare her insurance company will not extend this cover but is able to offer her cover at some $361 a month. This is an increase of some 381 percent!
Clearly this would not be affordable by most people who were happy previously paying $75 a month. Clearly it is not fair, and probably penablises the swing voters who voted for Mr Obama at 6h November, thinking Obamacare is a necessary and good measure and useful to everyone in the tough times. Few may have realised that the way it is structured, it frustrates the people it is meant to serve.
People were happy to see Obamacare come into being, imagining it to be somewhat similar to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, which brings universal health care benefits to the vast majority of the population at a cost that is levied upon each working individual to add to a pot that serves the whole nation. That was the charter granted under kind King George in 1947, even when the national debt of the UK was, at that time, a massive £6 billion. At that time, the implementation of the NHS service brought many benefits to the economy, the creation of many hospitals which could serve the wounded soldiers who had just returned from the war, the creation of alternative jobs in nursing for people who were previously engaged in the war effort, and together with this scheme the necessary creation of hospitals, training colleges, rehabilitation centres, psychiatric hospitals and so on.
The NHS has done Britian proud, and is reputed to be the best in the world. It puts peoples' health first.
My suggestion is that something tailored along the lines of the British National Health Service may be something our American friends should consider. If it be called Obamacare, that is perfect as this President has championed it on behalf of the citizens whom he cares about so deeply. The costing and delivery of such a service must be perhaps re-worked so that it offers universal medical coverage at an affordable price for the average citizen. Perhaps creating some pool of money on behalf of the unwaged and the retirees to supplement contributions made by working individuals would prove fair and affordable.
Definitely the lady interviewed by Mr Huckabee would like her medical insurance cover to be available at a price similar to one previously ($75 a month).
With this in mind, it may prove practical to re-introduce some elements of this Bill for renegotiations.
On this I do believe the Republicans have a point which should be re-considered.
However, the Debt Ceiling issue is of prime urgency. If a decision is not reached by 17th October, then it seems the alternative will be the signing in of an additional amount under a Presidential Prerogative under the 14th Amendment, to safeguard the interests and economy of the United States.
I have highest regard for Mr Obama, but I would suggest that the Obamacare bill needs to be re-worked so it delivers benefits to the people it is meant to serve, and does not instead cause hardships working individuals or impose conditions on employers which all would not be able or willing to meet.
Hopefully with the rescheduling of some elements of the Obamacare bill, the main obstacle would be cleared for the Republicans and Democrats, both Representatives and Senators, to sit down and in a spirit of bi-partisan co-operation sign in the extension of the fiscal instrument to enable the Debt Ceiling raise. For a nation of some 330 million people, a multiplier of 4K* per head would give a very reasonable figure (say, $1.32 Trillion) for the next twelve months, enabling the economy to add to the gains made since Mr Obama became President. In view of the continuing Recovery and the jobs created and the debt burden of $2.5 Trillion reduced recently, I guess the bankers would call it a bankable proposition.
This necessary and prudent step will enable confidence to once again fill every home around the world, so that all people can be busy and productive and nations produce and transport and exchange their unique resources with the rest of the world. May the worldwide economic Recovery continue, so that in due time, it may turn to a common Prosperity for all people of the world. For that I pray.
*Postscript. Figure should of course be 4K, and not just 4.
Each one can imagine some kind of bleak scenario, in the event that the Debt Ceiling was breached and there was no agreement in Washington between the Republicans and Democrats.
At the moment, the world watches in exasperation as the two sides debate and give a very mixed impression. As they gleefully remain entrenched as to what they will concede or not, the time is ticking away to 17th October.
Japan and China have wondered at the shutdown, and why it is not being lifted swiftly. In those nations, such a situation, were it ever to arise, would be reversed as a matter of honour and in the interests of not impeding the economic engine. It would be done swiftly with a command from the leadership.
In the U.S., by contrast, as is the nature of democracy, every fine detail has to be debated. That is fair enough, but time is running out nevertheless.
In the event that there is no Debt Ceiling raise by 17th October, one can envisage a bleak picture where government will not be able to pay its employees, which of course also includes the Representatives and Senators who have defended very narrow corners and brought about the current shutdown and the furloughs, disrupting peoples' daily routines and reducing their paypackets. Of course this would have an impact on the economy overall were it to continue for any length of time. Just over a week has gone, and the mood on the stockmarket has been subdued. If it were to continue for consecutive 21 days, probably it would cause a disheartening mood, which would dampen the feelings and start a down-turn.
Secretary of State for the Treasury Mr Jacob Lew has said there would be about $30 billion for cash-flow, in a 'four trillion dollar enterprise'. That may be sufficient for 12 days, which would take everyone to 29th October. If there was no agreement by then, can you imagine anything but the stock markets falling, a fear factor and a lack of confidence, people being laid off by private enterprises as well. I would bet the Oil price would plummet, demand would be so drastically reduced. The domino effect would be worldwide, nothing short of alarming. It would be like looking at Greece in its recent dark days, only the U.S. is a much bigger economy, with over 16 times the population of Greece. Not only that, what is the sovereign currency of a well-functioning economy and the Reserve Currency of the world would have its standing compromised.
I trust they have some arrangement in place, whether by bi-partisan co-operation, putting aside for the moment the other issues which are dividing them at the moment, and agreeing to a Debit Ceiling raise by 17th October; or, arrangements in place to allow the President to exercise his prerogative under the 14th Amendment and sign in an amount that would be prudent and necessary.
Mr Obama has mentioned that the debt burden has been reduced by Two and a Half Trillion in the last few years, so his Administration's policies have been productive and praiseworthy, pulling the whole economy out of a severe recession and creating a nation with huge heatmaps of happiness, which have provided growing confidence worldwide. The sooner the uncertainity regarding the Debt Ceiling raise is removed, the better will it be for the whole world. America's well-wishers and creditors alike would feel good, a positive mood of certainity and predictability for future growth would continue worldwide.
The last Debt Ceiling raise in August 2011 has proved efficacious, and so there would be universal approval and applause for such a measure this once also. Those who believe in doing right by their fellow humanbeings, let them also do right by the currency that says 'In God We Trust'.