Mother Teresa - her life is a study in giving, living in service to those less fortunate, and working tirelessly for there are so many in need in this world. She was a symbol of hope to the hopeless, a paragon of faith and compassion.
An Albanian-born Roman Catholic nun and a missionary, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, in 1946, in Calcutta, India. Besides taking vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the members also profess a fourth vow – to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor." The Roman Catholic religious congregation has over 5000 sisters serving in over 130 countries.
Her work among those inflicted with leprosy and ostracised by society brought her recognition and awards from far and wide – from the Nobel Peace Prize to the Padma Sri to the Albert Schweitzer International Prize, to name just a few.
Mother, as she was affectionately called by those who knew her and knew of her, moved seemingly impossible mountains to bring solace to those in the most depraved of conditions. And like a mother, her words and her deeds impart wisdom long after she's passed on.
The suffering Mother must have seen firsthand is unimaginable. She worked among lepers, those infected with HIV and tuberculosis, orphans, and destitute in some of the most impoverished parts of the world.
Yet, strikingly, she's is quoted as saying, "Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty."
Mind you, she said these words decades earlier, long before "mental health" was recognized as what it is today! It is a testimony to her compassion and profound association with the abjectly poor that must have given her such an acute insight. Illustrating her point, Mother would often recount an incident of when she rescued a dying woman on the street. The woman was weeping because her family had deserted her and not because she was dying!
Having run mobile clinics, treatment facilities, and palliative centers, Mother was no stranger to debilitating physical illnesses. But she said, "Of all the diseases I have known, loneliness is the worst."
Over the past year and more, the world has been dealing with a virulent pandemic. Besides the uncertainties posed by a 'new' virus, most of us had to grapple with being cut off from our family and friends. It has taken a toll on many of us in different ways.
The need for human connections and the importance of social contact has been brought to our understanding in stark relief. The need to maintain resilient family bonds, have strong community networks, and nurture a close-knit group of friends is more evident than ever.
In light of what we have all endured with the pandemic, let us make a more concerted effort to address and ease loneliness in those near and dear to us. Reach out to seek help and to offer comfort, for as Mother said, "The greatest science in the world; in heaven and on earth; is love."
Scott Morrison and the fellow "Quad" leaders have presented a united front against Chinese economic pressure and military aggression in the Indo-Pacific.
The four leaders unveiled a suite of initiatives to work together on delivering vaccines to needy countries in Asia, creating a reliable supply chain for critical minerals, and partnering on low-emissions technologies to tackle climate change.
Although the leaders deliberately avoided mentioning China by name, the mission to counter the growing influence of the rising superpower dominated every aspect of the summit.
The leaders said they recognize "that our shared futures will be written in the Indo-Pacific, and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the Quad is a force for regional peace, stability, security, and prosperity."
Officials in Dushanbe say they had received reports that Tajik militants who fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan were now planning to cross the border into Tajikistan.
Tajikistan has more than 1,400 kilometers of border with Afghanistan. The former Soviet republic has been on high alert since the Taliban's rapid advance along the borders of northern Afghanistan in early summer, weeks before the militant group took over Kabul on August 15.
In Tajikistan's eastern province of Badakhshan, which borders Afghanistan, there have been many "rumors" about the possibility of a militant attack from Afghanistan in recent days.
Taliban spokesman in Kabul denied that militants were plotting ways to infiltrate Tajikistan. "No one will be allowed to use Afghanistan's territory to harm its neighbors."
The pro-Taliban media in Afghanistan reported recently that a new branch of the so-called Lashkar-e Mansouri Martyrdom Battalion was established in Badakhshan Province. The move aimed to counter "possible threats" to Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers.
Paraguay, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, three of the 15 UN members with official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, voiced support at the UN General Assembly on Friday for Taiwan's inclusion in the UN.
In a video played at the 76th session of the General Assembly in New York, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez said that universality is a basic principle of the UN, and based on that principle, "we support the inclusion of Taiwan within the United Nations system."
Taiwan lost its UN seat in 1971 when most countries shifted recognition to Beijing.
Belize said its partnership with Taiwan had been based on their common democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law, and his country has benefited significantly from its ties with Taiwan.
Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris renewed his country's call for Taiwan's inclusion in the UN community.
On Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister and a close aide said her country could improve relations with South Korea.
Kim Yo Jong said in a statement that only when there is an understanding between the two sides, such issues as re-establishing the joint liaison office and holding summits for improving relations would see "meaningful and successful solution one by one at an early date through constructive discussions."
Kim Yo Jong also referred to "arms buildup" by the United States and South Korea and claimed they are a blunt disregard of the sovereignty of North Korea.
Earlier this week, Kim Yo Jong said in a statement that the 1950-1953 Korean War should not be terminated as long as there are "double-dealing standards" and "prejudice" against North Korea.
Apple is reportedly working with UCLA to develop new technology that uses facial recognition and other behavioral tracking tools to detect depression in iPhone users.
By using information most smartphones already have access to, like your typing behavior and activity patterns, Apple seems to be imagining a world where your phone could warn you that your mood's been bleak.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the technology would use data from the phone's camera, video, and audio sensors to make these mood assessments. If you have an Apple Watch, the system would also use data about your sleeping habits, exercise routines, and vital signs.
People's facial expressions and how they speak and type, including how often there are typos in their texts, could help phones analyze user moods.
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