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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Laid Back Conventions

Crossing a Religious Bridge
BBC News

The Pope said Turkey was a religious bridgeConventions are being relaxed - but security tightened - as the Pope makes a rare visit to Turkey.

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the predominantly Muslim country on Tuesday for what is arguably the most dangerous, delicate and contested visit outside Italy made by any pope in modern times.

Not only is the spiritual head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics making the first visit of his pontificate to such a country, but vociferous right-wing Turkish Islamic nationalists have already made it clear that he is not a welcome guest.

A huge poster on the square showed pictures of a crusader and of violence in the Middle East, before his arrival.

"Who brought evil and inhumanity?" the poster asked, addressing the Pope who had sparked outrage across the Muslim world in September, when he quoted a 14th-Century Christian emperor who criticised the Prophet Muhammad.

Now as the Pope covers sensitive ground, there is no sign of any apology from the Pope, but there is a clear effort to calm tensions and begin to mend relations.

Sharing the challenge to raise the voice of moderation in all three Abrahamic faiths, on his first day in Turkey he has called for an "authentic dialogue" between Christians and Muslims. The Pope also gave Turkey support for its bid to enter the European Union, after a relax of protocol with Turkish Prime Minister meeting him at the airport - despite earlier claims Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan would not have time.

In Ankara, the Pope began his trip with a visit to the hilltop mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Flanked by an escort of ceremonial guards, he laid a wreath of red and white flowers and wrote in the memorial book that he was "honoured" to hold the secular stateman's words as his own - Peace at home, peace in the world.

The Pope travels to Istanbul on Wednesday for a formal visit to the headquarters of the Orthodox Church in a gesture to one of the long-term aims of his pontificate, to reunite divided Christendom into one body.

<< Read more on Turkey and the EU

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Crossing Conventions
BBC News

Sitting in a relaxed position may be good for your backA study has found against coventional thought, suggesting that sitting up straight places an unnecessary strain on your back and that a laid back posture is better for you.

Levent Cağlar from the UK charity BackCare warned, however, that those sitting in a too relaxed position ran the risk of falling off their chair. "Reclining at 135 degrees can make sitting more difficult as there is a tendency to slide off the seat - 120 degrees or less may be better."

Questioning conventional thought is also under scrutiny as a British teacher at Liverpool's Blue Coat School, Nick Cowan says that Darwin's theory should be put to the test.

And finally, less laid back, people are becoming more concerned with their health, as news reports of a "green spending spree" where ethical spending has out-stripped retail sales of alcohol and cigarettes for the first time.

Pictures courtesy of BBC News online.

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