Junípero Serra

Saint Junípero Serra y Ferrer, O. F. M. was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was Alta California in the Province of Las Californias, New Spain. Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 1988, in the Vatican City. Pope Francis canonised him on September 23, 2015, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D. C. during his first visit to the United States. His missionary efforts earned him the title of Apostle of California. Serra was born in the village of Petra on the island of Majorca off the Mediterranean coast of Spain. A few hours after birth, he was baptized in the village church, his baptismal name was Miquel Josep Serra. His father Antonio Nadal Serra and mother Margarita Rosa Ferrer were married in 1707. By age seven, Miquel was working the fields with his parents, helping cultivate wheat and beans, tending the cattle.

But he showed a special interest in visiting the local Franciscan friary at the church of San Bernardino within a block of the Serra family house. Attending the friars' primary school at the church, Miquel learned reading, mathematics, Latin and liturgical song Gregorian chant. Gifted with a good voice, he eagerly took to vocal music; the friars sometimes let him sing at special church feasts. Miquel and his father Antonio visited the friary for friendly chats with the Franciscans. At age 16, Miquel's parents enrolled him in a Franciscan school in the capital city, Palma de Majorca, where he studied philosophy. A year he became a novice in the Franciscan order. On September 14, 1730, some two months before his 17th birthday, Serra entered the Franciscan Order at Palma the Alcantarine branch of the Friars Minor, a reform movement in the Order; the slight and frail Serra now embarked on his novitiate period, a rigorous year of preparation to become a full member of the Franciscan Order. He was given the religious name of Junípero in honor of Brother Juniper, among the first Franciscans and a companion of Saint Francis.

The young Junípero, along with his fellow novices, vowed to scorn property and comfort, to remain celibate. He still had seven years to go to become an ordained Catholic priest, he immersed himself in rigorous studies of logic, metaphysics and theology. The daily routine at the friary followed a rigid schedule: prayers, choir singing, physical chores, spiritual readings, instruction; the friars would wake up every midnight for another round of chants. Serra's superiors discouraged visitors. In his free time, he avidly read stories about Franciscan friars roaming the provinces of Spain and around the world to win new souls for the church suffering martyrdom in the process, he followed the news of famous missionaries winning sainthood. In 1737, Serra became a priest, three years earned an ecclesiastical license to teach philosophy at the Convento de San Francisco, his philosophy course, including over 60 students, lasted three years. Among his students were fellow future missionaries Francisco Palóu and Juan Crespí.

When the course ended in 1743, Serra told his students: "I desire nothing more from you than this, that when the news of my death shall have reached your ears, I ask you to say for the benefit of my soul:'May he rest in peace.' Nor shall I omit to do the same for you so that all of us will attain the goal for which we have been created."Serra was considered intellectually brilliant by his peers. He received a doctorate in theology from the Lullian College in Palma de Majorca, where he occupied the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy until he joined the missionary College of San Fernando de Mexico in 1749. During Serra's last five years on the island of Majorca and plague afflicted his home village of Petra. Serra sometimes went home from Palma for brief visits to his parents—now separated—and gave them some financial support. On one occasion he was called home to anoint his ill father with the last rites. In one of his final visits to Petra, Serra found his younger sister Juana María near death.

In 1748, Serra and Palóu confided to each other their desire to become missionaries. Serra, now 35, was assured a prestigious career as scholar if he stayed in Majorca. Applying to the colonial bureaucracy in Madrid, Serra requested that both he and Palóu embark on a foreign mission. After weathering some administrative obstacles, they received permission and set sail for Cádiz, the port of departure for Spain's colonies in the Americas. While waiting to set sail, Serra wrote a long letter to a colleague back in Majorca, urging him to console Serra's parents—now in their 70s—over their only son's pending departure. "They will learn to see how sweet is His yoke," Serra wrote, "and that He will change for them the sorrow they may now experience into great happiness. Now is not the time to muse or fret over the happenings of life but rather to be conformed to the will of God, striving to prepare themselves for that happy death which of all the things of life is our principal concern." Serra asked his colleague to read this letter to his parents.

In 1749, Serra and the Franciscan missionary team landed in Veracruz, on the Gulf coast of New Spain

Operation Bramble Bush

Operation Bramble Bush was an Israeli plan to assassinate the president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, in 1992. It was described in full in December 2003 by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, though news reports had circulated about the plot since January 1999; the plan was conceived as retaliation for Iraqi Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War. The plan was called off; when Saddam's uncle, Khairallah Talfah, was discovered to be terminally ill, the Israelis investigated the possibility of using a commando team to ambush the funeral party. A commando team from the Israeli Army's elite Sayeret Matkal special forces unit was to be inserted into Iraq from Jordan, where they would travel to the funeral near Tikrit and kill Saddam with TV-guided "Midras" missiles. A rehearsal for the operation led by Doron Kempel took place on November 5, 1992 in the infantry training base near kibbutz Tze'elim in Negev desert; the operation's execution was just two days away. However, in the rehearsal, Israeli commandos accidentally fired live rounds into a convoy simulating the target, killing five of their fellow Sayeret Matkal commandos and wounding six more.

The head of the IDF, Ehud Barak, had been watching the rehearsal at the time. The plan was cancelled. Israeli press reports described the incident as a "training accident." Israeli censors tried to prevent Israeli newspapers from publishing the fact that the head of military intelligence, Uri Sagi, had witnessed the accident, but the censors relented a few weeks later. On November 24, the American newspaper The Miami Herald reported that the soldiers involved in the accident had been rehearsing a plan to kill Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah; the New York Times, The Times, the Independent reported on the apparent attempt against Nasrallah, the Israeli military censor complained the reporters from all newspapers involved had violated censorship laws. Seven years Operation Bramble Bush II once again targeted Saddam. Mossad agents had scouted locations in Iraq for the ambush of the Iraqi leader. However, as before, the plan was scrapped, this time due to both the U. S. and Britain's Operation Desert Fox and concerns that the assassination could harm the Israeli-Arab peace process

Kingdom of Sumedang Larang

Sumedang Larang was an Islamic Kingdom in western Java. Its territories consisted the Parahyangan region, before it became a vassal state under the Mataram Sultanate. History of Indonesia Sundanese people List of monarchs of Java "Maharadja Cri Djajabhoepathi, Soenda's Oudst Bekende Vorst", TBG, 57. Batavia: BGKW, page 201-219, 1915) Kebudayaan Sunda Zaman Pajajaran, Jilid 2, Edi S. Ekajati, Pustaka Jaya, 2005 The Sunda Kingdom of West Java From Tarumanagara to Pakuan Pajajaran with the Royal Center of Bogor, Herwig Zahorka, Yayasan Cipta Loka Caraka, Jakarta, 2007-05-20