Today is the St. Valentine's Day, means peaceful all around the world. How about you to read the story of St. Valentine as I posted below.
Story of St. Valentine "The story of Valentine's Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian Martyr. The emperor was Claudius II. The Christian was Valentinus.
Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods, and had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ; not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs. He was arrested and imprisoned.
During the last weeks of Valentinus's life a remarkable thing happened. Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might be brought to Valentinus for lessons. She had been blind since birth. Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentinus read stories of Rome's history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.
"Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?" Julia asked one day.
"Yes, my child, He hears each one."
"Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night? I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you've told me about!"
"God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him," Valentinus said.
"Oh, Valentinus, I do believe! I do!" She knelt and grasped his hand.
They sat quietly together, each praying. Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell. Radiant, Julia screamed, "Valentinus, I can see! I can see!"
"Praise be to God!" Valentinus exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.
On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it, "From your Valentine." His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory. He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. On each February 14, Saint Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world."
Well ! All of you known the meaning of Valentine's Day readily.
Many thanks to Google Translate again.
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Changes Urged to Protect Children from Tech Addiction
4 hours ago
Youth from Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County are excited to use Samsung technology in the renovated “Tween Tech Center” for the first time on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. (Jim Urquhart/AP Images for Boys & Girls Clubs of America)
Former technology industry leaders are calling for urgent measures to protect children from smartphone addiction.
Among those urging major changes is Tristan Harris – a former high-level employee at Google. He just launched a group that will seek to gather and publish evidence of how digital devices and social media can harm children and young people.
Leaders of the organization – called the Center for Humane Technology – used to work for major technology companies. They hope to use this knowledge and experience to lead a “cultural awakening” among the public about the dangers of technology.
While at Google, Harris says he felt the company had great power over millions of people who used its technology. He spoke about his experiences during a conferencelast week in Washington.
“Never before in history have 50 mostly men - mostly 20 to 35 year-old-engineers - in 50 miles of exactly one place on earth, shaped what a billion people - really two billion - think, feel and do, and who they relate to.”
He said Google was successful in building products that created certain thoughts in users’ heads. “Whatever you're thinking is first, and then you choose out of the thoughts you have, because thought precedes action,” he said.
Last year, Facebook announced it was opening to children under age 13 to use its new Messenger Kids service. (Facebook)
Harris says he believes companies like Google, Facebook and Apple have a “moral responsibility” not to create technology products that can “hijack how the mind works.”
The conference where Harris spoke was sponsored by Common Sense Media, a child and family activist group. The organization says research suggests that half of all teenagers feel addicted to their mobile devices, while about 60 percent of parents believe their kids are addicted.
The group also cites a recent study of eighth-graders that found heavy users of technology were 56 percent more likely to say they are unhappy, while 27 percent more likely to be depressed. Even Facebook cited research last year suggesting that social media use can harm mental health when used in certain ways.
Apple Camp students Brandon Wong, 9, left, and Matthew Choy, 12, learn to program robots using the Sphero SPRK+ with the Lightning Lab application during a Coding Games and Programming Robots session in San Francisco, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/J
And last month, two major investors in Apple raised fears about rising smartphone addiction among young users. In an open letter, the investors urged the iPhone maker to offer more choices and tools to help children fight addiction to devices. Such action “is both good business and the right thing to do,” the letter said.
In response, Apple said the iPhone and other devices running on its mobile software already offer controls for parents to limit or block material considered harmful.
But Tristan Harris says Apple and other technology companies need to go much further - and actually change their current engineering and design methods - to be more kid friendly.
“I see this as, this is game over, unless we change course. Really, genuinely, I 100 percent believe that.”
Groups to provide resources for learning
Common Sense Media is partnering with the Center for Humane Technology on a new campaign aimed at getting companies to make such changes. The effort includes a major public information campaign that will target schools, where research has also shown that mobile devices can hurt the learning process.
James Steyer is the founder of Common Sense. He says more than half of schools in the U.S. are already members of the organization. The group provides teachers and parents with learning materials intended to help students develop critical thinking skills and balance their digital lives.
Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, is shown at an event at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) to launch a community campaign to encourage parents to talk, sing and read to their young children in Oakland, Calif., Wednes
Steyer says Common Sense will be providing even more resources to educators beginning in the new school year next fall.
“And you know what’s going to be in there? Stuff about addiction, how to prevent digital addiction. Stuff about digital manipulation. I actually think if you tell kids how they're being manipulated, it will change their relationship with technology.”
Most education experts believe technology will remain in schools far into the future. Steyer says the big question is, how will this ever-changing technology be used in schools going forward.
“And are we going to educate the teachers, the students and their parents about the thoughtful, ethical use of those platforms and the software? That's the whole challenge ahead of us.”
The Waldorf School
Some U.S. schools, however, have tried to limit or remove technology to improve learning. One of them is in Silicon Valley, the center of the American tech industry.
The Waldorf School of the Peninsula does not use any computers or digital technology in its education programs up to the seventh grade. The school’s websitesays while Waldorf teachers recognize the role technology can play in the classroom, it must wait until the student reaches the right developmental age.
“We observe that a child’s natural, instinctive, creative and curious way of relating to the world may be repressed when technology is introduced into learning environments at an early age,” the website says. When students reach high school, they are allowed to use computers and digital tools in the classroom.
There are many independent Waldorf Schools throughout North America. The schools center heavily on hands-on learning and aim to teach skills in “creativity and innovative thinking.” They also place importance on students developing “social and emotional intelligence” as part of the educational experience.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn reported this story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day each year on February 14. Images of hearts are everywhere, as are red roses and boxes of chocolates to give to that special person. You could say that “love is in the air.”
Many other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day, too, each in their own way. Here is a look at four countries’ Valentine’s Day traditions.
For Japanese people, Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate! On February 14, women in Japan give out two kinds of chocolate. One is called Giri-choco. The other is Honmei-choco.
A woman buys Valentine's Day chocolates at a store in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Giri-choco is not very costly. Women give these chocolates to friends and male coworkers. And in schools, female students prepare bags of Giri-choco on February 14 to pass out to friends.
Women make homemade Honmei-choco to give to someone special. They may offer Honmei as a way to express their love to that person.
One month after Valentine’s Day, Japan celebrates White Day on March 14. Men who received chocolates on February 14 return the favor with white-colored treats for women. Japan celebrated the first White Day in 1978. Candy manufacturers pushed the creation of the holiday as a way to sell more of their sweets.
Several other Asian countries also celebrate White Day, including Vietnam and South Korea.
Valentine’s Day is a new holiday in Denmark. Young people in the country began celebrating it in the early 1990s.
While Americans give red roses, young Danes celebrate Valentine’s Day with white flowers called “snowdrops.” They give the flowers to both friends and lovers.
One of the biggest Danish Valentine’s Day traditions is the exchange of a lover’s card. In the past, these cards showed a photograph of the card-giver offering a gift to their lover. Today, though, any kind of card exchanged on Valentine’s Day is called a lover’s card.
An example of a gaekkebrev letter (photo by Nillerdk/Wikimedia Commons)
Also on February 14, Danish men often give women something called a “gaekkebrev.” In English, this translates to a “joke letter.” They are often written as a poem on specially created cut paper. But the writer does not sign the letter using his name. Instead, he uses dots – one for each letter in his name. According to tradition, if the woman correctly guesses who sent her the joke letter, she gets an Easter egg that same year.
In Brazil, the country’s huge Carnival celebration overshadows Valentine’s Day. So Brazilians mark a similar day later in the year, on June 12. The holiday is called Dia dos Namorados, or Lovers’ Day. Brazilians celebrate with gifts of cards, flowers and chocolates, in the same way as Americans. But instead of celebrating Saint Valentine, they celebrate Saint Anthony.
The following day, June 13, is Saint Anthony’s Day. The Portuguese Catholic priest was known for helping couples in their relationships. For that reason, Saint Anthony is considered the marriage and matchmaking saint.
The Philippines celebrates Valentine’s Day in a big way – with large group weddings. In fact, in recent years, February 14 has become one of the most common wedding anniversaries in the country.
Filipino couples kiss during a mass wedding ahead of Sunday's Valentine's Day celebration in Manila, Philippines, Feb. 12, 2016 (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Hundreds, or even thousands, of Filipino couples gather in one place to say “I do” during a public ceremony. Local government officials may lead the mass weddings. The ceremonies are often free, and include flowers, a wedding cake and sometimes even wedding rings.
Does your country celebrate Valentine's Day or a day like it? Let us know in the comments section.
I'm Caty Weaver.
And I'm Ashley Thompson
Rei Goto wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Govt justified in maintaining watch on ‘law-breaking’ election activists, PM insists
Breaking News February 14, 2018 09:10
By Wasamon Audjarint The Nation
Only a day after announcing human rights as a national agenda, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha announced on Tuesday that his junta government would continue keeping a watch on activists calling for the long-delayed general election.
“I don’t know what they want from something that has a clear answer. They just want to stir it up again. The government can’t tolerate this,” the premier said during his weekly press briefing.
“People should look after this, especially the guardians of those students,” he went on, referring to the student activists. “They will be in trouble if they are prosecuted. I’m not threatening, but laws are laws and have to treated equally by all sides,”
Prayut was referring to two assemblies held after the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly resolved to delay promulgation of the MP election bill draft by another 90 days.
This will consequently shift the election from November, as promised earlier by Prayut, to February next year.
But the PM said that this was not a breach of his promise, as everything would still follow the so-called roadmap to democracy under the international standard. “It’s not because of me. I didn’t order that [90-day delay]. It just follows the legal mechanism,” he insisted.
This caused anger among pro-democracy activists, who see the NLA’s 90-day decision as part of the junta’s intention to stay in power by prolonging its engagement in politics.
Charges have been pressed against some activists for allegedly breaking the junta’s ban on political gatherings, and also violating the Public Assembly Act.
Those considered key figures among the activists were also charged with sedition.
The charged activists turned themselves in to the police during the past week, since which some have been released without conditions and others have been released on bail.
Prayut, meanwhile, reiterated that the protest group had broken the law and “did not respect the rights of others”.
“They blocked the road, doesn’t that break the law?” he asked rhetorically. “They said we infringed their rights. Didn’t they also infringe the rights of others who did not join their rallies?”
Couple queues overnight to register Valentine’s Day wedding
Breaking News February 14, 2018 09:17
By The Nation
A couple reserved first place in the queue for registering a Valentine’s Day marriage in Bangkok’s Bang Rak district by arriving at 11pm on Tuesday.
By 4am on Wednesday, the grounds in front of the central post office building, were already crowded - as they are every year.
At 7am, more than 200 couples were waiting in the queue.
Bang Rak is popular for couples to register their marriages on Valentine's Day because its name means “the district of love”.
Sukanya Khamdee, 30, a company employee, said she and her boyfriend came at 11pm, hoping to be the first couple to register their marriage.
Bang Rak district chief director Phakkaporn Sa-nguansak said officials were prepared to register 10 couples at a time, with registrations from 7:30am to 4pm.
She said the district office would begin giving “gold marriage certification” to 10 couples from 8am by drawing lots.