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Besides giving shade for poaches in hot southern summers, the main uses of Kudzu in the United States have been for erosion control and as a forage crop. However, due to the fact that individual vines can grow “upwards of a foot per day” in the right conditions, Kudzu out-climbs and thus shading-outs its competitors, even onto the top of one-hundred-foot-tall trees. It became an enormous, invasive problem in the United States and other countries.

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Every January, the Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) traditionally renders to the banking community and other stakeholders what may be considered as the Governor’s State of Banking Address (SoBA).

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A new effort to end the six-year civil war in Syria will be made this month in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, under the auspices of Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey and Russia have taken the lead in this latest diplomatic attempt to find peace in this Mideastern nation, millions of whose citizens have become refugees from their war-torn homeland to seek new lives in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

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The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

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He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

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Today is the feast of the Sto. Niño. The feast is immensely popular among Filipinos. Rich and poor, young and old alike maintain a strong, if not fanatical, devotion to the Holy Child. Fiestas and processions are held in his honor.

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