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Monthly Archives: September 2015

‘I’m sorry’ for victims of clergy sex abuse

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– If former Philippine president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo said “I’m sorry” for the “Hello Garci” election irregularity, Pope Francis said “I am profoundly sorry” to all victims of sex abuse by Catholic Church clergy during a meeting with some of the victims at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia the morning before he left for Vatican recently.
“Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love,” he told them.
“I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted.”
The victims were three women and two men, who, the Vatican said, “experienced sexual abuse as a minor by clergy, family members or teachers.”

‘DEEPLY SORRY’
“For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report he abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children,” the Pope added.
“It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.”
Each was accompanied by a family member or support person, according to Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi SJ.
The group was accompanied by Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the commission set up by the Pope for the protection of minors, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Bishop Fitzgerald, head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s commission for the protection of minors.

VISITORS

The Pope spoke with visitors, listened to their stories, greeted them individually and prayed with them. He told them that he shared in their suffering, and he had pain and shame in particular in the case of injury caused by clergy or church workers.
He renewed the commitment of the Church to the effort that all victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty be punished and that the crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention activity in the Church and in society.
The Pope thanked the victims for their essential contribution to restore the truth and begin the journey of healing.
The meeting lasted about half an hour and ended with the blessing of the Holy Father.

REMARKS

The full remarks of Pope Francis during his meeting with the survivors of sexual abuse:
My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, I am grateful for this opportunity to meet you, I am blessed by your presence. Thank you for coming here today.
Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of the soul. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.
For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report he abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.
We are gathered her in Philadelphia to celebrate God’s gift of family life. Within our family of faith and our human families, the signs and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given depute the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ. Your stories of survival, each unique and compelling, are powerful signs of the hope that comes from the Lord’s promise to be with us always.
It is good to know that you have brought family members and friends with you today. I am grateful for their compassionate support and pray that many people of the Church will respond to the call to accompany those who have suffered abuse. May the Door of Mercy be opened wide in our dioceses, our parishes, our homes and our hearts, to receive those who were abused and to seek the path to forgiveness by trusting in the Lord. We promise to support your continued healing and to always be vigilant to protect the children of today and tomorrow.
When the disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus recognized that He was the Risen Lord, they asked Jesus to stay with them. Like those disciples, I humbly beg you and all survivors of abuse to stay with us, to stay with the Church, and that together, as pilgrims on the journey of faith, we might find our way to the Father.

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, RELIGION

 

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‘Ho Ho, Hey, Hey Hey, Welcome to the USA’

“Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God.” Pope Francis

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– With the crowd chanting “Ho Ho, Hey, Hey Hey, Welcome to the U.S.A.,” Pope Francis landed on U.S. soil via Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for the first time just before 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, launching a six-day visit that will highlight his “love for the poor and his willingness to tackle America’s most significant political, social and economic controversies.”
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, along with Vice President Joe Biden and his family, traveled to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington to greet the pontiff, who arrived from Cuba, in an unprecedented welcome for a foreign dignitary.
Francis became the fourth head of the Catholic Church to visit the United States, nearly 50 years after Paul VI made the first visit by a pontiff to the country in October 1965.

ASSEMBLY

The pontiff’s first visit in this city on September 25 will bring him to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the United Nations general assembly.
He will also visit the Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem. The Pope will ride a motorcade through Central Park, and conduct a Mass at Madison Square Garden, among other activities.
Whole sections of Manhattan will be off limits for extended periods.
According to amnewyork, the city promises the intense security is necessary and asks everyday New Yorkers for patience.
“Business owners and residents might be a bit frustrated by the changes, but at the end of the day, they understand the trade-offs that come with such a historic week,” it stressed.
The Washington visit on September 24 could be the most politically significant day of his trip, with the first-ever joint address to Congress by a pontiff before head to New York.
He will host a religious service at the ground zero site of the September 11 attacks in 2001 and address the United Nations. His trip ends Sunday in Philadelphia.

SCHEDULE

Official schedule for Pope Francis’ Visit to U.S.: Washington D.C., Tuesday, September 22, 2015; 4 pm: Pope Francis arrives in D.C. at Joint Base Andrews at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015; 9:15 a.m: White House Welcoming Ceremony and personal meeting with President Barack Obama; 11:00 a.m. Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall; 11:30 a.m: Midday Prayer with U.S. bishops at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral in D.C.; 4:15 p.m: Junipero Serra Canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Thursday, September 24, 2015; 9:20 a.m: Arrival at Capitol; 10 a.m. Speech to the Senate and House of Representatives (Joint Session of Congress); 11 a.m. Brief appearance on West Front of Capitol; 11:15 a.m: Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in D.C. and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington; 4 p.m: Departure for New York from Joint Base Andrews (D.C.); 5 p.m. Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York); 6:45 p.m. Evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Pope Francis Visits New York, Friday, September 25, 2015; 8:30 a.m United Nations General-Assembly; 11:30 a.m Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center; 4 p.m. Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem; 5 p.m. Papal motorcade through Central Park; 6 p.m. Madison Square Garden Mass
Pope Francis Visits Philadelphia, Saturday, September 26, 2015; 8:40 a.m Departure for Philadelphia from John F. Kennedy International Airport; 9:30 a.m Arrival in Atlantic Aviation hangar at Philadelphia International Airport Philadelphia; 10:30 a.m Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul; 4:45 p.m Visit to Independence Mall; 7:30 p.m Visit to Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Prayer Vigil with World Meeting of Families
Sunday, September 27, 2015; 9:15 a.m Papal meeting with Bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary; 11 a.m Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility; 4 p.m Papal Mass for World Meeting of Families; 7 p.m. Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families at Atlantic Aviation; 8 p.m Departure for return to Rome.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2015 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, RELIGION

 

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Let’s fight evil; we join Pope Francis’ US visit

“I believe in God – not in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God. There is God, and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.” Pope Francis

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– The fight against evil must start from our thoughts. Action second.
If we have a dirty thinking, everything else becomes dirty–including our way of life.
In fact, cleansing of the soul must commence even without any papal visit.
As members of the Christian community in this part of the globe, we believe that we are duty-bound to observe the fundamental Christian precepts in our thoughts, in words and in deeds.
This has become our personal mantra as we join fellow Christian faithful here in the United States in preparing for the visit of Pope Francis on September 22-27.
While applying for media accreditation for the event, the United States Conference of Bishops (a counterpart of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) exhorted us to also observe the 10 ways to participate in the Papal Visit.

PILGRIMAGE

That we must take part in a “Virtual Pilgrimage” with these prayers as the Holy Father makes his way to more than a dozen different locations in Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia.
We must learn more about the places Pope Francis will visit by following his journey on this interactive map;
To become “Pope Francis literate” by reading his two encyclical letters: Lumen Fidei and Laudato Si;
To stay up-to-date and read insightful commentary by connecting with the only news source founded and supported by the US Bishops, Catholic News Service;
To have a Papal Visit Watch Party! All events will be live streamed in English with audio commentary. We shall select events that will also be available for video on demand here;
To take our faith and the latest papal visit news with us on the go by downloading the Catholic Church app for IOS at the iTunes store or for Android devices on Google Play.

ENCOUNTER

To respond to Pope Francis’s call to encounter by reaching out to those in need, supporting parish or community charitable efforts, acting to promote life, human dignity, families and religious freedom, and by caring for creation;
To invite a non-Catholic or non-practicing Catholic friend to Mass next weekend so they can experience the joy of the Gospel;
To engage in social media: use our hash tags #PopeinUS and #PapaEnUSA. We must not forget to use some Pope emojis;
To support the many people working to make Pope Francis’ historic US visit a success by praying for them to the Blessed Virgin under her title Mary, Undoer of Knots (a favorite of Pope Francis); and
To include in your intentions: Vatican staff, The US Secret Service, the US Bishops, their staff and volunteers, the World Meeting of Families committee and volunteers, and the three host archdioceses and host cities.

***
OFFICIAL SECHEDULE for Pope Francis’ Visit to U.S.: Washington D.C., Tuesday, September 22, 2015
4pm: Pope Francis arrives in D.C. at Joint Base Andrews at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
9:15 a.m: White House Welcoming Ceremony and personal meeting with President Barack Obama
11:00 a.m. Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall
11:30 a.m: Midday Prayer with U.S. bishops at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral in D.C.
4:15 p.m: Junipero Serra Canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Thursday, September 24, 2015
9:20 a.m: Arrival at Capitol
10 a.m. Speech to the Senate and House of Representatives (Joint Session of Congress)
11 a.m. Brief appearance on West Front of Capitol
11:15 a.m: Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in D.C. and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
4 p.m: Departure for New York from Joint Base Andrews (D.C.)
5 p.m. Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York)
6:45 p.m. Evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York)
Pope Francis Visits New York, Friday, September 25, 2015
8:30 a.m United Nations General-Assembly
11:30 a.m Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
4 p.m. Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem
5 p.m. Papal motorcade through Central Park
6 p.m. Madison Square Garden Mass
Pope Francis Visits Philadelphia, Saturday, September 26, 2015
8:40 a.m Departure for Philadelphia from John F. Kennedy International Airport
9:30 a.m Arrival in Atlantic Aviation hangar at Philadelphia International Airport Philadelphia
10:30 a.m Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul
4:45 p.m Visit to Independence Mall
7:30 p.m Visit to Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Prayer Vigil with World Meeting of Families
Sunday, September 27, 2015
9:15 a.m Papal meeting with Bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
11 a.m Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
4 p.m Papal Mass for World Meeting of Families
7 p.m. Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families at Atlantic Aviation
8 p.m Departure for return to Rome

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in MEDIA, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, RELIGION

 

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Korinaphobia

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” H. P. Lovecraft

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — A prejudice against homosexuals is called homophobia.
The word is a blend of the word homosexual, a mix of neo-classical morphemes, and phobia, which derives from the Greek word Phobos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”.
Thus fear of heights is called acrophobia; fear of spider, arachnophobia; fear of wild animals agrizoophobia; fear of darkness, achluophobia.
Fear of pain, agliophobia; fear of fire, arsonphobia; fear of floods, antlophobia; fear of flying, aviatophobia; fear of imperfection, atelophobia, and so on and so forth.
Some Filipinos fear that if Mar Roxas will be elected as next president of the Philippines in 2016, his wife, Korina Sanchez “could be the next or even worse than Imelda Marcos.”

VOTE

Because of their disdain for Korina, they won’t vote for the Liberal Party’s standard bearer; not because Roxas is incompetent, corrupt or a dictator. But because he is the husband of Korina period.
In other words, Roxas, one of the most qualified presidential wanna-bes, could lose some votes or kiss his presidential ambition goodbye because of Korinaphobia.
Is it a fear of the unknown? A misplaced fear? A prejudice view from Korina bashers?
How and where did the “fear of Korina Sanchez” originate?
Aside from the negative allusions to her past and private pecadillos, critics think she had a misfortune of carrying a mestiza face that radiates a contrabida aura.
Of course it’s not her fault why she was born a mestiza.
Her fault is that, by a stroke of luck, she could be the next first lady; and her detractors dread the day seeing her becoming an Evita Peron and, oh yes, Imeldific! Marie Antoinette? Lady Chatterley?

HISTORY

If we look back at history, Filipinos, who struggled to regain their cultural heritage and identity against abusive foreign colonizers, have always had misgivings with mestizas or “maldita”-looking women and viewed them as symbols of arrogance, oppression, squander and profligacy.
Thus they look down at them with utmost contempt and insolence.
This also explains why the likes of native-skinned, Nora Aunor, and “morena” beauty, Alma Moreno, are penciled-in for any elective position, aside from their staggering popularity in the soap opera showbiz world.
Would Mar Roxas be elected president overwhelmingly if his wife were Nora Aunor?

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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Rivalry between 2 Defensor brods unlikely

“Rivalry doesn’t help anybody.” Peter Jackson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — By having mastered the political art of timing, Iloilo Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. made sure his two lawyer sons, Iloilo third district Rep. Art “Toto” Jr. and Lorenz Noy, won’t end up as Abel and Cain in politics.
By the time the older Toto Defensor graduates (completion of his three-year term) from the House of Representatives in 2019, younger brother Noy Defensor, who will surely be elected as third district provincial board member in 2016, is ripe to replace him.
Rep. Toto Defensor’s political career will definitely not end in congress.
When father Defensor retires from politics, Toto might “inherit” the capitol top post–barring unforeseen circumstances, political and otherwise.
If both Defensor brothers are already in power, other political clans in Iloilo province might find it hard to capture the capitol in the next 12 to 15 years.

SWITCH

Toto and Noy, both young and energetic, can switch positions alternately as a strategy to stave off the ascension of potential Benjamins from other clans, leaving their competitors eating the dust.
Because of the timeline in the launching of their respective political careers, there is no danger in sight for Toto and Noy–or their wives–to clash for either congressman or governor in the future.
Seniority will always play a big factor in case there is an impasse, which is improbable given the solid leadership and command of their father.
Two other powerful clans in Iloilo province are also jockeying for their main bets to capture and recapture the coveted capitol top post.
Because of their wrangling over who should be the next congressman in the fifth district, the Tupas clan’s best bets for governor in the future–Iloilo fifth district Rep. Neil “Junjun” Tupas Jr. and Vice Governor Boboy Tupas–are in danger of falling by the wayside if they can’t bury their hatchets in a soonest possible time.

RETIRED

Semi-retired former Philippine Coconut Authority chair Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. knows that his clan’s best chance to inch their way to the capitol is for him to be elected as vice governor in 2016.
A political wizard, Oca Garin, an engineer and former Iloilo first district three-term congressman, can’t rely heavily on his wife, Board Member Ninfa and junior son, first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Jr. to initiate the grand capitol invasion.
Daughter Christine, mayor of Guimbal, Iloilo, is another alternative for vice governor in 2016, but the lady executive may find the shoes of the gubernatorial slot “too heavy” in the most likely event given the age and health of Gov. Defensor (God forbid), who is still good for one term (2016-2019).
It must be the patriarch Garin who should start the trek to the highest mountain. The rest of the family will just follow suit.

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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in POLITICS

 

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Renewal first, extension of validity second

“It has been said that a pretty face is a passport. But it’s not, it’s a visa, and it runs out fast.” — Julie Burchill

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Contrary to what was trumpeted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Office of Consular Affairs, not all Philippine embassies and consulates are willing to immediately extend the validity of expiring Philippine e-Passports upon the applicant’s first request.
I found this out on September 9, 2015 when I went to the Philippine Consulate General on corner 46th Street and 5th Avenue here to file an extension of validity of my Philippine e-Passport, which will expire next month.
I also intended to apply for renewal thereafter. My current e-Passport was processed by the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles five years ago.
I emphasized during interview at Window 3 that I came to apply for extension of validity of my e-Passport.
The male officer asked why. I wanted to avail of the policy or program being offered by the DFA for holders of expiring e-Passports based abroad.

REVALIDATION

I thought that an application for revalidation/extension was a wise move before applying for renewal, which will take some time to process.
In Los Angeles in 2010, the Philippine Consulate General collected my old passport while my new e-Passport was under process, thus I wasn’t able to fly back to Vancouver until my new e-Passport was released three months later.
A “revalidated” and “extended” e-Passport can be used for travel within six months to one year pending the processing of the new e-Passport, or so I thought.
I cited the DFA’s press statement released last month that “the Office of Consular Affairs in DFA-ASEANA, all Philippine Embassies and Consulates, Regional Consular Offices, and Mall-based Satellite offices are now authorized to revalidate expired e-Passports and extend the validity of expiring e-Passports for a period of not less than one year, but not more than two years upon the request of the applicant, free of charge.”
I submitted my e-Passport.

INTERVIEW

The officer on Window 3 asked me to proceed to the adjacent “interview room” where a lady officer told me that instead of extension, I should apply for renewal.
“Can I apply for revalidation/extension while at the same time apply for a new passport?” I inquired.
The lady officer retorted that I should apply for renewal first.
I agreed.
After the processing, I was told that my new e-Passport would be released by December 15, 2015 or after three months.
Since they didn’t cancel my old passport, I was made to believe that I could still use it when I travel to Germany on November 2015.
The DFA press release last month added: “Moreover, those who already applied for new passports may request for the revalidation or extension of their passports at no additional cost.”
“The revalidation/extension requests of applicants whose passport releases are overdue will be prioritized,” the DFA press statement stressed.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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Novak, Anatoli names with no appeal to American fans?

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — As we leave the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing on a rainy Sunday, we paused for a while and wondered: “Are American fans biased against non-American sounding names of sports icons?”
Or was it because of the political affiliations and backgrounds of Novak Djokovic and Anatoli Karpov why the Yankees apparently have no love lost for them?
In spite of his sterling performance in the 2015 U.S. Open Tennis Championships men’s final against Swiss star Roger Federer on Sunday evening in Flushing Meadows, world ATP No. 1 Djokovic had to cope with occasional boos and shouts from a partisan crowd on several occasions during his service motion.
Although he bundled out world ATP No. 2 Federer, 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4, the 28-year-old Serb, who now resides in Monaco, could not appease the pro-Federer fans that included celebrities David Beckham, Hugh Jackman, Leonardo DiCaprio and Blake Griffin at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

GENOCIDE

What many Americans probably think when they hear the word Serbia is the Bosnian Genocide masterminded by Serbian General Radislav Krstic, who played a major role in the Srebrenica massacre, an “ethnic cleansing” that claimed the lives of estimated 100,000 people in 1995.
What some of them don’t know is that Djokovic adheres to Eastern Orthodoxy in the Serbian Orthodox Church and is a member of the “Champions for Peace” club, a group of famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.
The rivalry between Djokovic and Federer, meanwhile, reminds us of the great rivalry between chess’ Garry Kasparov and Anatoli Karpov.
Having met 42 times, Federer and Djokovic are tied 21–21. Many experts have included their rivalry as one of the best rivalries in the Open Era.

COMMUNIST

Karpov was the dependable Soviet Union hero who adhered to Communist ideology, while fellow Soviet and flamboyant Kasparov was part of the new brigade open to change starting under Mickhail Gorbachev.
The two chess super Grand Masters produced more epic wars with future politician Kasparov edging out Karpov in four more encounters from 1985 to 1990 including a drawn FIDE title match in 1987.
It was believed that the rivalry between Kasparov and Karpov led to a big change in world dynamics and ushered in a new era.
It’s probably a coincidence that Roger and Garry are American-sounding names and both darlings of New York sports fans, while Novak and Anatoli sound like perennial Cold War era villain characters.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in SPORTS, Tennis, U.S. Open