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Current Issue
December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
27 June 2017
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis meets with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Vatican.
(photo: Vatican Radio)


Pope meets Orthodox delegation from Ecumenical Patriarchate (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with members of an Orthodox delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate who are here in Rome to celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. In his greeting, the Pope noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first exchange of visits between a Roman pontiff and an Ecumenical Patriarch. It was those historic encounters that inaugurated the tradition of sending Catholic and Orthodox delegations to Rome and Istanbul to celebrate the patron saints of the East and Western Churches...

ISIS counterattacks stall parts of Mosul push (AP) Counterattacks by Islamic State militants on the western edge of Mosul have stalled Iraqi forces’ push in the Old City, the last IS stronghold in the battle, an Iraqi officer said Tuesday. The attacks forced Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition to pull some assets away from the Old City to again clear the Yarmouk and Tanak neighborhoods, which were declared liberated of IS in May...

ISIS loses ground in Sinai, searches for foothold in Egypt (Al Monitor) The Egyptian Interior Ministry announced June 22 the killing of seven people it believed were involved in recent attacks against Copts, including church bombings and shootings in which about 100 people were killed. The ministry said in a statement it was “certain that a group of individuals had been stationed in some areas in the Western Desert, where they received military training on how to use weapons and assemble explosive devices in order to carry out more terrorist attacks...”

Pope Francis marks 25 years as a bishop (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Tuesday morning in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, together with the members of the College of Cardinals present in the city, in roder to mark the 25th jubilee of his ordination to the episcopacy. The Dean of the College of Cardinals offered greetings and best wishes to Pope Francis on the occasion, recalling the words of St. Paul the Apostle in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, “Make room for us in your hearts,” Cardinal Sodano said. “Holy Father, you need not tell us to make room for you in our hearts,” he continued, pledging him all the love and reverence due the Successor to Peter...



26 June 2017
Greg Kandra




In this image from 21 June, a woman weeps during a rally held in support of Detroit’s Chaldean Christian community outside the federal courthouse. Dozens of Chaldean Christians and others were scheduled to be deported to Iraq, but late last week, a district court judge halted the deportation. (photo: CNS/Jim West)

Judge halts deportations of Chaldean Christians to Iraq (CNA) A district court judge on Thursday halted the deportation of more than 100 Iraqis, including many Chaldean Christians, who were recently picked up by immigration officers and detained. “We are thankful and relieved that our clients will not be immediately sent to Iraq, where they face grave danger of persecution, torture or death,” Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan, which represented the Iraqi nationals, stated in response to the ruling...

Fighting intensifies in Syrian Golan Heights (Al Jazeera) Fighting between government forces and opposition fighters has intensified in the Quneitra province in Syria’s south, situated in the roughly 30 percent of the Golan Heights under Syrian control. More than a dozen people were killed, including both pro-government forces and opposition fighters, in the latest uptick in fighting in the countryside of al-Baath city and near the town of Khan Arnab, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Sunday...

Egyptian university presents bill against those who use religion to justify violence (Fides) The scholars of the University of al Azhar, the main theological-academic center of Sunni Islam, submitted the text of a bill to the offices of the president of the Egyptian Republic to counter violence and sectarian hate propaganda justified in the name of religion...

Report: malnutrition on the rise in parts of Ethiopia (Doctors Without Borders) An acute humanitarian emergency is unfolding in Doolo zone, in Ethiopia’s Somali region, as malnutrition reaches alarming levels, warns Médecins Sans Frontières [Doctors Without Borders] (MSF), whose teams are working in Doolo zone, the worst affected area. “The numbers of young children with severe acute malnutrition in Doolo zone are the highest ever seen in this area by our teams in the 10 years we have worked in the region,” says Saskia van der Kam, MSF nutritional advisor...

Pope uses relics to foster relations with Orthodox (CNA) Common veneration of relics is one of the tools Pope Francis is using to foster ecumenical relations with the Eastern Orthodox Churches...

One million people have visited relics of St. Nicholas in Moscow (AP) Over a million people have visited the relics of Saint Nicholas, one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most revered figures, since they were brought to Moscow last month. A total of 1,021,500 people have paid their respects to the holy remains, according to data published Saturday on an official website for the relics. The queue to see the fragments of the saint's bones on display has regularly extended several miles from Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior since the 23 May beginning of public viewings...



23 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Palestinians buy clothing, shoes and games in a market in the Gaza Strip ahead of Eid ul Fitr, a three-day holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Resilience, resourcefulness help Gazans cope with daily hardships (CNS) Gazans demonstrate an “inspiring” resilience and resourcefulness and more importantly, a sense of hope, despite the daily hardships they face, said the regional director for Palestine and Israel of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. The hardships are many, ranging from a lack of dependable electrical service to a shortage of potable water at times. Through it all, people persist, going about their lives as best as they can, CNEWA’s Sami El-Yousef told Catholic News Service. “It shows you how you can live on so little and still continue to have a ray of hope that life will get better. It is inspiring,” said El-Yousef, who was in Gaza at the end of May…

The picturesque Palestinian village that doubles as an Israeli Army firing zone (Haaretz) Almost all Aqaba’s lands have been expropriated and turned into I.D.F. firing zones — hardly anything is left for shepherds and farmers. Only 300 people remain in the village, 400 others having left because of the land grabs. But no subject disturbs village council chief Sami Sadeq more than the army’s training exercises in the village. Maybe it’s because of his personal tragedy — a gunshot wound that has left him wheelchair bound since 1971 — or maybe it’s the simple truth that army troops really have no cause to be in this quiet place, other than to use it for training…

Trump administration faces pressure not to deport detained Iraqi Christians (NPR) Immigration authorities have rounded up nearly 200 Iraqis in recent weeks, and the Trump administration is now under heavy pressure to hold off moves to deport them. Many of those currently detained are from the minority Assyro-Chaldean Christian community, which faces severe persecution in Iraq. U.S. immigration authorities say the detained Iraqis have criminal records, but their families and supporters say many have already served time or paid their fines and that they would face persecution if sent back…

Race is on to save Chaldean Christian culture from ISIS (AINA) The dwindling number of Chaldean Christians in Iraq has raised concerns about the need to preserve the culture of the once thriving religion which the Islamic State is bent on wiping out. Dr. Shawqi Talia, a lecturer on Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures at the Catholic University of America, is on the quest to preserve the history and culture of Chaldeans Catholics before it completely vanishes, so that their meaning can be passed on to the succeeding generations. This he does by asking the community to share their memories and descriptions through the rich Middle Eastern tradition of storytelling delivered in their own native Arabic and Neo-Aramaic languages — some of them singing and speaking the same language Christ himself used…

Catholic Church supports separate Gorkha homeland in India (CNS) Church leaders have expressed solidarity with the Gorkha people — a Nepali ethnic group in India — who are on an indefinite strike protesting for a separate homeland in the Darjeeling area of eastern India. Since 8 June, Darjeeling district in West Bengal state has witnessed clashes between local residents and police. Street protests, stone throwing as well as violence from both sides has intensified since 12 June, when the popular local organization Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called for an indefinite strike demanding the creation of a separate homeland — Gorkhaland — for ethnic Gorkha people. “The church is not directly involved in the protest. But the church is with the people,” said Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling. He explained that local people are demanding the right of self-governance because West Bengal state officials do not attend to their needs…

The mica children: Fighting for survival in India’s deadly mines (Der Spiegel) Badku Marandi was 6 years old the first time he crept into the tunnels that had been dug deep into the hard earth. During the dry months before the monsoon season begins, there is only one source of income for the poor here in the state of Jharkhand in India’s impoverished northeast. It’s why they leave their villages, day after day, to try to try their luck in the forested hills. The ground here is full of mica — shimmering minerals. The deeper you dig, the bigger the mica fragments become. But with every meter and every strike of the hammer, the danger of being buried alive underground also increases for people like Badku. From lipstick by L’Oréal to automobile paint for BMW and Volkswagen, many large companies and their suppliers purchase mica from Jharkand and Bihar for use their products. The reporters of this story interviewed more than a dozen companies that purchase mica from India about their supply chain. They all had the same statement: They are aware of child labor in the mica mines and they are working to improve the situation…



Tags: India Children Gaza Strip/West Bank Iraqi Christians Chaldeans

22 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Bishop Joseph Absi, pictured in an undated photo, was elected the new Melkite Greek Catholic patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East on 21 June. (photo: CNS/courtesy Melkite Catholic Patriarchate)

Melkite Greek Catholic Church elects new patriarch, a native of Syria (Catholic Register) Bishop Joseph Absi was elected the new Melkite Greek Catholic patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East during the church’s synod at Ain-Traz, Lebanon. Melkite leaders elected their new leader on 21 June, one day after his 71st birthday. A native of Damascus, Syria, he has served as patriarchal vicar in the Archeparchy of Damascus since 2007. On 6 May, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Patriarch Gregorios III, 83, who had served in the position since 2000…

Chaldean Church expresses pain and sadness over destruction of the Great Mosque in Mosul (Fides) In solidarity with its Muslim neighbors, the Chaldean Catholic Church expressed sadness for the destruction of the Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul, and reaffirmed its grief for the victims of the bombings and for all the people who continue to suffer from thirst, hunger and lack of medicine. An official statement issued by the Chaldean Patriarchate also expressed the hope that, in the face of today’s suffering, the hearts of the Iraqis will lead them to the desire to build together peaceful and fruitful coexistence…

U.S.C.C.B. officials urge Homeland Security to defer deportation of Chaldeans (CNS) The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairmen of the bishops’ migration and international policy committees urged Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to defer deportation of Chaldean Christians and others arrested 11 June…

Egyptian church raided, chained off by police to prevent worship (AINA) Authorities in Egypt reportedly raided a church-owned building that was being used by a local Coptic Christian community for worship and chained down the doors so that Christians could no longer enter the building. According to a press release shared with The Christian Post by the human rights and religious freedom advocacy group International Christian Concern, police broke into the three-story building situated in the village of Saft al Kharsa in the Beni Suef governorate last Friday. After police removed furniture, Christian iconography and other items from the building, they closed down the building using chains, an unnamed Christian villager told ICC…

Pope: The churches of the East are alive, despite persecution and terrorism (AsiaNews) “Let us not forget that in the East even today, Christians — no matter whether Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants — spill their blood as a seal of their witness,” said Pope Francis today, while receiving participants at the ROACO (“Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches”) summit…

Private solar power systems catch on in Gaza (Al Monitor) The National Economy Ministry in Gaza announced on 27 May that it was lifting all fees, import taxes and customs duties on equipment for generating electricity, including solar power systems. This decision comes as the electricity crisis in the enclave reaches a new plateau, with Gaza’s only power station unable to operate at full capacity amid the political dispute between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza…

Russia claims it has confirmed death of ISIS leader Al Baghdadi (Haaretz) The Russian foreign minister said that they can confirm with a high degree of certainty that ISIS leader Al Baghdadi is dead, according to a Reuters report Thursday. Russia’s Defense Ministry made the same claim last week, after investigating a May airstrike near the Syrian city of Raqqa. Washington said it could not corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials were skeptical…

Europe dismantles Ukraine’s ‘paper curtain’ (New York Times) Starting 11 June, 30 European countries began waiving short-stay visa requirements for Ukrainians as an incentive for Kiev to pursue further reforms. Since then, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have flocked to those nations. More than 20,000 Ukrainians have already seized on the rule change, some stepping out of airports at their destinations pumping their fists to celebrate putting the bureaucratic headache of visas behind them. On peak days, Ukraine’s border service says, about 5,000 of its citizens leave for the European countries. Petro O. Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, called it the collapse of the “paper curtain”…

Catholic cathedral vandalized in northeastern Indian state of Assam (AsiaNews) The Catholic cathedral in Bongaigaon, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, was vandalized by persons unknown overnight on 20 June, according to the Assam Christian Forum. Among other damages, the attackers broke the tabernacle. For diocesan authorities, it seems to be a case of theft. The thieves, they said, “stole the intention box, which might have been mistaken for the donation box…&rdquo



Tags: Syria Iraq India Pope Francis Ukraine

21 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




An Iraqi fighter stands on the Iraq-Syria border in Nineveh, Iraq. (photo: Martyn Aim/Getty Images)

Recapture of Iraq-Syria border point heralds new regional reality (Al Monitor) Regional governments are shifting their focus from national borders in consideration of the interests of the wider axis to which they belong. One manifestation of this was reflected in the celebratory mood of media as Iraqi and Syrian forces jointly secured the Syrian-Iraqi border crossing on 9 June…

Why I’m trying to stop mass deportation of Detroit Assyro-Chaldeans (AINA) “Over the past week, many have asked why I became so involved in the recent immigration sweep of mostly Chaldeans that took place here in metro Detroit. Now that the dust has settled and my schedule has returned to somewhat normal, I want to share why…”

Church of the East patriarch visits Tel Kaif, meets with Christian defenders (Fides) Mar Gewargis III, catholicos-patriarch of the Church of the East, visited the territories of the Nineveh Plain, liberated from the occupation of ISIS. During his visit on Saturday, 17 June, the primate of the Assyrian church met with Ryan al Keldani, in Tel Kaif, head of the so-called “Babylonian Brigades,” a militia who in recent months sought to carve out a Christian role in the anti-jihadist military operations…

In Fatima, Maronite patriarch to consecrate Middle East to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Fides) Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter I will travel to the Portuguese Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Lebanon and the Middle East to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The act of consecration will take place during the Divine Liturgy that the Maronite Church leader will celebrate in the shrine on 25 June…



Tags: Syria Iraq Lebanon Church of the East

20 June 2017
Greg Kandra




Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias died 19 June at age 81 in Rome. (photo: CNS/Kham, Reuters)

Pope offers condolences on death of Indian cardinal (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his sadness at the death of Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias. The 81-year-old retired prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and former archbishop Emeritus of Bombay passed away on Monday in Rome. Pope Francis sent a condolence message to the late cardinal’s brother Francis Dias, recalling his service to the Holy See, particularly his efforts in rebuilding the Church in Albania...

Marking World Refugee Day (Vatican Radio) At a time in history in which an unprecedented 65.5 million people around the world have been forced from home, we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of which are under the age of 18. World Refugee Day, held each year on 20 June, commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of men, women and children who are on the move, in search of protection and opportunity...

Holy See calls for international cooperation to aid legal migration (Vatican Radio) The Holy See has called for international cooperation to facilitate safe and legal migration ahead of World Refugee Day. The Rev. Michael Czerny, Undersecretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Holy See, made the appeal on Monday to the United Nations in Geneva...

Australis suspends airstrikes in Syria (AP) Australia on Tuesday suspended its airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as a precaution, after a U.S. fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane earlier this week and Russia warned the U.S.-led coalition from flying over Syrian army positions west of the Euphrates River. The announcement from Canberra came as a brief, two-day truce collapsed in the southern Syrian city of Dara and nearby areas where government forces have gained ground...

Ethiopia’s coffee farmers are ‘on the front lines of climate change’ (NPR) Ethiopia gave the world Coffea arabica, the species that produces most of the coffee we drink these days. Today, the country is the largest African producer of Arabica coffee. The crop is the backbone of the country’s economy — some 15 million Ethiopians depend on it for a living. But the effects of climate change — higher temperatures and less rainfall — could take a toll on the country’s ability to farm this treasured crop...



19 June 2017
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2016, Syrian refugees arrive at a camp after crossing into the Jordanian side of the northeast Jordan-Syria border near Royashed. The United Nations reports that more people were displaced in 2016 than ever before. (photo: CNS/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA)

UN: More people displaced in 2016 than ever before (The New York Times) The relentless civil war in Syria and a surge of South Sudanese fleeing the collapse of peace efforts in their country helped propel the global population of displaced people to a record in 2016, the United Nations refugee agency said Monday. The agency’s annual Global Trends report, a statistical assessment of refugees, asylum seekers and people forcibly displaced from their homes, reflected a worsening of conflict, mayhem and persecution...

King of Jordan confirms: defense of holy sites a ‘priority’ (Fides) The protection of Jerusalem’s holy Muslim and Christian sites is a “priority” for the Hashimite Monarchy, committed to supporting the birth of an independent Palestinian state that has Gerusalem East as the capital. This is what King Abdallah II of Jordan said to a delegation of religious, Christian and Muslim representatives from Jerusalem on Sunday, 18 June, in Amman...

Synod begins to elect new patriarch (Fides) The Synod of Bishops of the Greek Melkite Church has begun today, Monday, 19 June to elect the new Patriarch. At the beginning of May, Pope Francis announced that he had accepted the resignation of Gregory III Laham from pastoral office...

Pope’s visit to India may be postponed to 2018 (Vatican Radio) It is very likely that the visit of Pope Francis to India and Bangladesh planned for the end of this year, could be postponed to next year, a prominent Indian Catholic Church leader said on Thursday. In an interview to National Catholic Reporter (NCR) on 15 June, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay said that discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government about a papal visit this year have taken longer than expected...

Archeologists unearth forgotten city in Ethiopia (The Telegraph) British archaeologists in Ethiopia have uncovered a forgotten city dating as far back as 10th century AD that was once believed to be the home of giants. The dig, in Harlaa, unearthed a 12th century mosque, a jeweler’s workshop and evidence of Islamic burials and headstones. Experts from the University of Exeter and Ethiopia’s cultural ministry also found pottery from Madagascar, the Yemen and China, as well as bronze and silver coins from 13th century Egypt...



16 June 2017
Greg Kandra




An Iraqi soldier escorts civilians in Mosul’s western Al-Shifa district on 15 June 2017, as they flee their homes during the ongoing offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the city from ISIS group fighters. (photo: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 100,000 civilians trapped in Mosul (Reuters) Over 100,000 civilians remain trapped behind Islamic State lines in Mosul with a U.S.-backed government offensive to recapture the Iraqi city entering its ninth month, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday. “These civilians are basically held as human shields in the Old City,” said the presiding UNHCR representative in Iraq, Bruno Geddo, referring to Mosul’s historic district where the militants are besieged by Iraqi government forces...

Iraqi leader meets with Christians (Fides) Masrour Barzani, head of the intelligence in the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan and President Masud’s son, met with a delegation of representatives of the most rooted Churches in the region, including Redemptorist Bashar Warda, Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, and Mar Nicodemus Daud Matti Sharaf, Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Mosul on 13 June...

ACLU asks court to stop deportation of Iraqi Christians (Aleteia) The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has asked for a temporary restraining order on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is sending hundreds of Iraqi Christians back to a country where, many contend, they are in serious danger of being tortured or killed. The civil liberties organization filed a brief in a federal court in Michigan Thursday, days after ICE arrested a number of Chaldean Christians in and around Detroit as part of President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to enforce immigration laws...

Where an influx of Syrians is remaking Turkey (The New York Times) Turkey built this concrete wall to try to stop the flow of refugees and cut off its connection to the war on the other side. I visited this place to see how some of the three million refugees in Turkey are remaking the region...

UAE names Abu Dhabi mosque after Mary, Mother of Jesus (Newsweek) Authorities have renamed a mosque in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, after the mother of Jesus Christ. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and deputy commander of the Emirati military, said he ordered the change in a bid to build bridges with other religions...

Controversy surrounds bill to ban foreign names for Egyptian babies (Fides) Controversy and sarcasm in Egypt increase with regards to the bill submitted on Tuesday 13 June to the Egyptian Parliament to forbid the conferral of Western and “foreign” names to Egyptian babies...



15 June 2017
Greg Kandra




Refugees Husam Al Dakhil and his cousin Bahaa Hraiz serve a Syrian buffet at an Ottawa parish, which has now found sponsors for their parents and siblings.
(photo: Deborah Gyapong/Canadian Catholic News/Catholic Register)


Indian Christians demand justice for nun who was harassed by police (Vatican Radio) Christians of central India’s Bhopal city have demanded justice for a Catholic nun who had been detained under the false charge of forcibly converting four tribal girls. Sister Bina, of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST), was arrested at Satna railway station while travelling with four girls on board a train from Jharkhand state...

UN: U.S.-led airstrikes caused ‘staggering’ civilian deaths (The Washington Post) Airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition have caused a “staggering” loss of civilian life in recent months around the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, a United Nations investigative body said Wednesday. A U.S.-backed ground force entered the city with the help of coalition air raids last week, three years after the area became a hub from which Islamic State leaders planned expansion throughout the region and attacks around the world...

Canadian parish sparks giant family reunion for Syrian refugees (Catholic Register) Holy Redeemer, a parish in the Ottawa archdiocese, didn’t stop at bringing in one Syrian refugee family. They brought in three — and plan to bring in three more. In addition to the three original families — all blood relations — the parish has been instrumental in bringing in two young nephews of the families, who now have sponsors for their parents and siblings...

Study says warmer climate could cause malaria to spread in Ethiopia (AFP) Cool, high-lying areas of Ethiopia hitherto shielded from heat-loving malaria mosquitoes are increasingly exposed to the disease as the climate warms, researchers said. Most Ethiopians live in the country’s highlands, and have long enjoyed natural protection against mosquitoes carrying the malaria-causing parasites Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivid. But the buffered area has been shrinking since 1981, scientists reported in the journal Environmental Research Letters. About six million people live in the newly-vulnerable regions...



14 June 2017
Greg Kandra




One of the young residents who fled Raqqa, Syria, arrives in Jarablus on 26 May. Thousands of residents remain trapped in the city as the battle to retake Raqqa from ISIS rages. (photo: Huseyin Nasir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

U.S.-backed forces battle ISIS outside Raqqa (The Washington Post) As U.S.-backed forces press farther into Raqqa, the Islamic State’s stronghold in ­Syria, human rights groups pleaded Tuesday for the safety of thousands of residents still trapped in the city…

For Christians in Egypt, building a new church can set off violence (NPR) Christians in Minya province have faced long-running tensions with their Muslim neighbors over an issue central to their survival as a community — whether they can build churches…

Caritas Jordan providing iftar meals for Syrian refugees (Vatican Radio) Most of the 657,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan are Muslim. That’s why the local Caritas campaign, especially launched for the holy month of Ramadan, aims both to support those in need and to live the spirit of the month in mercy and fraternity. This year, the campaign is rooted in Caritas’ aptly named Mercy Restaurant, which prepares iftar, or evening meals for its fasting brothers and sisters…

Turkey opens Syrian border crossings for Ramadan (AP) Thousands of Syrian refugees are returning home for a visit during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, after Turkey temporarily opened two border crossings with its war-torn neighbor…

India commits to pacts on eradicating child slavery (Vatican Radio) India on Tuesday ratified two key global agreements on eradicating child slavery, committing the country to adopting international labor standards on the employment of minors and allowing it to be subjected to scrutiny by other nations. India’s census found there were more than four million laborers aged between 5 and 14 in 2011 out of 168 million globally, but activists say millions more are at risk due to poverty…

United Nations: Ukraine conflict enters fourth year with ‘no end in sight’ (UN.org) Warring parties in eastern Ukraine have repeatedly failed to implement ceasefire agreements, allowing hostilities to escalate and the cumulative death toll to exceed 10,000 as the conflict entered its fourth year, a new United Nations report reveals…



Tags: Syria India Egypt Ukraine





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