Independent Catholic News The International Monetary Fund has announced that it has agreed a Staff Monitored Programme with the Zimbabwean government. The programme means the Zimbabwean government has to implement conditions as set by the IMF, but no money is lent. Completing the programme is the first of many steps Zimbabwe would need to take to qualify for some debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative.
The IMF has not yet revealed the detailed conditions of the programme. However, conditions discussed in 2012 included a freeze in public sector pay. The programme runs from April-December 2013, despite having only just been announced, and despite the fact elections are due to take place in Zimbabwe in coming months, effectively tying the hands of a future parliament. Continue reading Jubilee Campaign: ‘Zimbabwe needs a debt audit, not IMF conditions’→
Fr. Seán McDonagh, SSC
Even though concerns about what was happening to our environment began to appear in Church documents as early as 1971, I have argued that the Catholic Church’s teaching on ecology was certainly not a central element in its preaching of the Gospel of Jesus. This might be about to change during the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis.
During the Mass to mark his inauguration as Bishop of Rome on March 19th 2013, he focused on the role of Joseph as ‘protector “of Jesus and his mother.” But he expanded the notion of ‘protector’ to include concern for creation. “The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human (task), involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!” Continue reading Pope Francis on Care for Creation→
Better and wider access to Internet and mobile is changing how journalists work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), bringing more access but also sometimes greater risk. Internet and mobile devices allow journalists to contact multiple sources on a single day, something that was difficult until now in a country where fixed phone lines are almost nonexistent. Internet and mobile also mean citizens are better able to contribute to media content and make their voices heard interactively.
But they also create new opportunities for intimidating or silencing journalists. There are many in positions of authority and power whose status is shaken by the greater circulation of information made possible by connectivity. At the same time, alerting others when a journalist is under threat and rallying support has never been quicker. More information also means increased requirements for verification and fact checking—procedures that Congolese journalists have not always been inclined and trained to do. Continue reading How Internet and Mobile Help Journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo→
WASHINGTON, Jun 12 2013 (IPS) – Lawmakers attempted Wednesday to push along an ongoing effort to modernise U.S. international food aid policy amid mounting bipartisan support for the use of more locally grown food products over the long-standing practise of shipping U.S.-grown commodities.
The Food Aid Reform Act, introduced by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Representative Ed Royce and Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Representative Karen Bass, would eliminate previous requirements that food assistance be grown in the United States and transported on U.S.-flagged ships. Advocates say the changes would deliver aid up to 14 weeks faster and reach an estimated two to four million more people. Continue reading Reforming U.S. Food Aid Would Eliminate 7,000-Mile Food Chain→