Vatican on Syria: ‘Don’t go in if you can’t get out’

Boston Globe

By John L. Allen Jr.

WASHINGTON — A senior Vatican official speaking today before a US congressional committee had blunt advice for American lawmakers who may be weighing the use of force to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – in essence, don’t go in if you can’t get out.

“We know what happens when you [use force] without a clear exit strategy,” said Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in New York.

Chullikatt was referring to the 2003 US-led intervention in Iraq, where he served as the pope’s ambassador from 2006 to 2010. He described for a subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs the chaos he said he experienced in the aftermath of the US-led campaign.
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Church Urged to Fight Homophobia As Same-Sex Prohibitions Pass

America

For the Law: Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, joined other Nigerian bishops in commending legislation that criminalized same-sex relationships.
For the Law: Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, joined other Nigerian bishops in commending legislation that criminalized same-sex relationships.

As some African nations continue or contemplate a legislative clampdown on gay and lesbian people, The Southern Cross, South Africa’s Catholic weekly, urged Catholic Church leaders to do more to confront societal homophobia and laws that it might inspire. In an unsigned editorial published on Jan. 29, Southern Cross editors said, “It would require a very peculiar reading of the Gospel to locate Jesus anywhere else but at the side of the marginalized and vulnerable.”

They argued, “Where there is injustice, we must expect the Catholic Church to stand with the powerless. Therefore the Church should sound the alarm at the advance throughout Africa of draconian legislation aimed at criminalizing homosexuals.”
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Looted in Plain Sight: Kenya and its Multi-Billion Dollar Invoicing Problem

Think Africa Press

Kenya lost over $700 million in taxes in 2012 due to smuggling. But despite popular belief, the main problem with smuggling isn’t corruption. It’s tax havens, phantom firms and secrecy.

By Brian LeBlanc

Overlooking skyscrapers in the Nairobi skyline. Photograph by Curt Carnemark/World Bank.
Overlooking skyscrapers in the Nairobi skyline. Photograph by Curt Carnemark/World Bank.

At the end of January, the Kenya Sugar Board, acting on a tip off, seized and impounded over 1,800 bags of illegally imported sugar. Arrests were made and the board vowed to begin a country-wide crackdown on other cartels who smuggle tons of sugar into the country each year.

This could not come soon enough. The impacts of smuggling sugar − whose prices can easily undercut that of legitimate products − on Kenya’s domestic sugar industry have been devastating. Mumias Sugar Company, which is responsible for over 60% of Kenya’s domestic sugar production, for example, named smuggling as a contributing factor to the company’s pre-tax losses of $26m in 2013.
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The rights of nature: A new strategy in the struggle for ecological wholeness

Eco Jesuit

James E Hug, SJ

The world’s first Tribunal on the Rights of Nature, held in Quito, Ecuador last 17 January 2014 heard eight cases to determine their admissibility for adjudication at a later Tribunal, which will be held in another city and country later this year. The Tribunal for Rights of Nature will become permanent, hearing cases around the world. Photo credit: therightsofnature.org
The world’s first Tribunal on the Rights of Nature, held in Quito, Ecuador last 17 January 2014 heard eight cases to determine their admissibility for adjudication at a later Tribunal, which will be held in another city and country later this year. The Tribunal for Rights of Nature will become permanent, hearing cases around the world. Photo credit: therightsofnature.org

Do West Virginians have a right to clean water? Beyond that, do West Virginia waterways have the right to be protected from polluters? Do rainforests or the Great Barrier Reef have the right to survive? Can the court systems of the countries of the world be used to protect Mother Nature’s rights?

It may sound like a stretch of the imagination, but an important gathering of international leaders in the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature  movement took place 13 to 17 January 2014 in Otavalo and Quito, Ecuador. According to a press release from the Global Alliance, the meeting’s two purposes are “to analyze the experiences of communities in Ecuador, Bolivia, and the United States that have already implemented ‘Rights of Nature’ laws and to devise a unified global strategy for advancing the Rights of Nature movement around the world.”
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Jesuit scholastics reflect and act on ecology: National Tree Day at Kimwenza, Democratic Republic of Congo

Eco Jesuit

André Samalambo, SJ and the Kimwenza Ecology Group

congo2Jesuit scholastics of the Saint Peter Canisius community (Central Africa Province) at Kimwenza in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo organize activities every three months to raise more awareness among Jesuits and friends on the need to be in harmony with Mother Earth and to be reconciled with Creation. This awareness and commitment is the result of the work of the Group of Reflection and Action on Ecology.

During National Tree Day last 5 December 2013, they collected papers all over the compound for recycling with many members of the community. They celebrated an Ecological Mass and shared the Eucharist in the outdoors, under the trees, with the assembly sitting on the grass with Fr Benoît Mbuyi, SJ with the Deacon Raphael Bazebizonza, SJ presiding. To begin the Eucharist, Fr Benoît blessed and planted a tree at the very place of the celebration. The two leaders of the Group, André Samalambo and Albert Andemir’Irenge led this ceremony and explained its deep meaning.
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President Jonathan Suspends CBN Governor Sanusi

Tell Magazine

Helen Eni

nig3In what appears to be a tale of the hunter being the hunted, Lamido Sanusi, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has been suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan. Sanusi who has been having a running battle with the petroleum ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, over his allegations of $20 billion missing oil money, was suspended for allegedly engaging in financial recklessness and misconduct.

“Having taken special notice of reports of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies, which indicate clearly that Mallam Sanusi Lamido  Sanusi’s tenure has been characterized by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has ordered the immediate suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from the Office of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” read a statement by Reuben Abati, special adviser to the president (media & publicity).
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KENYA: Civil Society Urged to Change Tack to Fit New Political Dispensation

Africa Files

Ms Florence Jaoko has urged Civil Society Organizations to change tack in order to remain relevant in addressing issues that affect the people of Kenya. She compared the civil society groups and the constitution to new wine in old wineskins.

“We are still using the tactics and strategies that we have used over the past 20 years, we are still in the mode of attacking and bashing the government but without clear information… in terms of holding the government accountable, we have to move from the position of just talking, we are dealing in a digital age whether we like it or not a lot of people in the government are techno savvy they know exactly what they are doing even if they deal in corruption they will do it with the finesse that is required so if you don’t have similar finesse you are not going to catch them and you will be left on the sidelines, you must be able to present concrete information and evidence that they cannot refute, if we have to hold government accountable,” she said.
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