“One of the most overwhelming human tragedies of recent decades are the terrible consequences that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have on civilian populations as well as on cultural heritage. Millions of people are in distressing state of urgent need. They are forced to leave their native lands. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey today carry the weight of millions of refugees, which they have generously received. Faced with such a situation and conflicts that are expanding and disturbing in an alarming way the internal and regional equilibrium, the international community seems unable to find adequate solutions while the arms dealers continue to achieve their interests”.
A diverse global network of Catholic women is set to launch an expansive and compelling collection of writings before the opening of October’s Synod of Bishops, pointedly calling on the male prelates to include their half of humanity and its experience in the synod’s discussions.
In 40 short essays mixing the sociological, theological, and sometimes deeply personal, the writers raise a number of weighty concerns for the hotly anticipated worldwide meeting of prelates on family life — centered on the fact that extraordinarily few women are invited or involved.
At the heart of many of their concerns, however, is their own exclusion from the Synod process. While Francis has appointed 30 women to attend the Synod as auditors making contributions to the discussions, only the 279 male members of the meetings can vote.
This is a question I’ve been asked so often these days. Let me try to share a few ideas.
It’s as close as I’ll ever get to being greeted as a “rock star.” I’m writing this from the country music capital of the United States, Nashville, I‘d like to answer it out of this country music context.
Yesterday provided a few hours of unscheduled time so two of us decided to visit the Country Music Museum in Nashville. Since I’m a mostly-Mozart person this was a moment of opening to something new. I noticed that the Nashville Symphony Hall performs on the opposite corner. Continue reading What It’s REALLY Like To Be a Nun on the Bus→
Deustche Welle Dozens of people have been killed after an oil truck exploded in South Sudan. The accident happened when a crowd tried to gather fuel from the vehicle after it had broken down.
“Eighty five people are confirmed dead by the local authorities,” Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told reporters a day after the incident occurred. At least 50 more people had been injured, he added, indicating that the death toll could rise.
The explosion took place near Maridi in the country’s southwest on Wednesday when the tanker, traveling from Juba to Yambio, overturned and began leaking. According to Ateny, local residents were trying to siphon off some petrol when somebody lit a cigarette, setting off the explosion.
The injured were taken to local hospitals, but chances of their survival were low. “We don’t have medical equipment and these people may not survive because we do not have facilities to treat highly burnt people,” Charles Kisagna, information minister for the state of Western Equatoria, told journalists.
“This was an accident,” Ateny said, arguing that the blast had nothing to do with the conflict between government forces and rebel fighters that has been going on since 2013. A new truce deal this year has not been entirely effective.
South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has almost no tarmac roads and fuel tankers often travel along poorly maintained paths to reach far-flung communities.
AMBON, Indonesia — More than 2,000 fishermen have been rescued this year from brutal conditions at sea, their freedom prompted by an Associated Press investigation into seafood brought to the U.S. from a slave island in eastern Indonesia.
Dozens of Burmese men in the bustling port town of Ambon were the latest to go home, some more than a decade after being trafficked onto Thai trawlers. Grabbing one another hands, the men walked together toward buses last week. As they pulled away for the airport, some of those still waiting their turn to go home cheered, throwing their arms in the air.
“I’m sure my parents think I’m dead,” said Tin Lin Tun, 25, who lost contact with his family after a broker lured him to Thailand five years ago. Instead of working in construction, as promised, he was sold onto a fishing boat and taken to Indonesia. “I’m their only son. They’re going to cry so hard when they see me.”
The reunion he envisions has played out hundreds of times since March, after the AP tracked fish — caught by men who were savagely beaten and caged — to the supply chains of some of America’s biggest food sellers, such as Wal-Mart, Sysco and Kroger, and popular brands of canned pet food like Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. It can turn up as calamari at fine restaurants, as imitation crab in a sushi roll or as packages of frozen snapper relabeled with store brands that land on our dinner tables. The U.S. companies have all said they strongly condemn labor abuse and are taking steps to prevent it.
In response, a multi million-dollar Thai-Indonesian fishing business has been shut down, at least nine people have been arrested and two fishing cargo vessels have been seized. In the U.S., importers have demanded change, three class-action lawsuits are underway, new laws have been introduced and the Obama administration is pushing exporters to clean up their labor practices. The AP’s work was entered into the congressional record for a hearing, and is scheduled to be brought up for discussion again later this month.
The largest impact, by far, has been the rescue of some of the most desperate and isolated people in the world. More than 2,000 men from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos have been identified or repatriated since the AP’s initial story ran, according to the International Organization for Migration and foreign ministries. The tally includes eight fishermen trafficked aboard a Thai cargo ship seized in neighboring Papua New Guinea.
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns On July 31, another Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement deadline passed. Supporters and detractors both thought the pact would have been solidified during negotiations held in Maui the last week of July, but many issues linger, including access to medicines, privacy concerns regarding technology, and intellectual property patents.
The environment chapter was recently finalized; it addresses wildlife trafficking, illegal logging and illegal fishing but does not require signatory nations to endorse relatively weak standards. Additionally, the chapter says nothing about climate change or incentives for TPP countries to move towards more sustainable, low-emission energy sources or business practices; it’s expected that the investment chapter will continue to allow foreign corporations to sue governments when enforcement of domestic environmental laws negatively affect the corporations’ profits. Continue reading Trade: Update on TPP→