Cardinal Pell pledges to ‘slave-proof’ Vatican supply chain

Independent Catholic News

Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, has announced Holy See is taking steps to ‘slave-proof’ the Vatican’s supply chains – ensuring that all companies the Church purchases from are ethical in their employment and business practices.

The Cardinal made the announcement in Rome on Sunday, during a meeting of The Global Foundation, an Australian organization which brings together business and government leaders.

“I am pleased to confirm that the Vatican itself will commit to slavery-proofing its own supply chains and I hope that today’s announcement will serve as encouragement for others to follow suit,” Cardinal Pell told the gathering.

At the same meeting, the Consumer Goods Forum – a consortium of major companies including Carrefour, Barilla, and Nestle – announced it had passed a resolution to ‘eradicate’ forced labor from their supply chains.

South African Maize Silos Dried By Deepening Drought

News from Africa

David Wamuha

safSouth Africa is quickly running out of maize as the El Nino drought deepens. Like many other countries in southern Africa, South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades. As the current crop withers due to extreme heat and little rainfall, food prices are rising and may be out of reach for million.

A devastating drought caused by adverse effects of El Nino has left South Africa exposed to a serious food security threat. El Nino is a global climate phenomenon characterized by the warming of ocean surface temperatures in equatorial parts of the Pacific and recurs every few years. Continue reading South African Maize Silos Dried By Deepening Drought

Brazil’s Amazon River Ports Give Rise to Dreams and Nightmares

InterPress Service

By Fabiana Frayssinet

The U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill’s port terminal on the banks of the Tapajós River in the northern Brazilian city of Santarém, where large cargo vessels dwarf the traditional small fishing boats of the Amazon basin. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

SANTARÉM, Brazil, Dec 11 2015 (IPS) – River port terminals in the northern Brazilian city of Santarém are considered strategic by the government. But what some see as an opportunity for development is for others an irreversible change in what was previously a well-preserved part of the Amazon rainforest.


In the evening light on the Tapajós River, whose green-blue waters mix with the darker muddy water of the Amazon River in Santarém, it’s not easy to ignore the silos that overshadow what used to be a public beach, where passenger boats and fishing vessels typical of this part of the Amazon jungle state of Pará tie up.

The port terminal of the U.S. commodities giant Cargill began to operate in 2003 as a centre for the storage, transshipment and loading of soy and corn, in this city of nearly 300,000 people. Continue reading Brazil’s Amazon River Ports Give Rise to Dreams and Nightmares

My 17-hour ‘spiritual’ flight with the humble Pope Francis



Pope Francis addresses journalists in the flight back to Rome after a six-day visit in Africa on November 30, 2015. Pope Francis travelled to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. AFP | PHOTO 

It was a normal commercial flight, an Airbus A330 operated by Alitalia — Italy’s national airline.
Hardly a version of a papal one, for Pope Francis does not own a personal aircraft. Neither does the Vatican.

The Vatican had chartered the Airbus A330 for the entire African tour — Kenya, Uganda and Central Africa — which covered 12,580 kilometers.

Four of us, three from the Nation Media Group and one from Capital FM, were under strict instructions to ensure that we were at the Fiumicino International Airport in Rome at 4am on Wednesday, November 25.
How we got to the airport was none of the Vatican’s business, just like were the tickets to guarantee you a seat on the papal flight.

We arrived on time and were directed to the Alitalia counter, checked in and that’s when it finally dawned on us that this was no ordinary flight. Continue reading My 17-hour ‘spiritual’ flight with the humble Pope Francis

South Africa: Jesuit statement on removal of finance minister

Independent Catholic News


The Jesuit Institute South Africa has joined a chorus of voices from all sectors of South African society expressing serious concern over the removal of Nhlanha Nene as the country’s Minister of Finance. The institute says: “This move, announced by President Jacob Zuma, spells disaster for the stability of an embattled economy and raises questions about his ability to lead.

Moments after the announcement was made the local currency plummeted, hitting an all time low against the US dollar. Zuma offered no explanation for what seems to be a grossly irresponsible decision.

There seems to be no doubt that the President fired Nene because he would not allow Zuma and some of his cadres to spend money recklessly, for personal gain, and in so doing risk the integrity of the Treasury.

Nene insisted on tight fiscal discipline in the face of a growing deficit and a worrying economic forecast.

Nene did not bow to political pressure. He would not sanction the revision of a deal to buy new aircraft for South African Airways. The airline’s board chairperson, Dudu Myeni (who is also chair of the Jacob Zuma Foundation), was unhappy and appears to have used her personal relationship with the President to influence this decision. Continue reading South Africa: Jesuit statement on removal of finance minister

Peruvian Women Install Solar Panels and Light Up their Communities

InterPress Service

By Pilar Celi

Women from Candarave share their knowledge in solar panels installation. Credit: Alicia Condori

TACNA, PERU , Dec 9 2015 (IPS) – Five women from Candarave Province, located in Tacna (Peru), travelled to India to be trained and to learn how to install solar panels. The training has enabled 272 families to have electricity and improve their quality of life.

Solar panels mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases and allow to address climate change.
In 2011, Reina Isabel Humiri Mamani, 41, who has two children and two grandchildren, realized that, sometimes, to make a right decision, you have to break stereotypes, overcome fears and invest in knowledge. Although her mother, brothers, and some people in her community (Tacalaya) were against the idea, she accepted to take part in the Barefoot College programme, traveled to India for six months, and learned that electricity can be obtained by sunlight with the help of solar panels. Continue reading Peruvian Women Install Solar Panels and Light Up their Communities

(Gov.) Pence won’t block state aid to Syrian refugee family in Indianapolis


Robert King, Madeline Buckley and Vic Ryckaert

Gov. Mike Pence said Tuesday he will not block a Syrian refugee family from receiving state aid such as food stamps and health care, even as he continues to oppose its relocation to Indiana.

Pence’s comments at an airport news conference came one day after the Archdiocese of Indianapolis settled a Syrian refugee family in the city despite the governor’s recent announcement that, due to security concerns, he was halting state support for such relocation efforts.

Earlier Tuesday, Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin announced that a family of four who had “fled the violence of terrorists” had arrived Monday night after undergoing two years of security checks. The family was resettled in Indianapolis because they already have family living here, said Greg Otolski, archdiocese spokesman. Continue reading (Gov.) Pence won’t block state aid to Syrian refugee family in Indianapolis