Police raid home of Brazil’s ex-president Lula

Deutsche Wella

Police have detained Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva after raiding his properties. The searches are part of an ongoing probe into corruption at oil giant Petrobras.


Brazil’s O Globo news network broadcast images Friday of police officials around Silva’s residence in Sao Bernardo de Campo outside Sao Paulo. Police released a statement implicating the ex-leader in the graft probe.

“Ex-president Lula, besides being party leader, was the one ultimately responsible for the decision on who would be the directors at Petrobrasand was one of the main beneficiaries of these crimes,” a police statement said. “There is evidence that the crimes enriched him and financed electoral campaigns and the treasury of his political group.” Continue reading Police raid home of Brazil’s ex-president Lula

Heathrow’s immigration detention centre “among worst”

The Tablet

Megan Cornwell

mig6A recent report into Europe’s largest immigration centre finds conditions substandard.

Heathrow’s immigration detention centre “among worst” Heathrow’s immigration detention centre “among worst”.

A report into conditions at Harmondsworth immigration centre near Heathrow Airport has found evidence of substandard facilities and lack of suitable care for vulnerable adults.

Europe’s largest immigration removal centre, housing 661 men, is holding detainees for unacceptably long periods and failing to provide adequate risk assessments in the first few days of arrival, the report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons found. Continue reading Heathrow’s immigration detention centre “among worst”

In 2016 Africa must end its addiction to commodities, or it will be the 1980s all over again

Mail & Guardian

The reason political scientists speak of the “commodities curse” is that during periods of high prices, the need to prepare for crashes is forgotten.

Herman J. Cohen


BETWEEN the years 2000 and 2015, the majority of African countries have been doing fairly well financially because the commodities they export have commanded high prices.

Crude oil is the best example. Large oil exporters like Angola, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon were earning over $100 per barrel for several years. For the past two months, the price of crude oil has sunk to about $30 a barrel. All of these oil exporters are now hurting quite badly as they see their revenue dry up. Continue reading In 2016 Africa must end its addiction to commodities, or it will be the 1980s all over again

Catholic People’s Week lobby bishops to condemn Trident renewal

Independent Catholic News

Ellen Teague
britain1Participants in the first Catholic People’s Week (Winter weekend) of 2016 will be writing to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to urge it to take a stronger stance over government plans to renew the Trident nuclear missile system. “After listening to a presentation by Pat Gaffney, the General Secretary of Pax Christi, on the theme of, ‘The things that make for peace when the world prepares for war’, and her report on Saturday’s anti-Trident rally in London, around 30 participants from around the country unanimously asked that a letter be sent” said Ellen Teague, chair of the weekend. “The letter will ask the bishops to reaffirm their 2006 statement and update it to include Trident,” she said. That statement did call on the Government to decommission nuclear weapons, but it did not mention Trident specifically. Continue reading Catholic People’s Week lobby bishops to condemn Trident renewal

Socially responsible investors press companies to do the right thing

Catholic News Service
By Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service


WASHINGTON (CNS) — If it’s spring, it must be corporate annual general meeting season.

For investors concerned about corporate accountability and transparency, it’s one of the busiest times of the year.

The annual general meetings give shareholders the chance to publicly engage corporate leadership on hot-button issues such as human rights, climate change, sustainability, lobbying expenditures and human trafficking. Continue reading Socially responsible investors press companies to do the right thing

Pope’s Via Crucis meditations will look at crosses humanity bears today

Catholic News Service

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — By reflecting on the Passion of Christ, the author of the Way of the Cross meditations for Pope Francis’ Good Friday service said he will focus on the suffering unfolding in the world today and how “the martyrs of the 21st century are undoubtedly the apostles of today.”

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve told Vatican Radio that his reflections on the traditional 14 stations will blend in “references to the present day, which unfortunately is not lacking in crosses” people are forced to bear. Continue reading Pope’s Via Crucis meditations will look at crosses humanity bears today

University of Texas dean to quit over gun law


A dean at the University of Texas is stepping down over a new state law which will allow concealed handguns to be carried on university campuses.

Frederick Steiner said the policy was not “appropriate” for higher education and “did not make logical sense”.

Texas passed the legislation last year and it goes into effect in August.

Many higher education officials and students have objected to the law, with concerns it may discourage students from attending universities in Texas. Continue reading University of Texas dean to quit over gun law

What We’ve Seen and Heard…Black Lives Matter

National Black Catholic Congress

By Sr. Gwynette Proctor, SND

race(Article previously posted in the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Catholic Review diocesan newspaper)
The past three weeks have awakened a sleeping giant in Baltimore. For some, the incidents brought back horrible memories of a time long past; for others the incidents renewed inherent fears of Baltimore City and Black people in general. For some the incidents could be described as a feeling of taking back the power and making a clear and definitive statement that, “Enough is enough, I will not tolerate the deplorable conditions that diminish my humanity any longer. I will not stand idly by while family members, friends and community members continue to be victimized, abused and killed by police officers whose actions appeared to be sanctioned by law enforcement. My life matters.”

In times like these, there are no quick fixes or simplistic answers to the challenges we face. Now, the healing must begin. It must open our hearts so that you can look into the face of any woman or man and see there your sister or brother. It will require us to see all human life with new eyes. The faith community and all people will need to emerge from the complacency that has characterized our failure to act on behalf of those who have no voice; those who have been pushed to the edges of our communities out of sight and forgotten; and those people who were born, are now living and expect to die believing “no one cares.”

Where do we go from here?

Pope Francis, in The Joy of the Gospel tells us “We need to look at our cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their homes, in their streets and squares. God’s presence accompanies the sincere efforts of individuals and groups to find encouragement and meaning in their lives. Are we poised to embrace this “call to action?”

Thousands of youth and young adults either graduate from or drop out of a dysfunctional public education system each year. Lacking the necessary skills, knowledge and motivation to press for success, they wander aimlessly from menial jobs that do not pay a living wage. At some point an all-consuming despair and hopelessness takes root. Let’s imagine an alternate educational system that offers a continuum of services to people who cannot access collegiate opportunities. The system could provide a holistic approach that brings together healthcare providers to address the psychological, emotional and physical impediments. It would be accompanied by ongoing adult educational programs while providing a seamless transition to an employment system that has leveraged the support of charitable organizations and corporations to establish long term partnerships with employers. It’s a thought.

We cannot ignore the challenge to dismantle unjust and corrupt government systems that continue to perpetuate policies that are meant to “keep people poor.” Are we committed the creation of a more promising future? I imagine the responses to these questions will depend greatly upon what we have seen and heard.

Continue reading What We’ve Seen and Heard…Black Lives Matter

A Little Reality on Immigration

New York Times

David Brooks

Donald Trump built his campaign on the promise to build a wall along the Mexican border. The idea is attention-grabbing (and unworkable). But the striking thing is that it’s not too far away from the current Republican orthodoxy.

Not long ago you could be a movement conservative and be for reasonably open immigration policies. Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Steve Forbes and George W. Bush all took open positions on immigration.

But times have changed. Now you prove your conservative credentials by saying you want to deport undocumented aliens. Now you prove it by opposing higher immigration flows. Now Donald Trump brings Republican crowds to their feet by bashing the supposed criminal hordes sneaking up from Mexico. Continue reading A Little Reality on Immigration