Brussels attacks: Belgian bishops issue statement

Independent Catholic News

The Catholic Bishops of Belgium have issued a statement condemning the deadly terror attacks on the Brussels airport and underground stations on Monday, calling for prayerful solidarity with the victims and for national unity in response to the assault.

Vatican Radio’s English translation of the Bishops’ statement follows:

“The bishops of Belgium are appalled to learn of the attack at Zaventem airport and in the centre of Brussels. They share the anguish of thousands of travelers and their families, aviation professionals and the first responders who are once again called to service.

They entrust the victims to the prayers of all in this new dramatic situation. Airport chaplains are every day at the service of all and provide the necessary spiritual support. May the whole country live these days with a great sense of civic responsibility.”

In Historic Vote, U.S. Senate Unanimously Backs McCaskill-Portman Measure to Hold ‘Backpage’ Website in Contempt of Congress

US Catholic Sisters against Human Trafficking

WASHINGTON – In an historic vote, the Senate today unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution from U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Rob Portman to launch civil contempt proceedings against the website Backpage, as part of the duo’s bipartisan investigation into online sex trafficking.

“The contempt that Backpage has shown for our bipartisan investigation has now been met with the unanimous contempt of the full U.S. Senate,” said McCaskill, a former sex crimes prosecutor who is the top-ranking Democrat on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “This historic vote makes a clear statement—we are fully committed to getting to the bottom of this company’s business practices and policies for preventing the trafficking of children, and we will get these answers.” Continue reading In Historic Vote, U.S. Senate Unanimously Backs McCaskill-Portman Measure to Hold ‘Backpage’ Website in Contempt of Congress

World water day: how the poor pay more in west Africa – in pictures

The Guardian

For many people in west Africa, accessing water is a lot more complex than just turning on a tap. While wealthier communities may benefit from a relatively regular supply of clean water and adequate sanitation, people living in poorer areas are rarely connected to the subsidized network and end up paying more for a basic necessity. All photos by Tara Todras-Whitehill for WaterAid.

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For more photos visit

Building a Foundation for Social Justice

NETWORK

By Joseline Araujo

usa3My name is Joseline Anne Araujo, and I am a Junior at Trinity Washington University (Class of 2017), majoring in Sociology and minoring in History. This summer I was very fortunate to be accepted to an exciting program called Just Advocacy Week by NETWORK here in the heart of the District of Columbia.

About five months earlier, Sr. Mary Johnson, a Trinity sister of Notre Dame, who is one of my favorite professors at Trinity Washington University, introduced me to this opportunity NETWORK was offering for a week in the summer. I was excited because Sr. Mary’s honors Theology course had me very interested in the social justice movement, and what better way to join than with a famous organization right here in DC! Sr. Mary provided me with the steps to apply and spoke to me about other opportunities that she had in mind. However, she strongly encouraged me to apply to the NETWORK program; I did and was accepted to participate in June. Continue reading Building a Foundation for Social Justice

Priest’s murder in Congo shows the need for a new concept of martyrdom

Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.

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ROME — Around midnight on Sunday, a dozen armed men wearing uniforms of the army of the Democratic Republic of Congo burst into a social center called “My Beautiful Village,” located in the North Kivu region of the country bordering Rwanda and Uganda, where a meeting for peace involving traditional tribal chiefs was underway.

Their target was a Catholic priest named the Rev. Vincent Machozi, a member of a religious order known as the Augustinians of the Assumption, who operated an influential website documenting atrocities committed against his Nande people, also known as the Yira after the language they speak.

Machozi used the site to denounce what he saw as collusion among political elites, armed factions, and commercial interests in what he termed the “Balkanization” of the region in order to exploit its natural resources, especially its rich coltan deposits. Since 2010, so much violence has been unleashed on the Yira — often in grotesque fashion, including beheading by machetes — that activists such as Machozi have referred to it as a “genocide.” Continue reading Priest’s murder in Congo shows the need for a new concept of martyrdom

Forests Help Quench Urban Thirst – René Castro Salazar

InterPress Service

René Castro Salazar

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ROME, Mar 21 2016 (IPS) – The next time you turn on the tap to fill the kettle, you might want to spare a thought for the forest that made it possible. It may be a hundred kilometres away or more from where you are sitting, but the chances are that you owe your cup of tea, in part at least, to the trees that helped to capture the water, and to filter it on its long journey to you the consumer.

The importance of forests to the water cycle cannot be overstated. They slow down the flow of water, percolating it gently through the soil, ensuring stable year-round supplies even during drier seasons. At the same time, forests filter the water that enters our rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater, increasing the quality of this life-giving resource. Research in Burkina Faso has shown how a single tree can help with groundwater recharge, protecting water from evaporating from the soil, its root system allowing rainwater to filter more deeply into the ground, providing clean, safe drinking water. Continue reading Forests Help Quench Urban Thirst – René Castro Salazar

40,000 Former Convicts in Maryland Just Got New Voting Rights. Here’s How It Happened

YES Magazine

Just in time for this year’s presidential primary, a new law in Maryland will allow former offenders on probation or parole the right to vote.

Lynsi Burton

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At nearly 55 years old, Baltimore resident Perry Hopkins has never seen the inside of a voting booth. During the upcoming primary election in April, he will exercise his right to vote for the first time.

During the 19 years Hopkins spent in prison for drug offenses, he was not allowed to vote. But when he got out on parole, the state still barred him from voting, under a 2007 state law that required former convicts to serve out the full terms of their sentences before regaining their right to vote.

“For so long, I had a job, I was paying taxes, but I couldn’t even choose the president, much less anything going on in Baltimore.” Continue reading 40,000 Former Convicts in Maryland Just Got New Voting Rights. Here’s How It Happened