Connect with us

World

Pope thanks journalists for helping expose Church sex scandals

Published

on

November 13, 2021

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Saturday thanked journalists for helping uncover the clerical sexual abuse scandals that the Roman Catholic Church initially tried to cover up.

The pope praised what he called the “mission” of journalism and said it was vital for reporters to get out of their newsrooms and discover what was happening in the outside world to counter misinformation often found online.

“(I) thank you for what you tell us about what is wrong in the Church, for helping us not to sweep it under the carpet, and for the voice you have given to the abuse victims,” the pope said.

Advertisement

Francis was speaking at a ceremony to honour two veteran correspondents — Philip Pullella of Reuters and Valentina Alazraki of Mexico’s Noticieros Televisa — for their long careers spent covering the Vatican.

The sexual abuse scandals hit the headlines in 2002, when U.S. daily The Boston Globe wrote a series of articles exposing a pattern of abuse of minors by clerics and a widespread culture of concealment within the Church.

Since then, scandals have rocked the Church in myriad countries, most recently France where a major investigation found in October that French clerics had sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.

Critics accused Francis of responding too slowly to the scandals after he became Pontiff in 2013 and of believing the word of his fellow clergy over that of the abuse victims.

But in 2018 he tried to address past mistakes, publicly admitting he was wrong about a case in Chile and vowing that the Church would never again seek to cover up such wrongdoing. In 2019 he called for an “all-out battle” against a crime that should be “erased from the face of the earth”.

Advertisement

Francis on Saturday said journalists had a mission “to explain the world, to make it less obscure, to make those who live in it less fear it”.

To do that, he said reporters needed to “escape the tyranny” of always being online. “Not everything can be told through email, the phone, or a screen,” he said.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Germany’s Free Democrats back coalition agreement

Published

on

December 5, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – Members of Germany’s pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) voted on Sunday by a large majority to back a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens, paving the way for the three-way alliance to form a new government next week.

The coalition, the first at federal level between the environmentalist Greens, the FDP and Olaf Scholz’s centre-left SPD, will end 16 years of conservative governments led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The SPD approved the agreement on Saturday and the Greens are due to announce the outcome of a member survey on the deal on Monday. The three parties hope the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, will vote Scholz in as chancellor on Wednesday.

Advertisement

The “traffic light” alliance, named after the parties’respective colours, will usher in a new era of relations with Europe, and plans to speed up digitalisation of the continent’sbiggest economy and put a focus on fighting climate change.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Continue Reading

World

Gambian President Barrow on course for resounding election win

Published

on

December 5, 2021

By Bate Felix

BANJUL (Reuters) – Gambia’s incumbent president, Adama Barrow, was on course for a resounding election win on Sunday, partial results indicated, that could help to draw a line under recent political turmoil.

Saturday’s vote was the first in 27 years without disgraced former president Yahya Jammeh, who lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea after refusing to accept defeat to Barrow in 2016.

Advertisement

Jammeh, whose 22-year rule over the tiny nation of 2.5 million people was characterised by killings and torture of political opponents, had tried to persuade supporters to vote for an opposition coalition in telephoned speeches that were relayed to campaign rallies.

But his lingering influence was not enough to dent Barrow’s showing. The president, who only needs to win more votes than the second-placed candidate, won 36 of the first 41 constituencies announced, taking 315,547 votes.

His nearest rival, political veteran Ousainou Darboe, had 133,177 votes, with four other candidates far behind.

Only 12 constituencies remained to be announced.

The election was seen as a test of Gambia’s democratic progress and its ability to leave the Jammeh era behind.

Advertisement

Barrow’s first term was marked by the coronavirus pandemic, which damaged an economy that relies heavily on tourism, as well as exports of peanuts and fish.

(Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Continue Reading

World

S.Africans protest against Shell oil exploration in pristine coastal area

Published

on

December 5, 2021

By Siyabonga Sishi

PORT EDWARD, South Africa (Reuters) – South Africans took to their beaches on Sunday to protest against plans by Royal Dutch Shell to do seimsic oil exploration they say will threaten marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins on a pristine coastal stretch.

A South African court on Friday struck down https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/shell-wins-court-case-start-seismic-surveys-offshore-south-africa-2021-12-03 an application brought by environmentalists to stop the oil major exploring in the eastern seaboard’s Wild Coast, rejecting as unproven their argument that it would cause “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, especially migrating hump-back whales.

Advertisement

The Wild Coast is home of some of the country’s most undisturbed wildlife refuges, and it’s stunning coastal wildernesses are also a major tourist draw.

At least 1,000 demonstrators gathered on a beach near Port Edward, a Reuters TV correspondent saw.

“It’s just absolutely horrendous that they are even considering this. Look around you?” said demonstrator Kas Wilson, indicating an unspoilt stretch of beach. “It’s unacceptable and … we will stop it.”

Shell officials were not immediately available for comment, but the company said on Friday that its planned exploration has regulatory approval, and it will significantly contribute to South Africa’s energy security if resources are found.

But local people fear the seismic blasting conducted over 6,000 square kilometres will kill or scare away the fish they depend on to live.

Advertisement

“I don’t want them to operate here because if they do we won’t be able to catch fish,” said 62-year-old free dive fisherwoman Toloza Mzobe, after pulling a wild lobster from the ground. “What are we going to eat?”

Environmentalists are urging Shell and other oil companies to stop prospecting for oil, arguing that the world has no chance of reaching net zero carbon by 2050 if existing oil deposits are burned, let alone if new ones are found.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its planet warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels, a decision it plans to appeal.

South Africa’s environment ministry referred Reuters to a statement late last month that “the Minister responsible for environmental affairs is … not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey.”

(Writing by Tim Cocks;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending