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BANGKOK (AP) -- In the early evening of May 22, 2014, all TV screens in Thailand turned blue and up flashed an army emblem. That was the first sign of change. Suddenly, the country's army commander appeared to say he was now in charge....
HONOLULU (AP) -- The last 50 wild donkeys on Hawaii's Big Island will be rounded up to mark the final step in a six-year effort to get them in adoptive homes....
Cartagena, Colombia, May 20, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA).- In what's been labeled an “absurd” move, a judge in Colombia has banned prayer and “fraternal hugs” at the start of Cartagena city council sessions as well as local educational institutions.The ban on civic prayer – as well as the baffling prohibition against “fraternal hugs” anywhere from businesses to private family life – has generated immense controversy and protests among Christians on the country's coast.Judge Alejandro Bonilla Aldana's May 10 ruling suspends the first article of a 2007 accord which established prayer at “the beginning of all daily activities in local government entities as a basic approach to recovering the religious principles of the city.”The daily El Colmbiano reported that a lawsuit against the accord was filed by Miguel Ángel Garcés who is connected with the Autonomous University of the Caribbean. Garcés took u...
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Friday urged Italian football (soccer) players to not just be champions in their sport but above all champions in their lives, by displaying key moral values such as brotherhood, mutual respect, understanding and forgiveness. His remarks came during an audience at the Vatican with top representatives of Italy’s Seria A Football League as well as players from the Juventus and AC Milan teams. The two Seria A teams play each other at the weekend in the final of the Italian cup (Coppa Italia) in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.A keen football fan himself, Pope Francis reminded the players, that as role models for many fans, especially the young, their behaviour should always reflect “the authentic values of sport.” He said the success of a team depends on a fusion of human and moral virtues such as “harmony, loyalty, friendship, dialogue and solidarity.” By being a witness of those moral virtues, he continued, you can em...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has issued a binding clarification of a question arising under Canon Law with regard to the proper procedure for the creation of new diocesan Institutes of Consecrated Life. Specifically, the Holy Father has, by way of Papal Rescript, established that prior consultation by the local Ordinary who desires to erect a new Institute of Consecrated Life within his jurisdiction and under his authority, must have prior consultation with the Holy See before deciding to erect any such new Institute.The Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, told Vatican Radio the Rescript does not require local Ordinaries to obtain permission, per se, but only to consult with and hear from the Holy See (through the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life) before proceeding.“The bishop is always responsible in his diocese – but he has to evaluate the answer, the opinion, of t...
(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, President of Caritas Internationalis, says the way we help people caught in emergencies can be more efficient and effective by engaging local organisations, including faith-based institutions.Cardinal Tagle will speak at the Special Session on the Religious Engagement on the first day of the World Humanitarian Summit, which takes place on 23-24 May in Istanbul.In a press release ahead of the summit, Cardinal Tagle said, “We know that growing inequality, climate change, water scarcity, urbanisation, conflict for resources and the spread of extremism will put millions more in peril. We need a humanitarian system fit for purpose to address these growing needs.”“Despite local organisations, including faith-based institutions, offering extensive networks of infrastructure serving as a source of shelter, care and education, the current humanitarian system of donors too often fails to recognise them....
The Kenya Government’s cabinet secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Phyllis Kandie has said that the family is the fundamental unit of society.“If we get it right at the family level, then we are assured of a stable well-structured society,” Kandie affirmed. She was speaking, this week, during the National Family Conference to commemorate The United Nations International day of the family at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi.Kandie revealed that the government of Kenya was focusing on youth empowerment and involvement by developing specific programs targeting the young people to mitigate challenges that they face.Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate National Executive Secretary Fr. Charles Odira told the same conference that diminishing family values and poor leadership had immensely contributed to challenges that families face. He called on Kenyan political l...
IMAGE: CNS photo/John Mc ElroyBy DUBLIN (CNS) -- ArchbishopDiarmuid Martin confirmed that Pope Francis, or his successor, will visitIreland in 2018 for the World Meeting of Families.Archbishop Martin confirmedthat when he discussed the issue of visiting Ireland with the pontiff, Pope Francissaid: "'I will come', and he said, 'if I don't come, my successor willcome.'"As well as Dublin, the popewould probably visit Northern Ireland to complete the 1979 historic pilgrimage of St John PaulII, when rising tensions in the North made a visit there impossible.The Irish Catholic saidArchbishop Martin made his remarks in an interview with the Irish Independent.The Irish Catholic said that a "well-placed Vatican source" confirmedthat "all the indications from Rome are very positive about this.""It would obviously bethe hope that the Holy Father would make a visit to Northern Ireland and,perhaps, some other parts of Ireland, since many Irish Catholics will want tohave an opportunity to attend M...
New York City, N.Y., May 20, 2016 / 12:02 am (CNA).- Leah Fessler considers herself a feminist.And the standard feminist narrative is that women can have, and indeed enjoy, casual sex without consequences – physical, emotional, or otherwise.But when her experience with hookup culture (and that of her friends') in college failed to live up to its empowering promises and left her emotionally empty, Fessler decided to look a little deeper.In an article written for Quartz, Fessler explains her quest to examine what it was about the prominent hookup culture, and the ill-defined, non-committal “pseudo-relationships,” at her Middlebury college campus that were making her miserable.“Far more frequent, however, were pseudo-relationships, the mutant children of meaningless sex and loving partnerships. Two students consistently hook up with one another – and typically, only each other – for weeks, months, even years,” Fessler wrote.“Yet ...
India is revising its rehabilitation scheme for forced or bonded labourers to include transgender and  other marginalised people, speed up court proceedings, and increase compensation for rescued workers.Under the new policy, the government will boost the scheme's annual budget to 470 million rupees ($7 million) from 50 million rupees, according to an official statement released on May 17.The new scheme "aims to address new forms of bondage such as organised begging rings, forced prostitution and child labour, for which females, disabled and transgenders are mercilessly used," Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in the statement.  India abolished bonded labour in 1976, but the country is home to almost half the world's 36 million slaves, according to the Global Slavery Index produced by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation. Many are from poor rural areas and are lured with the promise of good jobs, but end up sold into domestic work, prostitutio...
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