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A year after the deadly earthquake in Nepal, thousands of people, especially women, are being deprived of funds to rebuild because they do not own land or cannot prove they owned the land where they lived, an international anti-poverty organization said on Friday.  Nepal's government requires proof of ownership, but many victims have lost documents and others did not formally own the land where they lived, said Oxfam.  The government this month began distributing grants of 200,000 Nepali rupees ($1,900) to families that can prove they owned land before the earthquake, which struck on April 25, 2015.  The quake killed some 9,000 people, injured more than 22,000 others and damaged or destroyed more than 900,000 houses.  "Families who are landless and who were living on unregistered land are very much uncertain about the future and support that the government had promised," said Prabin Man Singh, research and policy coordinator for Oxfam, who co-auth...
(Vatican Radio) Vatican Weekend for April 24, 2016 features our weekly selection of readings and reflections focusing on  the Sunday Gospel and a bird's eye view of the Vatican week with EWTN bureau chief here in Rome,Joan Lewis. A programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:
As representatives of more than 170 countries gathered at the United Nations in New York on April 22 to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the world body marked International Mother Earth Day on the theme “Trees for the Earth”, launching a project to plant 7.8 billion trees over the next five years for a healthy planet for future generations. In a message for the annual observance, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon noted that the Paris Climate Change Agreement, in conjunction with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, holds the power to transform our world, bringing hope of a better future for all.   “The momentum achieved by so many signatures on one day sends a clear signal of solidarity and resolve,” Ban said, urging the world to “unleash the full force of human ingenuity and ensure low-emission growth and improved climate resilience.”   He noted that small actions, such as making energy-efficient choic...
(Vatican Radio) On Sunday Pope Francis will preside at a special Jubilee Mass for young people, with thousands of teenagers from all over the world expected to attend the celebration in St Peter’s Square. The Mass marks the culmination of a three day event designed especially for youngsters from 13 to 16 years old with the theme “Merciful like the Father”In a message, signed on the feast of the Epiphany this year, Pope Francis told young people that “to be merciful means to grow in a love which is courageous, generous and real”. Speaking to those travelling to Rome for the Jubilee, he said “Don’t just prepare your rucksacks and your banners, but your hearts and your minds as well”.One group of young people who’ve been preparing for this event in a special way is the choir from Worth School in the south of England, who’ll be singing in St Peter’s Square during the papal Mass. While the youngsters at the Catholic scho...
(Vatican Radio)  Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the newly-appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, says the message of Pope Francis for the American people is the message of the Gospel.Archbishop Christophe Pierre was appointed to the post by the Holy Father on 12 April, having previously served as the Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Uganda, and most recently Mexico for nine years.In an interview with Christopher Wells, the Apostolic Nuncio noted the continuance of his ministry through the influence of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.Listen to the full interview: Archbishop Pierre said the apparition of Our Lady to St. Juan Diego was not an apparition to one person, but to an entire people. "Pope Francis told us at the beginning of his last trip that this is the foundation of Mexico. He wanted to spend some time with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, not just to look at her, but to be looked at by her, and to look at the people with the ey...
A Pakistani Catholic bishop led a pilgrimage of peace and reconciliation to neighbouring India, to bring closer to each other the two south-Asian rivals that have fought several wars and conflicts since their independence in 1947.  “For us, this is very significant and fruitful,” said Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw of Lahore on reaching the Indian Archdiocese of Delhi.  “It was a great joy to be greeted so warmly by Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi. A strong sense of brotherhood and communion binds our two peoples,” he said after arriving in the Indian capital with 16 priests from his diocese. The pilgrims left Lahore on April 19 for a 13-hour bus ride to Delhi, where they were welcomed by a delegation led by Archbishop Couto.  "In this Jubilee of Mercy, our pilgrimage to India acquires even greater significance,” Archbishop Shaw said.  “The Father, who ‎is merciful to us, invites us to be with others. This is ...
(Vatican Radio) The largest convoy of humanitarian aid has been delivered to the besieged town of Al Rastan in Syria by the International Committee of the Red Cross.The ICRC has had a presence in Syria since the outbreak of violence five years ago. With the situation worsening each day, millions are left waiting for humanitarian aid.Vatican Radio spoke with Sitara Jabeen, the ICRC spokesperson for the Middle East, tells us more about the current humanitarian crisis in Syria.Listen:  Ms Jabeen said that that this is the first time a convoy of this size is going to a besieged area since the beginning of the conflict. More than 60 trucks are delivering aid to over 120,000 people who are lacking food, clean water but above all healthcare.According to Ms Jabeen, “health structures are not functioning properly” due to the lack of supplies and damaged facilities. It is also dangerous for medical staff to work in certain areas.Despite the ongoing violence, particularly in...
(Vatican Radio) Vatican Weekend for April 23, 2016  features a report on the weekly general audience of Pope Francis with pilgrims from across the world, a programme focusing on the Council of Ephesus with Church Council expert Professor Norman Tanner SJ and a conversation with our popular 'Latin Lover' who chats in an entertaining and scholarly manner about the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. A programme presented and produced by Veronica Scarisbrick:  
(Vatican Radio)  The Congregation for the Oriental Churches on Friday released a press statement, expressing support for the extraordinary collection to take place this Sunday in churches across Europe for the people suffering from the war in Ukraine.During his Regina Coeli address on 3 April, Pope Francis announced a special charity collection to support the people of Ukraine, telling the faithful it would be possible to contribute to the collection in all Catholic Churches in Europe on Sunday, 24 April.In the statement, the Oriental Dicastery invites all people ‘to contribute generously so as to assure assistance to those people most weakened in body and spirit by violence’. It also recognizes the solidarity and material aid of many Dioceses and charitable organisations.The statement goes on to list the many fruits of this charitable act.‘May the renewed gesture of charity which Pope Francis has asked of the Churches of Europe be again a sign of ...
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Despite his debauched stage presence and erotically charged music, Prince had a reputation for clean living and an ability to put on shows that were electrifying in their athleticism....
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