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World news in brief

06 February 2015


"Betrayed": Dominic Ongwen waits for the judge to arrive as he makes his first appearance at the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, at the end of last month 

"Betrayed": Dominic Ongwen waits for the judge to arrive as he makes his first appearance at the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, a...

Ugandan bishop pleads for LRA commander

A RETIRED Anglican bishop in Uganda, the Rt Revd Nelson Onono-Onweng, has said that he is ready to defend a top commander in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Dominic Ongwen, who faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bishop Onono-Onweng said that Mr Ongwen, abducted at the age of ten while walking to school, was "betrayed" by the world: "The state, which had the instruments to protect him, did not. The international community also took too long to act [against the] LRA. The world can see how things conspired against him." A statement by religious leaders from north Uganda last month urged that Mr Ongwen not be "punished twice" but be subject to reconciliation rituals. He was arrested in the Central African Republic last month. His trial will be the first time that a member of the LRA has been tried in the ICC. It is estimated that the LRA has killed more than 100,000 people and kidnapped more than 60,000 children in the past 30 years.

Bishop facing manslaughter charge is asked to resign

THE Suffragan Bishop of Maryland, the Rt Revd Heather Cook, currently facing charges of manslaughter and drunk-driving (News, 16 January), has been asked to resign by the diocese's Standing Committee. The letter, dated 26 January, states that the Committee agreed unanimously that "you are not able to function effectively in the position . . . given recent events. Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation."

CSW highlights killings of priests in Mexico

MORE Roman Catholic priests and lay leaders were killed in Mexico last year than any other country in the world, suggests a new report released by Christian Solidarity Worldwide on Monday. The report warns that violations of religious freedom are "a common and widespread occurrence in certain regions", and are on the rise. The most important cause is an "entrenched culture of impunity", linked to an "extremely strict interpretation of the concept of separation of church and state". Criminal groups involved in drugs, arms and human trafficking, and extortion rackets have also had a "chilling impact" on religious freedom, it states.

Texan vicar found dead at home with wife and young son

AN EPISCOPALIAN priest, his wife, and their youngest son, aged five, have been found dead at their home in Houston, Texas. The Vicar of Redeemer, Houston, the Revd Israel Ahimbisibwe, his wife, Dorcus, and Israel Junior were discovered by firefighters on Monday. A police spokesman has said that a homicide investigation is under way. "This is a horrific and awful tragedy," the Bishop of Texas, the Rt Revd C. Andrew Doyle, said. "Please keep the Ahimbisibwe and Redeemer families in your prayers."

Exodus from German churches as tax reach grows

HUNDREDS of thousands of German Christians are leaving the Church in order to escape a change in the tax laws, The Daily Telegraph reported last week. Up to 200,000 Germans are believed to have renounced their membership of the Evangelical Church - the highest number in almost two decades. A similar number are thought to have left the Roman Catholic Church. The Government's decision to extend the tax, levied to pay for church activities, to capital-gains income is thought to be behind the exodus. The tax is levied on anyone who is baptised.

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