South Sudan church leaders call for peace
CHURCH leaders in South Sudan, including the Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Revd Justin Badi Arama, have repeated their calls for peace. Conflict has continued in the country, despite efforts to hold peace talks and introduce a ceasefire (News, 6 July). The group of leaders said in a statement released last week: “We are tired of war, violent conflicts of interest and we are urgently calling for all communities in South Sudan to shun tribalism and all kinds of fragmentation that inhibit from attaining true nationalism, durable unity and working together for comprehensive peace and genuine reconciliation.” Last week, the UK’s Minister for Africa, Harriet Baldwin, visited South Sudan to call for an urgent solution to end the conflict. Mrs Baldwin said that the Government would not tolerate any human-rights abuses in the country.
Rescued Thai boys ordained as Buddhist novices
ELEVEN boys who were part of the football team rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand (News, 13 July) have taken their first steps towards being ordained as Buddhist novices. The footballers will live in a Buddhist temple for nine days from Wednesday, the same amount of time they were trapped underground, in a tribute to those who helped them be rescued, and out of respect for the Thai navy Seal, Saman Kunan, who died. One of the boys from the group will not be ordained because he is Christian.
Hundreds missing after Laos dam collapse
HUNDREDS of people are missing after a hydroelectric dam collapsed in Laos on Monday, destroying villages and flooding fields. The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy dam crumbled, allowing five billion cubic metres of water to flood surrounding villages. Rescue efforts attempted to save those who had lost their homes in the disaster; more than 6000 were estimated to have been left homeless. It was reported that heavy rainfall caused the accident at the dam, which was still under construction. The United Nations has said that it was prepared to offer assistance to Laos.
Thousands homeless in Syria after government action
A SYRIAN government-led assault on opposition-held areas in the south west of Syria has left approximately 140,000 homeless, the United Nations warned last week. A spokesman for the UN Refugee Agency, Andrej Mahecic, said that a “new scaling-up of assistance” was needed, and that the UN needed “sustained access” to the region to help those who had fled their homes. Mr Mahecic said that 750,000 internally displaced persons have returned to cities they left after fleeing because of the conflict.