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World news in brief

11 January 2019


Egypt opens biggest cathedral in the Middle East

THE Cathedral of the Nativity, 30 miles east of Cairo, was opened by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday. The Coptic cathedral is believed to be the biggest in the Middle East, and was opened on the Coptic Church’s Christmas Eve. “This is an important moment in our history,” President el-Sisi said. “Today, we celebrate the completion of construction. This means that we will not allow anyone to separate us, because we are, and will remain, one people.” The cathedral, and the Fattah al-Alim mosque, are at the centre of Egypt’s new unnamed capital. Pope Francis sent greetings to the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II. On Saturday, a policeman was killed in a bomb blast as he attempted to defuse a device which had been left outside a Coptic church in Cairo.

Technology ‘could result in coming of the Antichrist’

DEPENDENCE on smartphones and modern technology could result in the coming of the Antichrist, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has warned. He told Russian state TV this week that the Church was concerned that “someone can know exactly where you are, know exactly what you are interested in, know exactly what you are afraid of.” He went on: “Control from one point is a foreshadowing of the coming of Antichrist, if we talk about the Christian view. Antichrist is the person who will be at the head of the worldwide web that controls the entire human race.”

A third of trafficking victims are children, says UN report

HUMAN trafficking is on the rise worldwide, a United Nations report says, and 30 per cent of victims are children. Published on Monday, it says that most victims of trafficking detected outside their region of origin are from East Asia, followed by sub-Saharan Africa, while most victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are from Europe. Women and girls make up the majority of victims. The executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, said: “Human trafficking has taken on horrific dimensions as armed groups and terrorists use it to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters.” He quoted child soldiers, forced labour, and sexual slavery as examples.

Australian bishops concerned about refugees

ROMAN Catholic bishops have expressed their concern at the treatment of refugees by the Australian government. Five hundred refugees are stranded on Manus Island, off the coast of Papua New Guinea, owing to Australia’s policy of mandatory detention for refugees without a valid entry visa. The communication secretary for the RC Bishops of Papua New Guinea, Fr Ambrose Pereira, wrote last week that the refugees’ situation caused the bishops “great suffering”. It was reported that, for some on Manus Island, it was their sixth Christmas in detention. In December, RC bishops in Australia called on their government to solve the “offshore detention crisis”.

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