Dozens killed in Albanian earthquake
POPE FRANCIS has expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the people of Albania, after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck north-west of the capital, Tirana, in the early hours of Tuesday, collapsing buildings and killing at least 26 people. More than 650 people are reported to be injured. Hundreds of residents are sleeping in tents and cars as the aftershocks continue. The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, wrote in a letter to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania: “The poignant images of devastation and destruction grieve us greatly, as do the accounts of families left destitute by this event, especially as winter fast approaches.”
‘Third of women and girls suffer physical abuse’
ONE third of women and girls around the world will suffer physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, a new report from the mission agency Gospel for Asia (GFA) states. “The litany of violence involves rampant female infanticide, forced child marriage, sexual assault, domestic violence, slavery, prostitution, trafficking, genital mutilation, and defenceless honour killings,” it said. More than 100 million women are missing. The report, Ending Violence Against Women, was released on Monday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The founder of GFA, Dr K. P. Yohannan, said: “The horror story of violence against women begins when people no longer see others as being made in the image of God.
CSW supports investigation of Xinjiang region
THE agency Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has supported the Foreign Office’s calls on China to allow UN observers “immediate and unfettered” access to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (News, 15 November). It comes after leaked documents, seen by the BBC’s Panorama, suggested that hundreds of thousands of Muslims were locked up, indoctrinated, and punished in high-security camps in the region. The China ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said that the leak, made to 17 media organisations, was fake news. The chief executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, said: “We call on other members of the international community to join the UK in condemning these detentions, and support efforts at the UN to establish an independent fact-finding mission to the region.”