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World news in brief

11 December 2020

PA

Silenced: A fire in a vacant building on 2nd Avenue, in Manhattan, New York, destroyed the adjacent Middle Collegiate Church, early Saturday morning. The 128-year-old church in the East Village, with a Gothic-style sanctuary and Tiffany stained-glass windows, accommodated the New York Liberty Bell

Silenced: A fire in a vacant building on 2nd Avenue, in Manhattan, New York, destroyed the adjacent Middle Collegiate Church, early Saturday morning. The 128-year-old church in the East Village, with a Gothic-style sanctuary and Tiffany stained-glass windows, accommodated the New York Liberty Bell

 

UN: Covid-19 will push millions more into poverty

A FURTHER 207 million people, could be living in extreme poverty by 2030 owing to the pandemic, the United Nations has warned. In its latest study released on Thursday of last week, Impact of Covid-19 on the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN states that 80 per cent of the economic effects of the pandemic could last for more than ten years. The number of people living in extreme poverty would rise to more than one billion. The UN urges a strong focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the coming years: this could save 146 million people from extreme poverty and also decrease the gender poverty gap, it says.

 

Money for RC communities fighting the pandemic

THE US government agency for international development, USAID, has given $900,000 to two Roman Catholic organisations based in Rome, the Community of Sant’Egidio and the International Union of Superiors General, which are helping vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. The initiative was the result of a partnership between the two organisations and the US Embassy to the Holy See. In a video press conference on Thursday of last week, the executive secretary of the IUSG, Sister Patricia Murray, spoke of the “many deaths that occurred of elderly Sisters and priests” ministering in the pandemic.

 

Sri Lankan Supreme Court challenged on cremations

THE Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has this week dismissed a legal challenge from 11 families accusing it of denying justice to Muslims and Christians whose family members were cremated during the pandemic. The families said that the practice violated their right to freedom of religious belief guaranteed under the constitution. Sri Lanka has a policy of compulsory cremation for any bodies suspected of carrying the virus. More than 50 Muslims have been cremated so far, even though some had either tested negative for Covid-19 or not been tested at all. Bodies have started to pile up in hospital morgues after families refused to pay the cremation fees demanded by the government.

 

Job read on Zoom to encourage unity in Ohio

RESIDENTS of Knox, Ohio, in the United States, were given a Zoom reading of the book of Job on Sunday, in the hope of encouraging debate and dialogue across religious and political divides in the state, whose voters are predominantly Republican. The reading was produced by Theater of War Productions and featured the actor Bill Murray, star of Groundhog Day, as Job, the righteous man tested by the loss of his health, home and children. The artistic director, Bryan Doerries, said that by using Job’s story “as a vocabulary for a conversation, the hope is that we can actually engender connection, healing. People can hear each other’s truths even if they don’t agree with them.” Job’s accuser was played by the Republican Mayor of Mount Vernon, a town in Knox, Matthew Starr.

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