Campaigners welcome Lebanese debt restructure
THE Jubilee Debt Campaign has welcomed the decision of the Lebanese government to restructure its vast debts to save its currency reserves. The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Hassan Diab, has defaulted on a £1-billion bond payment, saying that reserves had hit a “critical and dangerous level”. He has called for fair negotiations to restructure the debt. The head of policy at Jubilee Debt Campaign, Tim Jones, said: “It is good that Lebanon has finally defaulted on the debt, rather than continuing to pay and be in an even worse position in a few months’ time. For the people of Lebanon to recover from the current debt crisis requires large write-downs of debt by international creditors.” The continued crisis was the result of a lack of legal systems to prevent “vulture funds,” holding up necessary debt restructurings, he said.
Max Von Sydow, Swedish actor, dies aged 90
PAMax Von Sydow, in 2016THE Swedish actor Max Von Sydow, who made his American film debut as Jesus Christ in George Stevens’s 1965 film The Greatest Story Ever Told, died on Sunday, aged 90. He was also known for playing Fr Lankester Merrin, a Jesuit priest, in William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973). In a 2012 interview, he said that the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman had kept his promise to send him a sign to prove that the afterlife existed, although he never revealed what the sign was.
Sudan promises end to death penalty for apostasy
THE Sudanese government has pledged to abolish the death penalty for apostasy — the renunciation of a religion — in place of a disposition making it a criminal offence to accuse someone of apostasy, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports. On Sunday, a member of the Forces for Freedom and Change Coordination Council, told the Sudan Tribune that the change would be made the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill of 2020. The chief executive of CSW said: “If enacted, it will be an important step towards protecting freedom of religion or belief. However, we remain concerned that the crime of apostasy will remain in the Criminal Code, alongside article 125, which criminalises blasphemy.”