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World news in brief

15 May 2020


Migrant workers queue to get police passes to return to their hometowns in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday

Migrant workers queue to get police passes to return to their hometowns in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday

India ‘failed migrants’ hit by train, RC bishop says

THE death of 16 migrant workers in India who were hit by a freight train last Friday has “once again exposed the plight of the poor” in the country, the RC Bishop of Jabalpur, the Most Revd Gerald Almeida, has said. The group of 20 people, including women and children, had walked about 36 kilometres when they stopped to rest on the track and fell asleep: four were critically injured; the rest died instantly. Thousands of migrant workers lost their jobs at short notice when all public transport was suspended in the lockdown announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on 24 March, and many were left stranded. Bishop Almeida said: “Their priority was to get back home. The tragedy has once again exposed the plight of the poor in the country. . . If the employers or the government had taken care of them, they would not have faced this tragic death.”


PNG Primate retires on health grounds

THE Archbishop of Papua New Guinea, the Most Revd Allan Migi, has retired on health grounds as of Monday. In his letter of resignation, Archbishop Migi said that a prolonged health condition had affected his ability to carry out the responsibilities of his office. The General Secretary of the Province, Dennis Kabekabe, thanked the Archbishop for his 30 years in ordained ministry. “We wish you well in recovery to good health after this resignation,” he said. “We take this time to also thank Mother Mary Migi for her support to Archbishop Allan Migi and the work she has done with the Mothers’ Union.”


Vatican Museums to reopen with precautions

THE Vatican Museums, closed since Italy entered lockdown on 9 March, are to reopen to the public later this month — by reservation only, to manage social distancing. Visitors will be required to wear a face mask, and temperatures will be taken on arrival. For the past two months, the Museums have only been accessible through free virtual tours on their website. The Secretary-General of the Vatican City State Governorate, Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, told Vatican News on Saturday: “Virtual reality can never replace reality. Let us not forget that what brings museums alive are people. To enjoy art, you need your eyes and heart.”



Charity welcomes Burmese military ceasefire

THE announcement of a temporary ceasefire by the Burmese military, known as the Tatmadaw, from 10 May until 31 August to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country has been welcomed by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). Last week, the outgoing United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, warned that the special powers given to the military to help control the virus could result in “war crimes”. CSW’s chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, said: “The Tatmadaw has a long history of violent attacks on religious and ethnic minorities in Burma, and a track record of breaking ceasefires. We urge the military to fully uphold the ceasefire, ensuring the protection of civilians across the country.”

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