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World news in brief

02 October 2020


Papal strength: A sculpture which depicts Pope St John Paul II holding aloft a meteorite, Poisoned Source, stands in front of the National Museum, in Warsaw, on Thursday of last week. It was created by the Polish artist Jerzy Kalina in response to another sculpture, by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, which depicts John Paul II being crushed by a meteor. A statement on the museum’s website says: “In Kalina’s view, John Paul II is not a powerless old man crushed by a meteorite, but a titan of superhuman strength”

Papal strength: A sculpture which depicts Pope St John Paul II holding aloft a meteorite, Poisoned Source, stands in front of the N...


Anger at grand-jury decision on US police shooting

THE Bishop of Kentucky in the Episcopal Church of the United States, the Rt Revd Terry Allen White, has expressed anger at the decision by a Kentucky grand jury not to charge police officers with Breonna Taylor’s death after their involvement in her shooting, ENS reports. Ms Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was shot five times in her Louisville apartment on 13 March by officers who forced entry. Her boyfriend, who was there at the time, said that he had believed them to be intruders. He fired a warning shot at the officers, who fired 32 shots in return. In a service at Christ Church Cathedral, Louisville, last week, Bishop White said: “I confess to you right now, evil is tempting me to commit evil actions. And part of that reason is feeling angry.” He, like all Christians, must attempt to replace this anger with peace, he said. The Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Michael Curry, has said that her death “exposed the death-dealing depth of racism and white supremacy deeply embedded in the soil and in the soul of America”.


Nigeria urged to release singer on death row

A GROUP of United Nations human-rights experts have called on the Nigerian government to release immediately a singer, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, aged 22, from death row. He was sentenced on 10 August to be hanged under blasphemy law for a song that he had performed and posted on WhatsApp in March. In a statement on Monday, the UN experts said: “Artistic expression of opinion and beliefs, through songs or other media — including those seen to offend religious sensibilities — is protected in accordance with international law. The criminalization of these expressions is unlawful.”


Deal struck to release 1081 detainees in Yemen

REPRESENTATIVES of Yemen and the Houthi rebel group signed an agreement on Sunday to release 1081 individuals held in relation to the conflict. This was after a week-long meeting in Switzerland. The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, calling for a nationwide ceasefire, urged the parties to “build on this momentum and finalise arrangements for the release of all remaining detainees”. At the beginning of last month, UN investigators issued their third report alleging war crimes by both sides in the conflict (News, 18 September). The abuses included imprisonment, unlawful deaths, torture, sexual violence, and the use of child soldiers.


WCC seeks to de-escalate Azeri-Armenian conflict

THE interim general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Revd Dr Ioan Sauca, has expressed “grave concern over the renewed and very serious escalation of conflict” in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory, since Sunday. The region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto state with an Armenian ethnic majority. Dozens of people were killed and injured, including civilians, in three days of heavy fighting this week, after Armenia reported that one of its warplanes had been shot down by a fighter jet from Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey, and its pilot killed. Dr Sauca said on Wednesday: “I lament the tragic loss of lives, express my sincere condolences to the grieving families, and pray for the recovery of the injured. To stop this bloodshed, the WCC calls on all combatants to desist immediately from further military action.”

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