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World news in brief

by
08 January 2021

WaterAid/Joey Lawrence

Precious resource: Hawa, who is 44, with her daughter Kadija, 14, fetch water from the River Lah in Frat, Ethiopia, last year. It is a 2km walk across rocks back to the village for them and for other villagers. By the time water reaches their collecting-point, it has run through a town and past a hospital, and has been polluted by both. Six in ten Ethiopians have no clean water close to home. The charity WaterAid plans to drill for water in the village and construct lavatory blocks at the school, with the aim of helping more than 6000 people. The UK’s matched-funding scheme means that donations to the charity’s Future on Tap project made before 4 February will be doubled. www.wateraid.org/uk

Precious resource: Hawa, who is 44, with her daughter Kadija, 14, fetch water from the River Lah in Frat, Ethiopia, last year. It is a 2km walk across rocks back to the village for them and for other villagers. By the time water reaches their collecting-point, it has run through a town and past a hospital, and has been polluted by both. Six in ten Ethiopians have no clean water close to home. The charity WaterAid plans to drill for water in the village and construct lavatory blocks at the school, with the aim of helping more than 6000 people. The UK’s matched-funding scheme means that donations to the charity’s Future on Tap project made before 4 February will be doubled. www.wateraid.org/uk

 

Greek Orthodox defies church-closure order

THE Greek Orthodox Church refused to close its buildings this week, defy­ing an order from Greek government to close places of worship amid rising coronavirus cases. The Holy Synod issued a statement on Monday saying that it did “not consent to the Government’s measures” and that its churches would remain open to celebrate Epiphany, including ceremonies of blessing of the waters. It said that the Church had not been consulted about the new tighter restrictions, which came into force on Saturday. A govern­ment response on Monday said: “The law cannot be applied at whim, so that who­e­­ver disagrees with it can just ignore it.”



Israeli minister hopes to welcome pilgrims again

THE Israeli Minister of Tourism, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, has urged Chris­tians around the world to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land after the pandemic. Speaking outside the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunci­ation, in Nazareth, last week, she said: “Nazareth is a Jewel, attracting tourists and pilgrims from all over the world — I hope to see the city’s streets full again soon. Usually, the winter holidays are a festive time, as Christian visitors celebrate them here and around the Galilee. While the Covid-19 pandemic changed this, I and all of Israel look forward to the day inter­national travel resumes so that millions of Christians can come and visit.” Israel currently has more than 440,000 Covid cases and has recorded more than 3400 Covid-related deaths since the pandemic began.



Kidnapped Nigerian bishop released

THE Auxiliary Bishop of the RC archdiocese of Owerri in Nigeria, the Most Revd Moses Chikwe, and his driver, Robert Ndubuisi, were released by their captors on New Year’s Day, a week after being abducted. A statement this week from the Archbishop, the Most Revd Anthony Obinna, said: “At about 10:00 pm on 1 January 2021, His Lordship, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe and Mr Ndubuisi Robert, his driver, who were abducted in the evening of Sunday the 27 December 2020 were finally released. I personally visited and saw Bishop Chikwe in his residence at about 10:45 pm, looking very weak from the traumatic experience.” The driver had a “deep cut” to his hand. It is unclear who their abductors were. Pope Francis had appealed for their release in his New Year Angelus address.



Texan pastor shot dead with his own gun

THE Pastor of Starrville Methodist Church, an independent Methodist church in Smith County, east of Dallas, Texas, the Revd Mark Allen McWilliams, was killed with his own gun on Sunday morning. Two other people were injured, including his wife. Mytrez Deunte Woolen, 21, was arrested on Sunday evening and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of capital murder. Mr McWilliams, 62, had reportedly drawn his gun when he found his attacker in the lavatory. The man, who had been evading a police chase, lunged at the pastor, disarmed, and shot him.

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