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World news in brief

17 May 2024


Families given water tanks in Bethlehem

WATER tanks and solar panels installed in Bethlehem have improved living conditions for 48 Christian families, Friends of the Holy Land reported last week, as it confirmed the completion of the first phase of its water-emergency and house-rehabilitation project in the area. “Mains water supply in the Bethlehem area is intermittent, with supply being available perhaps only two days in a month,” the charity’s chief executive, Brendan Metcalfe, said. “With so many people unemployed and stuck at home due to the war, the demand for clean water storage has hugely risen; so this project addressed an urgent need.” The project employed only local Christian suppliers and contractors, and young people from the Christian community were taken on as apprentices. Donations for the next phase can be made online at friendsoftheholyland.org.uk, or phone 01926 512980.


London vicar elected to Zambian episcopate

THE Vicar of St Augustine of Canterbury, Whitton, in London, Canon John Kaoma, has been elected Bishop of Northern Zambia, with effect from 31 July, the diocese of London announced last week. Canon Kaoma trained at St John’s Seminary, Lusaka, and served his title at St Barnabas’s, Chingola, in Zambia. He was Principal of St John’s College, Kitwe, from 2001 to 2003, before becoming regional manager for the Church Mission Society. He moved to London in 2006, holding appointments that included those of Director for Mission at the Anglican Communion Office from 2009 until 2020. He has been Vicar of St Augustine’s since 2021, and was made a Prebendary of St Paul’s this year. In 2015, he was made an honorary canon of Holy Cross Cathedral, Lusaka, and, in 2023, was awarded the Cross of St Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for services to the Anglican Communion.


Vatican Museum employees launch work dispute

FORTY-NINE employees of the Vatican Museum have sent a petition to the administrative body for the Vatican City State, setting out a complaint about rules that cause “labour conditions undermining each worker’s dignity and health”, including inadequate health and safety provisions, and poor treatment during the pandemic, their lawyer said this week. “Workers have decided this action only after all their demands and requests over years were left unanswered,” Laura Sgrò said. The news was initially reported on Sunday by the newspaper Corriere della Sera. In total, the museum employs about 700 people. The petition represents the first step in a mandatory conciliation process under Vatican law.

Traidcraft tea for sale again after closure

TRAIDCRAFT tea is once again for sale, after Traidcraft plc closed this year (News, 24 January), it was announced last week. Transform Trade — a global community of farmers, workers, collectives, campaigners, and donors — reports that almost 1000 of its supporters have made individual donations to enable the charity to work with the ethical grocery-supplier True Origin to “bring back a refreshed Traidcraft Tea”. The first boxes are available now online from the True Origin website. “When Traidcraft closed its doors, so many people asked us about where they could buy a truly ethical tea; so we decided to collaborate with smallholders we are working alongside in Kenya to bring back this much-loved product,” Filbert Kavia, regional director of Transform Trade in East Africa, said. The tea is picked and grown by farmers from the east side of the Rift Valley, Kenya, and is fully Fairtrade certified. traidcraft.org/tea; trueorigin.org.uk

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