As the fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip carried on with no breakthrough in efforts for an enduring ceasefire, Pope Francis on Sunday broke off from his scripted weekly Angelus address and said, "Please stop," pleading for peace in the world.
"Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future," the pontiff said in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday, speaking of the forthcoming centenary of the World War I.
"I think especially of the children whose hopes for a dignified future are taken from them, dead children, injured and mutilated children, orphans and children who have bits of weapons as toys, children who don't know how to smile," news.va, the official Vatican network, quoted him as saying. more >>
Frustrated by the sloppy handling of the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy in which more than half of the 298 victims were Dutch citizens, a Dutch mayor called for the deportation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's 29-year-old daughter Maria, who is currently living in the Netherlands with her Dutch boyfriend.
A report in The Guardian said Pieter Broertjes, mayor of the city of Hilversum called for Maria Putin to be thrown out of the Netherlands during a local radio interview Wednesday morning.
The mayor, however, later said he was sorry for the comments on Twitter, noting that "they stemmed from a feeling of helplessness that many will recognize" and they were "not wise." more >>
She is free at last.
Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian mother from Sudan who became a global icon for Christians when she refused to renounce her faith even after she was placed on death row for it, was blessed by Pope Francis at the Vatican just hours after she finally fled Sudan after a protracted fight for her freedom.
A report from the Official Vatican Network, NEWS.VA, said Meriam met with Pope Francis in the Casa Santa Marta and was accompanied by her husband, Daniel Wani, her son Martin, 1 ½, and her daughter Maya who she gave birth to in prison just two months ago while shackled. Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Lapo Pistelli, who helped arrange her flight from Sudan and travelled with her to Italy, was also present. more >>
A human rights panel that is part of the United Nations has criticized the Republic of Ireland over its abortion laws and alleged abuse taking place at its Catholic-run homes.
The UN Human Rights Committee recently stated that the Roman Catholic-dominated country should revise its strict abortion laws, which were recently loosened via an act of Parliament.
A grief-stricken Dutch mother whose son and his girlfriend were among the 298 victims who died after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down from the sky in eastern Ukraine last Thursday, became the face of Netherland's grief Sunday when she publicly pleaded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to "send my children home".
"I want everybody to do the best they can to bring all the bodies back as soon as possible. They've been lying there for three days, four days I don't know anymore," the mother, Silene Fredriksz-Hoogzand said in a BBC interview as her husband Robert tried comforting her silently.
The couple's 23-year-old son Bryce and his 20-year-old girlfriend Daisy Oehlers, were heading to the island of Bali in Indonesia for a holiday on Flight MH17 when they perished with 296 others on the doomed flight. Of the 11 nationalities represented on the flight, nearly two-thirds, 192 of them were Dutch citizens. more >>
Christian missionaries in Ukraine have said that churches are crying and praying for an end to the violence, following the Malaysian Airlines disaster last week that killed all 298 people on board. Meanwhile, Dutch families are showing anger over what they say is improper treatment of the bodies of their loved ones at the crash site.
"We are weeping," mission group Christian Aid Mission quoted a local Christian as saying, according to BosNewsLife on Monday. CAM added that there is "disbelief and sadness over the loss of 298 innocent lives when a commercial airliner was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine Thursday."
The international community is still searching for concrete answers after Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was hit by a missile and went down in Eastern Ukraine on Thursday. more >>