UNITED NATIONS — Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has died, Venezuelan U.N. Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, president of the U.N. Security Council for February, said on Tuesday. He was 93.
An Egyptian, Boutros-Ghali served one five-year term as U.N. chief from 1992 to 1996.
The 15-member Security Council observed a minute's silence. No further details on his death were immediately available. more >>
A diplomat with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has confirmed laboratory tests that show the Islamic State terror group has been using banned chemical weapons on soldiers in Iraq.
Reuters reported on Monday that the diplomat, who chose to remain anonymous because the OPCW report has not yet been officially released, said the findings point to IS using sulfur mustard gas on around 35 Kurdish troops last August, in at least one confirmed case.
The use of chemical weapons has been banned throughout the vast majority of the world, with sulfur mustard known to cause severe delayed burns to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. more >>
During his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis condemned the country's drug trade and government corruption that has led to hundreds of thousands of murders and missing persons cases.
The pope made his comments on Saturday while speaking to the country's bishops at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, urging religious leaders to take a more pro-active stance in fighting the drug trade and warning of "the temptation of aloofness and clericalism."
The country's Catholic Church has also received criticism in the past for turning a blind eye to government corruption and drug-related violence. more >>
A 21-year-old Iraqi woman whose family was massacred by the Islamic State terror group while she was kept as a sex slave before managing to escape, has testified about the horrific torture and abuse militants are inflicting on women and young girls.
Nadia Murad shared her story during a visit to London, where she revealed how IS fighters killed six of her brothers and her mother in Northern Iraq, according to The Mirror on Sunday. Murad herself was taken in as a sex slave, one of close to 5,000 Yazidi girls and women the terror group has kidnapped.
The sex slave survivor said that some of the things Islamic radicals are making women go through are "more difficult than death." more >>
A bishop in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo has said that the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the first one between the heads of the two churches following their split over a millennium ago, provides comfort and hope to suffering Christians.
"The meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill is perceived by Christians as the fruit of the cross they are experiencing. The suffering of all Christians in the Middle East bears the fruit of unity. This for us is a great consolation and helps us to move forward, even if we still have to suffer," said Bishop Georges Abou Khazen OFM, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for the Catholics of the Latin rite, according to Fides News Agency.
The meeting took place on Friday in Cuba, and was the first of its kind since the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest of the Eastern Christianity branches, split from the Roman Catholic Church over 1,000 years ago. more >>
Radical militias with Iranian support are reportedly attacking Christian communities in Iraq, seizing property and sites of cultural interest.
Lisa Daftari of Foreign Desk wrote Tuesday that this was happening especially around Baghdad and attributed her information as coming from multiple sources, including "Christian members of the Iraqi Parliament," "Christian community leaders," and the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.
"According to leaders, the seizures have been carried out in the upscale regions of Baghdad, where militia men have forced entry into homes and businesses with falsified documents," wrote Daftari. more >>