Pope Francis has said that leaving migrants to die in the Mediterranean sea, such as the fate of thousands in the past few years, is similar to the "scourge" of abortion and euthanasia. The pontiff spoke out at a meeting of the Italian Science and Life Association, where he warned against several "attacks against life."
"The scourge of abortion is an attack on life. Leaving our brothers on the boats in the Sicilian channel is an attack on life. Death at work is an attack on life because it does not respect the minimal security conditions," Francis said, according to an article on LifeNews on Monday.
"The love of Christ urges us to become servants of the small ones and the elderly, of every man and every woman, through which the primordial right to life is recognized and protected." more >>
The United Nations Population Funds has hit back against accusations that it's pushing abortions on Nigerian rape victims who are pregnant, stating that it always abides by the government's laws, and promotes voluntary family planning instead.
"The U.N. is made of governments. It is not an NGO. All UNFPA work is at the request of governments, in line with their national priorities and plans. Its programmes are designed and implemented by and with the government of Nigeria and respect the nation's sovereignty and laws," Azza Karam, senior adviser at UNFPA, told the World Evangelical Alliance in an email conversation shared with The Christian Post.
"If governments allow abortions by their own laws, they agreed internationally at Population Conferences that their health systems are to make them safe and accessible. UNFPA does not promote abortion as a method of family planning in any of the more than 150 countries where it works, including Nigeria. It promotes voluntary family planning, so women can exercise their human right to determine freely the number and spacing of their children. This helps reduce unintended pregnancies and recourse to abortion," Karam argued. more >>
According to a Kurdish activist who works closely with Iraqis displaced by the Islamic State, ISIS militants allegedly forced a 17-year-old Yazidi girl to recite parts of the Quran while she was being raped. And when she refused, she was punished by having boiling water poured on her.
Twenty-three-year-old Delal Sindy, who is from Sweden, has been working as a humanitarian worker in the Kurdish-protected northern Iraq since October 2014. In a Monday Facebook post that has been shared over 13,000 times, Sindy shared the tragic story of one recently escaped Yazidi refugee girl she met named Suzan, who is now 17, and pregnant after being subjected to ISIS' brutal sexual slavery.
According to Sindy's post, Suzan, her 10-year-old sister and mother were originally taken captive by ISIS and transported to a hotel in Mosul called "The Galaxy," which is essentially a sex slave market filled with half-naked women and girls. The last day Suzan and her sister saw their mother was the day they were sold out of the hotel and shipped to Raqqa, Syria. more >>
After the key Iraqi city of Ramadi recently fell to the Islamic State, an influential New York Times best-selling author wrote a blog post describing the heart wrenching experiences that a group of Iraqi mothers went through to escape ISIS, and in doing so, has helped raise over $500,000 in three days that will assist displaced Iraqi children and families.
Ann Voskamp, who published her best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are in 2011, travelled to Iraq in March and talked with displaced mothers who are now living out of shipping containers since ISIS has taken over their land.
Voskamp, a 41-year-old Christian, learned about the awful experiences and tough choices those mothers had to make in order to flee from their communities to dodge the wrath of ISIS. more >>
An intense heatwave in India that has broken some temperature records has killed over 1,100 people and counting in the last few days. Poor and homeless people are most vulnerable to the sweltering conditions, while the nation reportedly recorded its highest maximum temperature at 117 degrees Fahrenheit at Titlagarh in the state of Odisha on Monday.
CNN reported that 884 of the deaths were recorded in the state of Andhra Pradesh, with another 226 people confirmed dead in Telangana. The millions of homeless people in India are the most vulnerable, as they must often stay outside and face the heat, with nowhere else to go.
TIME Magazine said that deaths have also been reported in the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal, and in Gujarat on the country's western coast. It added that local newspapers and Twitter users have been posting images of 113°F temperatures in the capital of New Delhi melting some of the city's asphalt roads. more >>
At least three people are reported to have died in record-setting rainfalls and flooding in parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday and Sunday, with 2,000 people forced to evacuate. The flooding caused major damage and destroyed hundreds of homes, reports said.
Fox News reported on Monday morning that two people were confirmed dead in Oklahoma, including a firefighter who was swept to his death, and a woman in Tulsa who died as a result of a traffic-related crash. The body of a third man was recovered from the Blanko River, officials said, while several people are also believed to be missing.
"They haven't seen flooding like this for probably a good decade, probably more like 25 years, even longer, on some of these rivers," said Kurt Van Speybroeck, a NWS meteorologist based in Fort Worth, Texas, according to Reuters. more >>