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China and Untied States ratify Paris climate deal

BRUSSELS (SE): The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) issued a brief statement on September 7 welcoming the joint announcement by China and the United States of America (US) that they will formally commit to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“Ahead of the expected vote in the European Parliament in October, the secretariat of COMECE welcomes the ratification by China and the US of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” the statement begins.

“The ratification by these two states, given their economic weight and their environmental impact, represents a significant step in the right direction,” it concludes.


Cross vandalised in Mumbai

MUMBAI (UCAN): A roadside crucifix was vandalised in Mumbai on September 4, the day that Mother Teresa was canonised, prompting suspicions it was a hate act.

“Sectarian elements are spreading hatred against the Christian community,” one group said in a letter to the government. It noted that the canonisation has not gone down well with certain elements.

The canonisation generated much publicity in India, with the government sending a big delegation to Rome. But several hardline groups have publicly denounced her work as a façade to convert Hindus.

To them, she was an agent of Europe and the Vatican spreading Christianity in India at the cost of Hindu culture.


Obama gives Duterte the flick

VIENTIANE (SE): The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, let fly with a few uncouth not-nice phrases aimed at the president of the United States of America (US), Barack Obama, in a television interview on September 5.

Responding to rumours that Obama may challenge his murderous campaign against the poor under the guise of fighting drugs, Duterte said, “Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet. Son of a bitch, I will swear at you.”

The US cancelled his planned meeting with Obama.

Duterte seems not to be able to handle challenges to his decisions, so he swears to make himself sound tough, in an attempt to hide his inability to think on his feet. After an apology, the two met briefly later.


Christians freed prior to G20

BEIJING (AsiaNews): On August 28, China released five Christians who had been detained for over four months, which local people believe may have been to create a good impression prior to the opening of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou on September 4.

Ji Qingcao, Ji Qingcou, Ou Jinsi, Mei Xueshun and He Lijing were arrested in April for obstructing the work of government bodies and stirring public disorder.

They joined a rally opposing the demolition of the Guankou Church in September of 2015.

China Aid reported a Christian as saying, “I have a feeling that the government is trying to appease people before the summit.”


Spanish sister murdered in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE (CWN): A Spanish sister who worked as a nurse in Haiti was murdered on September 2.

Fifty-one-year-old Sister Isabelle Sola Matas was driving through Port-au-Prince when she was shot by robbers who wanted her purse. A passenger in the car with her was also shot, but survived.

During his September 4 address in St. Peter’s Plaza, Pope Francis said, “We pray especially for Spanish missionary, Sister Maria Isabel Sola Macas, who was killed two days ago in the capital of Haiti, a country so tormented, for which I pray for an end to such acts of violence and for greater security for all.”


Dalai Lama not on invite list for Assisi

ROME (SE): When Pope John Paul II first gathered in front of the Sacred Convent in Assisi for a moment of shared prayer for peace with religious leaders from all over the world, the Dalai Lama was sitting right next to him.

However, this year he did not make the cut on the invitation list and will not be present when the group gathers at the prayer service organised by the Sant’Egidio Community on September 20.

Pope Francis will attend with 400 guests and will meet with Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop Justin Welby, a representative of Islam and the Jewish faith, as well as Aphrem II, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch.

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