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Complaints against Qatar shelved
DOHA (AsiaNews): The International Labour Organisation has concluded that the pressure that has been put on Qatar to improve the treatment of migrant workers labouring on the building of facilities for the 2022 World Cup has been successful.
Doha has radically revised its laws covering migrant workers in order to considerably improve their salary and living conditions, and the labour organisation has acknowledged this by dropping allegations of ill-treatment in the past and will not continue its investigation.
The International Trade Union Confederation, formerly one of Qatar’s greatest critics, has lent its support to the decision.
Pakistan out of sight
KARACHI (SE): Half of Pakistan is out of sight due to a nasty layer of toxic smog, which is now an expected seasonal phenomenon rather than an anomaly. When an abnormality becomes routine, it is time to start worrying, the Express Tribune says.
Calling it an airpocalypse, it says the smog is the cause of a variety of diseases that continue to descend from power plants, vehicles and other sources of carbon emissions and react with stagnant air to form ground-level ozone.
The double whammy of heightened air pollution and a drier climate is now deemed a national emergency.
Pro-life vigil banned
PORTSMOUTH (SE): Portsmouth in England has become the second city council to vote in favour of banning pro-life vigils outside an abortion clinic.
The motion sought the council to commit to do all it can to prevent pro-life vigils outside one particular abortion clinic. It was supported by 31 votes to one. 
A daily pro-life vigil was being held at St. Mary’s Hospital Health Campus over one week in October. It was attended by Bishop Philip Egan, who tweeted, “Just back from 40 Days for Life Vigil outside Portsmouth abortion clinic. Please pray for the brave participants and for an end to abortion.”
Euthanasia bill defeated
SYDNEY (SE): A bill seeking to legalise euthanasia in the state of New South Wales has failed in the parliament, which Bishop Peter Comensoli put down to the strong voice of medical professionals warning of the inherent dangers in the procedure and the many people who expressed their opposition.
“In a matter of conscience, all sides of the political divide considered the questions that legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide poses, and decided that this is not a path that the state of New South Wales should venture down,” the bishop said.
The Church is now waiting to see the fate of a similar bill before the parliament in Victoria.
Mafia boss denied Church funeral
ROME (SE): The Episcopal Conference of Italy ruled out the possibility of a public funeral for the renowned Mafia boss of bosses, Totò Riina, on November 17. “A public funeral is unthinkable,” a spokesperson for the conference, Father Ivan Maffeis, said. “I remind everyone that the pope has excommunicated the mafiosi.”
Church funerals can be a complex matter and decisions on whether certain people can have one or not seem to be as much political as religious, as people argue the funeral is for the living to grieve, rather than an approbration of the life lived by the deceased.
Iraq needs new constitution
BAGHDAD (AsiaNews): For the rebirth of Iraq, Bishop Shlemon Audish Warduni, from Baghdad, believes a reformed constitution to be the basis of the country’s unity, enshrining the principles of equality and human rights is needed.
He reiterated the commitment of Christians to peace, security and civil coexistence, saying that Iraq is a rich land, but it lacks the political will to use its resources well.
But he wonders how to talk about freedom of conscience when the basis of governance is sharia, Islamic law.
Training a Vatican diplomat
VATICAN (UCAN): Pope Francis has established a new section in the Vatican Secretariat of State for the training, assigning and ministry of its nuncios and diplomats around the world.
The Section for Diplomatic Personnel will be concerned “exclusively with questions pertaining to the people who work in the diplomatic service of the Holy See or who are preparing to do so,” a November 21 press release from the Secretariat of State says.
Nuncios nominate bishops for dioceses in the countries they serve, as well as liaise with governments regarding matters concerning religion.

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