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Posts tagged ‘North Africa’

Francis Calls for Spreading the Wealth in First Peace Message as Pope.

Image: Francis Calls for Spreading the Wealth in First Peace Message as Pope

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis attacked mega-salaries and big bonuses Thursday, saying in the first peace message of his pontificate that they are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality.

In his message for the Roman Catholic Church‘s World Day of Peace, marked by the Church around the world on Jan. 1, he also called for more sharing of wealth among people and nations to narrow the gap between the rich and poor.

“The grave financial and economic crises of the present time . . . have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness, and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy,” he said. “The succession of economic crises should lead too a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles.”

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Francis, who was named Time magazine‘s Person of the Year on Wednesday, has urged his own Church to be more fair, frugal, and less pompous and to be closer to the poor and suffering.

His message will be sent to national leaders, international organizations such as the United Nations, and nongovernmental organizations.

Titled “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace,” the message also attacked injustice, human trafficking, organized crime, and the weapons trade as obstacles to peace.

The new Pope’s style is characterized by frugality. He shunned the spacious papal apartment in the Vatican‘s Apostolic Palace to live in a small suite in a Vatican guest house, and he prefers a Ford Focus to the traditional pope’s Mercedes.

A champion of the downtrodden, he visited the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy in July to pay tribute to hundreds of migrants who had died crossing the sea from North Africa.

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© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


“Take Up and Read”.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Romans 13:14

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Romans 13:11-14 ( )

Augustine of Hippo was born in North Africa to a pagan father and a devout mother. He grew up a prodigal who reveled in drunkenness, lewdness, and lust, but his mother kept praying for him. One day as Augustine sat in a garden, he overheard a voice chanting, “Take up and read!” Picking up a Bible, he opened it to Romans 13. As he read that page — especially verse 14 — a light streamed into his heart and, as he later said, all the darkness of doubt fled away. Augustine went on to become one of the greatest thinkers in Church history.

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It’s remarkable how Bible verses become shafts of light to illumine the darkness of our souls, and then afterward they illumine the footsteps of our ways. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word  is  a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Any good work arising from our commitment to the Word of God brings honor to the Lord and overcomes the attacks of the enemy. Let’s constantly “take up and read” the Bible, resolved to always walk in its light.

2 Corinthians 10-13

By David Jeremiah.

LIGNET: Evolving Al-Qaeda More Dangerous Than Ever.

Image: LIGNET: Evolving Al-Qaeda More Dangerous Than Ever

Since the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, al-Qaeda has decentralized and improved its financing methods, attack approaches and communication techniques. It is now, under the leadership of Ayman al-Zawahiri, a more dangerous terrorist organization than it was before 9/11, responsible for four times as many terrorist attacks and intent on creating an Islamic caliphate that will rule over the entire Middle East, North Africa, and parts of south Asia.

Click here to read the full report from top intelligence experts at

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Obama on Threats: ‘We Don’t Get Terrorized’.

President Barack Obama says security threats will never lead the U.S. to retreat from the world. He says Americans don’t get terrorized.

Obama was responding Wednesday to new threats from al-Qaida (al-KAH’-ee-duh) that led the U.S. to close 19 diplomatic outposts and evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Yemen.

Obama said it’s a complicated time for the U.S. military. He said there have been big changes, especially in the Middle East and in North Africa.

Obama said the U.S. will remain, in his words, “the greatest force for freedom the world has ever known.” He said the military is an integral part of that mission. But he said the U.S. must also lead with its ideals and values.

Obama was speaking to troops and their families at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rivers Crisis: PENGASSAN Threatens To Withdraw Members.

Comrade Babatunde Ogun
By SaharaReporters, New York

Following the violent actions of some members of the Rivers State House of Assembly this week and the counter-reaction of others, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has threatened to withdraw its members from Rivers State if the politicians cannot conduct themselves in a manner befitting their status.

Speaking on behalf of the union, PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun said it shows that political leaders in the country lack respect for the constitution and lack elementary democratic decorum.

Besides, he said, the state of fear that now prevails in Rivers is a threat to the lives and safety of oil and gas workers and the entire industry

Condemning the violence, the union pointed out that it could lead to the breakdown of law and order that will affect not only the state but spread to other parts of the country.

“The events in recent times are strong indications that the government may not be able to guarantee the security and protection of lives and properties of our people. In that wise, we cannot continue to risk the lives of our members and may have to withdraw them until when the situation is under control,” it threatened.

Comrade Ogun stated that the actions of the parties in the crisis have shown that political leaders only seek office in their personal interest, stressing that the public interest supersedes and is superior to individual interests.

He expressed the view that those trying to subvert Nigeria’s nascent democracy are some of those who never fought for it, saying, “Many people, especially labour leaders laid down their lives for this democracy to be in place. Many of us were incarcerated during the struggle to attain this democracy.”

The union president urged all parties and individuals involved in the fracas to pursue the path of peace and reconcile their differences, adding that they should take cognizance of the root causes of the North Africa and Middle East crises.

“If we dismiss the events in Rivers State, then we should know that what happened in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya can equally come to play in Rivers and Nigeria as a whole,” he said.

New Pope’s First Encyclical on Faith Carries Benedict’s Influence.

Pope Francis issued his first encyclical on Friday with a message on the importance of Christian faith that showed he plans no radical departure from the doctrinal stance of his predecessor Benedict.

“Lumen Fidei” (Light of Faith) was originally intended to form part of a series by Benedict on the theological virtues, following earlier encyclicals on love and hope, but was not completed by the time of his surprise resignation in February.

An encyclical is a letter to bishops and the faithful laying out a pope’s views on doctrinal or other matters.

In the 82-page document, Francis stressed the role of the Christian faith as a defense against the “massive amnesia in our contemporary world” caused by excessive trust in technology and the “subjective truths of the individual”.

“When faith is weakened, the foundations of humanity also risk being weakened,” he said, in a text issued three days before he visits Lampedusa, a tiny island south of Sicily which thousands of desperate migrants from North Africa have died trying to reach.

Francis, the first Latin American pope, has struck a more friendly, down-to-earth tone than his cerebral German predecessor, refusing to occupy the sumptuous papal apartments and shunning many of the ceremonial trappings in which Benedict appeared to revel.

The encyclical comes as the Church faces fresh turmoil over the scandal-ridden Vatican bank following the arrest of a senior cleric and the resignation of two of the top managers of the bank, known formally as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

The new pope has already appointed a commission of inquiry to get to grips with the problems at the IOR. Cleaning up an institution notorious for its lack of transparency will be one of his thorniest challenges.

The encyclical outlines many positions familiar from Benedict’s reign, stressing the Church’s role in guiding and shaping belief and addressing the “crisis of truth in our age”.

“I have taken up his (Benedict’s) fine work and added a few contributions of my own,” Francis wrote.

“In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology: truth is what we succeed in building and measuring,” he said, adding that “at the other end of the scale we are willing to allow for subjective truths of the individual”.

“In the end, what we are left with is relativism.”

Francis restated the Church’s position on marriage as “the stable union of man and woman” but made no direct comment on the issue of homosexual unions, which has caused deep divisions in countries including France and the United States.

He said faith should encourage greater respect for nature, “a grammar written by the hand of God and a dwelling place entrusted to our protection and care,” and said it should also not make people forget the sufferings of the world.

Francis has repeatedly emphasised the importance of helping the poor and dispossessed, underlined by the choice of Lampedusa for his first visit outside Rome.

During the visit he will drop a wreath in the sea in memory of the thousands of migrants who have died on the perilous crossing from North Africa in flimsy and overloaded craft.

He will also visit the reception centre, which is the first stopping place for many when they arrive.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Pope Chooses Immigrant-Flooded Island for First Trip.

Pope Francis has chosen the southern Italian island of Lampedusa for his first trip outside Rome, to show solidarity with tens of thousands of refugees who each year brave a perilous journey there in flimsy boats, the Vatican said on Monday.

The small island, Italy‘s southernmost point, is the conduit for mostly African immigrants fleeing conflict or economic hardship in order to enter the European Union.

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The Vatican said Francis was “profoundly touched” by the flood of immigration, and will throw a wreath of flowers into the sea in memory of the many who have drowned in waters off the island during the visit on July 8.

The pontiff will also meet groups of immigrants who have made the crossing and will celebrate a mass in a sports centre on the island.

A holding centre on the island built to hold 380 has long been overwhelmed, and the island’s predicament has become a symbol in Europe and Italy for those who see immigration as out of control.

Lampedusa’s regular population of about 6,000 has often been outnumbered by migrants sleeping in improvised tent encampments dotted around the island, which in normal times lives from fishing and tourism.

Over 50,000 people arrived there in a surge caused by unrest in North Africa in 2011, and recent good weather has caused another increase in the hundreds arriving each week as it allows a less risky crossing.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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