Global Issues

Lilly Fowler 06-19-2012
RNS photo courtesy St. Mary & St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church

Rev. Joseph Boules performs a service at St. Mary & St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church in Anaheim, Calif. RNS photo

The fate of Copts looks as tenuous as ever as Egyptians struggle to determine who won this weekend's first-ever democratic presidential elections. Presented with what many saw as a lose-lose proposition, Egyptians had a choice between Ahmed Shafiq, former prime minister of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, or Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who many fear will turn the country into an Islamic state.

Though final results are not yet in, the Muslim Brotherhood has projected its candidate as the winner. Within hours, Egypt’s military caretaker government, which is seen as sympathetic to Mubarak's old regime, issued an interim constitution that granted itself broad power.

Carl Moeller, who leads the Southern California-based Open Doors USA, an organization that works with persecuted Christians worldwide, estimates that approximately 100,000 Coptic Christians abandoned the country for the U.S. or Europe last year following the turbulence of the Arab Spring and attacks on Coptic churches.

RNS photo courtesy T.J. Foltz

Humankind Water, RNS photo courtesy T.J. Foltz

T.J. Foltz has a recipe to help the world's poor: Take one part entrepreneurship, one part social media savvy and one part faith-based motivation. Fold in the world's largest retailer.

Then add water.

If every American spent $10 per year on his Humankind Water — less than they spend on Halloween candy — it would be enough to nearly eradicate the world's water sanitation problems, Foltz says.

Foltz, a former Christian youth minister, put out his first bottle of Humankind Water last October. The idea is to sell bottled water in a socially conscious way, with 100 percent of net profits going to fund clean-water projects in Haiti, Asia and Africa.

Adriana Janovich 06-13-2012
Child and mother illustration, no cameraz / Shutterstock.com

Child and mother illustration, no cameraz / Shutterstock.com

When Becky Morlock was asked to adopt a son from India, she said a prayer. Then she hired a lawyer.

More than four years and a long legal battle later, the one-time missionary has returned to the U.S. as a mom with her son Kyle, who was given to her as a newborn. He was just two days old when his birth mother surrendered him as she was discharged from a hospital in the foothills of the Himalayas.     

That was the only time Kyle's two mothers met, and their meeting likely saved his life. It also tested adoption laws in two countries half a world apart.

International adoptions have become more difficult and less frequent with tightening laws aimed to curb child trafficking and adoption fraud. In the last eight years, numbers have dropped from a high of 22,991 in 2004 to 9,319 last year, according the U.S. State Department.

QR Blog Editor 06-11-2012

From The Associated Press:

"As many as 100 people are feared dead in an earthquake and landslide that buried more than 20 houses in northern Afghanistan on Monday, officials said.

Rescuers have so far pulled two women's bodies from the rubble of the landslide in Baghlan province, said provincial Gov. Abdul Majid. The U.N. confirmed one other death and said houses were destroyed across five districts.
 
A massive landslide of mud and rocks buried houses so deep in the remote mountain village of Sayi Hazara that rescuers gave up trying to use shovels to dig through the buried buildings, said Jawed Basharat, a spokesman for the provincial police chief who was part of a team that examined the village after the slide. There were no visible signs of the buildings underneath."
 
Read more on this story here
Chris Lisee 06-07-2012

A group of Episcopal bishops is asking President Obama to help assure that a United Nations agency continues to support a diocese-run hospital in the Gaza Strip.

In a June 6 letter, the 102 bishops ask the president to support funding for Al Ahli Hospital from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The letter asserts funding was cut off in May, though an UNRWA official said a final decision has not been made.

The hospital, run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, “is the only facility of its sort in the Gaza Strip that is not run by the Hamas government and as such, it is able to provide care without any outside interference or political calculation,” the letter states.

 

Lawsuits help corporations run roughshod over governments and the environment.

Lynne Hybels 06-01-2012

Few people I know believe peace in the Holy Land is really possible—unless it begins with Israeli and Palestinian Christians.

QR Blog Editor 05-30-2012

Julian Pecquet reports for The Hill:

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he was “encouraged” by the progress being made and “heartened” by U.S. development investments in LRA-affected communities in northern Uganda. Coons is the sponsor of a bipartisan resolution condemning the crimes against humanity committed by the LRA and supporting ongoing U.S. and regional efforts to capture or kill Kony.

 
Learn more here
 
the Web Editors 05-25-2012

In a new photo series called “A World Journey,” photographer Jim Stipe documents the people that have made an impact on his travels. Particularly in low income countries, Jim exposes the faces and lives that have meant something to him as he journeyed through foreign lands.

On the first slide of his new series, his statement reads:

“I’ve had the privilege of traveling to many countries around the world, sometimes for fun, other times for photo assignments, almost always in low-income countries. Time and again what strikes me most is the strength and dignity of people who often suffer great hardship. This small collection of photos gives you a glimpse of the amazing people I’ve met.”  

Take a minute to reflect on some remarkable, beautiful images of the world’s people.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE E-BOOK.

QR Blog Editor 05-17-2012

For Time Magazine, Jay Newton-Small reports on the upcoming G8 summit:

Not since the oil shocks that first brought the world’s superpowers together in 1974–back then they called themselves the “Library Group” because they met in the White House library–has the G8 had so much substantive business on a summit agenda. In recent years, world leaders have mostly just tried to to out-do one another with pledges of development assistance, leading to stories like this one from my colleague Massimo Calabresi, that questioned the usefulness of the annual summit.

Read more about the summit here

QR Blog Editor 05-10-2012

For The Atlantic, scholar Michael Fullilove on China's poor human rights record and why it matters:

"China's mixed human rights record is not just bad for its citizens. It is a strategic weakness that complicates its foreign relations and diminishes its soft power. The state's harsh treatment of individuals and minorities regularly disrupts its bilateral relationships. Evidence of internal repression disillusions China's friends and increases the wariness of its neighbors. The human rights issue is a pebble in China's shoe, and the country may never hit its full stride unless it is removed."

Read the full article here

QR Blog Editor 05-02-2012

From Agence France-Presse late last night:

The soldiers who staged a coup in Mali in March said they had defeated a counter-coup by foreign-backed forces loyal to the ousted president in fighting that left 14 people dead. They called the attack by paratroopers an attempt at a targeted killing of coup leader Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, but insisted that the turmoil would not affect the rule by an interim civilian government.
 
Read the story in full here
Dengue fever info-text. Via mrfiza / Shutterstock

Dengue fever info-text. Via mrfiza / Shutterstock

When I moved to Washington, D.C., I—like perhaps most other 20-somethings—imagined this place as a hub of both political thought and non-profit zeal; the coexistence of both worlds, all to change society. Lofty ideals, right? Perhaps.

Ideal, meet the venue Busboys and Poets plus friends and co-laborers in the fight for justice: Faiths Act, ONE, Malaria No More, and the 9/11 Unity Walk. Last night, a handful of musicians and spoken-word artists united in faith and activism under a common cause: World Malaria Day concert for Sierra Leone.

A U.S. church delegation this winter discovered a Cuba at the crossroads of change.

Annalisa Musarra 04-20-2012
L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI meets with former Cuban President Fidel Castro llast month. L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images

Following Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to Cuba, U.S. Catholic bishops are pushing the State Department to lift the 50-year Cuban embargo in order to improve religious liberty and human rights for the Cuban people. 

In a Tuesday (April 17) letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, the chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, pressed the Obama administration to pursue “purposeful engagement rather than ineffective isolation” with Havana.

Group of a nuns walking, SVLuma/Shutterstock.com

Group of a nuns walking, SVLuma/Shutterstock.com

The Vatican has launched a crackdown on the umbrella group that represents most of America's 55,000 Catholic nuns, saying that the group was not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women’s ordination.

Rome also chided the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for sponsoring conferences that featured “a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

The Vatican’s disciplinary action against the LCWR was announced on Wednesday (April 18), one day before Pope Benedict XVI marked seven years as pontiff.

Annalisa Musarra 04-18-2012
Tony Magdaraog/Shutterstock.com

Devotees celebrate the feast of The Black Nazarene in Manila, Philippines. Tony Magdaraog/Shutterstock.com

Belief in God is slowly declining in most countries around the world, according to a new poll, but the truest of the true believers can still be found in developing countries and Catholic societies.

The “Beliefs about God Across Time and Countries” report, released Wednesday (April 18) by researchers at the University of Chicago, found the Philippines to be the country with the highest belief, where 94 percent of Filipinos said they were strong believers who had always believed.

At the opposite end, at just 13 percent, was the former East Germany.

Elizabeth Palmberg 04-13-2012
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama disembarks from Marine One, en route to Cartegena, Colombia. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Whatever President Obama does at the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia this weekend may not be front-page news in the U.S—but for many Colombians trying to make an honest living in their homeland, it could just be Obama's "Mission Accomplished" banner moment.

President George W. Bush's May 2003 speech in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" sign was, to put it mildly, a premature declaration of triumph in the U.S. war with Iraq, an enterprise that was a bad idea in the first place. In Cartagena this weekend, word is that Obama may declare that, after one year of a promised four-year plan, Colombia has met its commitments to crack down on offenses against Colombian workers' rights and lives.

the Web Editors 04-02-2012

Our friends at the ONE Campaign took traditional April 1 tomfoolery and turned it on its head with the new video "I Predict," that uses humor to drive home a stone-cold sober reality: Within three years, we may very well witness the beginning of the end of AIDS worldwide.

Alessandro Speciale 03-28-2012
JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI waves after celebrating a mass at Revolution Square in Havana on March 28. JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI ended his three-day visit to Cuba on Wednesday (March 28) with an appeal for more religious freedom for the Catholic Church, ahead of a highly anticipated meeting with the island's historic leader, Fidel Castro.

And while he stopped short of openly criticizing the island's communist regime during the trip, Benedict nonetheless said Cuba needed "change" and a "renewed and open society."

The pope celebrated Mass on Wednesday in Havana's Revolution Square for about 300,000 people, according to the Vatican's top spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Cuban President Raul Castro was in attendance and joined in the crowd's applause when the pope entered the stage.

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