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20 Aug

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

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‘We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them’: Pope condemns cover-ups within church

Press Association

The McGlynn: “Francis did not, however, provide any indication of what concrete measures he is prepared to take to sanction those bishops – in the US and beyond – who covered up for sexually abusive priests.”

Words Words Words = BULLSHIT.

Pope Francis has issued an unprecedented letter to Catholics around the world condemning the “crime” of sexual abuse by priests and subsequent cover-ups.

Pope Francis demanded accountability in response to new revelations in the United States of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church.

The Pope begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse and cover-ups.

He attacked the self-referential clerical culture that has been blamed for the abuse crisis, with church leaders more concerned for their reputation than the safety of children.

Francis wrote: “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”

The Vatican issued the letter today, ahead of Pope Francis’ trip this weekend to Ireland.

In the three-page letter, Francis wrote: “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.”

The church’s credibility has been damaged in Ireland by years of revelations that priests raped and molested children with impunity and their superiors covered up for them.

Sex abuse within the church was always expected to dominate the trip, but the issue has taken on new gravity following revelations in the US that one of Francis’ trusted cardinals, the retired archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick, allegedly sexually abused and harassed minors as well as adult seminarians.

In addition, a US grand jury report in Pennsylvania last week reported that at least 1,000 children were victims of some 300 priests over the past 70 years, and that generations of bishops failed repeatedly to take measures to protect their flock or punish the rapists.

In the letter, which was issued in seven languages and addressed to the “People of God”, Francis referenced the Pennsylvania report, acknowledged that no effort to beg forgiveness of the victims will be sufficient, and vowed: “Never again.”

He said, looking to the future, “no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated”.

Francis did not, however, provide any indication of what concrete measures he is prepared to take to sanction those bishops – in the US and beyond – who covered up for sexually abusive priests.

Francis several years ago scrapped a proposed Vatican tribunal to prosecute negligent bishops, and he has refused to act on credible reports from around the world of bishops who have failed to report abusers to police or otherwise botched handling cases, and yet remain in office.

In Chile, where a church sex abuse scandal exploded earlier this year, Francis strong-armed the 31 active bishops to offer to resign en masse over their handling of abuse. So far he has accepted five of their resignations.

Unlike the US bishops’ conference, which has referred only to “sins and omissions” in their handling of abuse, Francis labelled the misconduct “crimes”.

The Pope wrote: “Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others.

“An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

Francis several years ago scrapped a proposed Vatican tribunal to prosecute negligent bishops, and he has refused to act on credible reports from around the world of bishops who have failed to report abusers to police or otherwise botched handling cases, and yet remain in office.

In Chile, where a church sex abuse scandal exploded earlier this year, Francis strong-armed the 31 active bishops to offer to resign en masse over their handling of abuse. So far he has accepted five of their resignations.

Unlike the US bishops’ conference, which has referred only to “sins and omissions” in their handling of abuse, Francis labelled the misconduct “crimes”.

The Pope wrote: “Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others.

“An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

A State of Deep Suffering in Venezuela’s Hospitals

Venezuela has the largest known oil reserves in the world, but under the leadership of Nicolas Maduro, its hospitals lack equipment, medicines, food, anesthetics and even pens. The doctors who remain face a daily struggle to treat patients with little more than hope.

Photo Gallery: A Lack of Equipment, Food and Medicines

Photos Meridith Kohut / DER SPIEGEL

Little Joniel Briceño is much too small and too light for life. He’s eight months old and weighs 5 kilograms (11 pounds), little more than many newborns. His mother has carried him here from their small village. It involved two hours of walking to the bus stop with her son in her arm and then a two-hour ride with the bus. Now, Joniel is here, in bed number two, under a Donald Duck decal that someone adhered to the wall.

Joniel isn’t the only kid with an emaciated face, swollen legs and distended belly in the emergency room of the children’s department of the Dr. Luis Razetti de Barcelona University Hospital in Barcelona, a large city located about 300 kilometers (200 miles) east of the capital of Caracas. The doctors and nurses call the department “Africa.” Nowhere is the desperate situation the country finds itself in more clearly visible than in its hospitals.

Venezuela, the country with the largest known oil reserves in the world, is bankrupt. It once was one of the richest nations on the continent, but now the people are starving, especially in the interior of the country. The economy collapsed in 2014, and now there are regular protests and riots because stores lack food and everyday items like toilet paper and detergent. Armed guards stand at the entryways of supermarkets, and the annual inflation rate of 42,000 percent is eating up people’s incomes. The poor are starving, the weak and the sick are dying, youths are joining criminal gangs. Anyone who can afford to is leaving the country.

An Existential Crisis

Former president Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, once made himself popular with the poor by using oil income to finance social programs. The state oil company, however, didn’t have enough money for investment. Corruption and mismanagement thrived. Under Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, the country fell into an existential crisis.

The government provides little money to the hospitals, but won’t allow any aid into the country either. Doing so would make it clear that Maduro’s autocratic government has failed. According to UNICEF, 15 percent of all children in Venezuela are undernourished.

Several of the worst cases come here, to the Razetti university hospital in Barcelona, with 10 beds in the children’s emergency ward. Up to three children are kept in some beds. There are dead cockroaches on the floor, and at night a cat saunters through the rundown rooms, which lack everything — blood glucose test strips, nutrient solutions, antibiotics and anesthetics.

In earlier days, the hospital had been an exemplary clinic, responsible for the entire eastern part of the country. Patients even come here from the Amazon region and the capital. The main building is nine stories high, an imposing red brick structure. “Africa” is located next door, in the children’s hospital. Every day, a dozen children are brought here, and one child dies almost daily. It’s here where little Jionel is now fighting for his life.

His mother, Yeriyoli Pérez, 25, a young woman with eyes that make her look much older and who weighs 39 kilograms (85 pounds) after losing 16 kilograms in the last six months, stands next to his bed. Her T-shirt flaps around her gaunt body. She mostly feeds herself and her son with corn. Her breastmilk has run dry. “We eat what we can get,” she says quietly. The doctors have recommended meat and milk products, but who can afford them?

Pérez only has 1 million bolívars per month at her disposal, the equivalent of one euro. She has no work and no money for anything, including baby food. One can of it costs 2 million bolívars — that is, if you can even find it in the supermarket in the first place.

A Clinic That Lacks Everything

They haven’t had any baby formula at Razetti university hospital since January. Sometimes the doctors have even bought food for the patients, one nurse says. “But they barely earn anything themselves,” she says. So, there’s little they can do for Joniel other than hope. And fan away the flies circling above him with a piece of cardboard.

There is nothing left at Razetti university hospital — no medication, no toilet paper, no diapers, nothing for cleaning or disinfecting, no bed linens, not even a pen and paper for the doctors. Loose cables hang from the ceiling in the bathroom, the color is crumbling from the wall, there hasn’t been any water for washing hands for weeks. The X-ray machine is broken, oxygen for the respirators is lacking and the air conditioning can’t be operated. The intensive care unit is out of commission, just like the operating room, because of missing instruments and equipment. Only a monitor that communicates the most important vital signs still works, quietly peeping. One last sign of civilization.

Read Full Article>>

 

Tears as separated North and South Korean families come together briefly – video

Source: Reuters

Eighty-nine North and South Korean families were temporarily reunited on Monday in a tearful meeting on Mount Kumgang, a North Korean tourist resort. Many families we separated after the Korean war in 1953. Reunions are permitted only occasionally by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, but now an ageing generation means the numbers at the meetings are set to decline 

Separated South and North Korean families take part in rare reunions

Rising arctic temperatures mean we face a future of ‘extreme extremes’ where sunny days become heatwaves and rain becomes floods, study says

Rising arctic temperatures have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds, which means pressure fronts are getting stuck and the weather is less able to moderate itself, say researchers.

Rising arctic temperatures have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds, which means pressure fronts are getting stuck and the weather is less able to moderate itself, say researchers. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Summer weather patterns are increasingly likely to stall in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, according to a new climate study that explains why Arctic warming is making heatwaves elsewhere more persistent and dangerous.

Rising temperatures in the Arctic have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds, says the paper, which means high and low pressure fronts are getting stuck and weather is less able to moderate itself.

The authors of the research, published in Nature Communications on Monday, warn this could lead to “very extreme extremes”, which occur when abnormally high temperatures linger for an unusually prolonged period, turning sunny days into heat waves, tinder-dry conditions into wildfires, and rains into floods.

“This summer was where we saw a very strong intensity of heatwaves. It’ll continue and that’s very worrying, especially in the mid-latitudes: the EU, US, Russia and China,” said one of the coauthors, Dim Coumou from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Short-term heatwaves are quite pleasant, but longer term they will have an impact on society. It’ll have an affect on agricultural production. Harvests are already down this year for many products. Heatwaves can also have a devastating impact on human health.”

Circulation stalling has long been a concern of climate scientists, though most previous studies have looked at winter patterns. The new paper reviews research on summer trends, where it says there is mounting evidence of planetary wind systems – both low-level storm tracks and higher waves in the troposphere – losing their ability to shift the weather.

One cause is a weakening of the temperature gradient between the Arctic and Equator as a result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The far north of the Earth is warming two to four times faster than the global average, says the paper, which means there is a declining temperature gap with the central belt of the planet. As this ramp flattens, winds struggle to build up sufficient energy and speed to push around pressure systems in the area between them.

As a result, there is less relief in the form of mild and wet air from the sea when temperatures accumulate on land, and less relief from the land when storms build up in the ocean. Last year, Hurricane Harvey had a devastating impact on Texas because it was parked an unusually long time on the coast, where it kept drawing up moisture from the sea and dumping it in the form of the greatest deluge ever recorded in the US. Scientists had previously noted that hurricanes are slowing and bringing more rain.

A separate new paper in Scientific Reports indicated that the trapping of planetary airstreams – a phenomenon known as amplified quasi-stationary waves – also contributed to the 2016 wildfires in Alberta, which took two months to extinguish and ended as the costliest disaster in Canadian history with total damages reaching 4.7bn Canadian dollars.

“Clearly, the planetary wave pattern wasn’t the only cause for the fire – yet it was an additional important factor triggering a deplorable disaster,” says lead author Vladimir Petoukhov from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “In fact, our analysis reveals that beyond that single event, actually from the 1980s on, planetary waves were a significant factor for wildfire risks in the region.”

He said wave pattern studies will help forest managers and fire forecasters because changes can be detected ahead of their impacts.

However, scientists are also concerned that slowing circulation could produce “surprises”, by amplifying other climate changes.

Read Full Article>>

World Politics

United States

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