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21 Feb

Pope summons bishops to Vatican for summit on clerical sex abuse

VATICAN (WNF) - Pope Francis has summoned the presidents of the more than 100 bishops’ conferences from around the world to the Vatican to a sex abuse prevention summit. He has been criticized for being slow to address a scandal that has become global.
The Atlantic magazine notes that the summit signals that the Vatican finally recognizes clergy sex abuse is a global problem.

At the first of its kind meeting, the focus will be on protecting minors. It is expected that bishops will receive training in identifying abuse, intervening and listening to victims.

From Australian country towns to schools in Ireland and cities across the United States and Germany, the Catholic Church has faced an avalanche of child sexual abuse accusations.

America-Jesuit Review reported in December that Pope Francis has asked the presidents of the Catholics bishops’ conferences in every country to personally meet with victims of sexual abuse by clergy before coming to the February meeting. He feels these personal encounters are of inestimable importance if bishops are to properly understand and respond to the suffering of the victims and the great crisis in the church resulting from the abuse. #22784 Published: 11/05/2018

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24 Feb

Bohemian Rhapsody the movie to beat at Academy Awards?

UNITED STATES (WNF) - Bohemian Rhapsody is proving to be an unexpected powerhouse in the awards season and could walk away with the most Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, which won’t have a host for the first time in 30 years.
The biopic about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury won Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Actor for its star, Rami Malek, at the Golden Globes. The wins have created feverish Oscars buzz for Malek.

It has overtaken one of the top favorites for the Best Picture Oscar, A Star is Born, at the global box office, passing US $600 million in mid January. The buzz about the romantic drama gave Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga a virtual lock on the top acting Oscars until Malek’s star turn.

The Golden Globe and Critics Choice winner, Roma, might elbow both movies off the stage. The Netflix drama highlighting the social strata in Mexico has commanded a robust art house audience since its release in Nov 2018, and has been widely viewed on the global streaming platform.

The Academy often pulls surprises, and Black Panther, First Man, Vice, Mary Poppins Returns, BlacKkKlansman and Green Book are unlikely to walk away from the ceremony empty-handed. Green Book won the Musical or Comedy Golden Globe in January.

The hosting saga surrounding Kevin Hart, who was announced as the 2019 host before quickly becoming embroiled in controversy around his past anti-gay jokes, has left the ceremony without a host for the first time since 1989. He stepped down, and barring last-minute developments, the Academy won’t replace him. #22787 Updated: 01/20/2019 UPDATED JAN 20 TO REFLECT RISE OF BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY PROSPECTS

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24 Feb

European and Arab leaders meet, with refugees top of the agenda

EGYPT (WNF) - The European Union aims to hold a summit with Arab League states in Cairo to solicit help in curbing the wave of refugees from the Middle East. A deal will require a significant EU reciprocal offer as previous proposals to Arab leaders have gone nowhere.
In June, European Council President Donald Tusk proposed that EU leaders create “regional disembarkation platforms” outside the European Union, where officials could quickly differentiate between refugees in need of protection and economic migrants who would potentially face return to their countries of origin. According to Euractiv, which reported the story, the proposal is an effort to break the acute political crisis over migration and asylum that has bedeviled EU leaders since 2015.

The proposal, perhaps with modifications, is certain to be revisited at the February summit. Albania, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria are among nations that have already rejected the proposal.

Reuters reports that Egypt rejected the idea, but praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s intentions to improve the situation in the refugees’ homelands.

An accompanying European proposal that includes powerful financial incentives to potential regional hosts to improve the home situation might break the deadlock. #22930 Published: 12/31/2018

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