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Vatican joins global criticism of U.S.’ U-turn on Israeli settlements

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Vatican joins global criticism of U.S.’ U-turn on Israeli settlements

The Vatican on Thursday added its voice to the global chorus of criticism of the U.S. decision to no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.


A statement pointed to the U.S. stance by referring to “recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the already fragile regional stability.”

In that context, “the Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict,” the statement said.

It added: “The Holy See supports the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security within the borders recognised by the international community and supports the same right that belongs to the Palestinian people, which must be recognised, respected and implemented.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the change in policy on Monday, one of several pro-Israel moves by the Trump administration, including the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognition of Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

There are more than 600,000 Israelis living in more than 200 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

With the expansion of settlements, Palestinians see the chances of finding a two-state solution dimming, as they want these areas for a future state.

(Edited by Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN))

Fatima Sule: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Vatican, Italy resume public church services as lockdown eases

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Pope Francis on Monday inaugurated the full reopening of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and Catholic churches across Italy as he held public Masses for the first time in two months.
The inauguration was the latest move in easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Francis said a private Mass in a side chapel where St. John Paul II is buried to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the late Polish pope’s birth.
John Paul II was made a saint in 2014.
The basilica, which on Friday underwent a sanitising process to make it as coronavirus-free as possible, later opened to the public for Masses by priests on other side altars after the pope had left.
Signs in English and Italian told those entering that they had to keep at least 1.5 metres (five feet) apart, wear masks and sanitise their hands.
Italy’s churches are holding Masses under strict new guidelines worked out between the country’s bishops and government.
“The faithful will have to wear masks. Priests can celebrate most of the Mass without masks however they will have to wear one, as well as gloves, when they distribute the communion wafer.
“The wafer is to be placed in the hand, not the mouth,’’ the Vatican said.
On Sunday the pope urged Italians to observe the new norms “in order to protect each other’s health and the health of the people”.
According to an Italian reporter inside the basilica, at least one priest at a side altar did not wear gloves or a mask while giving communion.
The few worshippers entering the basilica had their temperatures taken with a scanner before being channelled into a zig-zag waiting pattern with distancing markers taped to the ground.
Inside, the bronze statue of St. Peter, whose right toes are worn down by centuries of kissing or touching by pilgrims, was roped off so they could not continue the tradition.
With few tourists currently visiting the Italian capital, some Romans saw it as an opportunity to reclaim a church they consider theirs and which many usually avoid because of the large crowds.
“Coming here was a unique opportunity. It was surreal and with the number of visitors at a minimum, the basilica was more wonderful than ever,” Pietro Muratori said.
The Vatican has not yet announced when the pope will conduct a public Mass from the main altar.
His services since early March have been held in an almost empty chapel in his residence and streamed live on the internet or on television.


Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Vatican, Italy start return to religious normal as public Masses resume

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Pope Francis inaugurated the full reopening of St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday and Catholic churches held public Masses for the first time in two months in the latest easing of Italy’s coronavirus restrictions.


Francis said a private Mass in a side chapel where St. John Paul II is buried to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the late Polish pope’s birth.

The basilica, which on Friday underwent a sanitising to make it as cornavirus-free as possible, later opened to the public for Masses by priests on other side altars after the pope had left.

Signs in English and Italian told those entering that they had to keep at least 1.5 metres (five feet) apart, wear masks and sanitise their hands.

Churches throughout Italy began holding Masses under strict new guidelines worked out between the country’s bishops and government.

The faithful will have to wear masks. Priests can celebrate most of the Mass without masks but they will have to wear one, as well as gloves, when they distribute the communion wafer.

The communion is to be given in the hand and not the mouth.

On Sunday, the pope urged Italians to observe the new norms “in order to defend each other’s health and the health of the people.”

But, according to an Italian reporter inside the basilica on Monday morning, at least one priest at a side altar did not wear gloves or a mask while giving communion.

Technically, St. Peter’s has remained open during the Italian lockdown which began in early March, although only for private prayer.

Only very few people have entered because of increased security to avoid gatherings in the square outside.

The Vatican has not yet announced when the pope will say a Mass from the main altar before the public.

His services since early March have been held in an almost empty chapel in his residence and streamed live on the internet or on television.

The Vatican has said that when St. Peter’s opened for large Masses on Sundays and holy days, thermal scanners would be used to check the temperatures of those going inside. (NAN/dpa)

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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International Human Rights Day: U.S. Consulate urges empowerment of local leaders empowerment to protect citizens rights

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The Consul General of the U.S. in Lagos, Claire Pierangelo, says it is imperative to empower and encourage local leaders in order to protect citizens rights.


The Consul General made this remark on Tuesday at the 2019 Human Rights Conference held at the U.S. Consulate in Lagos in commemoration of the International Human Rights Day.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the day is set aside to celebrate the December 10, 1948 adoption by the UN General Assembly of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to Pierangelo, international days are occasions to educate the public on topical issues, mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate achievements of humanity.  

Discussions at the conference revolved around the importance of human rights to peace and development in Nigeria and the role of state governments in promoting and protecting human rights.  

The Consul General said that the U.S. government champions human rights because when rights are protected, countries are stronger, more stable, and more prosperous.  

“As a demonstration of our commitment, every year, the State Department has produced the Human Rights Report to document and evaluate the human rights situation in almost every country.

“Over the years, this report has identified human rights violations and pushed governments to protect and respect the rights of people, and where violations occur, to hold those responsible accountable,” she said.

Pierangelo said that some of the issues documented in Nigeria over the years included substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; unlawful and arbitrary killings; and lack of accountability concerning violence against women, amongst other issues.

“We hope that our reports will continue to cause oppressive regimes to honor human rights in places where those voices are often silenced.”

She added that the U.S. had a strong bilateral relationship with Nigeria and will continue to work with the government to strengthen her democratic institutions.

“Promoting and protecting human rights is everyone’s responsibility.  

“Let us do our part in making sure that Nigeria is a country where people are free to exercise their rights without repercussion,” Pierangelo said.

Edited by: Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)
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Khashoggi murder: U.S. bars former Saudi diplomat in Turkey from entering U.S.

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The U.S. on Tuesday barred from entering the country Mohammed al Otaibi, who served as the Saudi consul general in Istanbul when Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in his consulate in 2018, the State Department said.


“The murder of Khashoggi was a heinous, unacceptable crime,” the Department said in a statement.

The statement added that it continued to urge the Saudi government to conduct a “full, fair and transparent” trial to hold accountable those responsible for the journalist’s death.

Khashoggi was a U.S. resident and a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and his killing inside the Saudi consulate caused a global uproar, tarnishing the crown prince’s image.

The CIA and some Western governments have said they believe Prince Mohammed ordered the killing, but Saudi officials say he had no role.

Eleven Saudi suspects have been put on trial over his death in secretive proceedings in Riyadh.

President Donald Trump has expressed doubts about the CIA assessment and argued that Washington must not risk its alliance with Riyadh, the cornerstone of U.S. security policy in the Gulf and regarded as a regional counterweight to Iran.

Otaibi previously was the subject of a U.S. asset freeze for his alleged role in Khashoggi’s murder.

Edited by: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)
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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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