France intervenes in Mali's civil war, Vatican officials criticise European Court of Human Rights and dodgy British beef burgers.
by A. Tayyaba
France has sent troops into Mali in response to the activities of Al Qaida linked rebels. Northern Mali is said to have become a haven for Jihadists and it is estimated that hundreds of children, some as young as 12 have been recruited to Islamist ranks. The move by France has increased tensions in the region with one sympathetic Al Qaida linked group taking hostage BP workers in a gas plant in Algeria. The Algerian group are demanding the release of two terror figures held in the US, and have taken over 600 Algerian and multinational workers at a BP Gas plant in Amenas in Algeria hostage.
The crisis involved fighting between the militants and the Algerian army and is said to have now come to a bloody end. Already confirmed are the deaths of around 12 workers including one British worker, an American and a French worker. 18 militants have also been reportedly killed and freed hostages are beginning to return home. It has also been reported that the hostage raid was in retaliation for the French attacks on rebels in Mali.
Vatican’s Foreign Minister criticises European Court Rulings
In what has been described as a landmark ruling, the European Court of Human Rights rejected three out of four appeals by Christians who had been fired or disciplined by their employers due to their behaviour relating to religious beliefs. Two cases involved wearing of crucifixes at work, one of which was upheld and the other two related to providing services to gay people. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti the Vatican’s Foreign Minister, defended the right of people to freedom of conscience on morally controversial issues. He said that the role of the Catholic Church was to ‘defend individual freedoms of conscience and religion in all circumstances, even in the face of the 'dictatorship of relativism.’
Sunni Protests in Iraq
Protests continued in Sunni areas of Iraq for the fourth Friday in a row over perceived second class treatment by the Shia led government. Sectarian tensions have caused violence in the last few years, with Sunni militants targeting Shias or security forces in an attempt to undermine government authority. One demand to free prisoners, has led to the government freeing hundreds of prison inmates with a promise of more to come, as a concession to the Sunni population.
Jewish Manuscripts in Russia
A US court has given a ruling fining Russia $50,000 a day for holding onto tens of thousands of Jewish books and manuscripts, said to be stolen from the Jews during the Russian Revolution and World War II. Russia strongly protested the decision and refused to hand the books over, which are kept at the Russian State Library and the Russian military archive. Although public access and a prayer room have been granted to pilgrims wishing to view the 12000 book collection and 25000 pages of handwritten religious teachings, the wrangle over the books, which has gone on for decades, is set to continue.
Boko Haram Terrorists captured in Nigeria
Ibrahim Muhammad, 18, and Muhammad Ibrahim Idrees, 50, have been arrested this week in Kaduna on suspicion of masterminding a double suicide car bombing on a military church resulting in at least 15 deaths and 30 people injured late last year. They are believed to be members of Boko Haram, a militant group aiming to enforce Islamic Sharia in multi religious Nigeria, and is responsible for hundreds of deaths last year.
Beef burgers reveal Pork and Horsemeat content in UK Supermarkets
This week saw disturbing revelations that supermarkets in the UK were selling beef burgers and beef products which contained both pig DNA and horse DNA. One type of burger contained 29% horsemeat and 85% of beef burgers tested contained pig DNA. An investigation has been launched into the findings by the Food Standards Agency. Some religious groups, such as Jewish groups and Muslim groups, are allowed to eat beef but not pork and may be left particularly upset with the presence of pig in their meat. @TayyabaNoor02