Foreign Titbits: Pope Warns Nuns on Use of Social Media

Foreign Titbits: Pope Warns Nuns on Use of Social Media
Pope Francis

The Pope has issued instructions telling nuns to use social media apps “with sobriety and discretion.”

The document, titled Cor Orans, clarifies rules governing monastic life that were issued in 2016.

It says the guidance is intended to safeguard silence and recollection.

The document mentions “social communications” rather than specific apps, but Catholic newspaper the Tablet, said that this referred to Facebook and Twitter among other services.

The document says that discretion should apply to “the quantity of the information and the type of communication,” in addition to the actual content of the media.

An order of nuns in northern Spain made headlines last month after taking to social media to comment on a controversial case in Pamplona that saw a group of men accused of gang rape given what many regarded to be unduly lenient sentences.

On their Facebook page (in Spanish), the Carmelite Nuns of Hondarribia defended the victim by pointing out the free choice they had made to live in a convent, to not drink alcohol or go out at night.

“Because it is a FREE decision, we will defend with all means available to us (and this is one) the right of all women to FREELY do the opposite without being judged, raped, intimidated or humiliated for it,” they added.


Larry Nassar: Michigan State University to pay $500m to abuse victims

Larry Nassar: Michigan State University to pay $500m to abuse victims
Larry Nassar


Michigan State University has agreed to pay $500m (£371m) to gymnasts who were abused by ex-team doctor Larry Nassar.

The deal was announced by a California law firm representing 332 victims of Nassar, who assaulted women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

The deal does not include any non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements, according to a statement from lawyers and the university.

It does not address allegations against other groups for which Nassar worked. It also doesn’t address claims against USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, or the owners of the Texas facility where gymnasts trained, according to a statement from the California law firm of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi in Los Angeles.

According to the lawyers, $425m will be paid to the claimants, and another $75m would be set aside for any future allegations against Nassar, 54, and the university.

The lawyers’ statement did not address how the money will be allocated to each of Nassar’s accusers.


Trump discloses payment to reimburse lawyer

Trump discloses payment to reimburse lawyer


US President Donald Trump has officially disclosed his reimbursement to his lawyer for a payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, to hush her claims of an affair.

The Office of Government Ethics found on Wednesday that Mr. Trump ought to have revealed the payment in his previous financial disclosure.

The filing shows he paid back Michael Cohen for a 2016 expense of between $100,001 (£75,000) and $250,000.

Mr. Trump previously denied knowing of the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.


India calls for ceasefire in Kashmir for holy month of Ramadan

India calls ceasefire in Kashmir for holy month of Ramadan


India has said it will suspend all military operations against rebels in Kashmir during the holy month of Ramadan for the first time in nearly two decades.
The move, which comes after months of intense fighting in the disputed Himalayan region, will “help peace-loving Muslims observe Ramzan [Ramadan] in a peaceful environment”, India’s home ministry said in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

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However, Indian security forces, of which there are an estimated 500,000 in Kashmir, “reserve the right to retaliate if attacked,” the ministry added.

Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of the Kashmir government, said on Wednesday he hoped India’s decision “will create a peaceful and amicable environment for sustained dialogue.”

There was no immediate response from rebel groups.
The move marks the first ceasefire for Ramadan since Indian authorities and Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest rebel group, briefly stopped fighting in 2000.

India and Pakistan both claim the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which has been divided between the two nuclear powers since 1947 across the so-called Line of Control (LoC), in its entirety.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep among Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population, a majority of whom either want the Indian-administered portion to become independent or merge with Pakistan.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the decades-old conflict.


US Senate committee confirms Trump’s pick for CIA chief

US Senate committee confirms Trump's pick for CIA chief
Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


Key US Senate panel has approved President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Gina Haspel, paving the way for her confirmation to lead the spy agency.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 behind closed doors to approve her nomination on Wednesday.

Despite criticism of her ties to the CIA’s former “enhanced interrogation” programme for “terror” suspects in the years after the September 11 attacks, Haspel is expected to become the agency’s first female director.

Senator Richard Burr, the committee’s Republican chairman, said in a statement that Haspel is the best person to lead the CIA, saying she “has acted morally, ethically, and legally” during her career.


Chlorine possibly used in attack in Syria’s Saraqeb

Chlorine possibly used in attack in Syria's Saraqeb


Chlorine was possibly used as a weapon in the rebel-held northern Syrian town of Saraqeb in early February, the international chemical weapons watchdog has said.

A fact-finding mission by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), determined that “chlorine was released from cylinders by mechanical impact in the Al Talil neighbourhood of Saraqeb” on February 4, an OPCW statement said on Wednesday.

The team’s conclusions were based on finding two cylinders, “which were determined as previously containing chlorine.”

In addition, the OPCW said environmental samples had “demonstrated the unusual presence of chlorine in the local environment.”

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