20 International News

posted Feb 20, 2019, 8:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 8:41 AM ]

VATICAN
Vatican teams up with Microsoft on AI ethics

The Vatican says it is teaming up with Microsoft on an academic prize to promote ethics in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Pope Francis met privately on Feb 13 with Microsoft President Brad Smith and the head of a Vatican scientific office that promotes the Catholic Church position on human life.

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February 12, 1931 - the day Vatican Radio was born

Vatican Radio, which is the Pope's radio, was officially inaugurated on February 12, 1931, with Pope Pius XI delivering the first ever radio message by a Pope. That was two years and a day after the birth of Vatican City State on February 11, 1929, following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy. Just four days after the creation of Vatican City, Pope Pius XI officially commissioned the famous Italian-born radio pioneer, Guglielmo Marconi, to build the radio station inside the new state. The first signal that was sent out from Vatican Radio on Feb. 12, 1931, was however in Morse code. A technician typed the words, "In nomine Domini, Amen", Latin for 'In the Name of the Lord, Amen!'

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McCarrick laicized by Pope Francis

Pope Francis and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered last week, the laicization of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington.

Once a powerful figure in ecclesiastical, diplomatic and political circles in the U.S. and around the world, McCarrick, 88, is now removed from the clerical state. He was publicly accused last year of sexually abusing at least two adolescent boys, and of engaging for decades in coercive sexual behaviour towards priests and seminarians.

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PAKISTAN
Cardinal Cordeiro's 25th death anniversary observed

The 25th death anniversary of His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Cordeiro, was observed in due solemnity at an outdoor Mass in front of the Grotto in the premises of St Patrick's Cathedral. His Eminence is buried in the forecourt of the Grotto. The main celebrant was His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Coutts.

After the Mass, a 'Remembrance dinner' was hosted by Mr and Mrs Valentine (Vallie) Gonsalves in the Cathedral garden for the hierarchy, priests, nuns and prominent members of the community. Senator Anwar Lal Din of the Senate of Pakistan also attended the function.

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New demands for release of death-row Christian accused of blasphemy

Like Asia Bibi, Sawan Masih was sentenced to death – despite problems with the testimony against him. Campaigners calling for the release of a Pakistani Christian on death row for blasphemy have made renewed pleas for his conviction to be quashed.

Sobia Masih – wife of condemned man Sawan Masih – told Catholic charity 'Aid to the Church in Need' that her husband was unjustly sentenced to death in March 2014, after a Muslim man, Shahid Imran, claimed that he had insulted the Prophet Mohammed. Mrs Masih said: "I don't know why they have accused my husband. I just know that the man who brought charges against him was a friend of his with whom he had quarrelled. Sawan is innocent!"

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PHILIPPINES
Filipinos march to express concern over 'threats to life'

Thousands of Catholics took to the streets of several major cities across the Philippines on Feb. 16 for the third annual 'Walk for Life' March to voice concerns over threats to life. Organisers called the event "an act of solidarity to uphold the dignity of life" that was prompted by "local and global developments." Among issues raised were drug-related killings in the Philippines, the recent bombings at a church and a mosque in Mindanao, and the proposed re-imposition of the death penalty, among others.

"This walk is for the life of every person who has been a victim of a culture of death," read a statement from the Council of the Laity and the Episcopal Commission on the Laity of the bishops' conference. They called on people to "discern and expose deceptive ideologies and actions that seek to destroy life." The Church groups also "condemned" the influx of Chinese workers in the country, abortion "in all its forms", the "systematic pillage" of natural resources, the "poor implementation" of genuine land reform, among other social issues.

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