Pope Francis to start first day in Uganda
Pope Francis begins his first full day in Uganda on Saturday — a country whose legal stance against homosexuality does not mirror his message of tolerance.
Francis began, unsurprisingly, on a positive note. “The world is witnessing an unprecedented migration of peoples,” he tweeted. “I want to thank Uganda for its generosity in welcoming refugees.”
Ugandans are expected to gather at a shrine Saturday, where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass for martyrs killed in the l800s for refusing to renounce their faith. In addition, the Pope met privately Friday with Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, according to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. Lombardi said the visit was arranged by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
South Sudan is the world’s youngest country, having gained independence in 2011, and it has been wracked by internal conflict for much of its brief existence. CNN
The yellow metal traded as low as $1,051.60 an ounce on Friday, the cheapest price in nearly 6 years.
Gold prices haven’t been this depressed since February 2010 — before the popular show “Downton Abbey” was even on television — when gold fell under $1,045 an ounce.
This week marked the sixth straight week that gold has lost value. Normally, investors run to buy gold when they are nervous, but that’s not happening now. Recent events such as the stock market sell-off in late August and the Paris terrorist attacks have not halted gold’s fall. CNN
In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, politicians and others are calling for a ban — or at least a delay on the influx of refugees to the United States. Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush have called on the U.S. to accept only Christian Syrian refugees, not Muslims. Presidential candidate Donald Trump goes one step further, saying he would accept none.
Dr. Ahmad Jaber, president of the Arab-American Association of New York and Dawood Mosque, calls such rhetoric unconstitutional. “How dare you say you are not welcoming refugees,” Jaber said. “How dare you say that based on their faith, you are not welcoming them because they are Muslims.”
So far, roughly 2,200 Syrian refugees have arrived on American soil since the start of the Syrian civil war. About 77 percent of them are women and children, according to the U.S. State Department.
Only a handful of Syrians have landed in New York. But Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has called New York “a proud immigrant city,” said the city will not turn its back on those who are persecuted and fleeing war. And he praised New York’s current Muslim population as a crucial ally in the fight against terrorism. VOA
A police officer and two civilians were killed Friday during a five-hour-long shootout with a gunman at a Planned Parenthood healthcare facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Police say they have taken the gunman, identified as 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, into custody, and are now working to make sure he did not leave any explosive devices in the area. There had been lots of shooting but no verbal communication until “officers were able to shout at the individual and get him to surrender” inside the building, said police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley.
Planned Parenthood is controversial because some of its branches perform abortions, although the bulk of its work involves providing family planning services, screenings for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and general health consultations.
In August, about 300 Colorado Springs residents opposed to abortion protested at the Centennial Boulevard clinic as part of a nationwide demonstration over a video that purportedly showed organization employees discussing the sale of fetal tissue. The video has since been discredited. VOA
he Philippines on Saturday took delivery of two Korean-made fighter jets — the country’s first supersonic combat aircraft in a decade — as it strengthens its underfunded military amid an escalating territorial feud with China.
The FA-50 jets touched down at Clark Freeport, a former U.S. Air Force base north of Manila, as Philippine defense officials applauded and fire trucks sprayed water as a traditional welcome salute for the still-unarmed aircraft.
The Philippines bought 12 FA-50s, which are primarily trainer jets that the military converted to also serve as multi-role combat aircraft, from Korea Aerospace Industries at a cost of 18.9 billion pesos ($402 million). The other jets will be delivered in batches through 2017.
Weapons for the FA-50s, including bombs and rockets, will be purchased later. AP
After years of harsh punishment for those who broke them, Pakistan is beginning to reform its blasphemy laws. The Christian Post reports that, in the last 20 years, blasphemy laws have caused the death of an estimated 60,000 people.
It is very easy to accuse someone of blasphemy against Islam, but very difficult for the defendant to plead his or her case. The high profile case of the Christian woman and mother known as Asia Bibi is a prime example. While harvesting berries with a group of Muslim women, Bibi was accused of drinking from the same water bowl as them. She was sentenced to the death penalty for blasphemy against Islam.
Although Pakistan’s blasphemy laws make it simple for someone to accuse another of blasphemy, they have no provision to punish false accusers or false witnesses. Christian Post
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