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    Organic farming solution to country’s food problem

    January 17th, 2019

    Image by ceetal.com

    PROVIDING sufficient and affordable food to every Filipino household remain as the government’s biggest challenge.

    As the Philippine agriculture is yet to achieve fully its goal of national food sufficiency, one of the best solutions to this perennial problem is to introduce to our farmers the latest technology and techniques to farming that can yield more produce or even double their current capacity.

    Our growing population, dwindling and nutrient-drained land resources, persistent pests and diseases, and more frequent and deadlier calamities due to climate change all contribute to our country’s food insufficiency.

    A cheaper, safer and more productive technique to farming today that is gaining popularity the world over is organic farming.

    Natural and organic fertilizer differs from chemicals in that they feed your plants while building the soil. Soils with lots of organic material remain loose and airy, hold more moisture and nutrients, foster growth of soil organisms, and promote healthier plant root development.

    Once chemicals are added to fertilizers, the soil gradually loses its organic matter and microbiotic activity. As this material is used up, the soil structure deteriorates, becoming compact, lifeless and less able to hold water and nutrients. This in the long term will become destructive to the soil as more and more fertilizer will be needed to produce result.

    A farm research company called Farm Asia is now leading the way to change out old ways to farming.

    The Bio Foliar Organic-based liquid fertilizer, according to Apple Toribio, the company president, has live Micro Organisms essential to plant processes especially photosynthesis.

    Toribio said this kind of fertilizer will help establish a healthy root system, increases natural resistance to pests, diseases and climatic changes. It also has the ability to bring back the soil’s natural fertile state by helping it regain its inherent bio chemical properties.

    “The Farmasia Microbial Inoculant Plus is popularly known as “soil inoculant” and acts as agricultural amendments to promote plant health” Toribio added.

    Organic agriculture considers the medium- and long-term effect of agricultural interventions on the agro-ecosystem. It aims to produce food while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility or pest problems. Organic agriculture takes a proactive approach as opposed to treating problems after they emerge.

    In many agriculture areas, pollution of groundwater courses with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As the use of these is prohibited in organic agriculture, they are replaced by organic fertilizers and through the use of greater enhancing soil structure and water infiltration.

    Organic agriculture contributes to mitigating the greenhouse effect and global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil. Meanwhile, pesticide exposure for pregnant women working in the fields can have devastating effects on their babies including poisoning.

    A well managed organic systems with better nutrient retentive abilities, greatly reduce the risk of groundwater pollution. In some areas where pollution is a real problem, conversion to organic agriculture is highly encouraged as a restorative measure and considered by many as the answer to food and poverty problem, Toribio concluded.

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    Outrage as Norwegian Pensioner Jailed for Ordering Live Rape of Filipino Girls

    January 16th, 2019

    By Sputnik News


    CC BY-SA 2.0 / Mason Masteka / Doll’s Head

    OVER a period of two years, the man, who is in his 70s, has been found to have ordered the online abuse of at least 65 Filipino girls, the youngest of whom were merely babies. To satisfy his demands, the man transferred nearly US$60,000 to middlemen in the Philippines.

    An elderly resident of Sunnmøre has been sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, one of the harshest penalties reserved in Norwegian criminal law, for ordering sexual assaults to be carried out online against dozens of Filipino children, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported.

    The court established that at least 65 girls under the age of 14, the youngest of whom were merely babies, were victimized by the man’s orders between 2012 and 2013. One of the assaults featured a three-year-old girl and lasted over 40 minutes, which the man watched live from his home in Norway while giving instructions. The man admitted to having sent a total of about NOK 500,000 (close to US$60,000) to “mediators” in the Philippines.

    “With his actions, the accused contributed to a sex industry that brutally exploits vulnerable children in the worst possible way”, the Søre Sunnmøre district court in western Norway wrote in its verdict.

    According to the court, some of the victims lived in “almost inhuman” conditions, which the man perpetuated with his actions. The prosecutor initially demanded a 12-year prison sentence, but the court decided on a harsher punishment given the victim’s young age as an aggravating factor.

    The man claimed he had been “going through a rough patch” privately, when he started visiting foreign web sites for adults. After a short period of time, he started to receive sexual propositions from women featuring their daughters, he claimed. In court, the man explained that he wanted to help the women with money for food and education and said he felt remorse.

    The Norwegian police were alerted by the FBI as part of a larger case the latter was probing. During the investigation, the police found more than 36,000 photographs and videos containing child pornography in the man’s possession.

    The verdict has received national coverage and triggered strong reactions.

    “A man his age must know better when to stop. There is no excuse even if there are parents who shouldn’t have had children in the first place”, a user commented on Facebook, citing a demand for this sort of thing in rich Western countries.

    “This guy should have been sent to the Philippines to serve his punishment, shame there is no extradition agreement between Norway and the Philippines!” another user commented.

    Meanwhile, this phenomenon is not particularly new. This past autumn, a man his 40s, who happens to be a Labour politician living in Hordaland County, was been charged with ordering the online abuse of 61 Filipino children, NRK reported.

    Read More: https://sputniknews.com/europe/201901161071517147-norway-paedophile-philippines/

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    Rejoice and be glad!

    January 16th, 2019

    THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter on Monday, talking about a number of issues plaguing the country.

    CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles said the letter entitled “Rejoice and be glad!” is a reminder to bishops on how to react to current issues as ordained ministers.

    The pastoral letter, released at the end of a three-day plenary of bishops in Manila, comes after President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial remarks against God and the Catholic Church.

    “To those in this world who boast of their own wisdom, those who arrogantly regard themselves as wise in their own estimation and the Christian faith as nonsense, those who blaspheme our God as stupid, St. Paul’s words are to the point: ‘For the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:25) And to those who ridicule our faith, we say with St. Paul, “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.'(1 Cor 1:27-29),” the letter read.

    Read the full text below:

    Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do we not all aspire for the grace to be called “sons and daughters of God?” If we do so, then we must constantly strive to be peacemakers in these troubled times in our country. And that means to always strive to bring love where there is hatred, pardon where there is injury, faith where there is doubt, hope where there’s despair, light where there is darkness, and joy where there is sadness (from the prayer for peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi).

    PEACE: OUR COMMON VOCATION AND MISSION

    Our enemies in this world are not fellow human beings, not “flesh and blood” (Eph 6:12). We do not fight our battles with guns and bullets. We do not seek protection from those who might wish to harm us by wearing bullet-proof vests, because the battles that we fight are spiritual. In these times of darkness, when there’s so much hatred and violence, when murder has become an almost daily occurrence, when people have gotten so used to exchanging insults and hurting words in the social media, we admonish the faithful to remain steadfast in our common vocation and mission to actively work for peace.

    But make no mistake about it; even the master said, “Not as the world gives peace do I give you peace.” (Jn 14:27). His peace is never the peace of compromise or capitulation to evil; it is also not about the absence of conflict and turmoil. Was he not rejected by his own townsfolk in Nazareth? (Lk 4:16-30) Was he not called crazy by his own relatives? (Mk 3:20-22). Was he not called a “prince of demons”? (Mk 3:22-30). Was he not called a drunkard and a lover of tax collectors and sinners? (Mt 11:19)

    Did he not show us how to deal with adversities when he slept in the boat, or walked on water even in the midst of a storm? (Mk 4:35-40; Mk 6:45-52) But like the apostles, we are often so easily overcome by fear and panic. Even when we’re already making baby steps on troubled waters like St. Peter, we find ourselves sinking because of our “little faith” (Mt14:31). There is nothing that can calm us down in these turbulent times except the quiet recognition of him who assured us of his abiding presence — “Be not afraid; it is I!” (Mt 14:27)

    THE COST OF WITNESSING TO CHRIST

    What is new about priests being murdered for witnessing to Christ? What is new about modern prophets being silenced by the treacherous bullets of assassins? What is new about servant leaders who are maligned because they have carried out their duties as shepherds configured to the person of their Chief Shepherd? Have you forgotten that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians”? (Tertullian) It is what has kept the Church alive after two thousand years. Be not afraid! Did not our master say, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul into Gehenna” (Mt 10:28)?

    We are no strangers to ridicule and persecution. What we are going through is no different from what the Psalmist describes in Psalm 64: “They sharpen their tongues like swords; they aim bitter words like arrows to shoot at the innocent from ambush, shooting suddenly and recklessly.” But what does the Lord tell his disciples when they are persecuted or humiliated for his sake? He tells them to “rejoice and be glad” (Mat 5:12). These are the very words with which Pope Francis opens his apostolic exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate”. They are the Lord’s words to those persecuted and humiliated for his sake. With the intention of calling us all to strive for a life of holiness, Pope Francis says the Lord does not want us “to settle for a bland and mediocre existence” (GE 1). How have we been taught to deal with persecution? Listen to what the apostle, St Paul, says, “When we are insulted, we respond with a blessing; when we are persecuted, we bear it patiently; when slandered, we respond gently. We have become the world’s refuse, the scum of all; that is the present state of affairs” (1 Cor 4:12-13).

    And how are we to deal with divisions among ourselves? How are we to deal with fellow “Christians” who see nothing wrong about the killings, who just laugh when our God is blasphemed, and who take part in passing on fake news? Did not the Lord himself warn us that part of the exigencies of working for peace is having to go through the crucible of conflicts? (Lk 12:51-53) There will always be those among us who profess the faith in Christ but are so easily seduced by the empty promises of Satan. Remember him who once sold the master for 30 pieces of silver because he had allowed himself to be mastered by Satan? St. Paul is right in saying, “…there have to be divisions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may become known.” (ESV 1 Cor 11:19)

    THE SUFFERINGS OF THE POOR

    Our sufferings as Church leaders are nothing compared to the sufferings of the poor in our country. Do we not hear the cry of poor slum-dwellers being jailed for “loitering”? Have they forgotten that for the homeless urban poor — the little alleys between their flimsy homes also serve as kitchens, bathrooms, recreation spaces, and playgrounds for their children? Have they forgotten that they live in tiny dwellings that are razed quickly to the ground when fire strikes, because they do not have proper roads? Do we not feel the sufferings of drug addicts who are labelled as “non-humans”, and are stigmatized as criminals when their names end up in the dreaded “drug watch lists”? Yes, we are aware of the sufferings of those who have been victimized by substance abusers, but can we not see them also as sick people who are struggling with a disease? Should we not rather look at them also as victims who are crying out for help? Are we to remain as bystanders when we hear of people being killed in cold blood by ruthless murderers who dispose of human lives like trash? Do we not realize that for every drug suspect killed, there is a widowed wife and there are orphaned children left behind — who could hardly even afford a decent burial for their loved ones? Do we not care when poor people’s homes are searched without warrants, or when drug suspects are arrested without warrants, or detained without charges?

    Do we not care about the misery of people charged of drug-related offenses and packed like sardines in extremely congested jails? Can we even bear the thought of seeing most of them languishing in jail, knowing that rehabilitation is what many of them need? Do we not hear of the sufferings of indigenous peoples who are displaced from their ancestral lands in order to give way to mining companies and dams? And how do we feel about communities that are forced to leave their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire of conflicts between government troops and insurgents? How are we affected when our own troops die because of unceasing hostilities that have not been adequately addressed through peaceful dialogue? We have a saying in Tagalog, “Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay ramdam ng buong katawan.” (The pain of one part of the body is felt by the whole body.) Alas, this is not always true! There is no way we can feel each other’s pains when some parts of the body are numbed by sheer indifference.

    To those in this world who boast of their own wisdom, those who arrogantly regard themselves as wise in their own estimation and the Christian faith as nonsense, those who blaspheme our God as stupid, St. Paul’s words are to the point: “For the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:25) And to those who ridicule our faith, we say with St. Paul, “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”(1 Cor 1:27-29).

    THE WAY OF JESUS

    We wish to remind those who have been angered by the insulting statements of people in authority; remember what the Lord had taught his disciples. He said, “But to you who hear I say… bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well…” (Lk 6:27-29). Vengeance is never the way of Christ. It is not the way of Jesus to return evil for evil; no, we can conquer evil only with good (Rom 12:21). Up to the last moment of his breath, he had nothing but words of mercy towards his tormentors, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Lk 23:34).

    There are those who accuse us of getting involved in political moves to destabilize the government. Nothing can be farthest from the truth. Our concern is never the establishment of any earthly kingdoms. Worldly kingdoms come and go. We work only for God’s kingdom which is beyond this world — so that we can start learning to live life “on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10). For the times in our history when we fell into the temptation of working for political power, we can only bow in shame and say, never again! We do not proclaim a false image of God, such as one who is just watching from heaven like a ruthless deity who threatens us of damnation in hell all the time. Ours is the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ — the God who saves, a God “rich in mercy and compassion”, a God involved in our history, a God who — for love of us — emptied himself totally, and “became poor, so that by his poverty we might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9).

    CHURCH AND GOVERNMENT

    The Church respects the political authority, especially of democratically-elected government officials, as long as they do not contradict the basic spiritual and moral principles we hold dear, such as respect for the sacredness of life, the integrity of creation, and the inherent dignity of the human person. We are not political leaders, and certainly not political opponents of government. The Church has, throughout history, coexisted with countless forms of government. The Church has always been and will always be a partner of government (especially in the LGUs and barangays) in countless endeavours for the common good, especially in addressing the needs of the most disadvantaged sectors of society. Sometimes we qualify the collaboration as “critical”, mainly to distinguish our differences in terms of ultimate goals, even as we partner in some shared endeavours. Needless to say, on some specific issues, collaboration might not be possible because of our spiritual and moral beliefs, which we persistently propose, but never impose on the unwilling. In such instances, we can only invoke our right to conscientious objection. We do recognise the constitutional provision of the separation of church and state, mainly in the sense of distinction of roles in society. When we speak out on certain issues, it is always from the perspective of faith and morals, especially the principles of social justice, never with any political or ideological agenda in mind.

    CHURCH OF SINNERS, CALLED TO HOLINESS

    We admit humbly that we are a Church made of members who are “wretched but chosen” (Miserando atque Eligendo, Pope Francis’ episcopal motto). We are a Church of sinners called to conversion and holiness at the same time. We bow in shame when we hear of abuses being committed by some of our fellow Church leaders — especially those ordained to “act in the person of Christ”. We hold ourselves accountable for their actions, and accept our duty to correct them — as duly mandated by our own higher authorities in the universal Church. We humbly admit that we have many weaknesses and shortcomings, human as we are. We have no reason to justify our weaknesses on the basis of our participation in the human condition, because we profess faith in the God who embraced the human condition, precisely to set a new template of humanity in his son Jesus Christ. We draw a lot of strength from St. Paul, who desperately begged the Lord to remove his weakness but only got these words as assurance, “My grace is enough for you; for in weakness power reaches perfection. It is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9).

    CALL TO PRAYER AND FASTING

    On July 16, 2018 on the feast of the Blessed Mother of Mt. Carmel, the mountain associated with the bold challenge of the prophet Elijah, let us spend a day of prayer and penance, invoking God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country. We invite you to join us, your bishops, in three days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving from July 17 to 19, 2018.

    We commend you, our dear people of God, to the maternal care of the woman to whom Jesus entrusted his “Beloved Disciple” and said, “Behold your son!” (Jn 19:26) We, for our part, behold her — our mother in faith — with filial love. Mary, mother of the Church, be near to us especially when we tend to despair and run out of the wine of faith, hope and charity (Jn 2:1-11). Teach us to do only what your Son asks of us. And when we lose heart in the face of persecution, may we stand by you at the foot of the cross and regain our strength from the blood and water that flowed from the wounded side of your Beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

    For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,

    Most Rev. Romulo Valles, DD
    Archbishop of Davao
    President, CBCP
    July 9, 2018

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    World’s first cancer diagnostic kit using urine to hit PH market late 2019

    January 16th, 2019


    A CANCER diagnosis kit using urine called “Purine Metabolite Assay Kit” by Cubebio Inc. Korea, having obtained sales certificate from Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines in December 2018, is expected to be on sale by Wk Int’l Merchandising Trading in the Philippine market in late 2019.

    This was disclosed yesterday by Wk Int’l Merchandising Trading Chairman Charles Hung Soo Park.

    Statistics showed that the number of world cancer patients has grown by 33 percent. Notwithstanding the rapid growth of world economy and enhanced infrastructure in medical industry, the number of patients has increased steadily.

    Due to the development of modern medicine, if major cancers are detected early, those cancers can be almost removed with the survival rate for five years over 90 percent. If cancer cannot be conquered in most countries worldwide, the most important thing is “early detection”.

    Early detection can significantly reduce the health care costs, the biggest burden in cancer treatment, which is also important for the nation’s health care system, individuals and households, Park said.

    For cancer diagnosis, the most widely used method in each country is to check visually, such as a blood test or CT scan. These methods are difficult to operate and expensive, making frequent inspections difficult.

    He said Cubebio Inc., a small but strong bio company in Korea, has succeeded in developing “Purine Metabolite Assay Kit” after years of research. “Purine Metabolite Assay Kit” diagnoses cancer by detection and analyzing traces of the body fighting cancer cells through urine sample analysis.

    The Cubebio’s research team has achieved innovative results in diagnosing cancer by improving the accuracy of the test method after years of research and efforts.

    Park said the biggest innovation of the “Purine Metabolite Assay Kit” is that it is simple, fast, safe and inexpensive. This is an in vitro diagnostic kit using urine that can diagnose pancreatic cancer, which has a high mortality rate, as well as liver cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and stomach cancer. It can detect from early to terminal cancers, and there are no side effects in the human body by conducting urine tests. It also provides optimal results by allowing multiple inspections and diagnoses at low prices.

    He said the second innovation of “Purine Metabolite Assay Kit” is its accuracy, which is the core of the diagnosis kit. The product showed more than 90% accuracy for five major cancers.

    The early diagnosis of cancer can have the most economic and social effects, and the “Purine Metabolite Assay Kit” is an innovative product in that sense. Early diagnosis of cancer is expected to contribute greatly to the health of the Filipino people, he added.

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    South Korea’s toxic waste to be “re-exported” to port of origin on January 9

    January 6th, 2019
    1,200 tons of South Korean trash smuggled into Mindanao port | News … GMA Network

    THE governments of the Philippines and South Korea have reached agreement that will ensure the repatriation of some 6,500 tons of mixed wastes stranded at Misamis Oriental to their origin in Pyeongtaek City this January.

    At a press conference jointly called by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the EcoWaste Coalition, Mr. John Simon, Port Collector at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) announced January 9, 2019 as the target date for the re-export of 51 containers of mixed garbage back to South Korea.

    “We expect the 51 garbage-filled containers stored at MICT to be ‘homebound’ by January 9 provided that all regulatory requirements are readily available. Their expedited re-export is what BOC wants and this is what our people are yearning for,” Simon said.

    Ecowaste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero © www.untvweb.com

    “We look ahead to the imminent return of the Korean mixed garbage shipments to their source, and to the adoption of stringent policies to prevent their recurrence, including a crackdown on the importation of plastic waste. We need to act decisively to protect our country from turning into a global dump for plastics and other wastes that China no longer wants,” said EcoWaste National Coordinator Aileen Lucero.

    Simon explained that the re-exportation of the 51 containers to South Korea is due to the failure of the consignee, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp., to secure prior import permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and for its misdeclaration of the garbage shipments as “plastic synthetic flakes.”

    The re-exportation order is pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 10863 (Customs Modernization and Tariff Act), Republic Act 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act), and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, the BOC emphasized. The re-export of the said 51 containers is estimated to cost US$47,430, specifically for inland and ocean freight charges.

    Ecowaste members during Thursday’s protest action in front of the South Korean embassy

    As for the bulk Korean garbage shipments sitting at the Verde Soko compound inside the Phividec Industrial Estate in Barangay Sta. Cruz in Tagoloan, Simon announced that arrangements will be made to get them re-exported within this month.

    The agreement was made following a fruitful bilateral meeting between the two governments last December 27 and 28 at Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, which drew over 35 participants, including a four-member delegation from South Korea led by Mr. Lee Jong Min from the Ministry of Environment.

    BOC-Region 10, together with the representatives from DENR-Region 10, PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority, the municipal government of Tagoloan and the provincial government of Misamis Oriental, represented the government of the Philippines at the meeting.

    Also present at the meeting were invited representatives from the private sector, including the MICT Services Inc., Maersk Lines, Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition.

    It will be recalled that a shipload of 5,176.91 metric tons of misdeclared “plastic synthetic flakes” exported by Green Soko Co. Ltd. and consigned to Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. arrived at the MICT in July 2018 without prior import clearance from the DENR.

    The same consignee facilitated the importation of additional 51 containers of “plastic synthetic flakes,” which arrived at the MICT in October 2018.

    Subsequent inspection by customs and environmental officials found the imported “plastic synthetic flakes” as “misdeclared, heterogenous and injurious to public health,” causing uproar in both the Philippines and South Korea, including protest actions by the EcoWaste Coalition outside the embassy of the latter in Taguig City on November 15 and December 13, 2018.

    The Tagoloan Municipal Council has passed a resolution “strongly condemning the importation of plastic mixed with hazardous waste materials from South Korea,” while Senators Koko Pimentel, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe have filed separate resolutions directing the proper Senate committees to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation.

    On November 21, 2018, the government of Korea announced: “The Ministry of Environment on November 21 initiated legal procedure to have the wastes in question in the Philippines be brought back in accordance with Article 20 of the Law on Cross-border movement and Disposal of Wastes—Prior Notice of Repatriation Order—and embarked on investigation of the violation of Article 18-2 of the said law—False Export Declaration.”

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    Thailand becomes first in Asia to introduce tobacco plain packaging; WHO commends efforts

    January 6th, 2019

    THE World Health Organization has recently commended the stronger tobacco control measures being adopted by Thailand which has become the first in Asia and the first low and middle-income country to adopt plain packaging for tobacco products.

    “Thailand’s bold steps against tobacco – the single most important cause of preventable deaths worldwide – is commendable and reflects the country’s earnest efforts in promoting health and well-being of its people,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director World Health Organization South-East Asia, congratulating Thailand for the tobacco legislation on plain packaging adopted last week.

    The new legislative announcement on plain packaging is the latest effort of Thai government and adds to the Tobacco Control Act 2017 which enforces 20 years as the minimum age for purchasing tobacco, bans single stick sale and bans tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship.

    Plain packaging of tobacco products restricts or prohibits the use of logos, colors, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard color and font style. Plain packaging is an evidence-based policy being advocated by WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a legal treaty that aims to protect present and future generation against the devastating health and socio-economic impact of tobacco use.

    As per Thailand’s new legislation, by September 2019 all tobacco products will have plain packaging. Thailand already has graphic health warnings covering 85% packaging of tobacco products. Introduction of plain packaging is expected to further boost the country’s tobacco control efforts targeting the current and new users.

    The prevalence of tobacco use is high in Thailand with 11 million smokers. An estimated one out of every five adult Thai smokes. Nearly 50% men in the age group of 35-54 years smoke. Of concern is the persistently high tobacco use among young people—one out of every six Thai in the aged group of 13-17 years uses tobacco.

    Globally, tobacco kills more than seven million people every year – up to half of its users. Tobacco use is a key risk factor for major noncommunicable diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Noncommunicable diseases account for over 70% of all deaths in Thailand.

    Tobacco is not just a health problem but also a socio-economic issue. Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of health care and hinder economic development. Illnesses resulting from tobacco use strain the health system that drain Government’s budget on universal healthcare. In Thailand, the economic loss from tobacco in the year 2009 was estimated at 75 billion Thai Baht or 0.78% of GDP.

    Addressing tobacco is important for reversing the growing epidemic of non-communicable disease, a flagship priority programme of WHO South-East Asia Region.

    Member countries in the Region are in the forefront in the fight against tobacco with four of them listed among the top five countries globally with largest graphic warning on tobacco product packs.

    The Regional Director said WHO remains committed to supporting Thailand and other Member Countries to protect the present and future generation from tobacco’s deadly impact.

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    China May Use Force to Counter Foreign Meddling in Taiwan – President Xi

    January 2nd, 2019

    By Sputnik News


    CC BY 2.0 / David Hsieh / Taipei City

    BEIJING (Sputnik) – China won’t promise to abstain from using force when countering foreign meddling and separatist movements in Taiwan, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

    At a gathering commemorating the 40th anniversary of issuing the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan that marked a thaw in China-Taiwan relations, Xi said, emphasizing that “Chinese do not fight Chinese” that peaceful reunification served the interests of his compatriots.

    “We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means,” Xi said, as quoted by the China Daily newspaper.

    The Chinese leader stressed that the use of force could target exclusively external interference and separatist groups operating in Taiwan.

    “We are willing to create broad space for peaceful reunification, but will leave no room for any form of separatist activities,” Xi added.

    Xi pointed that since people living in mainland China and in Taiwan were “of the same family,” the Taiwan issue concerned “domestic affairs” that should be addressed “through discussion and consultation”.

    He also voiced commitment to enhancing China-Taiwan economic cooperation.

    “We should actively promote the institutionalization of economic cooperation across the Taiwan Strait, create a common market, boost development, make our cooperation more energetic, and strengthen the Chinese national economy,” Xi said.

    Relations between mainland China and Taiwan have been tense since 1949, when Chinese Nationalist Party-led forces took over Taiwan following their defeat in the Chinese civil war, and established the Republic of China on the island. Beijing does not recognise Taiwan, claiming that the island is a part of China, and Taiwan does not recognise the Chinese state, claiming continuity with the pre-1949 government of Chiang Kai-shek.

    However, the Message to Compatriots, issued 40 years ago, declared an end to Beijing’s artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled islands close to China, and since then, informal China-Taiwan contacts have resumed.

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    Year of the pig brings in more taxes to satisfy pork-hungry politicians

    December 31st, 2018
    Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino President Leody de Guzman in one of the many rallies where he spoke. Image © https://www.rappler.com

    DESPITE the optimism of most Filipinos in welcoming the Year of the Pig, they will instead be greeted with the second round of fuel excise taxes as the Duterte government disregards the public clamor to suspend the implementation of TRAIN Package 1 that gave rise to the meteoric increase of prices of basic commodities.

    Based on Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, the excise taxes for cooking fuels LPG and kerosene would increase by PhP1 per kilogram and liter respectively. Transport fuels diesel and gasoline would also increase by PhP2 per liter starting January 1.

    Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) senatorial bet Ka Leody De Guzman said that the workers and the poor would have to brace themselves for the new round of fuel excise taxes that “will inevitably lead to spiraling inflation rates. It is yet another showcase of financial coercion by the Duterte regime on the poor”.

    “Similar to its so-called “kill, kill, kill” policy on illegal drugs, which evolved into a war on the poor, the “tax, tax, tax” of TRAIN is also targeting the impoverished masses, especially the millions of informal workers who did not benefit from the increased exemptions to income taxes,” the veteran labor leader added.

    What is more appalling, De Guzman asserted “is not only the aggravation of the poverty and misery of millions of Filipino through over taxation but the purpose to which these taxes are imposed”.

    He belied claims by the economic managers of the Duterte administration who ceaselessly claim that the increase in government collections would not lead to more budget for social services such as housing, education, and healthcare.

    The real intent he revealed is to increase the country’s credit rating among international and local borrowers in order to secure more loans to bankroll the infrastructure projects under the “build, build, build” program.

    “We don’t mind paying taxes if workers are the direct beneficiaries of these projects but this is not how public funds are disposed. We no longer want to feed the appetite of pork-hungry bureaucrats, whose only intent is to enrich themselves by using the nation’s coffers while perpetuating their clans and dynasties in power,” De Guzman clarified.

    The PLM and allied organizations vowed to hold protest against the second tranche of Duterte’s tax reforms and campaign against pork barrel-addicted legislators in the coming midterm elections.

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    Storm-triggered landslides, floods kill at least 50 in Philippines

    December 30th, 2018

    By CGTN

    AT least 50 people are dead due to landslides and flooding triggered by a tropical cyclone in the Philippines, while 11 others remain missing, disaster officials told media on Sunday night.

    The tropical depression, named Usman, made landfall in Borongan, Eastern Samar on Saturday, dropping heavy rain over parts of the Philippines over the weekend.

    It left the country on Sunday afternoon after being downgraded to a low pressure area.

    Government forecasters said that heavy rain would continue over the next 24 hours in the northern Philippines.

    More than 22,000 people fled their homes ahead of the storm, which destroyed rice and corn crops and left some roads and bridges inaccessible, according to officials.

    (With input from agencies)

    (Read More: https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d774e34676a4e31457a6333566d54/share_p.html)

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    ‘God crucified? F**k, how unimpressive!’ Duterte says his Jesus would’ve burned all non-believers

    December 30th, 2018
    PH President Rodrigo Duterte Photo © AP Photo/ Aaron Favila


    By RT

    THE Philippines’ eccentric leader has shared his views on the cornerstone tenets of the Christian faith, calling the Holy Trinity doctrine “silly” and claiming that it was “unimpressive” for a true god to get himself crucified.

    In his latest tirade against the Catholic Church, Duterte started off by mocking the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or three expressions of one divine essence.

    “There’s only one God, period. You cannot divide God into three, that’s silly.”

    “You’re already praying at one God, then you’re going to pray at these cursed saints. There’s only one God,” the Philippines’ president said Saturday in Kidapawan City.

    The 73-year-old leader cranked up his rhetoric when it came to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, using extremely vulgar language to attack what billions around the world consider to be God’s divine plan of salvation of humankind through the sacrifice of his Son.

    Duterte did not stop there, continuing his speech with an attack against veneration of the saints and the belief in their divine intervention. “Saint Catalina, Saint Anne, Saint Thomas, Saint Sebastian, Saint Rodrigo, they’re nothing… I don’t know them. Look, those documents were written –if at all– 3,000 years ago. Why would they care about our lives now.”

    Duterte, who revealed in 2015 that he was molested by a priest when he was young, has frequently slammed the institution of the Catholic Church, which remains critical of his leadership and his iron-fisted anti-drug policies. His harsh remarks against the Vatican have provoked repeated condemnation from the Christian community worldwide.

    (Read More:http:// https://www.rt.com/news/447753-duterte-jesus-unimpressive-trinity-silly/)

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    WHO’s five tips for a healthy diet this New Year

    December 25th, 2018
    Image © https://www.gmoevidence.com

    WHATEVER your New Year’s resolution, a healthy and balanced diet will provide many benefits into 2019 and beyond.

    What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to fight infections, as well as how likely we are to develop health problems later in life.

    Eat a variety of food

    Vegetables and fruits trading at the streets of Hoan Kiem District

    Our bodies are incredibly complex, and (with the exception of breast milk for babies) no single food contains all the nutrients we need for them to work at their best. Our diets must therefore contain a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods to keep us going strong.

    Some tips to ensure a balanced diet:

    • In your daily diet, aim to eat a mix of staple foods such as wheat, maize, rice and potatoes with legumes like lentils and beans, plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).
    • Choose wholegrain foods like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when you can; they are rich in valuable fibre and can help you feel full for longer.
    • For snacks, choose raw vegetables, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit, rather than foods that are high in sugars, fats or salt.

    Cut back on salt


    Too much salt can raise blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Most people around the world eat too much salt: on average, we consume double the WHO recommended limit of 5 grams (equivalent to a teaspoon) a day. 

    Even if we don’t add extra salt in our food, we should be aware that it is commonly put in processed foods or drinks, and often in high amounts.

    Some tips to reduce your salt intake:

    • When cooking and preparing foods, use salt sparingly and reduce use of salty sauces and condiments (like soy sauce, stock or fish sauce).
    • Avoid snacks that are high in salt, and try and choose fresh healthy snacks over processed foods.
    • When using canned or dried vegetables, nuts and fruit, choose varieties without added salt and sugars.
    • Remove salt and salty condiments from the table and try and avoid adding them out of habit; our tastebuds can quickly adjust and once they do, you are likely to enjoy food with less salt, but more flavor!
    • Check the labels on food and go for products with lower sodium content.

    Reduce use of certain fats and oil

    We all need some fat in our diet, but eating too much – especially the wrong kinds – increases risks of obesity, heart disease and stroke.  Industrially-produced trans fats are the most hazardous for health. A diet high in this kind of fat has been found to raise risk of heart disease by nearly 30%.

    Some tips to reduce fat consumption:

    • Replace butter, lard and ghee with healthier oils such as soybean, canola (rapeseed), corn, safflower and sunflower.
    • Choose white meat like poultry and fish which are generally lower in fats than red meat, trim meat of visible fat and limit the consumption of processed meats.
    • Try steaming or boiling instead of frying food when cooking.
    • Check labels and always avoid all processed, fast and fried foods that contain industrially-produced trans fat. It is often found in margarine and ghee, as well as pre-packaged snacks, fast, baked and fried foods.

    Limit sugar intake

    Too much sugar is not only bad for our teeth, but increases the risk of unhealthy weight gain and obesity, which can lead to serious, chronic health problems.

    As with salt, it’s important to take note of the amount of “hidden” sugars that can be in processed food and drinks. For example, a single can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar!

    Some tips to reduce sugar intake:

    • Limit intake of sweets and sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices and juice drinks, liquid and powder concentrates, flavoured water, energy and sports drinks, ready-to-drink tea and coffee and flavoured milk drinks.
    • Choose healthy fresh snacks rather than processed foods.
    • Avoid giving sugary foods to children. Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods give to children under 2 years of age, and should be limited beyond that age.

    Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use

    Alcohol is not a part of a healthy diet, but in many cultures New Year’s celebrations are associated with heavy alcohol consumption. Overall, drinking too much, or too often, increases your immediate risk of injury, as well as causing longer-term effects like liver damage, cancer, heart disease and mental illness.

    WHO advises that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption; and for many people even low levels of alcohol use can still be associated with significant health risks .

    • Remember, less alcohol consumption is always better for health and it is perfectly OK not to drink.
    • You should not drink alcohol at all if you are: pregnant or breastfeeding; driving, operating machinery or undertaking other activities that involve related risks; you have health problems which may be made worse by alcohol; you are taking medicines which directly interact with alcohol; or you have difficulties with controlling your drinking.
    • If you think your or someone you love may have problems with alcohol or other psychoactive substances, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from your health worker or a specialist drug and alcohol service. WHO has also developed a self-help guide to provide guidance to people looking to cut back or stop use.
    Q&A on healthy diets

    Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, a healthy and balanced diet will provide many benefits into 2019 and beyond. Join us for Q&A on tips for a healthy diet. Ask your questions!

    Posted by World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday, December 20, 2018

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    On Christmas Eve, Pope censures materialistic life

    December 25th, 2018
    Pope Francis leads the Christmas Eve Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, on December 24, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

    By PressTV

    DURING the Christmas Eve Mass, Pope Francis has denounced the yawning gap between the rich and the poor, calling on people in the developed world to seek a less materialistic life and help the poor.

    Leading a solemn service for about 10,000 people in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican for his traditional Christmas Eve Mass, Pope Francis said, “Let us ask ourselves: Do I really need all these material objects and complicated recipes for living? Can I manage without all these unnecessary extras and live a life of greater simplicity?”

    “In our day, for many people, life’s meaning is found in possessing, in having an excess of material objects. An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when, paradoxically, a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive,” the head of the Catholic Church said.

    The pope has made defending the poor a hallmark of his papacy since his election on March 13, 2013.

    Late in 2017, the Catholic charity Caritas estimated that there were over 16,000 homeless people in Rome and the number of such people congregating near the Vatican had increased obviously, particularly at night when they clustered under arcades to sleep.

    Francis is set to deliver his twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Day on Tuesday.

    (Read More: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/25/583895/Pope-Christmas-Eve-Mass

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    Merry Christmas

    December 24th, 2018
    Image by
    techicy.com

    May we all be blessed by God as we remember the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas to all from the staff and friends of Beyond Deadlines.


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    Get into the holiday groove at WBF 2018

    December 12th, 2018
    Thousands attended the opening of the 18th World Bazaar Festival at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
    Thousands attended the opening of the 18th World Bazaar Festival at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
    Beyond Deadlines is a media partner of this event.

    NOW on its 18th edition, the World Bazaar Festival, the country’s longest running annual charity bazaar, returns with another fantastic holiday presentation!

    Officially opening its doors last December 12 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, WBF 2018 held a grand opening ceremony at the lobby of the bazaar venue.

    Spotted during the momentous affair were select VIP personalities including Department of Social Welfare and Development Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova, Justin Brownlee and Renaldo-Balkman with celebrity guests PhoemeLa Baranda, Miles Ocampo, Dimples Romana and Toni Gonzaga alongside Worldbex Services International’s Founding Chairman Mr. Joseph Ang, Co-Founder Levi S. Ang, Managing Director Jill Aithnie Ang, as well as key officers Rene Ramos and Tessie Roque.

    Every Christmas, WBF never fails to mount a spectacular holiday show that gives bazaar goers something new and exciting to look forward to. This year, WBF draws inspiration from the pure and unfiltered memories of yuletide past to present a “Boogie Woobie” Christmas– a retro-inspired celebration that invites everyone to take part in a groovy and nostalgia-infused holiday shindig.

    Apart from the awesome bazaar installations and splendid holiday decors inside the bazaar halls, bazaar goers are sure to be impressed by the massive array of shopping finds and fabulous gift ideas that abound at WBF 2018. With nearly 800 booths on display which features top brands, local makers and even foreign retailers. WBF is truly the most incredible one-stop shop for all of your holiday shopping needs.

    There’s so much in store for everyone with the fantastic bazaar highlights that await at WBF 2018. Among these include the Designers’ Avenue,where one can find a wide range of branded apparel and accessories at affordable prices as well as the holiday edition of Bloggers United,where fans can meet and shop the closets of the metro’s top fashion and beauty bloggers.

    Another star-studded affair at WBF 2018 is the Celebrity Pavilion, a designated area within the bazaar where local celebrities set up their own booths to sell brand new products as well as their own pre-loved clothes and belongings. Aside from the unique shopping finds, the Celebrity Pavilion is also a great way for fans to get up close and personal with their favorite showbiz personalities. Other bazaar zones to check out include the Christmas Village, BFAR and Department of Agriculture Pavilion.

    Knowing full well that the holidays will not be complete without the music,cheers, and festivities, bazaar goers are also in for a treat with the family-centered events that will be held throughout the 11-day run of WBF such as the Street dance Competition, Himig ng Pasko, Woobie’s Kid Idol Competition and Christmas Carol with the Angels

    Aftera productive day of shopping, bazaar goers can recharge and unwind over a plethora of mouthwatering food choices and drinks over at Woobie’s Food World. Before heading home, bazaar goers are also encouraged to drop by at Woobie’s Goodies, a massive food shop where one can find a delectable array of holiday sweets and treats.

    Organized by Worldbex Services International and presented in partnership with ABS-CBN, the 18th World Bazaar Festival runs until December 22, 2018,from Sunday to Thursday at 12:00 nn to 10:00 pm and Friday to Saturday at 10:00 am to 12:00 mn at the World Trade Center Manila. The bazaar is for the benefit of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation. For more information, follow @worldbazaarfestival on Facebook and Instagram,call (02) 656-9239, or email inquire@worldbexevents.com.

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    QC Public Library shares transformation story to librarians

    December 12th, 2018
    The Quezon City Public Library. Image © en.wikipedia.org

    TO motivate other libraries and fellow librarians, the Quezon City Public Library shared its transformation and success story at the recent general assembly and national congress of the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc.

    The QCPL has been serving QC residents for over 70 years but it is not until 2016, at the start of Mayor Herbert Bautista’s third and last term, that the library was recognized as the premier public library in the country.

    QCPL chief librarian Emelita L. Villanueva said negative perceptions about libraries became their motivation to persevere and provide better services for QC residents.

    “We at QCPL used these perceptions to public libraries as a motivation and opportunity [to prove] that being a public librarian is not a bad thing and we can do something to uplift and influence, and even transform the lives of our clients,” Villanueva said.

    The state-of-the-art QC Public Library building, which was opened in 2016, is a product of the city government and librarians’ hard work, Villanueva said.

    Villanueva added that QCPL’s guiding principles of 4Ps (prayer, passion, perseverance, right people) helped the local the library in achieving success.

    Mayor Herbert Bautista, Villanueva explained, is very supportive in transforming the library and improving its facilities for their clients.

    “Yung ginawa niya para sa library ay hindi matatawaran dahil noong ma-improve lalo at nadagdagan ang aming facilities, nakilala ang public libraries, particularly ng QC,” Villanueva said.

    PLAI president Michael A. Pinto for his part said QCPL should serve as a model for all public libraries in the country.

    “Ang Quezon City Public Library, I must say, is actually the premier public library in the Philippines right now. Si Mayor, nakita niya ‘yung set-up ng public libraries sa ibang bansa. Noong bumalik siya, sabi niya, ‘gusto natin ng ganito’. Now, the dream became reality,” Pinto explained.

    “Iurge everyone, lalo na ‘yung working in public libraries, toimplement innovative projects na nakakatulong sa mga mamamayan, likewhat the QCPL is doing right now,” Pinto added.

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    Health benefits outweigh cost of climate action – WHO

    December 10th, 2018
    Health benefits outweighs cost of climate action. Image by 
    AccuWeather.com

    MEETING the goals of the Paris Agreement could save about a million lives a year worldwide by 2050 through reductions in air pollution alone.

    The latest estimates from leading experts also indicate that the value of health gains from climate action would be approximately double the cost of mitigation policies at global level, and the benefit-to-cost ratio is even higher in countries such as China and India.

    A WHO report launched today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland highlights why health considerations are critical to the advancement of climate action and outlines key recommendations for policy makers.

    Exposure to air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated US$ 5.11 trillion in welfare losses globally. In the 15 countries that emit the most greenhouse gas emissions, the health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4% of their GDP. Actions to meet the Paris goals would cost around 1% of global GDP.

    “The Paris Agreement is potentially the strongest healthagreement of this century,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,Director-General of WHO. “The evidence is clear that climate change is already having a serious impact on human lives and health. It threatens the basic elements we all need for good health – clean air,safe drinking water, nutritious food supply and safe shelter – and will undermine decades of progress in global health. We can’t afford to delay action any further.”

    The same human activities that are destabilizing the Earth’s climate also contribute directly to poor health. The main driver of climate change is fossil fuel combustion which is also a major contributor to air pollution.

    “The true cost of climate change is felt in our hospitals and in our lungs. The health burden of polluting energy sources is now so high, that moving to cleaner and more sustainable choices for energy supply, transport and food systems effectively pays for itself,”says Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “When health is taken into account,climate change mitigation is an opportunity, not a cost.”

    Switching to low-carbon energy sources will not only improve air quality but provide additional opportunities for immediate health benefits. For example, introducing active transport options such as cycling will help increase physical activity that can help prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

    WHO’s COP-24 Special Report: health and climate change provides recommendations for governments on how to maximize the health benefits of tackling climate change and avoid the worst health impacts of this global challenge.

    It describes how countries around the world are now taking action to protect lives from the impacts of climate change – but that the scale of support remains woefully inadequate, particularly for the small island developing states, and least developed countries. Only approximately 0.5% of multilateral climate funds dispersed for climate change adaptation have been allocated to health projects.

    Pacific Island countries contribute 0.03% of greenhouse gas emissions, but they are among the most profoundly affected by its impacts. For the Pacific Island countries, urgent action to address climate change — including the outcome of COP24 this week — is crucial to the health of their people and their very existence.

    “We now have a clear understanding of what needs to be done to protect health from climate change – from more resilient and sustainable health care facilities, to improved warning systems for extreme weather and infectious disease outbreaks. But the lack of investment is leaving the most vulnerable behind,” said Dr Joy St John, Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health.

    The report calls for countries to account for health in all cost-benefit analyses of climate change mitigation. It also recommends that countries use fiscal incentives such as carbon pricing and energy subsidies to incentivize sectors to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. It further encourages Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to remove existing barriers to supporting climate-resilient health systems.

    WHO is working with countries to:

    • Assess the health gains that would result from the implementation of the existing Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, and the potential for larger gains from the more ambitious action required to meet the goals of limiting global warming to 2*C or 1.5*C.
    • Ensure climate-resilient health systems, especially in the most vulnerable countries such as small island developing states (SIDS); and to promote climate change mitigation actions that maximize immediate and long-term health benefits, under a special initiative on climate change and health in SIDS, launched in partnership with the UNFCCC Secretariat and the Fijian Presidency of COP-23 and operationalized by the Pacific Islands Action Plan on Climate Change and Health.
    • Track national progress in protecting health from climate change and gaining the health co-benefits of climate change mitigation measures, through the WHO/UNFCCC Climate and Health country profiles, currently covering 45 countries, with 90 due for completion by the end of 2019.

    WHO’s COP24 Special Report: health and climate change 

    Recommendations

    Parties to the UNFCCC could advance climate, health and development objectives by:

    • Identifying and promoting actions that both cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution, and by including specific commitments to cut emissions of Short Climate Pollutants in their National Determined Contributions.
    • Ensuring that the commitments to assess and safeguard health in the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement are reflected in the operational mechanisms at national and global levels.
    • Removing barriers to investment in health adaptation to climate change, with a focus on climate resilient health systems, and climate smart healthcare facilities.
    • Engagement with the health community, civil society and health professionals, to help them to mobilize collectively to promote climate action and health co-benefits.
    • Promoting the role of cities and sub-national governments in climate action benefiting health, within the UNFCCC framework.
    • Formal monitoring and reporting of the health progress resulting from climate actions to the global climate and health governance processes, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
    • Inclusion of the health implications of mitigation and adaptation measures in economic and fiscal policy.

    (Read More: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/05-12-2018-health-benefits-far-outweigh-the-costs-of-meeting-climate-change-goals)

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    Where God spoke and acted

    December 9th, 2018

    IN the gospel this week, John is in the Judean desert. In the epistle, Paul is in a Roman dungeon. Neither a desert nor a dungeon is a place that you’d expect to experience the presence of God. A dungeon, by contrast, epitomizes confinement and constriction.Nonetheless, the desert and the dungeon were both places where God spoke and acted.

    Luke specifies the exact time when “the word of God came to John son of Zechariah.” The “fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar” dates his story to about the year 26 AD. Luke also identifies the political context; the word of God came to John the Baptist “when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene.”

    After naming Rome’s political powers, Luke identifies Jerusalem’s religious establishment; the story takes place “during the high priesthood of Annas and [his successor] Caiaphas.”

    These minor details reveal a major theme in the story of Jesus. The “word of the Lord” through John the Baptist didn’t originate with the imperial powers of Rome. Nor from Israel’s religious establishment, even though John’s father Zechariah was a priest in the Jerusalem temple. It didn’t come from someone dressed in fashionable clothes who lived in an expensive palace, said Jesus(Luke 7:25). Nor from a business board room, university laboratory,ski lodge or power lunch.

    God’s word to all humanity came from a wild and woolly man who lived in the deep of the desert, on the fringes of society rather than in its corridors of power, at the periphery rather than at the epicenter. The divine messenger and his message originated in an unlikely place and from an improbable source. John would have been easy to ignore if you expected or wanted something normal, safe, or traditional. But neither John nor his message was normal by any stretch of the imagination. His message of repentance was both an”invitation and indictment,” says Marcus Borg.

    John was a prophet of radical dissent; his detractors said that he had a demon(Luke 7:33). In the end, he paid the price for faithfulness to his prophetic calling. About six months after John emerged from the desert like some scraggly lunatic and baptized Jesus, he was beheaded at the whim of Herod the Tetrarch.

    As for Paul, the historian Garry Wills describes him as a “heroic traveler” who logged more than ten thousand miles spreading the good news of God’s love. Given the subsequent global expansion of Christianity, Paul remains one of the most influential people in history. But in the epistle for this week, Paul isn’t going anywhere at all. He’s languishing in jail.

    In his letter to the Philippians, Paul mentions the “chains” of his imprisonment five times. In other epistles he mentions them another five times. Paul spent significant time in prison.

    But Paul wasn’t concerned about his confinement. He told the Philippians that the gospel was spreading because of his imprisonment. Indeed, under house arrest at Rome he was able to meet with friends. It’s thought that he composed his four “prison epistles” during this time – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. He learned how the gospel that had started in the religious center of Jerusalem in the east had migrated to the imperial center of Rome in the west.

    In the desert,in a dungeon. Whatever space or place we find ourselves this Advent,God will meet us there. For Mary, a peasant teenager from a working class neighborhood of carpenters in Nazareth, a village so insignificant that it’s not mentioned in the Old Testament, in the historian Josephus (c. 37–100), or in the Jewish Talmud, her angelic encounter took place in an unknown, ordinary house.

    In his book Searching for Home (2003), Craig Barnes, uses Dante’s Divine Comedy and the journey toward home metaphor to explore the pilgrim motif of discipleship. He reminds us that the truly good news of Jesus is that “all of the roads belong to God,” and that”the Savior can use any road to bring us home.” Quoting CS Lewis, he reminds us that God can even use the wrong roads to take us to the right places.

    The Rev. Isaias Ginson is a priest of The Episcopal Church. He is currently the priest in charge of the Episcopal church of St. Margaret’s in Plainview, NY.

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    Philippines Ditches Russian Helicopter Deal Amid Fears of US Sanctions

    December 8th, 2018
    Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Photo © en.wikipedia.org

    WHILE many countries, such as India, Turkey and Indonesia have decided to stick to their Russian arms deals despite the threat of sanctions under the US CAATSA, some states have decided to play it safe and avoid ending up in the Treasury Department’s blacklist.

    Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced that the country has decided to buy 16 Black Hawk helicopters from the US over the cheaper Russian Mi-171s, citing the threat of falling under US sanctions under CAATSA. The contract with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, producing Black Hawks will cost the Philippine budget $240 million.

    The Philippines planned to buy Bell 412 helicopters from Canada, but the deal was scrapped by its government over concerns that Manilla could use them against local rebels. In total, the Philippines examined 4 other options, including South Korea’s Surion and British-Italian AgustaWestland’s AW139.

    The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was signed in August 2017, targets Russian military exports, threatening to impose secondary sanctions against countries that acquire Russian military hardware.

    Despite this, several countries have decided to stick to their arms agreements with Russia, including Turkey and India, willing to buy the S-400, and Indonesia signing a $1.154 billion contract for 11 Su-35 jet fighters. 

    (Read More: https://sputniknews.com/asia/201812071070494524-phillipines-russian-helicopters/)

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    Duterte Incites Killing ‘Useless’ Bishops as ‘All They Do is Criticise’

    December 6th, 2018

    By Sputnik News

    (File Photo) Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. © AP Photo / Bullit Marquez

    PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte is well known for his controversial relationship with the Catholic church – at one point he even called God “stupid”, having questioned the concept of original sin and other key tenets of the religion.

    In a Wednesday speech at the presidential palace,  Duterte slammed his country’s Catholic bishops as “useless fools”, calling on his people to “kill them”.

    “These bishops that you guys have, kill them. They are useless fools. All they do is criticise”, the Filipino leader was quoted as saying.

    Duterte then branded the Catholic Church as “the most hypocritical institution” and said that his God was different from the one Catholics believed in.

    “I never said I do not believe in God. What I said is your God is stupid, mine has a lot of common sense. That’s what I told the bishops. I never said I was an atheist”.

    It was not the first time Duterte, a baptised Catholic, used strong words against the bishops. The Philippines president was previously angered by some bishops’ open criticism of his policy to crackdown on drugs.

    In November, the Philippine Star reported that Duterte called out Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan, saying that “I suspect you are into illegal drugs”.In summer, the eccentric leader referred to God as “stupid” and a “son of a b*tch”, suggesting that if there’s “one single witness” who can prove God’s existence by showing him a selfie together, he’d immediately step down from office.

    The Philippines is a Catholic-majority nation, with over 86 percent of the population (some 76 million people) practicing Roman Catholicism.

    (Read More: https://sputniknews.com/asia/201812061070439714-duterte-killing-useless-bishops/)

     

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    QC Bans Mercury-Laden Skin Whiteners Ahead of 2020 Global Phase-Out Deadline

    December 6th, 2018

    TO protect the public from mercury exposure, the Quezon City local government recently took a bold action by cracking down on dangerous mercury laden skin whitening cosmetics.

    This was learned shortly after an environment and public health watchdog, EcoWaste Coalition, lauded the city government for its action after it passed Ordinance No. 2767 into law. The new city ordinance prohibits all business and commercial establishments, as well as street, “tiangge” and online vendors from manufacturing, distributing and selling cosmetics containing mercury above the one part per million (ppm) limit set nationwide by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and regionally by the the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    The ordinance introduced by Councilor Elizabeth A. Delarmente and subsequently co-introduced by 32 other councilors was filed on July 10, 2018. It was enacted on October 8 at a session presided over by Vice Mayor Ma. Josefina G. Belmonte and approved on November 19 by Mayor Herbert M. Bautista.

    Cosmetics, including skin lightening creams and soaps, with mercury content above 1 ppm, are targeted for global phase-out by 2020 under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the Philippines has signed but not yet ratified.

    “We laud the Quezon City Government for cracking down on the illegal trade of mercury-containing creams, lotions and soaps that are marketed to lighten the skin color and fix skin woes. We’re happy to have provided the City Council with relevant information justifying a clampdown on such dangerous products through our active presence in several committee meetings,” said EcoWaste Coalition Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon.

    “The enactment of this ordinance, I hope, will draw much-needed action to realize the scheduled phase-out by 2020 of mercury-added products such as skin lightening cosmetics with mercury above 1 ppm. National and local governments should take notice of Quezon City’s progressive ordinance and consider adopting similar measures to protect consumer health against mercury in cosmetics,” said Lee Bell, Mercury Policy Adviser of IPEN, a global NGO network advancing on-the-ground efforts to implement the mercury treaty.

    As noted in the ordinance’s introductory text, “mercury use in cosmetic products can have adverse effects, including skin rashes, discoloring and scarring, and can reduce skin’s resistance to bacterial and mycotic skin disorders, and can cause damage to the brain, nervous system and kidneys.”

    The ordinance lists three prohibited acts, namely:

    a. The manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion, distribution and sale of cosmetics with mercury content in excess of 1 ppm.

    b. The sale, wholesale or retail, of cosmetics that have not been authorized by the FDA and/or have not complied with the labeling requirements.

    c. The open dumping, open burning and/or disposal of banned, recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics along with regular solid waste.

    The ordinance provides for the following penalties: a fine of PhP2,000 and confiscation of banned cosmetic products for the first offense; a fine of PhP3,000 and suspension to operate business for the second offense; and a fine of PhP5,000, imprisonment of 30 days or cancellation of business license, or both, at the discretionof the court.

    Additionally, all those convicted by the court shall be required to render 30-day community service to be determined by the local government authorities concerned.

    As provided for in the ordinance, the City Health Department (CHD) will take the lead to ensure its strict implementation.

    The CHD was tasked to coordinate with Quezon City’s Public Affairs and Information Services Office (PAISO), Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO), and Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD), as well as with FDA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other relevant city and national agencies and offices for the implementation of the ordinance.

    The CHD in cooperation with PAISO and EPWMD was also directed to conduct a wide information and education campaign regarding the ordinance with the assistance of concerned government agencies and non-government organizations.

    (Read More: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2018/10/22/qc-to-use-only-lead-safe-paints/)

     

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    Quezon City is nation’s best in disaster risk reduction

    December 5th, 2018

    QC Mayor Herbert Bautista receiving/presenting the much coveted award. Photo by QC PAISO

    QUEZON City earned the much-coveted Gawad Kalasag as it emerged number one in this year’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council national search. The nation’s premier city outpointed top contenders Angeles and Davao Cities.

    Quezon City was first runner-up in the last two staging of the nationwide search overseen by the Office of the Civil Defense. After emerging as having the best DRRM Council in Metro Manila for three consecutive years.

    Mayor Herbert Bautista received the award from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 at AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo.

    It’s not the award, but the importance of making sure that everybody becomes resilient. Quezon City became resilient not only because of the local government’s efforts, but because of everybody’s collective effort,” Mayor Bautista said.

    This year’s judges cited Quezon City for implementing programs and policies that address the four thematic areas: disaster mitigation and prevention, response, preparedness, and rehabilitation and recovery.

    Best Highly Urbanized Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is awarded to Quezon City for putting premium on the promotion of a deeper understanding of hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks of its communities; for prioritizing and allocating ample resources that paved the way for the enhancement of skills, knowledge and perspectives to achieve disaster resilience; for espousing an effective resettlement and housing program implemented through partnership and collaboration with multi-stakeholders that aimed to take individuals and families out of hazard-prone areas; for seamlessly integrating environment protection and management, livelihood and resource generation, family and community preparedness; and for ensuring that organizational structures, policies, and programs on disaster risk reduction and climate change are in place and working, with its citizenry sharing a common vision of safety, preparedness, and resiliency. These accomplishments are all notable contributions to the national effort to build a safer, climate change adaptive and disaster resilient Philippines, worthy emulation by our people and recognition from Gawad Kalasag,” the citation reads.

    Gawad KALASAG is an annual award given by the Office of Civil Defense since 1998. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) utilizes the Gawad KALASAG to obtain continuous commitment and support of DRRM practitioners in strengthening the resilience and capacities of communities and regions prone to disaster risks.

     

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    A Safer Future Awaits at WOCEE and WOSAS 2018

    December 5th, 2018

    A spectacular program opened the tech and security event

    Beyond Deadlines is a media partner of this event.

    FOLLOWING the success of its debut presentation, the groundbreaking World of Safety and Security Exposition (WOSAS) and World of Consumer Electronics Exposition (WOCEE) returns with a bigger and bolder installment for its 2nd edition.

    Committed in leading the nation “Towards a Safer Future”, this year’s WOSAS and WOCEE has gathered topnotch exhibitors from across the Philippines as well as countries such as Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Czech Republic.

    To officially launch the back-to-back trade shows, a joint grand opening ceremony was held at the lobby of the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Among those who were present during the event were DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, DTI Usec. Ruth Castelo, PNP Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde and WSI’s Joseph L. Ang, Levi S. Ang, Arch. Francisco Flameño, Jr., Jill Aithnie Ang, Rene Ramos, and Tessie Roque.

    Elevating the everyday

    Conceived with the goal of improving consumer access to the latest gadgets and devices that will help ease out the daily tasks and elevate the everyday experiences of countless individuals, WOCEE has come to be the ultimate venue to discover the most cutting-edge consumer electronics.

    This year’s WOCEE features wireless and wearable devices, gadgets for videography, photography, digital imaging, and audio, computer hardware and software, robotics, and even automotive electronics. Resonating well with this year’s theme, visitors can expect to find products that are reliable and resilient enough to withstand the rigors of everyday use.

    Apart from its impressive product profile, an event highlight to watch for at this year’s WOCEE is the Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines (MRSP) Robotics Competition. Presented in cooperation with Hytech Power Inc., the competition offers students of robotics a chance to take part in a challenging event that will highlight their abilities in designing and assembling systems in robotics, automation, and mechatronics.

    Safeguarding spaces

    Now on its 2nd year, WOSAS continues to champion the importance of ensuring the safety of our spaces both physical and virtual. A distinctive product profile are available at WOSAS which include products and services for CCTV and Biometrics, Smart Home Technology, Fire Safety and Protection, Information Security, and Emergency and Rescue.

    Shaping up to be the country’s biggest safety and security trade show this season, WOSAS 2018 has even expanded its long list of trade show services to include the NBI Caravan as well as a License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF) Caravan throughout the entire duration of the show.

    The WOCEE WOSAS guests of honor receiving the token of appreciation together with the WSI Executives. (L-R): Arch. Francisco Flameño Jr. – WSI Executive Director, Ms. Jill Aithnie Ang – WSI Managing Director, Mr. Joseph L. Ang – WSI Founding Chairman, Usec. Ruth Castelo – Department of Trade and Industry, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana – Department of National Defense, Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde – Philippine National Police, Mrs. Levi Ang – WSI Co-Founder and Ms. Tessie Roque – WSI Director

    WOCEE and WOSAS 2018 Highlights

    In line with their bid to offer visitors the latest products and services that will make their lives safer and more efficient, both WOCEE and WOSAS also seek to empower their respective industries and likewise encourage a healthy dialogue among its practitioners.

    As such, WOCEE and WOSAS has dedicated an area within its venue to put up the WOCEE and WOSAS Business Park. Here local and foreign investors may avail of services that will assist them in getting to know people and possibly establish business connections and investment accuracies.

    On the other hand, Tech Talk is the newest addition to the range of pocket events that await at this year’s WOCEE and WOSAS. A platform where industry leaders may share their knowledge and information about the current trends in their field and likewise receive feedback, the Tech Talk ultimately aims to foster industry collaboration and openness to new perspectives.

    Organized by Worldbex Services International, the 2nd WOCEE and WOSAS are co-located and ongoing until December 8, 2018 from 10:00am to 8:00pm at the WTC Metro Manila. For more information, call (02) 656-9239, email inquire@worldbexevents.com, and follow @wocee.ph and @wosas.ph at Facebook and Instagram. Skip the long lines and pre-register at www.wocee.ph or www.wosas.ph now.

     

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    Infographic: Why is fentanyl dangerous?

    December 5th, 2018

    By CGTN / Guo Meiping, Yu Yiwei

    FENTANYL, a strong narcotic analgesic, has raised attention around the world.

    Fentanyl is an important ingredient in “laboratory drugs.” It is easy to derive different variants called “fentanyl analogs.”

    Just 0.02 grams of a “fentanyl analog” is enough to kill an adult. As such, fentanyl has been targeted by international traffickers and become a vital ingredient for them to develop new drugs.

    In the Xi-Trump meeting on the sidelines of the just-concluded G20 summit, the two sides agreed to take proactive steps to combat illicit drugs, including fentanyl.

    The measures adopted in this respect by China so far have been applauded by the international community, including the United States. China has decided to list all the fentanyl-like substances as controlled substances and start working to adjust related regulations.

     

     

     

    (Read More: https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d674d3363444d31457a6333566d54/share_p.html)

     

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    Eat, drink, dance, and shop galore at Makati Street Meet 2018

    December 3rd, 2018

     

    IT IS going to be a weekend full of good food, one-of-a-kind shopping, and awesome entertainment as Makati Street Meet 2018 unfolds on December 9 at Paseo de Roxas.

    Now on its third year, the Makati Street Meet happens every first Sunday of the month. But for November and December this year, it has become a much-anticipated event among residents and guests alike, it will now be held every two Sundays of the month.

    Great, good food and music

    For starters, a Social Sunday was held on December 2 from 3-10 pm. The affair was a food fair in partnership with Mercato Centrale and Imaginarium Creatives. It showcased some of the yummiest finds in the country, accompanied by music from up and coming DJs. Among the performers are Earl of Manila, Six the Northstar, and VY!DD.

    Just look at the exciting line-up of food vendors, each one serving up mouthwatering and Instagram-worthy concoctions from Buko House, Bagnet Patong, Mr. Tentacles, Olivia & Co., St. George Cafe and more!

    To make the affair fun for all members of the family, there will also be arts and crafts activities by Ayala Land’s Papelikhaan from members of Barangay Luz. There are also fresh items available, such as saba and guyabano, from the Aeta community of Sapang Uwak, Porac.

    Shop and be merry

    Paseo de Roxas will be blocked off to make way for Sari-Sari: A Christmas Bazaar on December 9, featuring curated gift items of local and artisanal Filipino products in partnership with Brandboss Advertising. More than 30 merchants, including entrepreneurs of handmade items and innovators of indigenous materials, will showcase their wares in this bazaar which promises to transform Paseo de Roxas into a shoppers’ paradise from 10 am to 10 pm.

    Be mesmerized by the offerings of merchants that include Mango Float Supreme Manila, Wagyu by Monica, Vegan Republic, Lemon Squeeze & Surf, Pacaro Leather, and the list goes on!

    These twin events promise to make the upcoming holidays even more exciting in Makati, which celebrates Christmas like no other. After partaking of the great food and shopping finds, stay on to watch Reimagine the Magic: A Festival of Lights. Ayala Avenue is also bedecked with enchanting light installations inspired by iconic altars of Philippine churches.

    For sure, all roads will lead to Makati as Street Meet 2018 kicks off the Christmas fun.

    For more information, visit www.makeitmakati.com or like and follow Make It Makati on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

     

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    No Catholic No Gay: Pope Tells LGBTQ Nuns, Priests to Cease or Leave

    December 2nd, 2018

    By Sputnik News

    © AP Photo / Riccardo De Luca

    IN A new book, Pope Francis has written that gay people should not join the Catholic clergy because “there’s no room for that kind of affection” in the religious life of the world’s largest church.

    “The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates,” Francis wrote in his book titled “The Strength of a Vocation,” referring to potential priests, The Guardian reported Saturday.

    “In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church,” he wrote in his book, released on Saturday in Italy.

    “This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he states, referring to women who want to enter religious communities to become nuns. All priests, nuns and monks are required to take vows of celibacy in the Catholic Church, agreeing to a complete abstinence of any form of sexual activity.

    In 2005, the Catholic church banned homosexuality in the clergy, claiming that the practice is a sin.

    “It can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out,” Francis suggested.

    “In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life,” he said.

    Over the past few months, Pope Francis has been the center of a sexual abuse scandal over a letter by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States (2011-2016) and ex-secretary-general of the Governorate of Vatican City State (2006-2011).

    In his August 30, 2018, testimony, Vigano accused the pope and other top-level prelates of the Catholic Church of covering up sexual abuse of priests and seminarians by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who resigned from the College of Cardinals on July 28, 2018, over sexual harassment allegations.

    According to Vigano, he informed Pope Francis about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct on June 23, 2013, but the pope did not take any action to address the issue resulting in accusations of complicity in the abuse on the part of the Pope and the church hierarchy.

     

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