World News in Brief

Vatican Bank is ‘clean’ – director general

The Vatican Bank is now “absolutely clean”, according to its director general, who says it is now “impossible to launder money” through the institution.

Gian Franco Mammi made the claim following the publication of the 2015 report for the bank, officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). According to the report, the bank had a net profit of €16.1 million, which though significantly lower than the 2014 profit of €69.3 million, was 20 times higher than that of 2013.

Mr Mammi said the 2015 figure was “compatibly profitable”, with “the objective difficulties of the market, its volatility, and the crises that have occurred, such as Greece” as well as how the bank has “just finished an important transition phase”.

The bank closed 4,935 accounts for a range of reasons between June 2013 and the end of last year, and now has 14,801 customers, made up of the Holy See and related entities, religious orders, other Catholic institutions, clergy, employees of the Holy See and the accredited diplomatic corps. 


Kenya urged to reconsider closures

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has urged Kenya to reconsider plans to close camps hosting hundreds of thousands of Somali and South Sudanese refugees.

The government has said that it will disband its Department of Refugee Affairs and close two camps, claiming that the refugees pose a security threat, especially from the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab.

“The directive to close the camps violates the general principle of voluntary repatriation of refugees living in Kenya,” JRS and other humanitarian organisations said in a statement, adding that the refugees must be returned to their countries of origin “in a safe and dignified manner”.

Closing the camps would put the refugees  at great risk, they said, noting how Kenya has long “been recognised as a safe haven for persons seeking refuge from conflict.


Radio chief has ‘high hopes’ for new Philippine president

Rodrigo Duterte’s victory in the Philippine’s presidential election is “a strong reminder that people want change”, according to the head of the country’s largest Catholic radio network.

Fr Anton Pascual, president of Radio Veritas, said he had “high hopes” Mr Duterte would crack down on corruption, criminality, “unchecked terrorism” and drug pushing, and suggested he start with a “big fish” corrupt official.

Praising Mr Duterte’s gift for identifying with people’s needs and aspirations, Fr Pascual said “he verbalises the language and longings of the people to cleanse society”.

Catholic leaders have expressed concerns about Mr Duterte, who throughout the campaign said he would rid the country of criminals within six months of taking office, even that he would kill drug pushers, armed robbers and other “loser” criminals, telling hundreds of thousands of supporters in Manila, “forget the laws of human rights”.

Cagayan de Oro’s Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said he respected the election result, but added, “we are also asking everyone to be sure that the rule of law and the constitutional processes are followed”, adding that “it’s still not clear how the president will carry on his promises”.