World News in Brief

Don’t back jihadis, bishop begs British

A Syrian archbishop has warned British politicians against backing Islamic militants in his country.

Speaking at a meeting in the House of Lords, Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo said Syria’s Christians supported Russia’s military intervention because it gave them fresh hope that the four-year war would end in a solution favourable to them.

Islamist militants, he said, are “killing anyone who is saying anything about freedom, about citizenship, about religious liberty, about democracy”, lamenting how “our country was fighting for 50-60 years to become a secularist regime, a pluralistic country, to give citizens their rights of religion and freedom of choice… and you are destroying this work and pushing on us fundamental jihadis who want to kill everyone who is not similar to them”.

“It is terrible for us to see all the marvellous things we had destroyed for pretend democracy and freedom,” he said.

More work needed to wipe out poverty – Vatican diplomat

The proportion of people worldwide living in extreme poverty continues to fall, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations has said, but much work remains to be done if extreme poverty is to be eradicated by 2030.

“The number of people still living in extreme poverty continues to be unacceptably high,” said Filipino Archbishop Bernardito Auza at a UN committee session on poverty eradication, continuing, “the more than 700 million extremely poor remind us of the magnitude of the challenge still ahead.”

Pointing out that it is even more difficult to tackle higher poverty lines, the archbishop said “those remaining in extreme poverty are the most difficult cases, and […] for many of those who have escaped extreme poverty, progress has been temporary and regression back to extreme poverty is even more painful and debilitating”.