Pope Francis washed the feet of 11 young asylum seekers and a worker at their reception centre on Thursday to highlight the need for the international community to provide shelter to refugees.Several of the asylum seekers, one holding a baby in her arms, were reduced to tears as the 79-year-old pontiff kneeled before them, pouring water over their feet, drying them with a towel and bending to kiss them.
It was a “fraternal” gesture which sharply contrasted with the “gesture of war, of destruction committed three days ago in a European city” by “people who do not want to live in peace,” the pope said in a reference to deadly suicide bombings in Brussels claimed by the Islamic State group.
“Behind that gesture… there are arms traffickers, who want war, not fraternity”, Francis said at the centre of Castelnuovo di Porto, north of Rome, in an improvised homily.
Those picked for this Easter ritual were four Nigerian Catholics, three Eritrean Coptic women, three Muslims from Mali, Pakistan and Syria and a Hindu Indian, as well as an Italian worker from the centre.
“We are all brothers and we want to live in peace,” the pontiff said at the open-air, windblown mass in the courtyard of the reception centre, one of the largest in Italy.
The rite, performed yearly on Maundy or Holy Thursday, commemorates Jesus Christ’s Last Supper with the apostles.
The centre, run by the Italian interior ministry, houses 892 people from 25 countries, including 36 women and seven minors.
Francis has long called for the global community, and Europe in particular, to open its doors to refugees and step up the fight against xenophobia.
Thursday’s ceremony is part of the run-up to Easter Sunday, and has seen the Argentine pontiff in the past wash the feet of prison inmates and disabled people.
Shortly after his election in 2013, Francis visited a youth detention centre where he performed the ritual on a group of young inmates including two Muslims — the first Catholic leader ever to do so.
Nigerian troops have freed more than 800 people held hostage by Boko Haram across the country’s northeast, the army said.
The “clearance operation” on Tuesday saw 520 people rescued in Kusumma village, three Boko Haram fighters killed and one fighter from the group captured alive, according to spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman.
In a statement posted to the army’s official website on Thursday, he said that 309 others were rescued in 11 villages acorss the region.
At least 22 “terrorists” were said to have been killed in the operation in which 309 were rescued.
Boko Haram has not commented on the statement.
“The gallant troops cleared the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists hibernating in Kala Balge general area,” Usman said. Kala Balge is a local government area of Borno State.
In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed said that the army had significantly reduced Boko Haram’s ability to carry out big attacks.
“The Boko Haram insurgency has been massively decimated to the extent that it is no longer in the position to carry out spectacular attacks,” he said.
Earlier in March, two female bombers killed at least 22 worshippers in an attack on a mosque. The attack took place on the outskirts of the northeastern city of Maiduguri – the birthplace of the Boko Haram armed group.
The group was suspected of having carried out the attack, according to Colonel Usman.
Boko Haram has increasingly used suicide and bomb attacks as Nigeria’s military pushes the group out of territories they once controlled. Several bombers have blown themselves up in recent months at roadblocks into the city manned by the military and vigilantes.
The US military calls Boko Haram the most violent armed group in the world.
Some 20,000 people have been killed and about 2.3 million displaced by its war with the government since 2009.
ISIS has trained more than 400 fighters to unleash more deadly terror attacks across Europe with extremists ordered to wait for the ‘right time and place’ to cause maximum carnage, it has emerged.
Officials believe hundreds of extremists have been trained specifically for external attacks on European cities, like the ones which have brought death and devastation to Brussels and Paris.
Depraved Islamic State chiefs are said to have encouraged fighters to choose the time, place and method of a terror attack wisely in a bid to cause maximum casualties and destruction.
Security officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, say there are camps in Syria and Iraq designed specifically to train for attacks against the West.
More : http://www.dailymail.co.uk
Ethiopia’s doubles wheat imports to feed its hungry millions, but it’s stuck in Djibouti port as ships queue
In total, it can take around 120 days to purchase and transport food into Ethiopia through Djibouti
Djibouti port; battling with a surge in Ethiopian cargo. (Photo/Ryan Kilpatrick/Flickr).
FOOD supplies flowing to Ethiopia during the country’s growing hunger crisis are meeting a major challenge: they can’t get to people fast enough.
Ethiopia is doubling its wheat purchases after the harshest drought in half a century, causing bottlenecks of ships at the country’s main port in neighbouring Djibouti. At least 10 vessels are waiting to unload about 450,000 metric tons of wheat, according to information on the port’s website and ship-tracking data on Bloomberg. One carrying 50,000 tons of wheat and sorghum is berthed.
“There’s a whole bunch of ships that are lined up,” John Graham, the Ethiopia director for Save the Children, said by phone from Dire Dawa on Tuesday. “The numbers of berths allocated is not adequate so far.”
Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest wheat consumer, is grappling with a growing food problem as the lack of rain erodes harvests of everything from sorghum to wheat, forcing the country to launch international tenders. Droughts in the country have become more frequent and severe in the past decade, and the effects from El Nino weather patterns have wreaked havoc across many parts of Africa.
It takes about 40 days to unload ships carrying grain, which is used to feed people in Ethiopia’s urban centres, according to Save the Children. In total, it can take around 120 days to purchase and transport food into the country through Djibouti, the British charity said in a February report.
In Ethiopia, among the world’s poorest countries, the number of people living with hunger has more than doubled since August to more than 10 million, according to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization.
The number is higher when you add the 7.9 million supported by a government safety-net programme. There are expected to be at least 450,000 severely malnourished Ethiopians this year, according to Save the Children.
The nation has historically struggled with hunger, including in the 1980s, when famine and civil war left hundreds of thousands of people dead.
In October, Ethiopia sought 1 million tons of wheat, more than it bought last season, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Another tender for almost 500,000 tons will close on Friday.
More : http://m.mgafrica.com
Amandeep Singh has become famous in India. His videos have gone viral, because he has an amazing ability to withstand too much pain and show too much strength. writes The Mirror.
He can lift people into the air by a rope and his teeth. He can be run run over without injury, and then he can turn stones into pieces using his fists.
The 34-year-old Amandeep Singh has become known as India’s Ironman.
He has repeatedly been mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records because his ‘super powers’ has shocked the world.
– I have trained hard to become like this, he said in an interview.