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Pope Francis Reactivates Vatican Panel Against Child Sex Abuse

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Pope Francis has reactivated a panel of experts on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church tasked with looking into prevention and care for the victims, the Vatican said on Saturday.

Francis had faced criticism for failing to renew the three-year mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors when it lapsed in December.

The statement said that the commission would resume work under the confirmed leadership of Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and with 16 members, including nine who are newly appointed. “The pope has given much prayerful consideration in nominating these members who will add to the Commission’s global perspective in the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. “The panel will continue assisting local churches throughout the world in their efforts to safeguard all children, young people, and vulnerable adults from harm,’’ O’Malley said.

The Vatican’s announcement came after weeks in which the decades-old worldwide scandal of paedophile priests appeared to have come back to haunt Francis.

Visiting Chile in January, the pope angered clergy sex abuse victims by insisting they had no proof against a bishop who allegedly witnessed abuse and failed to report it.

Francis’ defense of Bishop Juan Barros sparked an outcry, after which the pope apologised and asked the Vatican’s top investigator on sexual abuse, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to look into the case.

On Thursday, the Vatican also confirmed a press report according to which Francis told fellow Jesuits in Chile that he has regular, private meetings at the Vatican with abuse victims.

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AMVCA 2024: Full Winners List

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Below are the list of winners👇

  • Best Movie: Breath of Life
  • Best Lead Actor: Wale Ojo(Breath of Life)
  • Best Lead Actress: Kehinde Bankole (Adire)
  • Best Indigenous West Africa. Femi Adebayo Jagun Jagun
  • Best writing movie: Fumilayo Rans0me Kuti
  • Best Scripted: Slùm King
  • Best Costume Design: Jagun Jagun (Lola Awe)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Genoveva Umeh (Breath of Life
  • Best Supporting Actor: Ademola Adedoyin (Breath of Life)
  • Best MultiChoice Talent Factory Movie: Our Dàrk Past
  • Best Makeup: Mami Wata (Campbell Precious Arebamen
  • Industry Merit Awards: Iya Rainbow aka Idowu Philips and Richard Mofe Damijo
  • Best Writing Award: Volume
  • Best Director: BB Sasore (Breath of Life)
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Governor Sanwo-Olu Receives Prince Harry & Meghan Markle (Photos) 

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, received the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on Sunday.

The British Royal couple was received by Governor Sanwo-Olu; his wife, Dr. Ibijoke, and some members of the State Executive Council during a courtesy visit at Lagos House, Marina.

Prince Harry, accompanied by his wife, Meghan, is on a three-day visit to Nigeria to promote the Invictus Games, which he founded in 2014. The couples had a stopover in Lagos on Sunday.

The Invictus Games are aimed at raising funds and supporting serving members of the military as well as veterans to overcome their physical and mental illness or injuries, which would help them to develop a sense of belonging and increased self-esteem.

Speaking to journalists after a closed door meeting with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Governor Sanwo-Olu praised the British Royal couple for the work they are doing with Nigeria’s military men, especially on issues around mental health.

He said: “We are honoured to receive them (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) at the Lagos House, Marina. We are excited about the ideas and what they are planning to do, especially with the office of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, and his wife, Mrs. Lilian Musa.

“For Prince Harry, it has been a very interesting and informative trip to the country. He has seen a lot. And part of the things we are hoping he will take away is the diversity and extent of how big our country is, how we continue to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony, and what role Lagos plays in the whole conversation.

“They have been to Kano, Abuja, and now Lagos. I am sure they have their own experience of what Nigeria looks like. We have extended an additional invitation to them that they can always come back when they want to.

“We are indeed happy for what they are doing, especially for our military men, on the conversation around mental health issues and how they can galvanise their various NGOs to ensure that people who require their support, both in the military and private, can seek that support.

“Mental health issues are all around us. Denial and stigmatisation, are some of the things we talked about. And more importantly, at what point in Nigeria can we have the Invictus Games that Prince Harry is known for so that the true Nigerian competitiveness can also be reflected in those games”

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US Announces African Infrastructure Venture Amid China’s Belt and Road Scrutiny

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In recent developments, the United States has announced plans to embark on its own infrastructure project in Africa, particularly in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. This initiative aims to refurbish and extend the Lobito Corridor, a railway system that will stretch through mineral-rich regions, linking Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to an Atlantic port in Angola.

This move comes at a time when China’s efforts to expand its influence in Africa through infrastructure investments, notably its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have faced scrutiny. Despite China’s investments, criticisms have emerged regarding the sustainability and completion of projects, prompting a shift in focus towards more manageable and sustainable initiatives.

The U.S, in collaboration with the European Union and African nations, is taking a proactive approach to ensure the success of the Lobito Corridor project. Key aspects include the involvement of private partners like the Africa Finance Corp., plans for long-term operation and maintenance, and capacity development strategies. This signifies a departure from past approaches and a commitment to transparent and sustainable infrastructure development.

Reflecting on China’s BRI, the U.S initiative seeks to learn from past experiences and avoid pitfalls encountered in previous projects. While China denies accusations of creating spheres of influence through its initiatives, concerns persist regarding the social, environmental, and economic impacts of its projects.

As the Lobito Corridor project progresses, attention is drawn to its potential connection with existing Chinese-built railways in the region, such as the Tazara railway linking Zambia and Tanzania. While the specifics are yet to be determined, the focus remains on practical and sustainable solutions that promote economic growth and benefit local communities.

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