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Trump's executive order on Religious Freedom hailed as a critical 'first step'

Pres. Trump signs Executive Order on Religious FreedomWashington DC, May 4 (CNA).─ Religious freedom advocates credited President Donald Trump with taking a “first step” toward protecting religious freedom with an executive order he signed on Thursday, but stressed that there is still more work to be done.

“I thought the executive order was a great step forward,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. told CNA. [Trump] himself says this is the first step. But it’s the beginning, and we’ve waited a long time for it.”

President Donald Trump signed a religious freedom executive order on Thursday in the White House Rose Garden, on the National Day of Prayer, with religious leaders – including Cardinal Wuerl – standing around him.

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Francis on the Nile: The pope visits Egypt

A visit by Pope Francis will not solve the problems plaguing Egypt’s Christians

Cairo, Apr.28."Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” So said Manuel II Palaiologos, a Byzantine emperor, of Islam’s founder. Some six centuries later, in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI used the quotation in a speech about reason and religion. The Muslim world was not pleased.

Jorge Bergoglio, then a cardinal in Argentina, criticised Benedict’s comments. In 2013, when Father Bergoglio succeeded Pope Benedict, taking the name of Francis, he immediately called for more interfaith dialogue. Two weeks later, when the new pope washed the feet of prisoners in Rome, a Christian ritual, he included two Muslims. In 2014 he toured Jordan, Israel and Palestine, further mending the Vatican’s relations with Islam.

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AUSTRALIA: Planning uneaseness to be addressed at citizen democracy forum

Canberra, Apr.29.─ A community forum will brainstorm new ways of engaging the public on major developments, due to Canberrans' growing unease about how planning decisions are being made in the city.

The Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy's (CAPaD) public discussion about community engagement in Canberra will unite community councils and residents groups this Sunday to find practical solutions to one of the most fraught areas of public policy in the ACT.

The group said the adverse reaction to redevelopments at Manuka Oval, Yarralumla Brickworks, West Basin, Currong Flats and public housing in Weston Creek showed the current method of consultation was little more than "lip service".

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Massive US military strike on Syrian air base from which chemical weapons attack was launched

Russia 'furious' as US fires missiles on Syria

USS Porter Palm Beach/Moscow/Beirut, Apr. 7.─ Guided-missile destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross launched a massive strike operation agains Syria from the Eastern Mediterranean where the US Navy's Sixth Fleet is deployed.

The Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched on April 6 against a Syrian airbase from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched. This is the first direct US assault on the government of Bashar Al-Assad in six years of civil war. Trump ordered the step his predecessor Barack Obama never took: directly targeting the Syrian military for its suspected role in a posion gas attack that killed at leas 70 people.

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Can Europe be saved?

If it is to survive, the European Union must become a lot more flexible

Brussels, Mar.26.─ On March 25th 1957, with the shadow of the second world war still hanging over them, six European countries signed the founding treaty of a new sort of international club. The European Union, as the club came to be called, achieved success on a scale its founders could barely have imagined, not only underpinning peace on the continent but creating a single market as well as a single currency, and bringing into its fold ex-dictatorships to the south and ex-communist countries to the east, as it expanded from six members to 28. Yet even as today’s European leaders gather in Rome this weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary, they know their project is in big trouble.

The threats are both external and internal. Internally, the flaws that became glaringly evident in the euro crisis have yet to be fixed. Prolonged economic pain has contributed to a plunge in support for the EU. Populist, anti-European parties are attacking the EU’s very existence—not least in France, where Marine Le Pen is doing uncomfortably well in the presidential campaign, even if the National Front leader is unlikely to win in May. 

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