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Fortnightly News Roundup 2nd – 16th September 2018

Pope Francis waving in St Peter's square
By Alfredo Borba - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34671623
Pope Francis waving in St Peter's square
By Alfredo Borba – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34671623

Being well informed isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. In this feature, The Yorker is bringing you a fortnightly roundup of politics free national and international news. From the stories you’ve seen to some you might not have, this is everything you need to know from the past two weeks.


Over 3,600 German children assaulted by Catholic priests, a report finds

According to a report originally leaked to the German news outlet Spiegel, between the period of 1946 and 2014, 3,677 children were assaulted by 1,670 priests. The children assaulted were predominantly male and more than half were aged 13 or under. The evidence for these allegations comes from more than 38,000 documents from 27 dioceses. The report itself was compiled by three German universities. However, the authors state that the numbers given are likely to be conservative estimates as some records were “destroyed or manipulated.” The report also stated that there is no reason to believe the abuse of children has stopped as cases of abuse continued to the end of the studied period. Moreover, the report says that often, priests accused of sexually assaulting children were moved to another church, without the communities being given “the appropriate information,” and only 38% of the alleged perpetrators were prosecuted, with most sections being minimal.


The report was intended to be released on the 25th of September by Cardinal Reinhard Marx in Fulda at The German Bishops’ Conference. They had ordered the study to be done in strict confidence. Bishop Stephan Ackermann, a spokesman for the German Bishops’ Conference, said, that the church had not seen the report before it was leaked, and they intended on having a helpline set up for any people affected by the report. This latest flurry of allegations comes only weeks after a report revealed over 1,000 Pennsylvanian children were abused by Catholic priests. Again, evidence found a cover up by the church in this case too. The leaked report also overshadowed the pope’s most recent attempt to deal with the latest swathe of allegations. On the same day as the report leaked, the pope called a meeting of key bishops to discuss the protection of minors in the church. The following day, he met with leaders from the U.S. Catholic Church. As he was meeting with these bishops, more news broke of the resignation of a bishop in West Virginia over allegations he sexually harassed adults.


Contradictions in the Church of England?

In a speech to the TUC Congress 2018, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called the gig economy and zero hours contracts “the reincarnation of an ancient evil.” He also said companies like Amazon that pay “almost nothing” in taxes are “leach[ing] off the taxpayer.” However, Welby has been criticised by papers like The Daily Mail and The Sun, accusing him of not only heavily politicising his speech, but also of hypocrisy. In an article published by The Daily Mail, they revealed that the church has investments in several major companies, with Amazon being among their top 20 investments. The information comes from The Church Commissioners Annual report 2017. The Church Commissioners is a body that manages the investments of the Church of England. They hold shares in many major companies, including Google’s parent company, Alphabet, pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline, and supermarket Tesco – to name a few. The Church’s investment fund is £8.3 billion, and while the Church has refused to say exactly how much their shares are worth, the top 20 equity holdings (of which Amazon is a part), represents over £500 million of the Church’s total investable income. According to The Mail, this suggests that the shares in Amazon are “likely to be several million pounds.” All returns from this fund are deposited back into the Church of England and pay towards running costs, pensions, funding for the poorest areas, and research into how the Church can grow.


When asked about the investment in Amazon, a spokesperson for the Church Commissioners said, “we take the view that it is more effective to be in the room with these companies seeking change as an active shareholder than speaking from the side-lines.”


This wasn’t the only point on with the Archbishop came under fire. The Telegraph reported that job adverts posted by Gloucester Cathedral and Norwich Cathedral offered roles under zero hour contracts. The staffing of individual cathedrals and dioceses is done separately from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the national church. Spokespeople for both churches agreed that zero-hour contracts can be abused, but they were in place for these positions to provide flexibility to those staff that wish to have it.


In the last 5 years, referrals of child abuse images to the NCA has surged by 700%

According to new figures by the National Crime Agency (NCA), in the last 5 years, referrals of child abuse images to the NCA have increased by 700%. According to the latest figures from the NCA, about 80,000 people in the UK are of some sort of sexual threat to children online. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned the big technology firms that if they do not crack down on online child sex abuse, they will face new legislation. In a statement, Mr Javid praised the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple for the progress they have made in counter terrorism. He said that he would like to see the same level of commitment and expertise applied to the development of new ways to find images of sexual abuse and to prevent access to them.

What else do you need to know?

A fire destroyed Brazil’s 200-year-old National museum.


Japan was hit by another major typhoon leaving hundreds dead, but mostly from landslides.


Also in Japan, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck Hokkaido. At least 17 people were reported dead.


Super typhoon Mangkhut in Southeast Asia could affect 43 million people.


In other storm news, Hurricane Florence struck the U.S. and so far, at least 14 people have died in storm related incidents.


The journey between North Africa and to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea is now deadlier than at any other point in the European migrant crisis.


A double bombing at a wrestling match in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more, including journalists.


In a rare admission, the Saudi-led coalition acknowledged that its airstrike on a bus in Yemen last month was unjustified. Dozens of people, including children, were killed.


In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has given e-cigarette companies 60 days to prove they could keep their products away from minors, or face a ban.


Also in the US, the number of migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border has increased to the highest ever recorded. According to data obtained by The New York Times, as of this month, there are 12,800 children in custody at shelters on U.S. soil.


An Austrian journalist, Max Zirngast, whom is often critical of Turkey’s President Erdogan, was detained by Turkish police in Ankara.


In lighter news, The Ocean Cleanup Project hopes to clean up 88,000 tonnes of floating plastic in a two week trial


A new drug for cancer in children to be offered on the NHS


India’s Supreme Court rules to decriminalise gay sex.


Ryanair and easyJet are looking to begin low cost flights to the Kenyan resort area Mombasa.


Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams to win the US open women’s title. But the match has been surrounded in controversy. Meanwhile Djokovic beat Juan Martin del Potro to win the men’s title.


Apple have been given the greenlight to acquire Shazam.


Apple unveiled its biggest and most expensive iPhone yet, the iPhone XS Max. They also unveiled the iPhone XR, which is similar to the discontinued iPhone X, but with a LCD display and a lower price. The series 4 Apple Watch was also unveiled along with other minor product updates.


A look at the UK’s worst selling map: OS440; an empty landscape.


The earliest known drawing by Homo sapiens was unearthed in a South African cave. Scientists think it is about 73,000-years-old.


And finally

Beware of the dog.