CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
Pence Takes Over Transition Efforts
President-elect Donald Trump announced Friday that Vice President-elect Mike Pence would be replacing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as chairman of White House transition efforts. Christie will remain on the board, but he will serve as one of several transition vice chairs. Christie’s reputation has been scarred by scandals in recent years, and that has played into this decision despite his support of Trump since dropping out of the presidential race. Other members of the White House transition board include Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Flint Water Crisis Continues
The latest ruling in the Flint water crisis has been made by a federal judge Thursday. The judge, District Court Judge David Lawson, said that Michigan and Flint officials must deliver bottled water to any home that does not have a government-verified working water filter. The officials are required to deliver at least 96 half-liter bottles every week. He also ordered a report of how the government was complying by December 16. Currently, the state gives free water filters and bottled water at distribution points throughout the city. A current count says that at least 90% of the city’s households have the water filters, but as many as 52% of those households may have malfunctioning or improperly installed filters. Delivery will help people who do not have reliable transportation or are limited by work hours. The crisis occurred when the city’s water supply was changed from Lake Huron to the Flint River which is known to be contaminated and has not been filtered properly.
Trump Praises Protesters’ “Passion”
“Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country,” tweeted President-elect Donald Trump after protesters rioted against his election. Around 4,000 protesters gathered in Portland, Oregon. They smashed car windows, lit trash on fire, and threw objects at the police. 26 arrests have been made after the police declared the events a riot. Similar events have occurred in Oakland, California. In other cities, protesters have been less violent but have still broken laws. Protesters in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Baltimore have all blocked roads. Despite the disagreement between political parties, President Obama and President-elect Trump met earlier this week and were cordial to each other. Trump is hoping to change much of Obama’s effects on the country, including Obamacare.
Poland Opens Catholic Shrine After 224 Years
Poland celebrated its 98th Independence Day by opening a Catholic shrine 224 years in the making. The work on the Temple of Divine Providence, located in Warsaw, originally began in 1792 when a Russian invasion and two world wars halted its progress. Work began most recently in 2003, when the equivalent of $54 million in private donations was given to the effort. Poland has a large Roman Catholic majority, and the church is a symbol of nationalism for the country. Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo was in attendance at the opening Mass. The building is not yet completed, and needs over $1.7 million to be completed. The Church complex includes a museum commemorating Pope John Paul II as well as Stefan Wyszynski who led the Church in Poland during Communist rule.
UN Concerned That South Sudan’s War Could Become Genocide
The UN’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, cited examples of ethnically target violence as reasons the UN is concerned that South Sudan’s civil war could become genocide. South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011, making it the world’s newest country. Violence began in 2013 when groups loyal to President Salva Kiir began fighting against those loyal to his former vice president Riek Machar. Kiir is part of the Dinka tribe and Machar is part of the Nuer tribe, who are at odds with each other. There was an attempt at peace this August when a peace deal was signed, but the fighting has not stopped. South Sudan’s government has shut down a radio station, supposedly for spreading “hate speech.” Journalists are under threats, and Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Lomuro wanted them to not say “something which is not correct.”
More Violence Against Mosul Civilians
Almost 50,000 people have fled the areas around Mosul because of ISIS. Witnesses said that many people have been executed for disobeying various laws put in place by the terror group. They say that 30 people were shot in the head for owning cell phones, and that their bodies were left in the streets as warnings. The UN human rights office confirmed Friday that at least 60 civilians have been executed this week in Mosul. Their alleged crimes included “treason and collaboration” with Iraqi security forces. There has been increased concern over teen fighters trained by ISIS, called “sons of the caliphate.” The battle for the city continues, and a top commander named Mahmoud Shukri al Nuaimi has recently been killed. An Iraqi counterterrorism official says that the fight is “difficult, slow and complicated,” according to CNN.