New Briefs

A Catholic Church relief worker who recently returned from Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley said the 1.5 million civilians displaced by a government crackdown on militants are facing "horrible conditions." "They are without proper shelter and cannot stand the extreme heat," said Eric Dayal, of Caritas Pakistan. • As the government of Sri Lanka declared victory over Tamil separatists engaged in a 26-year battle for independence, Pope Benedict XVI appealed to both sides to protect civilians and asked the international community to provide aid to tens of thousands of refugees. • Disarmament advocates have called upon the Canadian government to endorse U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons. "The complete elimination of nuclear weapons is the only lasting solution to the grave dangers that threaten our world," said Bruce Blair, president of the Washington-based World Security Institute. • The Vatican is launching iPhone and Facebook applications as part of a brand new Vatican Web site—www.pope2you.net—that is to go live on May 24.

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Pope Francis listens to a question from Vera Shcherbakova of the Itar-Tass news agency while talking with journalists aboard his flight from Cairo to Rome April 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The situation in North Korea, he added, has been heated for a long time, "but now it seems it has heated up too much, no?"
Gerard O'ConnellApril 29, 2017
Pope Francis greets children dressed as pharaohs and in traditional dress as he arrives to celebrate Mass at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo April 29. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Francis took the risk, trusting in God. His decision transmitted a message of hope on the political front to all Egyptians, Christians and Muslims alike, who are well aware that their country is today a target for ISIS terrorists and is engaged in a battle against terrorism.
Gerard O'ConnellApril 29, 2017
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to celebrate Mass at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo April 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The only kind of fanaticism that is acceptable to God is being fanatical about loving and helping others, Pope Francis said on his final day in Egypt.
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to journalists in the Oval Office at the White House on March 24 after the American Health Care Act was pulled before a vote. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)
Predictably Mr. Trump has also clashed with the Catholic Church and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on many of the policies he has promoted during his first 100 days.
Kevin ClarkeApril 28, 2017