In the news, July 18

IDPs in Congo

Here's a quick survey of items you may find of interest today:

Another round of violence in eastern Congo has driven people from their homes, and tensions are again on the rise between Sudan and South Sudan over oil and a continuing resistance against Khartoum rule along the border.

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Cardinal Kaspar says the unpigeonhole-able Pope Francis has become an equal opportunity source of frustration to church ideologues. He will apparently be punished by enduring the largest flash mob in planetary history.

The Economist tracks a spillover of violence from Syria into Iraq. Nearby Caritas Lebanon reports a daily struggle to respond to needs of Syrian refugees.

A naked 4-year-old girl discovered smoking and begging on the streets of Nanking has provoked a vigorous debate on Chinese websites and media about poverty and indifference.

The Atlantic asks if evangelicals can save what is looking like a dead-on-nonarrival comprehensive immigration reform, and Catholic college presidents and academics have likewise jumped into the immigration fray.

The Tablet reports that Pope Francis is ready to stand up to "papal masters" and notes a sharp increase of abortion "on grounds of disability" in the UK.

Our Jim Martin gamely attempts to explain this indulgence stuff to perplexed U.S. media scandalized by a tweetable faith.

Nelson Mandela turns 95 today, amid close calls and now reports of improvements after his recent hospitalization.

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) reports on China's first ever delegation to World Youth Day and on the horrible loss of life after pesticide was inadvertantly fed to school children through one of India's anti-poverty efforts (also a thorough report in WSJ). Despite that awful news, there is good news out of India on poverty, with a reported sharp, (if perhaps methodologically challenged) decline over the last two years. Closer to home there is not such good news about the effects of poverty on children's health.

The President of Caritas Jerusalem calls the Gaza Strip an open-air prison.

The United States is the world's most expensive place to have a baby, but it is no longer the global leader on obesity, surrendering that honor to NAFTA partner Mexico. Is it our fault Mexicans are packing on the pounds? Maybe it's the world-leading 163 liters of sugary beverages per year that Mexicans consume?

If you're a beer drink, you may want to reconsider your mosquito habit ...

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