News Briefs

• The John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel has announced that it donated more than $2 million last year to fight desertification and promote rural development in nine African countries. • Bishop Jesús González de Zarate Salas of Caracas, Venezuela, said on Feb. 15 that the removal of term limits for the country’s president, Hugo Chávez, is a blow to democracy in the country. • Supporters of the religious rights of immigrants detained by the federal government celebrated the passage of a law requiring Illinois State and Illinois County detention facilities to allow detained immigrants to meet with pastoral workers. • A new Gallup poll ranked the top religiousstates in the United States and found Southern states ranked highest, while several states in the Northeast ranked the lowest. Mississippi topped the list with 85 percent of those surveyed claiming that religion was important.

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