News Briefs

Vatican Tourism Boom

In the first nine-and-a-half months of Pope Francis’ pontificate, more than 6.6 million people participated in papal events at the Vatican—three times the number who visited during all of 2012. • Antonios Aziz Mina, the Coptic Catholic bishop of Giza, Egypt, said terrorist attacks were taking a toll on the country’s civilians but would not put off a constitutional referendum on Jan. 14. • Robert Nugent, a Salvatorian priest active for 29 years in ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics and co-founder of New Ways Ministry, died in Milwaukee, Wis., on Jan. 1. • Police opened fire on striking garment workers, killing three, on Jan. 3, near Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, as protesters continued demanding that the national minimum wage be doubled to $160 a month. • The former British prime minister, Tony Blair, and the former Egyptian vice president, Mohamed ElBaradei, are among the political figures invited by the Vatican for a meeting on Jan. 13 to discuss a cease-fire in Syria, a unified, transitional government and the protection of Syrian Christians. • On Dec. 19 the New Jersey Catholic Conference praised state officials for adopting a law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities.

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