News Briefs

Iraq violence

In his World Day of Peace address on Jan. 1, Pope Francis continued his promotion of a world free of human trafficking and modern forms of slavery, calling for a globalization of solidarity which rejects a globalization of indifference. • The Italian coast guard took control on Jan. 1 of a cargo ship adrift without fuel in rough seas, carrying 450 mostly Syrian migrants. • The United Nations says conflict in Iraq claimed 12,282 civilians in 2014, making it the deadliest year since 2007, with most deaths—nearly 8,500—occurring after the dramatic expansion of the Islamic State insurgency in Anbar Province in June. • Three-term New York Governor Mario Cuomo, a progressive Democrat who controversially sought to balance his Catholic faith with the pressing social matters of his times such as abortion and poverty, passed away on Jan. 1, 2015, at the age of 82. • Breaking their silence against the “inhumane” power of the Mafia, the Bishops’ Conference of Calabria in Italy endorsed a document condemning the local Mafia, or ’Ndrangheta, on Jan. 2, just two days after Pope Francis took a strong stand on Mafia corruption in his New Year’s Eve message. • Maryland’s outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley on Dec. 31 commuted the death sentences of the last four inmates on the state’s death row to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

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