News Briefs

Pope Francis made a surprise visit on Oct. 4 to the town of Amatrice in Italy, recently devastated by an earthquake, and told survivors there: “From the first moment” of the tremblor on Aug. 24, “I felt the need to be here.” • School of the Americas Watch supporters gathered on Oct. 7 in Nogales, straddling the border between Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, to demonstrate against “militarization” of the border region and the “criminalization” of refugees and migrants. • On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the role of racial bias in a 1995 death penalty imposed on Duane Buck, who was sentenced to die after an “expert” witness testified that he was more likely to commit violent crimes in the future because he is black. • Approval of the climate change agreement negotiated in Paris last December reached the threshold of 55 countries on Oct. 5 when European nations, Canada, Bolivia and Nepal backed the accord. • Complaining that President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo should not be seeking a third term and that it would not sign an accord that failed “to engage all political actors,” the Catholic Church pulled out of a national dialogue on Oct. 3 after opposition leaders boycotted talks.

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