BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) – Four days after up to 900 desperate people drowned trying to reach Europe from Libya, EU leaders agreed on Thursday to triple its naval search mission in the Mediterranean, restoring its funding to last year’s level.
Critics called it a face-saving operation that did not go far enough to emulate an Italian rescue mission abandoned six months ago for want of EU support. And divisions remained over longer-term proposals, ranging from dealing with people smugglers and African migrant camps to how to redistribute asylum-seekers around 28 nations where anti-immigrant parties are on the rise.
ROME (Reuters) – Italy has slashed the time it takes to get a divorce to six months from three years in the latest sign of the Catholic Church’s waning influence over life and politics here.
The change is part of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s efforts to tame the country’s much-hated bureaucracy. “Another promise kept. Let’s move forward,” he tweeted after the law passed in parliament late Wednesday.
BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) – European Union leaders will effectively reverse a cutback in rescue operations the Mediterranean on Thursday to try to prevent record numbers of people drowning as they try to flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
But an emergency EU summit in Brussels, called after up to 900 went down on a single boat on Sunday, will do little else beyond laying out options, including attacks on smugglers and holding camps for migrants, on which the 28 states are divided.
ROME (Reuters) – As many as 5,000 migrants a week could arrive in Italy by sea from North African ports in the next five months unless something is done about the issue, according to an interior ministry projection.
The figures, published on Thursday by the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero and confirmed by a ministry source, estimated that as many as 200,000 could arrive by the end of this year.
Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City, who remained in office for three years after he was convicted in 2012 of shielding a priest who took pornographic pictures of girls, has resigned, the Vatican said on Tuesday.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis will visit Cuba en route to the United States in September, the Vatican said on Wednesday, capping his success in bringing the former enemies together after more than half a century of distrust.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi did not specify how long the stop in Cuba would last, saying only that Francis had accepted invitations made by the Cuban government and the Cuban Roman Catholic Church.
ROME (Reuters) – The European Union must take a collective stand to tackle migrant trafficking at its source in African countries, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Wednesday ahead of an emergency summit of the bloc’s leaders to discuss the crisis.
Up to 900 people were feared dead after their boat sank on its way to Europe from Libya at the weekend including many women and children locked below deck, prompting calls for joint action to stop the flow of migrants fleeing war and hardship in Africa.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City, who was convicted of failing to alert authorities to a trove of child pornography found on a priest’s computer in 2012, has resigned, the Vatican said on Tuesday.
Finn, 62, was the only U.S. Roman Catholic bishop to be convicted for not reporting suspicion of child abuse. Groups representing victims of abuse by clerics had been urging the pope to dismiss Finn.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican on Monday defended Pope Francis’s decision to canonize Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan priest who founded missions in California, against accusations that he brutalized Native Americans.
Francis is due to declare Serra a saint on Sept. 23 at the National Shrine in Washington during a trip to the United States that will also include stops in New York and Philadelphia.
ROME (Reuters) – Elio Toaff, the chief rabbi of Rome for half a century and a pivotal player in Christian-Jewish reconciliation, has died at the age of 99.
Toaff, who a spokesman said died on Sunday night, was Rome’s chief rabbi in 1986 when then-Pope John Paul II made the first visit by a Roman Catholic pontiff to a synagogue in nearly 2,000 years.