The Holy See - the Vatican state's diplomatic entity -has refused to provide information requested by the United Nations on the alleged sexual abuse of children by priests, nuns or monks. The Vatican said the cases were the responsibility of the judicial systems of countries where abuse took place. The UK National Secular Society accused the Vatican of hiding behind legal technicalities. On his appointment in March, Pope Francis said dealing with sex abuse was vital for the Church's credibility.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it would cut aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo, leaving thousands without enough food, because of a budget shortfall. The Rome-based agency, stressing its reliance on voluntary contributions from the international community, said it "urgently" needed $75m to keep its programme in the war-ravaged central African nation going. The WFP's representative there Martin Ohlsen said funding shortfalls have already led to a halving of rations distributed in the eastern province of North Kivu over the past six months.
Clashes have erupted between Egyptian security forces and protesters who took to the streets to denounce heavy sentences handed down to a group of 21 women and girls for holding a peaceful protest earlier this month. Thursday's unrest in front of Cairo University in the capital left one person dead. The convicted protesters, who are supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, received 11-year prison sentences for forming a human chain and passing out flyers in the city of Alexandria. The youngest member of the group is 15-years-old. Human rights organisations have also heavily criticized the ruling, saying it marks a bolder resolve by the military-backed government to stifle dissent.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved to allay fears about his government’s commitment to a free media. Government spokesman Manoah Esipisu has said Mr. Kenyatta is committed to press freedom as outlined in the constitution. His comment comes as journalists protest some clauses in a controversial media measure that parliament passed in late October. Kenyatta vetoed the initial legislation last week, but he retained some of its clauses and returned the bill to parliament for review. According to Esipisu, Kenyatta has proposed fines of about KShs500,000 per journalist or a maximum of 20 million for any media group that violates the code of journalistic conduct. On Tuesday journalists protested and said if passed the new law could be used to muzzle the press, undermining constitutional guarantees of media freedom.
Pope Francis took on the issue of high youth unemployment in his first interview aired exclusively in his home country of Argentina , warning that today's "throwaway culture" had discarded a generation of young Europeans. A day after issuing an 84-page platform for his eight-month-old papacy that blasted unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny," the pontiff used the interview to link high European unemployment to its twin problem of neglecting older people who are past their earning prime. "Today we are living in unjust international system in which 'King Money' is at the centre," he said in the interview. "It's a throwaway culture that discards young people as well as its older people. In some European countries, without mentioning names, there is youth unemployment of 40 percent and higher," he added. "A whole generation of young people does not have the dignity that is brought by work." This comes against a backdrop of European leaders pledged earlier this month to make fighting youth unemployment a priority but came up with no new ideas to tackle a problem that risks fuelling social unrest.Nearly 6 million people under the age of 25 are without work in the European Union, with jobless rates among the young at close to 60 percent in Spain and Greece.