An ebola sufferer arrives in Spain

The ebola virus that has killed almost 1,000 people in West Africa this year is fatal for “up to 90%” of those infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). But note the words “up to”… What is the normal fatality rate, asks James Fletcher?

The WHO describes ebola as “one of the world’s most virulent diseases”. It is, according to the organisation’s website, “a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90%“.

A case fatality rate – or CFR – is a relatively simple measurement. It’s the number of people diagnosed with an illness divided by the number of people who die because of it. But in the current outbreak, the proportion of infected people dying is far lower than 90%.

“That 90% figure actually comes from one outbreak of ebola which took place in the Congo between 2002 and 2003. It’s the highest rate we have ever seen,” says Maimuna Majumder, a biostatistician and epidemiologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The answer

  • Between 60% and 65% of all people known to have been infected with ebola have died
  • Different strains of ebola appear to have different fatality rates
  • The number of deaths also depends on the quality of treatment
  • About 54% of those infected in the current outbreak have died

“The cumulative average considering all ebola cases and deaths from 1976 to the presentis actually closer to 60-to-65% and the current outbreak has a CFR of about 54% – though it’s subject to change as the outbreak goes on.”


Jesus Christ is not a personage that is readily accepted in our modern world today as a PROPHET, but the truth is, He Spoke as The Father commanded Him. (John.12:49-50.) And it was The Father who sent Him to Speak, even though, in the main, the world into which He was sent did not accept the message He came bearing,  nevertheless there were many significant and powerful reasons, a genuine purpose for that visitation!

One of the many prophecies He gave was that there would come times and signs leading into a world conflict so great, there has NEVER been the like, nor will ever be again after it! Matthew.24:21.

But in order to give understanding to those whom His heavenly Father would choose throughout the following ages to come to understand those prophecies, Jesus Christ, The Son of God gave many warnings and signs of what would lead into that time of world conflict just prior to the close of mankinds age. What? “The close of mankinds age? What does that mean…mankinds age??

It means God The Father gave a definite period of time for mankind to govern himself, to form his own governments, educational systems, family structure, food system, trade, monetray policies, armies and defence, legal, medical systems and rule of Law, etc, etc.

Mankind has proven beyond any doubt to all with eyes to see, and ears to hear that he has failed SPECTACULARLY on every conceivable level of human formed system.

What do we see all over this troubled earth? VIOLENCE! Wars, murder, disease, nation against nation, even within nations, civilian wars! We see escalating violence of every evil kind in rape, robbery, mob violence, almost constant protest of this group or that group protesting to achieve their particular agenda.

We see families being ripped apart in divorce, children losing the stability of a loving mother and father because parents cannot work out their problems between themselves, prefering to look for another “partner”, one of the many foolish terms of this world. Many don’t even believe in marriage today, saying it’s only a piece of paper! This is only one of thousands of errors mankind goes about saying, downplaying the awesome covenant God gave to mankind to “bind” them together in a lifelong union, and a union which gives stability to the entire family, with  one man, and one woman joined together in holy-matrimony. Though the world does not know it, God gave this covenant to man as a type of the perfect and holy marriage of His Son and the one true church. (See Ephesians.5:25-32.)

The world as we know it is prophesied to end, and another to begin. That world will encompass God’s Holy perfect Law, where death and violence will not exist, where all will dwell under their own vine and their own fig tree, an agrarian world of plenty, where humans will be taught to live the-way of God, where the Government will be headed by Jesus Christ Himself, where no corruption exists, and where everyone will give, instead of get, instead of violence, love, instead of hate, murder, suppression of truth, will be goodness, kindness and productivity in every sphere of life!

The fact that this man, Jesus, is generally  accepted even by the muslim world as a prophet, but the so-called “Christian” world does not, but “thinks” he was some long-haired weakling who couldn’t save himself, not knowing anything about His purpose, or the message He delivered is astonishing to those who do understand what He SPOKE! That in itself is a mystery, in fact, one of many mysteries.

What did He prophesy of the region into which he grew up as a human? “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, You that kill the prophets, and stome them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and Ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate. (Matthew.23:37-38.)

He prophesied that signs would point those with eyes to see and ears to hear to understand from these prophetic indicators, showing what would begin to occur in the world, to show those whom He wouild choose to see how all these events would begin to take shape.  See Matthew.24:6-7, 15-22.)

Many such early indicators exist in the Word of God, to warn all those who know and see all of these things are happening, and would want to know how to avoid this world trouble, which is coming, and would come just prior to His imminent return to this earth, to take ove the Government of mankind, and begin an entirely new and different world altogether, and that world will be THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

It is coming, and the fact that nation is rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, that there are famines, and pestilences on the rise, with earthquakes in diverse places. We can know of a surety, that these prophecies of the man Jesu Christ of Nazareth spoke as He was commanded to by The Father of Glory! As also the Holy Bible says; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for dcotrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished in all good works. (II Timothy.3:16.)


We pray for all those who DO want to avoid this coming time of world conflict, to urgently and without delay go before God to seek Him while He may be found, before it’s too late, and the door is closed, so that they, you, may turn your life around and seek Him that you may be saved, you and all that pertains to you, because what is coming is so horrific, so awful, and we know is in reality it is the coming war, called World War III!

Do NOT delay, we are beginning to blow the trumpet in Zion, for the chruches to repent, to get back to God, and to the Rock from whence you are hewn! As for all others, REPENT, and seek God’s protection, the time is short, the night is far spent.

“Conflict Between China And Vietnam Is Imminent”

China Piles Troops, Tanks, Artillery And APCs Near Vietnam Border

A Bradley Attack Vehicle troop transport of the Chinese military, is seen in Kunming, Yunnan, in Southwest China. Chinese netizens have posted several photos showing the Chinese military moving toward the Vietnamese border. (

Chinese netizens have been posting photographs of the large movement of the People’s Liberation Army, many of them showing Chinese troops in full combat gear heading to the local train station in Chongzuo, along with military vehicles.


One netizen said the Chinese military was taking the train from the Chongzuo station to Pingxiang City, which shares a 60-mile border with Vietnam. The netizen said that the Huu Nghi Border Gate to Vietnam is also now closed.

Why is China doing this? Simple: “One netizen, with the username Zhiyuan0703, echoed a common sentiment on the Chinese social media site, “Conflict between China and Vietnam is imminent.

And just in case the US gets any ideas to support its one time foe, China has already taken measures:

Fang Fenghui, the Chinese military’s chief of the general staff, spoke with reporters at the Pentagon on May 15, alongside U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.


Fang defended China’s oil drilling in disputed waters with Vietnam. He also warned the United States on taking sides, saying through a Chinese translator “there is possibility that these issues could affect or disturb the relationship between the two countries and two militaries.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney reiterated the U.S. stance on China’s oil rig, however, during a May 15 press briefing.

He said China’s oil rig, which the Chinese regime has accompanied with “numerous government vessels” is a “provocative act and it raises tensions in the region, and by raising tensions makes it more difficult to resolve claims over disputed territory in a manner that supports peace and stability in the region.”

Carney said the United States takes no position on the territorial claims, but, “We do take a position on the conduct of the claimants who must resolve their disputes peacefully, without intimidation, without coercion, and in accordance with international law.”

Regarding China’s oil rig and the tensions that have formed around it, Carney said, “We consider that act provocative and we consider it one that undermines the goal that we share, which is a peaceful resolution of these disputes and general stability in the region.”

Chinese troops carrying anti-tank weapons are seen marching in Guangxi Province, near the border with Vietnam. Local netizens report a strong smell of gunpowder. (

A convoy of Chinese military vehicles are seen in Fangchenggang City in Guangxi, near the Vietnam border. (

China considers ‘non-peaceful’ measures against Vietnam and the Philippines


The South China Sea has been a highly disputed area with many nations staking claims to various islands and atolls. — Reuters pic

The South China Sea has been a highly disputed area with many nations staking claims to various islands and atolls. — Reuters pic –

May 16, 2014

BEIJING, May 16 — A state-run Chinese newspaper backed the use of “non-peaceful” measures against Vietnam and the Philippines today, as it considered the possibility of war in the strategically vital South China Sea.

Vietnam is experiencing its worst anti-China unrest in decades following Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig to disputed waters, with at least one Chinese worker killed and more than 100 injured.

“The South China Sea disputes should be settled in a peaceful manner, but that doesn’t mean China can’t resort to non-peaceful measures in the face of provocation from Vietnam and the Philippines,” the Global Times newspaper, which often takes a nationalistic tone, wrote in an editorial.

“Many people believe that a forced war would convince some countries of China’s sincerely peaceful intentions,” the paper added.

Beijing claims almost the whole of the South China Sea, including areas close to the coasts of other littoral states, and the Philippines has provoked its fury by seeking United Nations arbitration in the dispute between the two.

China’s foreign ministry has condemned both Manila and Hanoi, and accused Vietnam’s leaders on yesterday of “indulgence and connivance” with anti-China demonstrators for failing to rein in the protests. — AFP


Philippines rebuilds 6 months after Haiyan as typhoon season looms

A man tries to rebuild his house that was ruined when Typhoon Haiyan hit Eastern Samar in Novermber 2013.

Photo by: Plan Asia

Six months ago today, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strong storms ever recorded, slammed into the Philippines. 14.1 million people were affected, another 4.1 million displaced, and the losses and damages reached an estimated $14 billion dollars. Over 6,200 people died, and more than 1,000 are still missing.

The world watched as Haiyan tallied horrifying statistics on the extent of devastation and destruction in one of the world’s most vulnerable nations to natural disasters. In fact, when the typhoon struck, the Philippines was still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Bopha at the end of 2012 and a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked the island of Bohol just a month before Haiyan.

Even now, as we take stock of the incredible work that has been done in a very short time, typhoon season is about to start for a nation that suffers about 20 such violent storms each year. If a major typhoon were to hit the Haiyan-affected areas now, we could be looking at a potentially much worse humanitarian situation.

The experience of Haiyan sealed what many development organizations have been asserting for years: that disaster risk is most real to the poor, marginalized and vulnerable sectors of society, including women and children. These are the people who lack the social safety nets and capacities to protect themselves and recover, and are therefore left to suffer the most during disasters, when they face the higher risk of losing whatever is left of their belongings – if not their own lives. In the case of Haiyan, this translated to losing 2.6 million of the country’s poorest households, and leaving 5.9 million children without a home. [Read more…]

Russia Wants To Start World War III, Ukrainian Leader Charges

On guard: a Ukrainian soldier at a roadblock near Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine.

The crisis in Ukraine showed no signs of cooling Friday. Harsh rhetoric was flying:

— “Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk accused Russia on Friday of wanting to start World War III by occupying Ukraine ‘militarily and politically,’ ” Reuters reports.

— “The West wants — and this is how it all began — to seize control of Ukraine because of their own political ambitions, not in the interests of the Ukrainian people,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov charged, according to The Associated Press.

Those sharp words followed this allegation Thursday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who accused Russia of doing nothing to help implement last week’s plan to calm tensions in Ukraine: “For seven days, Russia has refused to take a single concrete step in the right direction.”

Kerry also renewed the charge that Russia is funding, coordinating and fueling the armed separatist movement in eastern Ukraine, NPR’s Michele Kelemen reports.

On Friday, Lavrov criticized what he says was Kerry’s “unacceptable, accusatory tone.”

The U.S. may move to increase sanctions on Russia and individuals close to its president, Vladimir Putin. President Obama said this weekthat new economic sanctions are “teed up” if Russia doesn’t begin to cooperate on resolving the crisis.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that:

“Moscow has tens of thousands of troops along its side of the border, and on Friday the acting Ukrainian Defense Minister Mikhail Koval told the Interfax-Ukraine agency that they had come within a kilometer of the border. … Pro-Russian separatists are occupying key buildings in a dozen eastern Ukrainian towns, defying the central government.”

And in eastern Ukraine, government forces have relaunched an effort to root out those pro-Russian elements, correspondent Jessica Golloher tells our Newscast Desk. That brought more harsh words from Lavrov, who accused Ukraine of waging war on its own people.

For much more on how the crisis in Ukraine has unfolded, see our earlier posts.

Update at 7:13 p.m. ET. More Escalation:

As the day has progressed, there has been more escalation. For example:

— Interfax Ukraine reports that a pro-Russian sniper fired a shot at parked Ukrainian military helicopter, resulting in an explosion. The captain of the helicopter was injured.

— Col. Steven H. Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Russian aircraft have entered Ukrainian airspace several times in the past 24 hours.

“We call upon the Russians to take immediate steps to deescalate the situation,” Warren said in a statement.


Syria conflict: 29 rebels killed as vehicle primed for car bomb attack explodes prematurely

Posted Mon 7 Apr 2014, 7:49am AEST

Damaged buildings line a street in the besieged area of Homs

When will man ever wake up and understand that his way his diametrically opposite to the way of God? The situation in Syria is in stark contrast to that which is contained in the pages of the Holy Bible, yet not so surprisingly, with many so-called “religious” peoples loosely based around Islam, Muslims hate, persecute and kill anyone even loosely aligned with the religion of Christianity.

The effects we see in this war torn nation, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Egypt, the “democratic republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Mexico, and the list goes on, are all filled with violence, murder & war!


Let us suppose that war, and violence and suffering is what should be what humanity should naturally practice as we see in these war torn nations, why do the effects we see repulse the rest of humankind who desire the way of peace and kindness, love, mercy patience? The truth is something that those who continue committing such acts of barbarity will never admit their error, but continue on in, until there would be no flesh saved alive!

Most professing “Christians” do not connect what God did to the earth in the time of Noah, because the world that then was, was filled with violence, and the wickedness of man was great in the earth! See Genesis chapters 6-7. What resulted was a global catastrophe beyond the imagination of mankind! a catastrophe so vast, as to change the entire topography of earth’s entire surface, and destroying all life, mankind included!

That is not something humanity wants to face, yet face this, we MUST! We have no alternative but to address this, or the crucible of war will undoubtedly consume mankind, again!

In fact, a man whom the religion of the Muslims reject as the Son of God, Yeshua, called in english Yesus, or pronounced Jesus, actually stated this very fact in a prophecy some 2000 years ago in the book of Matthew, chapter 24. Saying, “But as it was in the days in the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be.”

We’ve already seen that the earth was filled with violence, and the wickedness of man was great in the earth. That tells us the same conditions will prevail at the time The LORD returns to the earth as He said.

Likewise, He, The LORD said that this violence in the earth would be at a point for mankind, that war would be at the point of destroying the entire earth, and that  if it were not for His chosen ones in the earth at this time of the very end, He, God would not cut that time short, but for their sakes He will cut short that time of utter destruction to save life on planet earth!

To those of us who believe these and hundreds of prophecies relating to the effects we see all over this troubled earth, there is a cause for every effect we see on our television sets, hear on our radio’s, and see on the world wide web, that prophecy is fulfilled as each moment passes.  The escalating horrors of violence all over our troubled planet are shown in Biblical prophecy to continue until The Son of God returns to this earth to replace man’s violence with everlasting peace.

In Isa.32:17. God teaches us that through the work of righteousness shall be peace. Is that what we see in these nations filled with evil religions, and their followers? This article may highly offend their peoples, but can any deny that all we see from the vast bulk of Muslim religions is hatred of the west, of “Christianity”, of their fellow man.

It seems that no matter where one looks, it is difficult to find any location on earth where Muslims exist where they do not preach hatred and violence.

One example is Abu Bakar Bashir, who is in constant defiance of any form of democratic order, or of peace and love to his fellow man. He is currently attempting to upset the peaceful democratic process in Indonesia, and in reality, he is anti-man. The Quran itself does not advocate the wholesale murder of other human beings, although the writings of their “prophet”, Mohammed are skewed on many issues, the main and telling issue is their almost daily violence on scales we who love our fellow man cannot comprehend. In fact, the scriptures of the Holy Bible show very clearly that it is the Almighty God Himself who will deal with all of their evil at His return to planet earth in power and great Glory!

Again in the book of the prophet, a genuine prophet, chapter 57, and verse 21; The eternal God inspired Isaiah to write; There is no peace to the wicked!

How would any “thinking” nation desiring peace obtain peace from barbaric acts of car bombings, road bombs, human bombs, truck bombs. The cycle of violence can only be broken when the truly brave stand up and say, “NO MORE”. The brave are not those who brainwash poor little children to blow themselves up in the presence of others whom their parents and other evil human beings “say” are evil, when the sad fact is that they are the ones themselves who are evil by their very actions.

The Holy Bible states in the New Testament that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in the churches of the saints. (I Cor.14:33) Is there any peace in these nations? What is the predominant religion in most of them? Therefore, their god is the author of confusion, of hate, of violence and murder, never peace!

Sadly, mankind will not deal with the CAUSES of his problems, because they are essentially spiritual in nature as a man once said in the 2oth century, and that cannot be denied.

General Douglas Macarthur stated that “it was to be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh”, a sentiment all but forgotten in a world filled with violence, compromise of morals, values, discipline, love and lost families.


The following is his final address to the American congress, and below this is his actual transcript.

  • Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. Various methods through the ages have been attempted to devise an international process to prevent or settle disputes between nations. From the very start workable methods were found in so far as individual citizens were concerned, but the mechanics of an instrumentality of larger international scope have never been successful. Military alliances, balances of power, Leagues of Nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blocks out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.

[Read more…]

Indonesia’s Mt Kelud volcano erupts: Tens of thousands flee, airports closed


With weather events of so-called “Natural-Disasters” increasing all over the world, man still cannot connect CAUSE, with EFFECT, “thinking” it is somehow “global-warming”, or “El-Nino”, or the new ‘catch-phrase’ – “Climate-Change”!!! The leaders of our western democracies have all too speedily gotten on board with this great deception by science who repeatedly and continuously feather their own nests, seeking funding for their research, and who, incidentally, refuse to accept that there is a Great Creator God, that the universe has been designed and built according to an exact blue-print, by the Creator of all things by the LORD, the sustainer & upholder of the limitless universe.

In the book of Hebrews, chapter one verses 1-3, we read; God who at sundry times and in diverse manners spoke in times past unto the fathers by the prophets. Has in these last days, spoken unto us by His Son, whom He has appointed Heir of all things, by whom He also made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His Glory, and the express image of His person, (reflection) and UPHOLDING ALL THINGS by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of The Majesty on high. How utterly marvelous a passage of scripture and phraseology could be written?  But scientists  refute this as old-wives tales!!! As some of the most educated, they are of most men, the most IGNORANT! Paul continues this wonderful writing in verse 10.  And You LORD, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands;

The most read and least understood book in the world, the author of that book, called the Holy Bible states in no uncertain terms that He alone controls the weather;

” He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens by His discretion. When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters (rain) in the heavens, (sky) and He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings with rain, and brings forth the wind out of His treasures”. Jeremiah 10:12-13.

Of course, this is not popular in a technologically advanced world, where nothing except men’s sentiments, teachings and beliefs matter, where the reality of human suffering, disease, famine, broken families and neglected children grow into angry youth where drunken violence and teen rebellion has become commonplace in the west! In this 21st century of humanity, man has lost his moral compass, where anything goes, and the public throughout almost every “democracy” cry out for “freedom” from the “tyranny” of Law and order, but where all they want is the “freedom” to do their-own thing, in defiance of every norm our world has departed from in the last 60-70 years at least!

With drought hanging over all too many of the descendants of ancient tribes of Israel in the west, we see that it is actually God punishing them for departing from their own Creator, whom they reject, defy and thumb their collective noses at His Laws, and attempt to water their own crops at massive cost, when all they need to is OBEY! One might think that that sounds kinda easy, and in reality it is so very easy to turn this around.

God says in this same book of Jeremiah the prophet;

Be astonished O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the Fountain of LIVING WATERS, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. This has spiritual and physical analogies,  and the fact that farmers for the most part, have no real relationship with the Fountain of ever living waters, and He sends them little or no rain, whereas, IF they OBEYED Him, He promised thousands of years ago, He would send them “rain in due season, they would have crops in abundance, their livestock would be fat, and the land would be flowing with milk and honey! Jeremiah.2:12-13.


When God sent the Great Deluge upon a world filled with violence and sexual immorality, He had been left no other alternative, because it had become so vile, so corrupt, there was only one man upon the earth at that time who walked with God, the man Noah. God opened the earth’s great deeps, bringing the fountains of the earth cascading up upon the world, while sending a deluge of rain for forty days and forty nights, and the earth that then was, was destroyed, just as God promised He would. See Genesis. chapters 6-8.

We read in Psalms.97:5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth. That includes volcanoes, and all manner of physical elements as we read in the New Testament, same book, same author, remember, God is EVER-LIVING, and a thousand years is as a day to Him; Continue now in II Peter, chapter 3; & verse 10-12;

But the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works therein shall be burned up. (Shades of earth’s destruction in Noah’s time?)

Verse.11; Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conduct and godliness.

Verse. 12; Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens shall be on fire (even the heavens) shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

If you fear these prophecies as God’s people most certainly do, and want to know more, write in for our free booklets, The World won’t end this way;  And; Are we in the last days?  Or any others of your choosing

As these are hard copy only, please include mailing address. The rest will be up to you how you respond, we will not send any other literature without your request

Plane in Yogyakarta covered in ash from Mt Kelud eruption

Plane in Yogyakarta covered in ash from Mt Kelud eruption

Posted 10 hours 24 minutes ago

Indonesian airport personnel inspect volcanic ash covered planes and the airport of Yogyakarta about 200 kilometres west of the Mount Kelud volcano in East Java province following its eruption on February 14, 2014.

N. Korean nuclear reactor ‘restarted’, according to US and South Korean intelligence

North Korea nuclear fuel rods

US intelligence says North Korea has followed through on its threat to advance its nuclear weapons program.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that the North has expanded the size of its uranium enrichment facility at its Nyongbyon nuclear complex and restarted a plutonium reactor that was shut down in 2007.

Clapper’s written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee concurs with the assessments of think tanks that monitor North Korea’s nuclear program using commercial satellite imagery.

South Korean intelligence also says the reactor has restarted.

North Korea announced its intention to “adjust and alter” its existing nuclear facilities after an atomic test explosion last February, backtracking from denuclearisation commitments.

Mr Clapper said the North has taken initial steps toward fielding a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile although it remains untested.


Vatican comes under sharp criticism for sex abuse!

Holy See faces its most intense public grilling to date over allegations that it protected pedophile priests at expense of victims
GENEVA — The Vatican came under blistering criticism from a U.N. committee Thursday for its handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal, facing its most intense public grilling to date over allegations that it protected pedophile priests at the expense of victims.The Vatican insisted it had little jurisdiction to sanction pedophile priests around the globe, saying it was for local law enforcement to do so. But officials conceded that more needs to be done and promised to build on progress already made to become a model for others, given the scale of the problem and the role the Holy See plays in the international community.

“The Holy See gets it,” Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor, told the committee. “Let’s not say too late or not. But there are certain things that need to be done differently.”

He was responding to a grilling by the U.N. committee over the Holy See’s failure to abide by terms of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child which, among other things, calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to keep children from harm. Critics allege the church enabled the rape of thousands of children by encouraging a culture of cover-up to defend its reputation.


Pope Francis addresses church sex abuse scandal

Groups representing victims of clerical abuse, who have been active in civil litigation against the church, gave the U.N. committee hundreds of pages of documents that informed the questioning. The groups have welcomed the hearing as the first time the Vatican has had to publicly defend its record in what amounted to a courtroom cross-examination where no limits were placed on the questioning.

But Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said Thursday that the Vatican’s responses seem like “more of the same.”

The scene inside the conference room at U.N. headquarters in Geneva was remarkable by U.N. standards, with committee members themselves marveling at how such a powerful institution as the Holy See could be hauled before a relatively obscure U.N. human rights committee to answer uncomfortable questions before a packed audience.

It also was remarkable by Vatican standards.  Traditionally the Holy See has insisted that the Vatican as an institution bore little or no responsibility for the problem, blaming scandals and cases on individual priests or their bishops over whom the Vatican has no real control.

While insisting on that legal separation, though, the Vatican did respond to questions about cases even where it had no jurisdiction or involvement, and on many occasions welcomed recommendations on ways to make children safer.

“I’m with you when you say, ‘All these nice words will not mean anything … if there is not more transparency and accountability on the local level,'” Scicluna told committee member Benyam Mezmur, an Ethiopian academic who asked what it would take for the Holy See to sanction bishops who fail to report pedophiles to police.

Scicluna has been credited even by victims with helping bring the Vatican around over the past decade, overhauling its internal norms to make it easier to defrock abusers and calling for greater accountability by bishops who allowed priests to roam free.

He said local criminal prosecutors must go after anyone – “whoever these people are” – who obstructs justice.

The committee’s main human rights investigator, Sara de Jesus Oviedo Fierro, was particularly tough on the Vatican delegation, asking repeated and informed follow-up questions and refusing to let the Vatican duck the answers. Oveido, a sociologist from Ecuador who was elected in June to serve as the committee’s vice president, pressed the Vatican delegation on the frequent ways abusive priests were transferred rather than turned in to police.

Given the church’s “zero tolerance” policy, she asked, why were there “efforts to cover up and obscure these types of cases?”

Committee members repeatedly asked the Holy See to provide data about the scale of the problem, but the Vatican deferred, saying it would consider the request. They also asked what Pope Francis intends to do with a new commission announced last month to find best practices to protect children from abuse and help victims heal. In addition, the members sought information about accusations that the Vatican’s own ambassador to the Dominican Republic had sexually abused teenage boys.

The U.N. committee is made up of independent experts – not other U.N. member states – and it will deliver final observations and nonbinding recommendations on Feb. 5 . The committee has no ability to sanction the Vatican for any shortcomings, but the process is aimed at encouraging, and sometimes shaming, treaty signatories into honoring their international commitments.

The Holy See ratified the U.N. convention in 1990, and submitted a first implementation report in 1994. But it didn’t provide progress reports for nearly two decades. It only submitted one in 2012 after coming under criticism following the 2010 explosion of child sex abuse cases in Europe and beyond.

Victims groups and human rights organizations teamed up to press the U.N. committee to challenge the Holy See on its abuse record, providing it with reports of written testimony from victims and evidence outlining the global scale of the problem.

Their reports cite case studies in Mexico and Britain, grand jury investigations in the U.S., and government fact-finding inquiries from Canada to Ireland to Australia that detail how the Vatican’s policies, its culture of secrecy and fear of scandal contributed to the problem.

Despite the unprecedented public scrutiny, Blaine of SNAP said, “When they say that these crimes should be prosecuted by states, it seems so disingenuous because we know that the church officials at the state level obstruct those efforts to bring justice.”

In an interview with The Associated Press midway through the hearing, she said the Vatican seemed to be telling the committee only “lofty words” and what it wanted to hear.

The Holy See has long insisted that it isn’t responsible for abusive priests, saying they aren’t employees of the Vatican but rather members of the broader 1.2-billion-strong Catholic Church over which the Vatican exercises limited control. It has maintained that bishops are responsible for the priests in their care, not the pope.

“Priests are not functionaries of the Vatican,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, told the committee. “Priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.”

But victims groups and human rights organizations provided the U.N. committee with the Vatican’s own documentation showing how it discouraged bishops from reporting abusers to police. In one famous case, a Vatican cardinal sent a directive to Irish bishops warning them to strike any mandatory reporting of abusers to police from their internal policies.

Tomasi also was asked about the case of the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who is under investigation by Dominican prosecutors for alleged abuse. The Vatican recalled Archbishop Josef Wesolowski in August, before Dominican prosecutors announced their investigation, and he hasn’t been seen since.

Tomasi dodged the committee’s question about whether Wesolowski would be turned over to secular authorities for prosecution. The Vatican has said it doesn’t extradite its own citizens. Rather, Tomasi said Wesolowski is being tried by the Vatican’s own prosecutors.

“It will be judged with the severity that the crimes might demand,” Tomasi assured the committee.

Victims groups and human rights organizations were closely monitoring the hearing.

“I think it’s time for the church to stop this secrecy,” Teodoro Pulvirenti, who said he was abused by a priest, told The Associated Press in New York. “I believe the church puts too much of its reputation before the victims and you know the pain of this abuse that we carry. That’s why I was so excited when I heard about this final meeting between the Vatican representatives and the U.N.”

Last March, Cardinal Timothy Dolan told CBS News that the U.S. Catholic Church of the United States was on “the right track” in the wake of the scandal surrounding decades of child sexual abuse by priests and senior clergy’s moves to hide it from public view.

Dolan said the Church in the U.S. had learned from its mistakes in handling the abusive priests and tackled the problem during the last decade. “We didn’t do it right back then, but now I think we are.”


More than 25,000 flee Indonesian volcano

A villager inspect her corn field.

Jakarta: More than 25,000 people have fled their homes following a series of eruptions and lava flows from a volcano in Indonesia.

Mount Sinabung, on the western island of Sumatra, sent hot rocks and ash up to 5000 metres in the air several times on Saturday, National Disaster Mitigation Agency emergency response director Tri Budiarto said.

“So far, 25,516 people have been evacuated. There’s nobody now within a five-kilometre radius of the crater. We are urging those living within seven kilometres south-east of the crater to move, too,” he added.
Motorcyclists passing through an area covered by ash as they are evacuate.

Hot lava, which has been spewing from the volcano for the past two weeks, has flowed into a river and filled up valleys with volcanic fragments, he said.


“There were small secondary explosions when lava flows came into contact with the water, but there are no casualties so far. We are urging people not to carry out any activity in the rivers,” he added.

Mount Sinabung is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia that straddle major tectonic fault lines, known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

A dog stands in mud and ash spewed out of Mount Sinabung after it erupted at Kuta Rakyat village.

It had been quiet for about 400 years but rumbled back to life in 2010, and again in September 2013.

In August, five people were killed and hundreds were evacuated when a volcano erupted on a small island in East Nusa Tenggara province.

The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of eruptions in 2010.

Sinabung spews ash to the air during an eruption.
Sinabung spews ash into the air during an eruption. Photo: AFP
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