Global Review – 11th October

Pope Francis launches mass consultation on Church reform

Pope Francis has launched what some describe as the most ambitious attempt at Catholic reform for 60 years: a two-year process to consult every Catholic parish around the world on the future direction of the Church. Some Catholics hope it will lead to change on issues such as women’s ordination, married priests and same-sex relationships. Others fear it will undermine the principles of the Church. The consultation process, called “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”, will work in three stages.

Lockdown ends in NSW

A strict Coronavirus lockdown has ended in the Australian state of New South Wales after more than a hundred days. Schools, shops, restaurants and offices have been reopened with 70% of people in the state now double-vaccinated.

Poles march for the European Union

Hundreds of thousands of Poles took to the streets on Sunday to demonstrate their discontent with the government’s positions that risk taking Poland out of the Union. “There is now nothing more important than defending Poland in Europe,” former president of the European Council Donald Tusk said, addressing the tide of people gathered in the capital’s Castle Square. Parallel demonstrations took place in Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan and Kalisz and in over 30 cities across the country, bringing together hundreds of thousands of people.

Thousands in Brussels over climate change

Several tens of thousands of protesters took part in the first major climate march in Brussels Sunday, a few weeks before the COP26 international summit. According to a police estimate, at least 25,000 people marched in a procession that covered around three kilometers.

Schallenberg is new Austrian Chancellor

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg will be sworn in today as the new Federal Chancellor. In a speech to the nation yesterday night, Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen demanded the government restore voters’ trust after the scandal that led to Chanceller Kunz’s resignation.

President Zeman in intensive care

Czech President Milos Zeman has been taken to hospital amid political upheaval after a surprise opposition win in parliamentary elections. The 77-year-old is a heavy smoker and former heavy drinker who uses a wheelchair and suffers from diabetes. He was due to lead talks on forming a new government after Saturday’s vote.

Low tournout in Iraqi elections

Turnout in Iraq’s parliamentary elections on Sunday was reportedly low – at just over 30%. These were the first parliamentary elections since mass protests over corruption, unemployment and poor services erupted in 2019. The poll had been due next year but was brought forward by six months in response to the unrest, during which hundreds of people were killed.

US couple arrested on spy charges

The Washington Post reports nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana were arrested and charged with repeated attempts to pass secrets about American nuclear submarines to an unspecified foreign country. The alleged spy plan was discovered by the FBI, whose agents then passed off as spies from that country, setting a trap for the couple, who left the information in a package with a digital card, wrapped in plastic, hidden between two slices of bread in a half peanut butter sandwich.

France wins Nations League Cup

Football: France won the Nations League Cup beating Spain 2-1 in the final in Milan. Oyarzabal opened the score for Spain with Benzema drawing two minutes later and Mbappè scoring the winning goal. French coach Didier Deschamps becomes the second coach capable of winning two trophies at the helm of the Bleus after Roger Lemerre (who had won Euro 2000 and Confederations Cup 2001). France is the first national team to win all four major tournaments organised by FIFA and UEFA. Earlier, Italy beat Belgium 2-1 in the final for third place. All goals came in the second half through Barella and Berardi (penalty) and De Ketelaere.

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