After four decades of violent conflict, the Philippine Government and communist rebels reached an indefinite cease-fire deal on Friday. The agreement, which was brokered by the Government of Norway, represents an historic breakthrough. The deal will provide a foundation for further peace talks as the two sides continue to negotiate a range of political, constitutional, economic and social issues before signing a final deal.
At a time when the number of people displaced by violence, persecution and conflict has reached its highest level since World War II, the Olympic Games in Rio will welcome the first ever refugee Olympic team. According to the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): ‘their participation is a tribute to the courage and perseverance of all refugees.’ The team comprises a group of 10 inspiring men and women who will compete under the Olympic flag.
Hundreds of Muslims have attended Catholic Mass following the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in Rouen, France. Members of the Catholic Community were heartened by this demonstration of solidarity, as the Archbishop of Rouen stated: ‘It’s an important gesture of fraternity. They’ve told us, and I think they’re sincere, that it’s not Islam which killed Jacques Hamel.’ Pope Francis has also spoken out in the aftermath of the attack against the identification of Islam with violence: ‘If I speak about Islamic violence, I need to speak about Catholic violence.’