First News
Volume:8, Number:03
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THIS WEEK

War and Violence, Not Economics, Drive 80 Percent of People Fleeing to Europe

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The vast majority of people arriving in Europe by sea are fleeing persecution, war, and famine, while less than a fifth are economic migrants, a report published on July 7 reveals. More than 80 percent of an estimated 1,008,616 arrivals in 2015 came from refugee-producing countries including Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and a quarter of that number were children. Researchers say the findings challenge the myth that migrants are coming to Europe for economic reasons. The study is based on 750 questionnaires and more than 100 interviews carried out at reception centers in Greece, Italy, and Malta. It highlights the abuse many have faced, with 17 percent experiencing forced labor. Half of those questioned had been arrested or detained during their journeys.

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Gluten-free Bread for Holy Communion is Toast, Says Vatican

The unleavened bread used to celebrate the Holy Communion during Catholic masses can be made with genetically modified organisms, the Vatican said on July 8, but they cannot be entirely gluten-free. Lowgluten bread is allowed but there must be enough protein in the wheat to make it without additives. Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said the guidance was needed now that Eucharistic bread and wine can be found in supermarkets and “even over the internet”. In a letter issued last month, Sarah also reminded bishops that the bread should be made by people “distinguished by their integrity,” and that adding fruit or sugar was a “grave abuse”. There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.

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Queen Elizabeth II Appoints First Black Household Staffer

Britain’s queen Elizabeth II has appointed her first black equerry, a senior staff member in charge of assisting the royal household. Ghanaian-born Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah from the Household Cavalry will take charge of one of the most important roles in the 91-year-old monarch’s household. The Afghanistan war veteran, known as TA to his friends, is thought to be the royal family’s first black equerry, a role that requires immense discretion. The 38-year-old moved to the UK from Ghana with his parents in 1982 and later studied at Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Since then his illustrious military career has involved joining the Blues and Royals and becoming the first black British Army officer to be commissioned into the Household Cavalry.

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UN Survey Finds Cybersecurity Gaps Everywhere Except Singapore

Singapore has a nearperfect approach to cybersecurity, but many other rich countries have holes in their defenses and some poorer countries are showing them how it should be done, a U.N. survey showed on July 5. Wealth breeds cybercrime, but it does not automatically generate cybersecurity, so governments need to make sure they are prepared, the survey by the U.N. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said. The United States came second in the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index, but many of the other highly rated countries were small or developing economies. The rest of the top 10 were Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France, and Canada. Russia ranked 11th. India was 25th, one place ahead of Germany and China was 34th. Equatorial Guinea is the only country to score zero.

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Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction Event Already Under Way?

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is already well underway and is more severe than previously feared, according to new research. Scientists analyzed both common, and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost. They blame human overpopulation and overconsumption for the crisis and warn that it threatens the survival of human civilization, although there remains a short window of time in which to act. The new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, eschews the normally sober tone of scientific papers and calls the massive loss of wildlife a “biological annihilation” that represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization”.

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