Media Watch

Parliament Poised to Remove Ban on Priests

NEWCASTLE CHRONICLE AND JOURNAL, Feb. 7 — A 200-year-old law banning Catholic priests from becoming members of Parliament is likely to be repealed after a recent vote in the House of Commons, the English daily reported.

Home Office Minister Mike OíBrien said it was time to remove the “archaic” restriction that he said stemmed from “bigoted anti-Catholic legislation.”

Government ministers are eager to rush the Removal of Clergy Disqualification Bill through the Commons before the British general election, expected on May 3. Otherwise, David Cairns, a laicized priest due to run for office as a member of the ruling Labor Party, would be prevented from taking his parliamentary seat, even if elected.

Aristide Reassumes Power in Haiti

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Feb. 7 — Thousands filled Notre Dame Cathedral in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince as Jean-Bertrand Aristide's inauguration as president was blessed in a Mass, the news service reported.

Originally elected president in 1990, Aristide, a laicized Catholic priest, was ousted by the military a year later. He returned to power in 1994 after an U.S. military intervention, and reluctantly resigned from office in 1995 when his five-year term ended.

Aristide faces international isolation after his recent re-election because of widespread suspicion that it was unfair. France and the European Union didn't send delegations to the inauguration to show disapproval over the controversial elections, but the United States sent its ambassador.

NAACP to Push for Sanctions Against Sudan

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, Feb. 7 — Long silent about the enslavement of blacks in Africa's largest country, American black leaders will urge Congress this year to penalize Sudan for its slave trade, the Washington daily reported.

Hilary Shelton, head of the Washington office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, acknowledged that economic sanctions against Sudan would be difficult to achieve, but said his organization has placed the issue on its list of congressional goals.

Sudan's brutal civil war pits the country's Islamic government against Christian and animist rebels in the south of the country. According to Washington-based Human Rights Watch, the Sudanese government organizes militias to abduct black southerners into slavery.

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