Media Watch

Vatican Highlights Bush Abortion Policy

L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO, Jan. 23 –– The Vatican daily gave prominent attention to President Bush's recent move to prohibit U.S. funding of abortions abroad, making it the top story in its Jan. 22 edition

Vatican Radio also carried the report and broadcast comments by a spokeswoman from the U.S. Bishops Conference in Washington saying that Bush “had the right instincts” and was “going in the right direction” on abortion.

But the spokeswoman, Cathleen Cleaver of the Conference's Pro-Life Secretariat, distanced herself from Bush on the issue of capital punishment. During his six years as governor of Texas, 152 convicts were executed. Cleaver told Vatican Radio that Bush was “far afield on the issue of the death penalty.”

Hackers Attack Vatican Radio Web Portal

IL MESSAGGERO, Jan 26 –– Vatican Radio, the official radio broadcaster of the Holy See, was hacked Jan. 25, causing disruption of the site's service for a short time that day, the Italian daily reported.

The Vatican's press office said that the attack was detected very quickly.

Il Messaggero reported that the hackers are thought to originate from Brazil. Sources suggest that Interpol and the Brazilian authorities are now investigating the hackers, who are known to have attacked other religious sites around the world.

Other hackers submitted information that suggests the Brazilian hacker group carried out a number of attacks on the Vatican Radio Web site.

Iraqi Official Criticizes Embargo During Rome Visit

AGENCE FRANCE PRESS, Jan 25 –– Iraqi Health Minister Umid Medhat Mubarak said during a recent trip to Italy that a UN embargo against Iraq has caused a dramatic increase in illnesses, partly due to depleted uranium munitions used during the Gulf War, the news service reported.

Mubarak made the comments at a press conference before meeting with Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran. He said cases of malignant anemia, breast tumors, lung cancers and congenital malformations among the Iraqi population were much higher in 2000 than before the 1991 Gulf War, with the incidence of leukemia up 17%.

Iraq also lacks medical equipment, Mubarak said, explaining that parts needed to repair the equipment were prohibited under the embargo. The Iraqi health ministry said that the UN embargo imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait had caused more than 1.3 million deaths over 10 years.

Father Jean-Marie Benjamin, an Italian priest who organized the conference at which Mubarak outlined his critique of the embargo, said the Iraqi government is “accused of propaganda whenever it speaks” about the embargo.

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