World Notes & Quotes

Priest Urges Blocking Illegal Immigrants in Italy

CORRIERRE DELLA SERA, Feb. 16—A priest who works with refugees and has supported opening Italian borders told the Italian national daily that immigration's effects on his town changed his mind. Father Antonio Palazzo, 58, who runs a center for refugees in the village of Pozzuoli said that “new illegal immigrants should be kicked out”of Italy.

“You have no idea how hard it is for me to say that.”Father Palazzo said because of illegal immigration his village, formerly home to 20 families, ballooned into a community of 20,000 people with illegally constructed homes and businesses, where prostitutes walk the streets day and night.

U.N. Satisfied with India's Efforts to Curb Violence

BBC WORLD SERVICE, Feb. 17—United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has expressed satisfaction at the Indian government's commitment to protecting religious minorities in the wake of recent anti-Christian violence in India.

During a three-day visit to the country, Robinson said she believed displays of religious intolerance were taken very seriously by the authorities.

A BBC correspondent in Delhi said Robinson's remarks would be welcomed by India's coalition government, which is led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

The party has been criticized by those who say India's secular image has been dented by the recent attacks on Christians.

Catholic Ranks Now Over 1 Billion

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Feb. 21—The Vatican's latest yearbook, presented to Pope John Paul II on Feb. 20, puts the number of Catholics in the world at 1 billion, 5 million.

The just-published 1999 Pontifical Yearbook includes the figure, which refers to the number of baptized Catholics as of Dec. 31, 1997. The publishers indicated that the latest figure is a population equal to about 17.3 percent of the world's population. Last April, the Vatican estimated that the number had topped 1 billion.

The yearbook, compiled from Church sources and from other data, also notes that the Holy See has diplomatic relations with 168 countries.