24 July 2013 Last updated at 09:07 GMT
White House attacks plans to curb NSA data collection
The White House is urging Congress to reject an attempt to stop the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting Americans’ phone records.
With a key vote coming up, President Barack Obama’s spokesman said curbs on the NSA would “hastily dismantle” a vital counter-terrorism tool.
NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander spent Tuesday lobbying Congressmen to vote against the proposed measure.
Critics say NSA phone data collection is an unwarranted invasion of privacy.
The details of the programme were made public by Edward Snowden, who had worked for the NSA and is now a fugitive, awaiting a decision on his asylum application in Moscow.
Bulgarian MPs trapped inside parliament by protesters
Riot police free more than 100 MPs and ministers blockaded for more than eight hours as anti-government protests grow
- guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 24 July 2013 08.39 BST
Pope Francis shakes up Catholic Church
Many Catholics hope Pope Francis will strengthen laymen and women in church, who have been taking on responsibilities of priests in some rural areas. That might trigger a revolution, experts say.
The Catholic Church in Latin America has a way of dealing with contradictions: Instead of discussing whether women should be allowed to be ordained to the priesthood or debating the celibate, laymen go ahead and create precedents in their religious communities. They’ve come up with new forms of church services – services without a priest. Hopes are high during this year’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro that Pope Francis will give more power to ordinary people in the church: the laypersons. That would ultimately change the Catholic Church.
Australian rescue agency failed to help in boat tragedy where 104 drowned
July 24, 2013 – 6:57PM
South Sudan calls for calm after president sacks government
Heavily armed South Sudanese troops and police guarded key government institutions in the capital Juba on Wednesday, as radio broadcasts called for calm after the president suspended his cabinet.
A brewing storm in the Western Pacific
By Walden Bello
A storm is brewing in the Western Pacific. As the Asia-Pacific region descends into a period of destabilizing conflict, the Philippines is quickly becoming a frontline state in the US strategy to contain China – the central thrust of the Obama administration’s so-called “Pivot to Asia”. In the most recent development, the Philippine government has offered the United States greater access to its military bases.
China’s controversial moves in the Western Pacific have served as a convenient excuse for heightened US military presence in the region. In particular, Beijing’s claim of the whole South China Sea
(including the West Philippine Sea) as Chinese territory has allowed the United States to portray itself as indispensable for protecting the region’s smaller countries from Chinese hegemony. A one-time US colony and ally, the Philippine government has been especially receptive to Washington’s siren call.