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Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte threatens to close Catholic churches

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A spokesperson for Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, said the government will force local churches to close if priests hold public Masses in defiance of public health orders. A local bishop, however, has argued that Masses held at low capacity are a safe way to maintain public worship, especially during Holy Week and Easter.

In an attempt to combat a surge in coronavirus infections, new government restrictions have banned public meetings, including religious gatherings.

The Philippines has had more than 677,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 13,000 deaths, among the highest rates in Southeast Asia.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday that the government would not be violating religious freedom laws by forcibly closing churches that violate the new restriction.

“In the exercise of police powers, we can order the churches closed and I hope it will not come to that,” said Roque, according to the Associated Press. “We won’t achieve anything … if you will defy and you will force the state to close the doors of the church.”

However, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop and apostolic administrator of Manila, said in a pastoral letter Wednesday that small worship services would be organized inside churches, according to the Phil Star.

“This is a pastoral instruction, that is, it is meant to help the pastors and their flocks how to worship the Lord in this important season of the year in the face of the pandemic. The pastoral instruction also asserts our right to worship but setting a limit to the physical attendance of those who feel the need to do [so],” he wrote.

“We come to this limit of 10% of our church capacity because we feel that this number does not constitute a ‘mass gathering.’ We have the experience of one year of having our health protocols in place in our churches, and as is experienced by those who come to church, these are well-observed.”

According to the Phil Star, Bishop Pabillo in his letter challenged the unclear definition of “mass gatherings” in the government’s instructions.

He emphasized the right to public worship and criticized the government’s lack of cooperation with religious institutions.

“Not all religious activities per se should be lumped together as a ‘mass gathering’…We assert our right to worship and the state should respect this and not unnecessarily hamper it. Religious activities are essential services for the well-being of people,” he wrote.

“State regulatory bodies should consult the sector concerned when making policies about them. I lament the fact that the religious sectors are not represented, nor even consulted, when they make policies affecting our life of worship,” the bishop said.

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Sixth-grader shoots classmates in US; 3 people were injured

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Three people, including two students, were shot Thursday at an Idaho middle school, according to officials.

At a press conference, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said the suspect is a sixth-grade girl from Idaho Falls who is a student at Rigby Middle School, where the shooting took place. Initial reports had incorrectly identified the suspect as male.

Anderson said the unnamed student allegedly drew a handgun from her backpack and shot three people — one inside and two outside — before a teacher disarmed her.

The suspect is in custody at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and may be charged with attempted murder pending results of the investigation, according to Mark Taylor the county’s prosecuting attorney.

The shooting victims were struck in their extremities and are expected to survive, but may require surgery, officials said

Three ambulances initially responded to Rigby Middle School after authorities learned of the shooting about 9:15 a.m. MT, Idaho Falls Fire Department spokeswoman Kerry Hammon said.

Authorities took the injured to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where they were listed as stable.

“Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter. We had a school shooting here at Rigby Middle School,” Jefferson School District Superintendent Chad Martin said in a statement. “What we know so far is the shooter has been apprehended. There is no further threat to the students.”

“I am praying for the lives and safety of those involved in today’s tragic events,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little tweeted. “Thank you to our law enforcement agencies and school leaders for their efforts in responding to the incident. I am staying updated on the situation.”

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Nine babies in a single birth, this miracle of the extreme

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Bamako: A mother who miraculously gave birth to nine children in a single delivery to the scientific world Halima Sisse, 25, gave birth to nine children. A native of Mali, an African country, she gave birth to nine babies by caesarean section. Rarely, nine babies are born in a single birth.

Even with so many babies in the womb, it is common for many babies to die before they are fully grown. A scan of Halima’s pregnancy revealed that she had seven babies in her womb. Doctors said special care was needed as this was a rarity. Halima was then flown to Morocco.

However, Halima gave birth to 9 children, including 2 babies who were not even seen on the scans, even when doctors gave birth. Halima gave birth to five girls and four boys, all of whom are healthy, Malian Health Minister Fanta Cibi said.
He added that the girl and children would be returned only after a few weeks.

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us news18 hours ago

Sixth-grader shoots classmates in US; 3 people were injured

Three people, including two students, were shot Thursday at an Idaho middle school, according to officials. At a press conference,...

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