Some of South Sudan's considerable challenges and seemingly intractable problems are exemplified in the little hamlet of Gumbo, outside of Juba.
A steady stream of Iraqi refugees, smiling and displaying purple index fingers, emerged from a polling station in the Hashemi Shamali district, where the majority of these urban refugees live in the Jordanian capital.
"Change is badly needed in Iraq. Hopefully the elections will yield a suitable leader. God is gracious," said Um Martin, a Chaldean Catholic woman from the biblical city of Ninevah in northern Iraq.
Eight countries are on the State Department's "Countries of Particular Concern," and a commission recommended eight others be added.
The chairman of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church pledged to be a "critical conscience" in the church in Ireland.
British doctors and nurses who refuse to dispense the morning-after pill on grounds of conscience will be unable to receive a specialist diploma in sexual health care.
Guidance issued by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare states that medical professionals who, for religious reasons, refuse to hand out "emergency" contraception cannot receive the qualification.
The diploma is considered to represent the "gold standard" of sexual health care training, a source at the faculty told Catholic News Service in a telephone conversation Wednesday.
"Arab Christians are up to the challenge of reviving their presence. They should not rely solely on political circumstances, whether they are favorable or not."
On the 39th anniversary of the closing of the Vietnam War, 20 percent of the countryside is still littered with thousands of unexploded bombs and munitions; the very poor have taken to diffusing them to sell for scrap, and many lives and limbs are lost each year by farmers and others who accidentally dig them up.
Despite progress in defeating extreme global poverty, most Americans see no end in sight, according to a survey sponsored by Compassion International.
Christians who attend church at least monthly and consider religion very important in their life overwhelmingly (96 percent) expressed concern about the world's poorest people. But they were skeptical that global poverty could be ended in the next 25 years. Only 41 percent of the group said it was possible.
"We Europeans represent a form of Christianity that sometimes seems to be tired," Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said. African Christianity "shines as a beacon, as an example for other continents."
At his installation today, the new archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese said bishops need to meet Jesus so as to serve the church effectively.