Pope Francis leaves the airport after arriving in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on 30 November 2017. Photo: AFPPope Francis on Thursday arrived in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees have sought sanctuary after fleeing a crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar, in the second stage of a tour dominated by the plight of the persecuted minority.The pope will spend three days in mainly-Muslim Bangladesh, which is also grappling with a rise in Islamist extremism that has seen Catholics attacked for their faith.In Myanmar he walked a diplomatic tightrope, staying away from allegations that the army is waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims, despite pressure to confront the incendiary issue publically.He also refrained from mentioning the minority by name during his four-day trip in which he held two masses and private meetings with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and powerful army chief Min Aung Hlaing.In Dhaka he will meet some of the refugees from the Rohingya community, whom he has described as his “brothers and sisters”, and led a mass for Bangladesh’s tiny Catholic minority.Nearly a million refugees from the Muslim minority now languish in camps on the border and the Daily Star, a Bangladeshi newspaper, said in an editorial Thursday it hoped he could change their fate.“Thanks to the large body of evidence documenting severe rights abuses of the Rohingya minority of Myanmar, the extent of the atrocities carried out by Myanmar’s security forces is known to all,” it said.“We remain hopeful that given Pope Francis’ legacy of standing up for the oppressed, he will speak out against the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya during this very important visit.”‘Moral authority’Myanmar’s government denies the Rohingya are an ethnic group, insisting they are “Bengali” immigrants who are not entitled to full citizenship.But the Vatican has rejected suggestions that the pope’s reticence to tackle the Rohingya crisis head-on represented a failure of moral leadership.A spokesman late Wednesday said the pope’s presence alone drew attention to Myanmar’s myriad troubles and his “moral authority” remained undimmed.“He’s not afraid of minefields,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told a press conference, hinting the pope’s discussions in private may have been more strident.Francis had been urged not to utter the Rohingyas’ name in Myanmar to avoid provoking hardline Buddhists and making the country’s Catholic community a target.“He seemed to comprehend the dilemma he faced,” David Mathieson, a Yangon-based analyst, told AFP, applauding his diplomatic dexterity in a country where the army still holds great power.“He is the Pope, not a pugilist… he was here to help the country work through this horrific humanitarian crisis and listen to both the civilian and military leadership.”The pontiff was warmly embraced by Myanmar’s Catholics, who make up just over one percent of the population.On Friday he will lead a mass in central Dhaka that is expected to be attended by around 100,000 Bangladeshi Catholics.The country’s Catholic community accounts for less than 0.5 percent of the population of 160 million and have for centuries lived in relative harmony with their Muslim neighbours.But the country has seen a rise in Islamist attacks in recent years targeting religious minorities, foreigners and secular figures.Pope Francis’s visit coincides with the disappearance of a Catholic priest on Monday in the same village where suspected Islamist extremists hacked a Catholic grocer to death last year.Walter William Rosario, 40, had been making arrangements for some 300 Catholics to travel to Dhaka for the pope’s mass.Since 2015 at least three Christians, including two converts from Islam, have been hacked to death in attacks blamed on the militant Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Listen Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Metro Screenshot The Downtown District’s Bob Eury presented his ideas for expanded park and ride service before Metro’s Strategic Planning Committee.The Management District’s Transportation Committee is floating a new plan called Metro MAX. The proposal includes seven-day-a-week service from Metro’s park and ride lots with commuter buses running in both directions. Speaking before Metro’s Strategic Planning Committee, District Executive Director Bob Eury said a lot of people who live downtown now actually work out in the suburbs.“And it’s not all sort of the way it’s been where I live in the suburbs and come to work in the central part of the city,” added Eury. “The game has changed on us at this point.”Metro board member Christof Spieler said Houston already has the infrastructure in place to implement some of those ideas fairly quickly.“I think it would be a very worthwhile thing for us to do, to basically corridor by corridor, look at where are the low-hanging fruits in moving to this,” explained Spieler.And Spieler added that the I-10 corridor might be a good place to start.“It would be really great to have a transit center at Gessner and I-10 so that buses can stop there on their way to the Energy Corridor, which adds another major employment center to the mix,” said Spieler. “I could see a Memorial City circulator bus.”Metro said it’s currently reviewing the Downtown District’s suggestions as it develops a new regional transit plan. CEO Tom Lambert said they’ve also brought TxDOT into the discussion. 00:00 /01:05 X
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Black children are twice as likely as Whites to be victims of child abuse, with 1 in 5 becoming victims of neglect and/or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, according to a new study.“These data highlight that the burden of confirmed maltreatment is far greater than suggested by single-year national estimates of confirmed child maltreatment and that the risk for maltreatment is particularly high for black children, who had cumulative risk of confirmed maltreatment in excess of 25 percent for many years, and never less-than 20 percent,” the report states.Official 2011 data from child protective service agencies puts the overall child abuse figure at 1 in 100 children. But the new research places the figure at 1 in 8, with most of it taking place in the early years.The new study, which appears online in this month’s JAMA Pediatrics, uses the same protective services data (the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System – or, NCANDS—Child File), but measures it cumulatively, including all children under 18 who have been victimized, up to and including the given year.“If you have a person abused, say, at age four, and they were four in 2009. In 2014, they would be nine. If you took a yearly approach, you would only include in your measure those who were maltreated this year,” says Hedwig Lee, one of the study’s authors. “We show people who’ve experienced this at least one time before they were 18. It’s an estimate that shows the actual burden of maltreatment in children. If you experience maltreatment at any time, it affects you, so [this method] is a more clear snapshot of the population affected.”The researchers use NCANDS data from 2004 through 2011, and in that time, nearly 5.7 million children had at least one confirmed case of maltreatment during their lives (80 percent of which stemmed from neglect, as opposed to abuse, according to the study). CPS found that 174,400 Black children had been neglected or abused in 2011 alone (for most of these children, it was the first reported case).Cumulatively, researchers found that by 4 years old, Black children had a 1 in 10 chance of being maltreated. By 10 years old, the risk was 4 in 25. Put another way, that’s at least four students in every fifth-grade class. By 15 years old, Black youth had a 1 in 5 chance of having a CPS file.In 2011, White children accounted for 317,900 confirmed maltreatment cases, most of which were first offenses. (There were a total of 670,000 confirmed cases that year).Cumulatively, by 4 years old White children have a 1 in 20 chance of maltreatment; a 4 in 50 chance by age 10, and a 1 in 10 chance by age 15.Put another way, Black children are twice as likely to suffer maltreatment as White children by each of those benchmarks.“It highlights the importance of thinking about how, in the United States, many disparities that occur…are examples of the ways in which the history of racism can lead to disparate outcomes among groups,” Lee says, pointing out that overwhelmed parents of color are much less likely to have access to support such as comprehensive healthcare, lactation consultants, therapists, nannies, and the like.“When we think of [the data’s] racial disparities, it’s not necessarily bias among CPS, but more about the large problems of social disparities. In many cases parents are overwhelmed and not receiving enough support. That’s a social and economic problem.”CPS confirmed cases of abuse or neglect are most likely to occur in infancy and toddlerhood, across race and in both annual and cumulative measures. A more accurate interpretation, according to study co-author, Christopher Wildeman, is that in the case of babies and toddlers, maltreatment is both easier to identify as such, and more likely to be discovered. “Young children are quite fragile, so maltreatment they experience — whether abuse or neglect — is more noticeable than it would be with older children. If you yank a two year-old by the arm and you yank an eight year-old by the arm, the two year-old could end up with a separated shoulder from the incident, whereas the eight year-old might feel resentful and hurt, but may not present symptoms of an injury,” Wildeman explains. In addition, “folks – whether teachers, physicians, or other folks in the community—are just more attentive to small children, and the folks at CPS are no different.” In addition to the rate difference between CPS’s annual count and this study’s cumulative count, there’s also a huge difference between CPS rates and self-reporting from adults who were maltreated as children. “Self-reported rates are higher because to have a case confirmed there has to be enough evidence and there’s a high level of proof,” Lee explains. “There’s going to be discrepancy…[especially if] they’ve never had contact with CPS. Our estimate might be conservative. It’s clear that people may be slipping through the cracks.”The study does not make recommendations or offer sociological explanations regarding the disparities it highlights, but it does point out that child maltreatment is a serious public health issue. In addition to the moral implications, child maltreatment is associated with higher rates of mortality, obesity, HIV/AIDS infection, and mental health problems.Children who have been abused or neglected are more likely to engage in criminal activity as teens and/or adults, and five times more likely to attempt suicide. One cited study estimates that the social toll stemming from the effects of child maltreatment costs the United States $124 billion every year.“The results of this study provide valuable epidemiological information,” the researchers conclude. “Being able to assess the extent and severity of maltreatment across populations and time can inform policies and practices that can be used not only to reduce maltreatment, but also to improve population health and reduce health disparities.”