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Pope Francis leads Anglican, Scottish church leaders, in prayers for Africa

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The head of the Roman Catholic Church Worldwide, Pope Francis, on Saturday, led the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Rev. Justin Welby and the Church of Scotland, in a special prayer vigil for peace in the African continent ahead of his scheduled visit to DR Congo and South Sudan in July, the Vatican said in a statement on Sunday.

While releasing details of the Pontiff’s itinerary of his July 2-7 African travels which he will begin in Congo, the Vatican said the Pope’s will travel to South Sudan where he will make what is being billed as an historic “ecumenical pilgrimage of peace” along with the Rev. Welby and the Right Rev. Iain Greenshields, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

The Pope’s visit is expected to boost a 2018 agreement aimed at ending the civil war in South Sudan and will be the first overseas voyage for the Pontiff since he was seen using a wheelchair in public as he struggles with a knee ligament problem.

The 85-year-old Pope Francis has battled a major medical issue since last summer when he underwent intestinal surgery necessitated by what the Vatican said was a severe narrowing of the colon.

“While the various South Sudanese warring factions had signed a peace agreement after 20 months of violent conflict, the country is still facing heavy challenges including an economy on the verge of collapse, a deteriorating humanitarian situation and “an unsteady political will to implement the peace agreement,″ the Church of Scotland said in its statement while confirming the prayer vigil.

“I am genuinely humbled at the opportunity to assist our brothers and sisters in South Sudan in the search for peace, reconciliation and justice,″ Greenshields said in the statement, saying he, Pope Francis and Rev. Welby are looking forward to the African visit.

According to the itinerary, on the first full day of their pilgrimage in South Sudan, the three will visit a camp in Juba for internally displaced people and while in Congo, Pope Francis will deliver the homily during Mass at Ndolo Airport in Kinshasha.

After arriving in Goma, he will give another homily during Mass at the Kibumba Camp which is providing shelter for thousands of people in Congo who were displaced after they fled clashes between the Congolese army and rebel fighters.

Musings From Abroad

US Supreme Court abolishes abortion right after almost 50-year precedence

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The US Supreme Court on Friday reversed a nearly half century old constitutional right to abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito who wrote for the Majority argued that the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which had favoured abortion right “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

The ruling comes after leaked draft of Roe vs Wade ruling which guaranteed abortion rights across the country has caused outrage last month.

The Roe vs Wade, ruling was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Although the supreme court declined comment at the time of the leak in May, the Friday ruling perhaps confirmed the fears of many.

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, in a series of tweets while reacting to the leak stressed that “an extremist Supreme Court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the Constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back—not ever

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has drawn reactions from top politicians in the US. One of such is veteran congressman and Democrat, Benie Sanders who tweeted that “overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women the right to control their own bodies is an outrage and in defiance of what the American people want. Democrats must now end the filibuster in the Senate, codify Roe v. Wade, and once again make abortion legal and safe.”

American singer, Taylor Swift, also reacted against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “I’m absolutely terrified that this is where we are – that after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that.” The singer said on twitter.

Also reacting to the ruling is US former president, Barrack Obama, who said “today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”

Meanwhile, there have also been reactions in support of the abolishing of the nearly 50 years of precedent, notably Americans with ideological sentiment with Republicans.

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Musings From Abroad

Elon Musk’s transgender child sever ties with father, seeks name change

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The 18-year-old transgender daughter of billionaire owner of electric car manufacturing company, Tesla, Elon Musk, has severed ties with her rich father and has filed a request to change her name in accordance with her new gender identity.

The petition for both a name change and a new birth certificate reflecting her new gender identity was filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica in April.

Christened Xavier Alexander Musk at birth, the billionaire’s child who recently turned 18 which is the age of consent in California, has asked the court to legal authority to change her gender recognition from male to female and to register her new name.

While filing the petition, Xavier said he took the decision because “I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.”

Xavier’s name, according to media reports, was redacted in documents to reflect his mother’s name which is Justine Wilson, who divorced Musk in 2008.

However, there was no further explanation of the rift between Musk’s daughter and her father, as lawyers for both parties refused to make further comments.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has been a vocal opponent of sex change and had spoken about the practice in the past.

In 2020, Musk weighed in on the issue of transgender people choosing their preferred pronouns in a tweet by saying, “I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an esthetic (sic) nightmare.”

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