We cover Pope Francis’ apology for the Church’s role in Canada’s infamous residential school system and China’s new diplomatic strategy in Africa.
Pope apologizes for ‘evil’ inflicted on indigenous peoples
Pope Francis has issued a general apology for the role of the Catholic Church in running boarding schools in Canada where Indigenous children have been sexually and physically abused and many have died.
“I humbly ask forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against Indigenous peoples,” Francis said at the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis, Alberta, a place of horrors for the children forced to attend it between 1894 and 1976.
Survivors had long called on the church to take responsibility for its role in abusive institutions. For some, Francis’ apology was a chance to let go of their pain, while others said there was still more to do.
Schools inflicted physical, sexual and mental abuse; tongues erased; and used Christianity as a weapon to break the cultures and communities of indigenous peoples. Christian churches operated most schools for the government. Catholic orders were responsible for running 60-70% of the approximately 130 schools, where thousands of children died.
Related: The United States also continues to struggle with the legacy of its public schools for Native American children. An Interior Department investigation released this year documented the brutal conditions at more than 400 boarding schools the federal government forced Indigenous children to attend between 1819 and 1969.
Myanmar executes four activists
Myanmar’s military leadership says it executed four pro-democracy activists, an apparent attempt to instill fear in a resistance movement that has fought the junta since it seized power in a coup l ‘last year.
The executions – the first in the Southeast Asian nation in more than three decades – came after the activists were sentenced to death in closed trials without lawyers present. Western leaders have sought to persuade the military to release its political prisoners and end its violence.
Burmese opposition leaders, human rights groups and the UN have strongly condemned the executions. “These depraved acts must be a turning point for the international community,” said Thomas Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar.
Who were they: The four men who were executed had a history of opposing Myanmar’s vicious army, known as the Tatmadaw. Among them were U Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, a well-respected democracy activist who rose to prominence as a student group leader during nationwide protests in 1988, and U Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former hip-hop artist who was elected to parliament after spending five years in prison for his activism.
China already dominates trade with resource-rich African countries. Its first overseas naval base is in Djibouti. Now it is integrating financial and diplomatic efforts more closely, offering mediation in civil strife that is causing devastating famine — and, more importantly, signaling a new strategy to resolve billions of dollars in delinquent Chinese loans.
In addition, China, which has long promoted its one-party style of government in Africa, has opened a new training school in Tanzania. The International Liaison Department, the powerful body that promotes China’s ideology and influence, launched the school.
Global Policy: The campaign is part of a major geopolitical competition between Beijing and Washington, which has intensified since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Data: Trade between China and Africa exceeded $250 billion in 2021, compared to $64.33 billion between the United States and Africa.
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Another path to home ownership
A number of Southern California residents are moving to Tijuana, Mexico, which some see as their best shot at home ownership.
The stories of migrants crossing from Mexico to the United States in search of a better life are well known. But over the past decade, a reverse migration has quietly gained momentum: Americans, excluded from the housing market and frustrated by the exorbitant costs of health care, electricity and basic goods, choose to more and more rent or buy homes in Mexico.
According to cost of living database Numbeo, consumer prices, including rent, are 62% lower in Tijuana than in San Diego. In Tijuana, about $2,500 a month provides a standard of living that would cost $6,600 in San Diego.
The pandemic, which has taken millions of people away from the journey to a physical office, has accelerated this trend, as has the Sentri pass, which allows approved low-risk travelers rapid access to the United States at the Mexican border.