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Pope favors changing Italian and English translations of the “temptation” line in “Our Father”

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 - 18:29 UTC

Father Marco Pozza told the pope that friends have asked him, “Can God really lead us into temptation?” The pope said “This is not a good translation”
Father Marco Pozza told the pope that friends have asked him, “Can God really lead us into temptation?” The pope said “This is not a good translation”

The Italian and English translations of the “Our Father” can give believers the wrong impression that God can and does lead people into temptation, Pope Francis said. The Italian bishops' television channel, TV2000, has been broadcasting a series of conversations between the pope and a Catholic prison chaplain looking at the Lord's Prayer line by line.

 The episode broadcast on December 6 focused on the line, “Lead us not into temptation.”

Father Marco Pozza told the pope that friends have asked him, “Can God really lead us into temptation?”

“This is not a good translation,” the pope said.

The standard versions of the prayer are translated from the Latin, which was translated from the New Testament in Greek.

While he said nothing about ordering a new translation, Francis noted how the French bishops had decided that beginning Dec. 3, the first Sunday of Advent, French Catholics would change the line to the equivalent of “do not let us enter into temptation.”

French-speaking Catholics in Benin and Belgium began using the new translation at Pentecost last June. The common Spanish translation already is “no nos dejes caer en la tentacion” or “do not let us fall into temptation.”

The Italian bishops' conference in 2008 adopted a new translation of the Bible; for the Lord's Prayer both in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, they chose “do not abandon us in temptation,” although they did not order the change in liturgical use.

The New American Bible, revised edition, is the basis for the Lectionary used at English-language Masses in the United States; the petition from the Lord's Prayer in Matthew and Luke is translated as: “do not subject us to the final test.”

Francis told Father Pozza, ”I'm the one who falls. But it's not (God) who pushes me into temptation to see how I fall. No, a father does not do this. A father helps us up immediately.“

”The one who leads us into temptation is Satan,“ the pope said. ”That's Satan's job.“

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its discussion of the Lord's Prayer, says, ”our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to 'lead' us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both 'do not allow us to enter into temptation' and 'do not let us yield to temptation.'“

Referring to James 1:13, the catechism says, ”'God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one'; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin.”

Irish and French argue “a win for Mercosur in agriculture is a loss for EU farmers”

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 - 09:02 UTC

“The pressure to conclude the talks cannot be at the expense of the European agriculture sector” Ms McGuinness warned.
“The pressure to conclude the talks cannot be at the expense of the European agriculture sector” Ms McGuinness warned.

Irish MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is representing the European Parliament at the ministerial assembly on the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Argentina, which began on Sunday, and has warned that rushing towards a Mercosur/European Union deal would jeopardize the EU beef industry.

 Ms McGuinness expressed the belief that Argentina was pushing for progress on Mercosur negotiations and would like to announce that a deal has been made when the ministerial council concludes on Wednesday night. But she pointed out, “rushing towards a deal for the sake of a deadline is not appropriate”.

Currently, the EU has offered the trading bloc up to 70,000 tons of beef access to Europe, an offer which has been widely condemned by politicians in Ireland and France, as well as farm organizations.

“The pressure to conclude the talks cannot be at the expense of the European agriculture sector – a win for Mercosur in agriculture is a loss for EU farmers,” Ms McGuinness warned.

“Beef is a major issue for Ireland, with concerns that concessions already on the table on beef would negatively impact the EU beef market and in turn prices to producers.

“Today in Buenos Aires I met with a representative of the French farming sector who articulated very clearly how a deal with Mercosur would not be in the interests of EU farmers and the rural regions.

“Rushing towards a deal for the sake of a deadline is not appropriate and will be counter-productive,” she concluded.

Mercosur/EU hurdles remain, and a deal announcement might not be reached this week

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 - 10:34 UTC

Brazil's Temer said an announcement on the Mercosur/EU framework political deal might have to wait until Dec. 21, when bloc’s presidents meet in Brasilia.
Brazil's Temer said an announcement on the Mercosur/EU framework political deal might have to wait until Dec. 21, when bloc’s presidents meet in Brasilia.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry said agreement on the conclusion of the negotiations could still be reached by Wednesday in Buenos Aires
The Argentine Foreign Ministry said agreement on the conclusion of the negotiations could still be reached by Wednesday in Buenos Aires

Free-trade talks between the European Union and Mercosur still face hurdles over beef and ethanol, and an expected deal announcement this week might not happen, officials involved in negotiations admitted on Monday. Mercosur diplomats on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires said EU officials had not presented improved offers on EU tariff-free imports for beef and ethanol as promised.

 “Basically, they want us to show our cards before they show theirs,” a senior diplomat from a Mercosur member said. Resistance by some EU member states to agricultural imports, such as Ireland, France and Poland, has delayed negotiation of the free trade agreement with Mercosur that seeks to liberalize trade and investment, services and access to public procurement.

Brazilian President Michel Temer, speaking to reporters after attending the opening of the WTO meeting on Sunday, said an announcement of the framework political agreement for the EU-Mercosur deal might have to wait until Dec. 21, when the bloc’s presidents meet in Brasilia.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry said agreement on the conclusion of the negotiations that have gone on for almost two decades could still be reached by Wednesday in Buenos Aires or, if not, next week in Brazil.

Besides disagreement over the tonnage of beef that EU countries would allow in each year free of tariffs, EU diplomats have said rules of origin still have to be included in the provisional political accord.

Brazil has said that can be worked out in the coming months before a final agreement is signed sometime in mid-2018. Brazil's foreign ministry played down the hurdles to a deal.

“There is very little left to negotiate and they are not fundamental issues,” said a Brazilian official, adding “there will be a deal and it will be announced when it is struck, here or in Brasilia.”

Mercosur members are pushing for an improvement on the EU offer of tariff-free imports for 70,000 tons a year of beef and 600,000 tons of ethanol a year. This is lower than the 100,000-tons beef offer the EU made in 2004, though EU negotiators say Europeans eat less meat today.

 

Internet influential figures write to US Congress in support of “net neutrality”

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 - 18:50 UTC

“It is important to understand that FCC’s proposed Order is based on flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of internet technology,” the open letter read.
“It is important to understand that FCC’s proposed Order is based on flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of internet technology,” the open letter read.
Signees included several of the architects of the early internet and world wide web, such as Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, along with Steve Wozniak (Pic)
Signees included several of the architects of the early internet and world wide web, such as Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, along with Steve Wozniak (Pic)
The letter, signed by 21 notable people, was sent to the Senate's commerce subcommittee on communications, technology, innovation and the internet.
The letter, signed by 21 notable people, was sent to the Senate's commerce subcommittee on communications, technology, innovation and the internet.

Several influential figures responsible for creating the internet have demanded that a controversial vote to be cancelled. This week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will decide on whether to repeal an Obama-era law that protects “net neutrality”. This refers to the principle that all traffic on the internet is treated equally. The pioneers said the FCC did not know what it was doing.

“It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of internet technology,” the open letter read.

Signees included several of the architects of the early internet and world wide web, such as Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, along with Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder.

The letter calls for the vote, due to be held on 14 December, to be cancelled due to what the authors regard as a lack of transparency and a refusal to listen to critics of the plan.

“The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed Order to abolish net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create,” the letter states. “It should be stopped.”

The letter, signed by 21 notable people, was sent to the Senate's commerce subcommittee on communications, technology, innovation and the internet.

This week could be pivotal in the history of the internet. Although it is yet to vote, there is no doubt that the Republican-controlled FCC will choose to end net neutrality when it makes its ruling on Thursday.

Without laws protecting the principles, campaigners say internet service providers (ISPs) will have free reign to exploit new power by throttling certain types of internet traffic.

For example, an ISP may decide to charge extra to use a service such as Netflix, or give a company an upper hand by not counting use of certain services when charging users for data bandwidth. Such moves are theoretical, but until now were prevented by law.

The FCC believes the possible impact of the move has been exaggerated, and said the change in regulations would help improve competition and remove government meddling in the internet.

It said the open market should mean users are not unfairly treated by ISPs - despite many Americans only having one choice of provider in certain parts of the country.

In a move designed to allay fears of foul play, the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday announced new coordination to clamp down on unfair behavior from telecoms companies.

The FCC and the FTC, the government body tasked with protecting consumer rights, will jointly investigate any issues.

“Instead of saddling the Internet with heavy-handed regulations, we will work together to take targeted action against bad actors,” the FCC said.

US questions workings and rules of WTO which favor “litigation over negotiations”

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 - 10:37 UTC

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer voiced concern that the WTO was becoming a litigation-centered organization.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer voiced concern that the WTO was becoming a litigation-centered organization.

The United States President Donald Trump’s trade chief said on Monday that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is losing its focus on trade negotiations in favor of litigation, and was going too easy on wealthier developing countries such as China.

 With Trump’s “America First” trade agenda casting a cloud over the WTO’s 11th ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires, representatives of other major members criticized protectionism and advocated a stronger multilateral trading system, while acknowledging the WTO’s shortcomings.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has said he does not want major agreements out of the meeting, voiced concern that the WTO was becoming a litigation-centered organization.

“Too often members seem to believe they can gain concessions through lawsuits that they could never get at the negotiating table,” he said. “We have to ask ourselves whether this is good for the institution and whether the current litigation structure makes sense.”

Too many countries were not following WTO rules, he complained, and too many wealthier members had been given unfair exemptions as developing countries.

“We need to clarify our understanding of development within the WTO. We cannot sustain a situation in which new rules can only apply to a few and that others will be given a pass in the name of self-proclaimed development status,” Lighthizer told the conference’s opening session.

He said five of the six richest countries claim developing country status at the WTO, without providing evidence to back up the assertion. A Lighthizer spokeswoman later said he was referring to the six countries with the highest gross domestic product per capita, according to International Monetary Fund measurements.

Five, including Qatar and Singapore, claim developing status, which provides longer times to implement WTO agreements and more opportunities to boost trade.

Ahead of the meeting, the United States blocked efforts to draft a joint statement emphasizing the “centrality” of the global trade system and the need to aid development. Its opposition has raised concerns that the WTO will not be able to accomplish even modest goals, such as addressing fishing and agricultural subsidies, at the conference.

“We need to have a clear objective in mind,” European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said. “For the European Union, this is clear: to preserve and to strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system.”

Trump has indicated his preference for bilateral deals over the multilateral system embodied by the WTO. The United States has vetoed new judges for trade disputes, pushing the organization into a crisis.

Lighthizer said it was impossible to negotiate new rules when many of the current ones were not being followed, and added that too many members viewed exemptions from WTO rules as a path to faster growth.

In a thinly veiled swipe at China’s trade practices, Lighthizer said the United States was leading negotiations to “correct the sad performance of many members in notification and transparency.”

The United States is backing the EU in its resistance to recognizing China as a market economy, arguing the government unfairly intervenes in the economy. The case is before the WTO and a victory for Beijing could dramatically lower tariffs on imports of Chinese goods.

Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on Monday that while trade protection was rising, no country would be able to succeed in isolation and that WTO rules were critical to protecting globalization.

“Let us join hands and take real action to uphold the authority and efficacy of the WTO,” Zhong said.

UK fishermen urge call for a short Brexit transition period: nine month is enough

Monday, December 11th 2017 - 16:02 UTC

SFF' Bertie Armstrong said a transition period should not be an excuse to extend by two years the period during which we are shackled to the inequitable CFP
SFF' Bertie Armstrong said a transition period should not be an excuse to extend by two years the period during which we are shackled to the inequitable CFP

Fishermen's leaders have urged ministers to rule out a long Brexit transition as officials meet in Brussels for fish quota talks. The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) said only a nine-month transition period was needed for UK fleets to leave the Common Fisheries Policy.

 It said fishermen would resist attempts to force them to comply with EU regulations beyond what was necessary. The talks on catches could be some of the last before Britain leaves the EU.

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: ”A transition period should be precisely that, not an excuse simply to extend by two years the period during which we are shackled to the utterly inequitable and hopelessly inadequate Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

“The prime minister was clear in her Florence speech that for certain sectors of the economy matters could be settled more quickly than two years and the case for a nine-month 'bridge' for the fishing industry is absolutely compelling.”

Mr. Armstrong has written to ministers in the Scottish and UK governments outlining the position. He added: “At the December Council of European fisheries ministers in Brussels this week, fishing opportunity will be set for member states, including this country, for 2018.

”By December 2019, nine months after we have formally left the UK, we will have attended the series of negotiations setting sustainable fishing opportunity in the north-east Atlantic as an independent coastal state, any other approach would make no sense whatsoever.“

Mr. Armstrong said there was no need for a ”fishing related cliff-edge“ and that a bridge would give ”clarity and assurance to the UK fleets and those of the EU member states“.

Meanwhile, Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has called on the UK government to ensure the interests of Scottish fishermen are fully represented at the council this Monday where UK ministers negotiate for the whole of the UK industry.

The Scottish government is pressing for increases in cod by-catch levels in the west of Scotland, more geographic flexibilities for boats to support the landing obligation and adjustments to quotas for west of Scotland prawns and Northern Shelf Ling.

Mr Ewing said: ”Scotland is strategically placed to have the biggest and best fishing industry in Europe and is home to one of the largest fishing ports in the UK, so it is crucial the UK government puts the post-Brexit uncertainty to one side, and focuses on the day job of championing the interests of the sector, both onshore and offshore.”

Peruvian president admits working for Odebrecht, as financial advisor or irrigation project

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 - 08:13 UTC

Odebrecht is at the center of Latin America’s biggest graft scandal and has admitted to paying about US$ 30 million in bribes to secure contracts in Peru
Odebrecht is at the center of Latin America’s biggest graft scandal and has admitted to paying about US$ 30 million in bribes to secure contracts in Peru
Kuczynski worked in the Cabinet of ex president Toledo, who prosecutors say took a US$ 20 million bribe from Odebrecht during his 2001-2006 term.
Kuczynski worked in the Cabinet of ex president Toledo, who prosecutors say took a US$ 20 million bribe from Odebrecht during his 2001-2006 term.
“They use bankers,” said Kuczynski. “I’ve been a banker, in New York, for a very prestigious bank. I’ve been one of the founders of what’s called project financing”
“They use bankers,” said Kuczynski. “I’ve been a banker, in New York, for a very prestigious bank. I’ve been one of the founders of what’s called project financing”

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski acknowledged that he worked as a financial adviser for an irrigation project owned by the Brazilian builder Odebrecht, contradicting his previous denials of having any links to the company. Odebrecht is at the center of Latin America’s biggest graft scandal and has admitted to paying about US$ 30 million in bribes to secure contracts in Peru over a decade.

 Kuczynski worked in the Cabinet of former President Alejandro Toledo, who prosecutors say took a US$ 20 million bribe from Odebrecht during his 2001-2006 term. However, Kuczynski has not been named as a suspect in the far-reaching graft probe by the attorney general’s office.

In a televised interview with local broadcaster RPP, Kuczynski denied being a partner in an investment fund that allegedly had links to Odebrecht. However, he said he had worked as a financial adviser for several companies that needed to raise funds for big projects, including an Odebrecht firm.

“They use bankers,” said Kuczynski, a 79-year-old former Wall Street banker elected president in 2016. “I’ve been a banker, in New York, for a very prestigious bank. I’ve been one of the founders of what’s called project financing. So sometimes, I was hired. For H2Olmos, an irrigation project.”

Odebrecht owns H2Olmos SA, which was formed in 2009 to build and operate one of its landmark projects in Peru - carving a 20-kilometer tunnel through the Andes to transport water to irrigate agricultural fields in the desert.

Kuczynski’s comments could provide more ammunition for the opposition-controlled Congress as it targets him in its probe into Odebrecht’s links to politicians.

Kuczynski had previously denied reports in local media that Odebrecht hired him as an adviser a decade ago to mend ties with him after he opposed highway contracts awarded to the company in Toledo’s government.

While the attorney general’s office reopened a preliminary probe related to Odebrecht and Kuczynski a year ago, it has not accused Kuczynski of wrongdoing.

Honduras recount of presidential votes “extremely consistent”

Monday, December 11th 2017 - 19:24 UTC

Observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) issued a series of recommendations this week to authorities including a recount of disputed ballots.
Observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) issued a series of recommendations this week to authorities including a recount of disputed ballots.

Honduras' electoral tribunal has finished the partial recount of votes from the disputed presidential election, declaring the results are “extremely consistent” with the original count. In the partial recount of 4,753 ballot boxes, President Juan Orlando Hernandez won 50.1% of the votes, against some 31.5% for his rival Salvador Nasralla.

 The tribunal did not specify exactly how many votes from the November 26 election were recounted. There are some 18,000 ballot boxes overall.

The original tally had Hernandez leading by more than 52,000 votes or 1.6 percent.

Observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) issued a series of recommendations this week to authorities including a recount of disputed ballots.

“What we can say is that the results of the recount are extremely consistent with what we had originally,” David Matamoros, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) said.

The electoral tribunal has until December 26, or 30 days from the election, to declare a winner.

EU/Japan sign free trade deal comprising 30% of global GDP and reaffirm rejection of protectionism

Monday, December 11th 2017 - 15:36 UTC

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed the imminent birth of what he called a “gigantic economic zone” as he confirmed that the negotiations had been concluded.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed the imminent birth of what he called a “gigantic economic zone” as he confirmed that the negotiations had been concluded.
“Japan and the EU will join hands and build an economic zone based on free and fair rules,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo.
“Japan and the EU will join hands and build an economic zone based on free and fair rules,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo.
Abe and EC chief Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier that the agreement, which was four years in the making, had “strategic importance” beyond its economic value.
Abe and EC chief Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier that the agreement, which was four years in the making, had “strategic importance” beyond its economic value.

The European Union and Japan have concluded negotiations on a giant free trade deal that they said was reached while “fighting the temptation of protectionism”, a message apparently directed at U.S. President Donald Trump. The deal, which the EU called its biggest ever, must be signed and ratified by both sides.

 The broad outlines of the deal were agreed to in July. Once completed, it will forge an economic zone of 600 million people worth 30% of global GDP.

After the announcement was made, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hailed the imminent birth of what he called a “gigantic economic zone” as he confirmed that the negotiations had been concluded.

“Japan and the EU will join hands and build an economic zone based on free and fair rules,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo. Abe and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier that the agreement, which was four years in the making, had “strategic importance” beyond its economic value.

“It sends a clear signal to the world that the EU and Japan are committed to keeping the world economy working on the basis of free, open and fair markets with clear and transparent rules fully respecting and enhancing our values, fighting the temptation of protectionism,” the pair said in a statement released in Brussels.

Through the deal, the EU hopes to get better access to one of the world’s richest markets, while Japan hopes to jump-start an economy that has struggled to find solid growth for more than a decade.

Japan is also hoping to seize an opportunity to offset the failure of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive free trade deal that was torpedoed by Trump in January.

The deal will open up the EU market to Japanese cars and auto parts and the Japanese market to European dairy and agricultural products.

Japan will eliminate tariffs on 94% of all imports from the bloc, including 82% on farm and fishery products. The reduction will likely result in lower prices for European cheese, pork and wine in Japan — although domestic farmers are wary of being flooded by competitive products.

In return, the EU will abolish tariffs on 99% of imports from Japan. The EU will eliminate tariffs on Japanese autos in the eighth year after the pact is implemented and abolish taxes on sake and green tea. Japan’s exports will likely get a boost in a market comprising over 500 million people.

The two sides were aiming to finalize the specifics in the hope of signing the deal next summer and putting it into effect in 2019, negotiation sources said. EU officials insist the deal will be a major boon to European farmers who would gain access to a huge market that appreciates European products.

Hailing the opportunity at a news conference, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said, “This is actually the biggest trade deal we have ever negotiated from the European Union”.

Mexico and Brazil compete for investors in deepwater projects

Tuesday, December 12th 2017 - 10:47 UTC

Pemex cited a late October deepwater pre-salt oil auction in Brazil for lessening interest in its project. Six of eight blocks in Brazil were awarded to majors
Pemex cited a late October deepwater pre-salt oil auction in Brazil for lessening interest in its project. Six of eight blocks in Brazil were awarded to majors

Mexican national oil company Pemex blamed the cancellation of a potentially lucrative deepwater Gulf of Mexico project on weak investor appetite due to competition from recent auctions in Brazil and low oil prices. Mexico’s oil regulator canceled a tender to pick an equity partner for Pemex’s Nobilis-Maximino project, as company interest was not as robust as expected.

 Petroleos Mexicanos cited a late October deepwater pre-salt oil auction in Brazil for lessening interest in its project. Six of eight blocks in Brazil were awarded to majors, including Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil.

“(One) factor that affected appetite for new projects was the investment commitment recently taken on by possible bidders,” Pemex said in a statement. Companies that won blocks in Brazil had looked at the Nobilis-Maximino data, it added.

Once a top global crude producer, Mexico is struggling to reverse a dozen years of declining oil and gas output. The failure of the tender is a setback for its attempts to open up its energy production after a decades-long monopoly for Pemex.

However, there are nearly 30 similar pending deepwater projects with tenders that are still going ahead. The cancellation should not be interpreted as a lack of industry interest in those, Alma America Porres, commissioner for the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), told reporters.

She said that 29 companies had begun the pre-qualification process for bidding for those other projects. Some 16 oil companies have also paid to access data rooms associated with the blocks, CNH data shows.

Those tenders are potentially more attractive because companies can bid to develop them without tying up with Pemex.

Oil majors may be put off partnerships with Pemex due to its debts and budget constraints, said Miriam Grunstein, a Mexico City-based energy researcher with Rice University.

Nobilis-Maximino sits near the U.S.-Mexico maritime border in the productive Perdido Fold Belt, and is estimated to contain reserves of about 502 million barrels of mostly light crude.

Nearly 30 companies had begun the process of pre-qualifying for the auction, including Shell and ExxonMobil, according to data from the CNH. It was due to be awarded on Jan. 31.

In its statement, Pemex said weak oil prices - with medium- and long-term projections at US$ 50-US$ 65 per barrel - have been a factor in companies exercising caution about taking on complicated, expensive deepwater projects like Nobilis-Maximino.

Pemex said it would consider a future farm-out, or joint venture, for the project, without providing further details.

“Pemex will continue to promote its partnership strategy in several oil fields that present less technical difficulties and lower risks,” the company said.

A 2013-14 energy reform allowed the firm to enter into equity partnerships with foreign and private producers for the first time, which had previously been barred by law.