Pope says poverty can be beaten if rich play their part

Pope Francis insisted Wednesday poverty could be beaten if the world’s rich play a full part in ending inequality as he attended a conference on financial inclusion. (AFP)
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Updated 05 February 2020

Pope says poverty can be beaten if rich play their part

  • “The rich world and a prosperous economy can and must end poverty,” the Argentinian pontiff said
  • “People who are poor in indebted countries suffer from strong fiscal pressure and the cutting of social services,” Francis added

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis insisted Wednesday poverty could be beaten if the world’s rich play a full part in ending inequality as he attended a conference on financial inclusion.
“We are neither condemned to inequality nor to paralysis in the face of injustice. The rich world and a prosperous economy can and must end poverty,” the Argentinian pontiff told participants as he made an unscheduled appearance.
“We must be conscious of all being responsible. If extreme poverty exists amid riches which are also extreme it is because we have allowed a gap to grow to become the largest in history,” said Francis, who has made inequality a central theme of his papacy.
Listening to his address were notably IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Argentine counterpart Martin Guzman.
“People who are poor in indebted countries suffer from strong fiscal pressure and the cutting of social services,” Francis added.
Calling for the “globalization of hope,” Georgieva responded that “the first task is to put the economy at the service of the people,” highlighting the need to address the issue of “inequality of opportunity.”
The International Monetary Fund head also urged investment in people and education. But she also stressed the need to prioritize the environment as “none of the economic challenges we face today will be important in 20 years if we do not today confront the challenge of climate change.”


At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

Updated 35 min 45 sec ago

At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

  • The driver was arrested and the vehicle was impounded, Trier police tweeted
  • Two people have died, and 15 others had suffered serious injuries

BERLIN: At least two people including a child were killed and up to 15 injured on Tuesday when a speeding car ploughed into a pedestrian area in the western German city of Trier, authorities said.
Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air by the car as it crashed through the shopping zone.
Police said several people had been killed, having earlier put the death toll at two, with more than 10 injured. The local newspaper, the Trierischer Volksfreund, put the death toll at four, including a child, but police did not confirm that figure.
"We have arrested one person, one vehicle has been secured," police said, adding that a 51-year-old German suspect from the Trier area was being questioned, police said.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe had rushed to the scene.
"We have a driver who ran amok in the city. We have two dead that we are certain of and up to 15 injured, some of them with the most severe injuries," he told public broadcaster SWR.
"I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible. There is a trainer lying on the ground, and the girl it belongs to is dead," he told a news conference, with tears stopping him from speaking further.
He told broadcaster N-TV that people who saw the incident were "totally traumatised" and the street "looks a bit like after a war".
Leibe said he did not know the motive for the incident, which shocked residents of Germany's oldest town, founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago.
The Trierischer Volksfreund quoted an eyewitness as saying a Range Rover was driving at high speed and people had been thrown through the air. It said the car had Trier plates.
It reported that people screamed in panic when the car drove through the street.
Officers were scouring the area in search of evidence, backed by police dressed in flak jackets and carrying rifles. On the streets, Christmas lights twinkled incongruously.
Germany has tightened security on pedestrian zones across the country since a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016 that killed 12 people and injured dozens.
In October 2019, a man opened fire on a synagogue in the city of Halle. After failing to get into the building he went on a rampage outside, killing two people.
In February this year a racist gunman killed nine migrants in Hanau near Frankfurt before killing his mother and himself. Only about a week later, a local man ploughed his car into a carnival parade in the town of Volkmarsen, injuring 61.
Germany has tightened measures to fight the coronavirus, with bars and restaurants closed, but shops and schools are still open.
"What happened in Trier is shocking. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, with the numerous injured and with everyone who is currently on duty to care for the victims," Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said on Twitter.