India orders all Mother Teresa care homes inspected

An Indian nun, center, with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity hides her face as she sits outside a court under police protection before a hearing on child trafficking charges in Ranchi on July 5. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2018
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India orders all Mother Teresa care homes inspected

  • Illegal adoption is big business in India, with over 100,000 children reported missing every year, the government says
  • A nun and a worker at one of the Missionaries of Charity order’s homes were arrested over allegations that at least five infants were sold for potentially thousands of dollars

NEW DELHI: India has ordered an immediate inspection of all childcare homes run by a religious order founded by Mother Teresa after a nun was arrested over an alleged adoption racket.
Illegal adoption is big business in India, with over 100,000 children reported missing every year, the government says. Many are given up by desperately poor parents but others are snatched from hospitals and train stations.
Police earlier this month arrested the nun and a worker at one of the Missionaries of Charity order’s homes in Ranchi, the capital of eastern Jharkhand state, over allegations that at least five infants were sold for potentially thousands of dollars.
The scandal blew up after local child welfare authorities informed police about a newborn missing from the home, which is meant to care for unwed pregnant women and mothers in distress.
In a statement late Monday, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said all state governments have been asked “to get child care homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately.”
She also said all childcare institutions should be registered and linked to the central adoption authority within the next month.
In December India’s Supreme Court had ordered mandatory registration of all childcare institutions and bringing orphanages under the central adoption system.
Since then some 2,300 childcare institutions have been linked to the Central Adoption Resource Authority and about 4,000 are still pending, according to the government.
In the aftermath of the adoption scandal, the Missionaries of Charity had said it would carefully look into the Jharkhand case and ensure the incident was never repeated.
The charity was founded in 1946 by Mother Teresa, a global symbol of compassion who was canonized as a saint after her death in 1997.
Headquartered in Kolkata in eastern India, the charity runs several institutions across the country.
Missionaries of Charity was previously involved in providing legal adoption services in India, but in 2015 said it was closing down its adoption centers, citing new regulations that made it easier for single and divorced people to adopt children.


Greek Prime Minister heads to Odysseus’ home at end of bailout journey

Updated 21 August 2018
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Greek Prime Minister heads to Odysseus’ home at end of bailout journey

ATHENS: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras headed to the Greek island of Ithaca on Tuesday in a gesture laden with classical symbolism as the country emerges from nine years of crisis and international financial bailouts.
The island was home to Odysseus, who found his way home from the Trojan war after a 10-year voyage lost at sea, recounted in Homer’s epic poem.
Tsipras is due to give a state address from the island, a day after Greece ended its third bailout deal with international creditors who have bankrolled the country in return for tough reforms and austerity monitored by their inspectors since 2010.
“We are not saying that all problems have been solved because we exited the bailout, we will not celebrate,” deputy economy minister Alexis Haritsis told state tv ERT. “But it is a significant day and it is a success to manage to get out of a tough surveillance.”
Former Prime Minister George Papandreou, who applied for the first bailout from Greece’s euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund in April 2010, also drew on the Odyssey analogy at the time.
“We are on a difficult path, a new odyssey for Greece and for the Greek nation,” Papandreou said at the time. “But we know the way to Ithaca, and we have charted the waters in our quest.”
Austerity and political turmoil followed, shrinking the economy by a quarter, pushing a third of the population into poverty and forcing the migration of thousands abroad.
Another two bailouts followed in 2012 and 2015. In all, the €288 billion ($330 billion) Greece has borrowed is the largest bailout in history, saddling the country with debt the equivalent of 180 percent of its annual economic output.
In the coming years, Greece will have to maintain primary budget surpluses — excluding debt repayments — and further cuts in pensions may be made in 2019.
One newspaper also referred to the long voyage of Odysseus. “Even after Ithaca we will still be rowing,” the daily Ethnos said on its front page.