Ethiopians walk past a poster of US President Barack Obama in Addis Ababa on 27 July.

Obama visit puts Ethiopia's record in spotlight

Published: July 28, 2015 by World Watch Monitor

Ethiopians walk past a poster of US President Barack Obama in Addis Ababa on 27 July. U.S. President Barak Obama is visiting Ethiopia on 27 and 28 July, providing an opportunity for America to prod its ally on its human-rights record, which gets low marks from world capitals. With ...

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Nun says no to exam dress code

A strict dress code for India's national medical-school entrance exam proved too strict for some religious hopefuls, including a nun who elected to skip the test rather than remove her veil and cross.

In an attempt to minimize opportunities for cheating on the test, India's Central Board of Secondary Education had imposed rules forbidding clothing such as full sleeves, watches, dark glasses, scarves, hair bands and even shoes at the 30 test sites nationwide. The Daily Pioneer reported that candidates were shedding jewellery at test sites, and that one woman with cloth-covered buttons was turned away. She returned with an acceptable blouse.

The Supreme Court turned away a petition by an Islamic organization seeking permission for Muslim women to wear hijabs to the exam. And at a test center in Kanjiramkulam, a nun identified as Sister Seba was ordered to remove her veil and cross. She refused after her request to take the exam in a separate room was denied.

“Therefore I am giving up my dream of pursuing the medical profession,” the Pioneer quoted Sister Seba as saying. “Indeed, I am very sad as I had prepared well for the examination and was confident of cracking it.”

Mali’s mausoleums rebuilt, but not churches

Fourteen mausoleums in the city of Timbuktu in northern Mali have been rebuilt, three years after they were destroyed by Islamist extremists. The reconstruction was overseen by Unesco.

For most of 2012, armed Islamist groups ruled the region, banning the practice of other religions and desecrating and looting churches and other places of worship. Thousands, including many Christians, fled and found refuge in the south, or in neighbouring countries such as Niger and Burkina Faso.

The loss sustained by Christians across northern Mali amounted to hundreds of millions of US dollars, as World Watch Monitor reported in September 2014. They are still trying to rebuild churches and projects such as a ‘Water Project’ in Timbuktu, set up over 20 years, costing billions, and where all the materials were stolen.

ISIL in Libya kidnaps more Christians

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has released news that it kidnapped three African Christians in Libya, says Reuters.

In a statement on social media, ISIL said the men are from Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana. The group published the men's passport pictures for verification. They are believed to have been captured around 11 July as they entered the country.

The Cairo Post reports that negotiations are underway to release Bikhet Nageh, 21, in exchange for money. The Nigerian man has been named by This Day Live as Adeola Ibrahim. Libya Herald published a photograph of Ghanaian hostage Sekyere wearing an orange jumpsuit.

The abduction is believed to have happened near the ISIL-controlled city of Sirte.

In January ISIL kidnapped 20 Egyptian Christians and one Ghanaian in the same city. Videos were later released of the men being beheaded. The Egyptian government warned citizens not to travel to Libya, but many Egyptians and other Africans have said they feel compelled to migrate there for better-paying work in the oil and gas industries.

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