Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Kerala bans pesticide and doubles payout
Church and health activists welcome new government's action over endosulfan
- ucanews.com, Kochi
- May 19, 2011
The United Democratic Front government also announced it would double the compensation for endosulfan victims.
Government records show aerial spraying of endosulfan killed 486 people and affected the health of thousands of others up until 2008 in Kasargod, Keralaâ€™s northernmost district.
About 4,000 have been affected over the past 25 years since the spraying began on government-owned cashew plantations in the district.
Keralaâ€™s previous government had announced 50,000 rupees (US$1,125) in compensation to each of the victimsâ€™ families.
But it compensated only 178 families, according to new chief minister, Oommen Chandy, an Orthodox Christian.
â€śWe would cover all families with double the amount,â€ť said Chandy.
Endosulfan victims have welcomed the decision.
â€śWe are suffering because the deadly poison has polluted our water, soil and environment,â€ť Muhammed Kunji, a local politician in Kasargod, said.
He said the new governmentâ€™s move is significant since it is headed by the Congress party â€“ the same party heading the federal government, which wants more proof of the threats endosulfan poses before banning it.
The federal government tried to block a global ban on the pesticide at a recent summit in Stockholm, Kunji noted. "We are happy our chief minister has taken this initiative to help us.â€ť
Babu Paul, a former civil servant, says the government has shown â€śrare sensitivity in dealing with the problems of the people.â€ť
Catholicos Baselios Mar Cleemis of Trivandrum, head of the Syro-Malankara Church, says the government move is â€śsends out a good signal.â€ť
"The new government should do more for the victims. The poor people have suffered for too long,â€ť Catholicos Cleemis said.
Latin rite Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum, meanwhile urged the government to draft policy guidelines on the use of pesticides in farming.
Supreme Court bans endosulfan
Malankara head joins pesticide campaign