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Biden's agenda

Biden's agenda

Joe Biden's first speech as "president-elect" © Andrew Harnik

Corona, immigration, police violence and climate change – the list of ies new U.S. President Joe Biden wants to tackle is long. Can the hopeful of many Americans deliver what he promised on the campaign trail?

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“Responsibility does not expire”

The Round Table on Child Abuse held its first meeting in Berlin on Friday morning. On Interviewer: A background report and interviews with Federal Minister Kristina Schroder, Canisius Rector Father Klaus Mertes and the independent Federal Government Commissioner Christine Bergmann.

Federal Family Minister Kristina Schroder (CDU) said immediately before the meeting that responsibility does not expire, even if the acts are time-barred. She would like the Round Table to clearly identify deficits. Education Minister Annette Schavan (CDU) stressed that it was right to have brought numerous representatives from the institutions into the committee. Churches, schools and other public institutions addressed the ie intensively. The overriding goal must be to do justice to the victims, Schavan said. Compensation? Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) spoke of a "very big task". Legal policy consequences must be drawn from the processing of cases from the past decades, she said. Reappraisal and prevention are the two pillars of the Round Table.Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger also called for financial support for victims of sexual abuse. Many victims did not expect financial compensation, but wanted "some form of recognition for suffering inflicted on them in the past". The minister also mentioned longer statutes of limitations in criminal law and the explicit anchoring of children's rights in the German constitution as further topics to be discussed by the round table. With regard to the offer of resignation by Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa, the FDP politician said: "Nothing is the way it was half a year ago, not even in the Catholic Church."

Jaschke: Fund for uncomplicated Hil Hamburg auxiliary bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke did not rule out financial compensation from the Catholic Church. Jaschke said Thursday evening on ZDF that the church must consider whether it could make "a fund for uncomplicated help" possible. He emphasized in the program "Maybrit Illner spezial" that the Catholic Church itself had provided the impetus for the clarification of the incidents. The Canisius College in Berlin had started the ball rolling. In addition the church already strives since 2001 strengthened for clearing-up, "also initiated by the Vatican". In earlier years, however, the victims had received "far too little attention". Now they would have to be able to speak and be heard. The former special investigator at the Ettal monastery, Thomas Pfister, on the other hand, spoke of a lack of self-cleansing powers in church institutions. Without the investigations and public prere, the abuses in Ettal would not have "come to light". Pfister says he represents about 200 victims. He explained that apologies, talks and prayers were "not sufficient" to make amends. Rather, the monastery must be judged "by the deeds".

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A scandal draws circles

Catholic bishops today present their revised guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse in the church. Since mid-January, the abuse scandal has shaken the Catholic Church in Germany. The Catholic News Agency (KNA) lists important stations of the development from the past months.



The director of the Canisius College of the Jesuits in Berlin, Father Klaus Mertes, informs in letters about 500 pupils of the "potentially affected" graduating classes 1975 to 1983 about possible cases of abuse. He apologizes for "looking the other way" in the teaching staff and in the order. In the following weeks, numerous cases of abuse by Catholic priests and religious come to light. The Upper Bavarian monastery of Ettal and the Regensburg Cathedral Boys' Choir are also affected.
According to a survey by "Der Spiegel," 97 priests and laymen in Germany's Catholic Church have been investigated for sexual abuse since 1995.
Pope Benedict XVI. condemns sexual abuse of children by priests.
Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg attributes the abuse to the increasing sexualization of public life since 1968.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) demands an intensive clarification of all cases of abuse at schools and in church institutions in the Bundestag.

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“Knock on doors, insist on rights”

The carol singers are campaigning for the rights of children during the 2012 Epiphany Singing. "Knock on doors, insist on rights," is the motto of this year's campaign. After Christmas, about 500.000 children and young people dressed up as the Three Wise Men will go from house to house to collect money for their peers in need.