Portugal, Germany, Switzerland

Portugal: against homosexual marriageThe Citizenship and Marriage Platform (Casamentomesmosexo.org) has called a “demonstration in support of the traditional family” to be held in Lisbon on 20 February, with the aim of giving visibility to the indignation of thousands of citizens with regard to the recent law that permits marriage between persons of the same sex. Isilda Pegado, President of the Portuguese Pro-Life Federation, stressed that “the aim of the initiative is to provide a mouthpiece and give visibility to the various protest movements that have emerged in the real fabric of society”. Recalling that the promoters of the demonstration have already gathered over 90,000 signatures in favour of a popular referendum, the representative of the Platform added that “in response to the government’s lack of consideration of citizenship and its reiterated determination to dispense with a public debate, the Portuguese people now intends to show all its indignation”. “The protest rally, which will march along the Avenida da Liberdade, is not aimed at anyone in particular”, said Isilda Pegado. Rather “it especially wishes to be a symbolic manifestation of liberty, in defence of traditional marriage and the family, by placing in question the model of society that the new law is trying to impose, and by opposing an ethics of regime based on homosexuality”. Through its spokesman, the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference (CEP) recently declared that it regarded the forthcoming demonstration “with sympathy”. It will conclude with a “Feast of the Family”, during which moments of entertainment will alternate with reflections, including musical attractions and speeches by representatives of the several associations involved, including a group of former militants of the April Revolution.Germany: a study on ethical investments”Global economy and social ethic” is the title of the study presented in Frankfurt am Main on February 17th. This study was carried out by a group of experts of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK). “The study deals with investments with ethical purpose, and the appraisal of several offers in the market is not always positive”, as declared by Bernhard Emunds, manager of the project and teacher at the Nell-Breuning-Institut of Frankfurt. “Many offerers discover a fruitful market as well as the opportunity to create a new customer segment thanks to the ethic label”, said Emunds, who warned not to pervert the nature of the concepts of “sustainability” and “ethic”, changing them into “low-level marketing instruments”. To enhance the reliability of operators in the sector of ethical investments, the teacher proposed to create a “list of convincing criteria”, the use of “transparency in the procedures of investment appraisal”, and “fair consultancies for customers”. According to Johannes Wallacher, president of the expert group, “the investment with ethical purpose can be more than a small mechanism within the financial system, in case it is regarded as a sign of availableness by investors to support the reforms which are necessary in terms of general political conditions”.Switzerland: “stop unfair trade””Let’s bank on fair trade!”: this is the slogan of the ecumenical campaign of fasting promoted for this year’s Lenten season in Switzerland. The campaign, organised by the Swiss organisations “Fastenopfer” (Catholic Church), “Brot für alle” (Reformed Church), and “Partner sein” (Christian Catholic Church) was announced at a press conference held in Berne on February 18th. “Unfair trade conditions are among the reasons why over one billion people suffer from hunger in the world. International trade regulations, speculations as well as agrarian policies and interventions violate the right to food besides endangering the life of millions of people”, highlighted the organisers. The campaign aims to “raise awareness of the connections between global trade, food production and food security” as well as to “give concrete suggestions about how the consumers can make their contribution to a fairer trade system through their behaviour and consumption patterns”. On 13 Mai, for instance, Swiss bakers will sell roses and bread to raise awareness on the subject of fair trade. The ecumenical campaign will be launched in Lucerne on 20 February. The city will also host an exhibition on global agriculture economy.

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