Why I’m Thinking of Cancelling with MTN…

Bribing governments to do business with the evil Iranian regime?

MTN faced a potential lawsuit in the US relating to allegations that it bribed Iranian and South African government officials, the largest cellular operator in Africa said yesterday.

The bribes were allegedly aimed at securing the second GSM licence in Iran. MTN’s 49 percent-owned Irancell won that licence in 2005.

In a statement issued yesterday, MTN said that Turkcell, which was an unsuccessful bidder for the second cellular licence in Iran, had informed the JSE-listed firm that it was looking to bring a case against it and Irancell in a US court.

Turkcell believed that the alleged bribery represented a contravention of US law.

So far no such claim has been filed in the courts or served on MTN.

MTN’s statement said the Turkcell claim alleged that “in approximately 2004 and 2005, in an effort to cause the Iranian government to issue the second GSM licence to MTN rather than Turkcell, MTN made improper payments to an Iranian and a South African government official”.

Turkcell also alleges that MTN encouraged the South African government to take a favourable position towards Iran’s civil nuclear power development programme at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in November 2005. It further alleges that MTN enlisted South African government support for the provision of military equipment to Iran

How unethical!

I want nothing to do with such a company. When my cellular contract expires, so will my time with them.



Being a Catholic Priest—and Married

Fr Richard Cipolla:

My experience as a married Catholic priest for 28 years brings to mind several thoughts, both practical and spiritual. First, the church must support new priests’ families financially. During my first years as a married Catholic priest, there were times when we could not pay the heating bill. When I was ordained, it was made quite clear to me that I should not look to the church as my main source of income but rather to a full-time job outside of the church. My parish duties have thus always been secondary.

Secondly, the new priests must be prepared for the spiritual struggles that come with the territory of being a married priest in the Catholic Church. It is difficult for children of priests to hear everyone call their father, “Father.” It is one of my regrets that I could never be a “normal Dad” who was able to attend school functions and sporting events. Priests’ wives often bear the brunt of this special status, for they must allow their husbands to be “priest” at a real cost to themselves and their children…

Despite my situation—which is similar to that of other married clergy who have entered the Catholic ranks since the 1980s—I am a firm supporter of the celibacy of the Catholic clergy. Its basis is not found in councils or popes but rather in the person of Jesus Christ. The heart of the Catholic priesthood is sacrifice, and celibacy, in imitation of Christ, frees the priest to give himself totally to the church and its people.

Though many priests do live this life of sacrifice, it is also obvious that celibacy is used by all too many priests to live a life that is selfish and closed off. The sexual scandals of the past decade are a glaring example of the perversion of celibacy.

And the very structures of a parish priest’s life often prevent him from achieving the freedom that should be the fruit of celibacy. The lack of deep spiritual friendship between priests; the unreal world they inhabit, at least from the viewpoint of a typical American family; the careerism that is the noxious fruit of the bureaucratic world of the chancery—all this works against the priest using his celibacy to be free for his people.

Reform of the priesthood is sorely needed today. The answer is not married priests. The answer is priests who understand the sacrifice that is at the center of their lives—whether they are married or not…

The rest in the Wall Street Journal here.



Israel may Strike Iran this Spring

That’s according to United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:

United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a growing possibility Israel will attack Iran as early as April to stop Tehran from building a nuclear bomb, according to reports.

The Washington Post first reported that Panetta was concerned about the increased likelihood Israel would launch an attack over the next few months. CNN said it confirmed the report, citing a senior Obama administration official, who declined to be identified.

“Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June – before Iran enters what Israelis described as a ‘zone of immunity’ to commence building a nuclear bomb,” Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote.

“Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon – and only the United States could then stop them militarily,” Ignatius wrote.

Ignatius did not cite a source. He was writing from Brussels where Panetta was attending a NATO defense ministers’ meeting.

Panetta and the Pentagon both declined comment on the Post report…

Read on here.



Iran Sentences Christian Convert to Two Years in Prison

(Mohabat News) — A Christian convert whom security authorities arrested in her home was sentenced to two years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

According to reports sent by reporters of Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, Ms. Leila Mohammadi, a Christian convert who resided east of Tehran, was sentenced to two years of imprisonment after enduring 5 months of uncertainty in notorious Evin prison.

Her trial was held on 18 January in Revolutionary Court in Moalem street where she was charged with “collaboration with foreign-dependent groups, broad anti-Islamic propaganda, deceiving citizens by formation of what is called a house church, Insulting sacred figures and action against national security.” However she was acquitted of collaboration with foreign-dependent groups because the judge believed she had done that unintentionally. For the other charges she was sentenced to two years in prison and the ruling was delivered to her.

After the verdict was issued knowledgeable sources reported that her attorney announced that the case was sent to the high court of Tehran province to be reviewed.