A REPORT of impending famine, issued by the apostolic administrator in East Timor, has been described as exaggerated. Mr Patrick Johns, of the leading American Catholic relief agency, said there was no famine on the island but that "pockets of areas" were short of food.
THE FRENCH are to offer abortions on the national health from next September. This decision was taken last week by the Socialist government. In future all women who demand an abortion will be able to obtain one and 70 per cent of the cost will be met by the health service.
A COUNCIL set up to look into Vatican finances is expected to report a large deficit when it meets in Rome next week. The council of 15 cardinals. which was set up by Pope John Paul II last year, has estimated that the Curia's deficit for 1981 was about £13 million.
Jews in Rome
A COMMISSION set up in 1974 to examine relation.; between the Christian and Jewish faiths has begun its first official meeting. The commission, which includes three Jews, will study progress made since Pope Paul VI called for understanding
between the faiths. Representatives from the Catholic Church and the Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran Churches are among the 40 commission members.
POPE JOHN PAUL II has named three new auxiliary bishops to Archbishop Jozef Glemp of Warsaw and Gniezno, Primate of Poland. This brings to eleven the number of bishops assisting Archbishop Glemp in the two Sees over which he has jurisdiction. The bishops designates to Gniezno are Jerzy Dabrowski and Jan Nowak. Named for Warsaw is Kazimierz Romaniuk. These appointments were announced exactly two weeks after Archbishop Glemp met the Pope in Rome.
Free air waves
THE Bolivian government has allowed 15 independent radio stations to resume broadcasting, including two Catholic stations that suffered heavy damage during a military coup in .luly 1980. Jesuit Fr Jose Gramunt, acting director of Radio Fides in the Bolivian capital, Le Paz, said that after receiving its permit from the Communications Ministry at the end of Febrary this year. the radio station began broadcasting music programmes while completing a reorganisation of news and educational programmes.
SELLY OAK Colleges have appointed Marcella Hoes! as Dean of Mission for a period of five years from September 1, 1982 in succession to Rev Dr Ian Fraser. An American, currently Education Director for the Maryknoll Sisters in New York, she has worked in Nlexico. Guatemala and Southern Sudan. She has a high reputation as a teacher, and thinker in the field of ecumenical missiology.
M usical aid
EDINBURGH's Chopin Circle held a musical evening in the Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh, last Wednesday, in aid of the Scottish-Polish Friendship Fund. Patrons of the fund include Cardinal Gray of St Andrews and Edinburgh. The fund has raised more than L15,000 since it began last September.