News on the go: April 21, 2014

Elaina Sauber

Marking Christianity’s largest celebration of faith, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday prayer for peace and discussion in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for a larger focus on aiding the hungry and those in need close to home. More than 150,000 tourists came together for the Mass Francis celebrated at an altar set up beneath a canopy on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. (Read full story.)

The South Korean ferry that sank was ridden by confusion and ambiguities well after it began listing, which suggested the muddled situation may have contributed to a death toll that may eventually exceed 300. Nearly 30 minutes after the Sewol began tilting, a crewmember asked a marine traffic controller whether passengers would be rescued if they abandoned ship off South Korea’s southern coast. (Read full story.)

Political and military leaders are seizing protected areas in one of Africa’s only remaining defenders for elephants, putting large parts of Zimbabwe at risk for becoming fronts for ivory poaching, according to a nonprofit research group’s report examining government involvement in wildlife trafficking. Zimbabwe has maintained significant elephant populations compared with other countries on the continent, but economic penalties imposed by the United States and Europe have led Zimbabweans with ties to President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party to look for alternative methods of making money. The report, set for release Monday, says they may be turning to elephants’ valuable ivory tusks.

Within hours of a dangerous Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint controlled by pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of the supposed proof. The presented evidence was met with widespread ridicule in Ukraine. The clash also raised fears that Russia could use it as a reason to send in troops.

Contact Elaina Sauber at [email protected].