Tablet World

I went to visit Pastor Patrick Mugadza in Harare Remand Prison this week. He bravely held up a placard at Victoria Falls in December 2015, which read: “Mr President your people are suffering!” They put him in jail for 17 nights for pointing that out to President Robert Mugabe and a group of visiting delegates as he arrived at a Zanu PF conference.

For a people with a reputation for being laid-back, Australians get in an awful twist about many of their public holidays - sometimes with good reason.

The tiny village of Antezana de Foronda in the green countryside of the Basque country has only 100 inhabitants but its sixteenth-century church St Michael the Archangel has made news headlines by undergoing a miraculous transformation from a dull neglected space into a palace illuminated from floor to ceiling with vibrant biblical and historical murals.

Manguinhos Palace is an elegant 19th-century mansion just outside the centre of Recife, in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, that was once the residence of the archbishops of Olinda and Recife. Once, because when Hélder Câmara became archbishop in 1964, he went to live in a set of rooms behind a small church a few miles away, as a symbol of the austerity he intended for his ministry.

Two weeks after President Donald Trump took the oath of office in the White House, and a week after he signed an executive order to move forward with building a wall along the US border with Mexico, migrant shelters in Tijuana are prepare to bear the brunt of events 4,500km north-east in Washington DC. 'Physical walls don’t accomplish anything other than ecological damage, and emotional damage,' says Gilberto Martínez Amaya, the coordinator of the Casa del Migrante shelter...'

It was nice while it lasted. Just a few weeks ago, France’s elusive 'Catholic vote' looked like it was coming back into focus after years of only blurry shapes on pollsters’ radar screens. The faithful have voted for all kinds of candidates in recent decades, so they didn’t seem to play a decisive role, and politicians cared less and less about them. That changed last November with the conservative Les Republicains party’s primary to choose a presidential candidate.

In the second Tablet World feature bringing in-depth views from around the world, our Jerusalem correspondent Nathan Jeffay questions if new warmth from Washington is really in the country’s best interests..

In the first of a regular feature for The Tablet online, our regional correspondents probe behind the scenes to bring us an in-depth view of the big stories around the world. First up is our US correspondent Michael Sean Winters who takes a look at Donald Trump's US presidential inauguration...

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