In today's Catholic Daily Roundup, top stories include Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's support for President Obama's Iran Deal, one of the biggest advocates for prison reform, and Philippine environmentalist's newfound inspiration.

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." (Mother Teresa)

Today's Gospel: "But Nathanael said to him, 'Can anything good come from Nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see.'" (John 1:46)

In the News:

  • Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has come out in support for President Obama's Iran Deal, making him the 27th Senate Democrat - and the most powerful - to publicly endorse the agreement.  Reid is "cautiously optimistic" that the Deal will receive enough Senate support to prevent an override should Obama veto a resolution opposing the Deal. Around two dozen House and Senate Democrats are still formally undecided regarding their vote in September. 
  • Sierra Leone is nearing the end of the Ebola outbreak that began early last year, recording zero new cases last week for the first time since the outbreak began. While some remaining patients are being monitored and receiving treatment, restrictions on traveling, trading, and public gatherings have recently been lifted.  Sierra Leone can officially be declared Ebola-free six weeks after the last case has been eliminated.
  • The European Union is seeing a much larger number of migrants and refugees this year than in 2014 - 340,000 have been detected at EU borders already, compared to 123,000 at this time last year.  Migrant and refugee deaths at sea have passed 2,000, and many more are suffering abuse at the hands of traffickers as they enter the EU.  Syrians constitute the largest group of refugees, fleeing the violence of civil war.

Pope Francis and church news:

  • 78-year-old Pope Francis has proven himself a strong advocate of prison reform. Last year, Francis called for an end to solitary confinement, the death penalty and life imprisonment. Now Francis is coming to the United States and reformers hope Francis’ visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia next month will grab lawmakers’ attention. A few days before visiting the inner-city prison, the pope will address Congress and could raise the issue of criminal justice reform there as well.
  • In May, Nigeria accomplished an exceedingly rare feat by African standards, which is watching an incumbent head of state peacefully cede power after losing a reasonably free and fair election. Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto received a fair bit of the credit, having helped organize a National Peace Committee to ensure that all contenders would accept the results. The diminutive but outspoken Kukah has been called a “rabble-rouser for peace” by Nigeria’s influential Leadership newspaper.
  • Philippine environmentalists and advocates for farmers, fishers, and the poor lauded Pope Francis and the recently released encyclical, "Laudato Si," as affirmation for their causes and said that, using it as a guide, they were ready to get to work. They kicked off a series of discussions in Manila on Wednesday with indigenous people and others who are directly affected by climate change and the energy sector's impact on the environment.

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