Latin American Bishops pledged to help grass-roots groups have an effective voice in free trade agreements that are being promoted. According to a statement by the Department of Justice and Solidarity of the Latin American Bishops? Council, free trade agreements as currently structured, tend to favour multinational companies, the economic elites in Latin America and in industrialised countries,. The four-page statement was written after a meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in August (10-13) between LA bishops and economic and trade officials of several governments. (Source: America-CNS) Environmentalist Wangari Maathai of Kenya becomes the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. According to the Press release of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, ?Maathai stood up courageously against the former oppressive regime in Kenya. Her unique forms of action have contributed to drawing attention to political oppression – nationally and internationally. She has served as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights and has especially encouraged women to better their situation.? (Source: nobelprize.org) On 25 October the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace released the ?Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church?. On this occasion, Cardinal Martino, President of the Council, spoke of ?certain decisive challenges of great relevance and importance? to which it is hoped the Compendium will respond: ?First is the cultural challenge, which social doctrine deals with by keeping in mind its constitutive interdisciplinary dimension. … The second challenge arises from the ethical and religious indifference and the need for renewed inter- religious cooperation… The third challenge is a properly pastoral challenge.?