31 May 2016
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    31/05/2016 - VATICAN

    "Christians with a grimace or disgruntled expression on their faces, sad Christians, are a very ugly thing.  It’s really ugly, ugly, ugly. However, they are not fully Christian. They think they are (Christians) but they are not fully so ." "The courage of women. The courageous women who are present in the Church: they are like Mary. Courageous: they get up and help other people”.




    31/05/2016 - ASIA

    Nearly 50 million modern slaves: 60% are in Asia


    Five Asian countries have the highest percentages of slaves: North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India and Qatar. The largest number of slaves in the absolute sense is held by India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. Loan sharks also creating slavery. Slavery fueled by businesses in search of cheap labor; organized crime, which exploits human trafficking; the exploitation of man by man. The need for legislation, transparency in production chain, but also a change of mentality to combat consumerist frenzy.


    31/05/2016 - INDIA

    Card. Gracias: Deep sorrow for the deaths of soldiers in ammunition depot fire

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Death toll of 17 victims and 19 seriously injured, but out of danger. Around 1000 people evacuated. The deposit is located in Pulgaon, Maharashtra, and is the largest in the country. The explosions occurred in the early hours of this morning. The flames were quelled after several hours.

     


    30/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Human Rights Commission slams bill that would allow “light” beating of women

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The Islamic Ideology Council recommendations about wives who disobey their husbands goes against the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act, which criminalises certain offences against women. For Muslim scholar, history shows “that captured girls were used as sex slave by Arab armies”. Now that is how the “Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS [. . .] treat women folk”.


    30/05/2016 - SINGAPORE

    Singapore’s St Francis of Assisi parish is home to thousands of economic migrants


    Immigration from Asian countries has boosted the congregation of 4,500 with half of its members now hailing from the Philippines, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, China and Vietnam. Scores of volunteers help provide free meals to the needy. The church houses a relic of Saint Alphonsa, the first Indian nun to be canonised.


    30/05/2016 - AFGHANISTAN – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

    The late Taliban chief Mansur travelled to Dubai “several times” to raise funds

    by Pierre Balanian

    Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have funded the Taliban in Afghanistan (and still do). In ten years, Mullah Mansur frequently travelled abroad via Pakistan in violation of the UN embargo, including at least 18 trips to Dubai to meet Afghan and Arab businessmen.


    30/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: The Church is not a closed system of standards, but open to prophecy


    "It would do us good to ask ourselves" if "Do I have the memory of the wonders that the Lord has wrought in my life? Can I remember the gifts of the Lord? I am able to open my heart to the prophets”, “am I open to that, or am I afraid, and do I prefer to close myself within the cage of the law? And in the end: Do I hope in the promises of God, as our father Abraham, who left his home without knowing where he was going, only because he hoped in God? ".

     


    30/05/2016 - INDIA

    Bandra, BJP politician finances convent restructuring

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Ashish Shelar is a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. He offered his own money because "here every person is welcomed and the sisters are serving the community." Prarthanalaya (house of prayer) is a complex that houses the convent of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master and a chapel.


     


    29/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Whoever proclaims Jesus is called to serve and whoever serves announces Jesus


    At the Jubilee of Deacons, Pope Francis noted that being both apostle and servant means being "two sides of the same coin". Whoever serves should not be “a slave to his own agenda”; instead, he should “be ever ready to deal with the unexpected” as well as “God’s constant surprises”.


    28/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Faisalabad: hundreds of Christians protest police brutality against their pastor

    by Shafique Khokhar

    For two days, Christians have protested demanding justice from the authorities, but to no avail. On 19 May, police agents raided the church where Kamal Chugtai was celebrating Mass. They beat the pastor and intimidated the faithful. They want “to silence us,” he said, “but we shall not be silenced; we shall continue to raise our voice on behalf of minorities.”


    28/05/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Caritas Sri Lanka sets up free mobile medical clinics for the poor

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Caritas Colombo set up a mobile clinic in the village of Delathura. Despite being ill and the rains, people came in droves. In a single morning, some 400 people were visited. A private hospital provided medical drugs free of charge.


    28/05/2016 - VATICAN – SINGAPORE

    Pope meets Singapore president: Church and State collaboration good


    President Tony Tan Keng was received in the Vatican this morning. He also met Secretary of State Card Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Mgr Paul Richard Gallagher. The Church is appreciated in the country, "especially in the educational and social fields".


    27/05/2016 - INDIA

    Modi after two years: economic boom, and Hindu nationalist revival


    India’s PM acknowledges the huge task ahead. More economic growth, investments and largescale projects are still to come. However, this has included a crackdown on freedom of expression, and tense relations with India’s neighbours, upset by its geopolitical ambitions.


    27/05/2016 - EGYPT-ISLAM-VATICAN

    Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the said and the "unsaid"

    by Samir Khalil Samir

    There are many positive aspects in the meeting between the Pope and the supreme Sunni authority, along with silence on some issues. For Al Tayyib Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. But Isis uses the black flag of Muhammad, the prophet's sword, the sentences of the Koran. The terrorists take their bloodthirsty statements from many imams. The urgency of a new renaissance of Islam, reinterpreting tradition in modernity: a task interrupted by fundamentalism.
     


    27/05/2016 - NEPAL

    Kathmandu uncovers cocaine racket selling drugs to Europe

    by Christopher Sharma

    Four people of different nationalities arrested. 2.6 kilos of drugs and 1.3 million rupees Seized. The band refers to Nigeria but has contacts with all continents. Political instability and corruption have encouraged the growth of trafficking in the country.


    27/05/2016 - BANGLADESH

    "Secular" Publisher: Bangladesh, a land of terror for writers and free thinkers

    by Sumon Corraya

    Mahbub Leelen is the founder of the Shuddhashar publishing house. He was recently honored for his "courage in publishing texts even in the face of political persecution." The publisher denounces the complicity of the government with the Islamic forces. "We all live in fear, we are forced to hide and to seek safe places to live and continue to write."


    26/05/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Caritas hands out aid to flood victims and homeless people

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Heavy rains hit 237,000 people, including some 62,000 forced out of their homes. Death toll now stands at 102. Government has set up 250 sites for people displaced by floods. Catholic bishops have appealed to fellow Sri Lankans’ solidarity, and churches have opened their doors. Catholics and Buddhists are donating money slated for other uses, like personal birthday, and the Buddha’s own birthday.


    26/05/2016 - INDIA – ITALY

    Indian Supreme Court to allow Salvatore Girone to return to Italy right away


    The Italian marine had been held in India for four years. He could go home in a few days. The court accepted his application on humanitarian grounds. He is involved in the Enrica Lexie case in which two Indian fishermen were mistaken for pirates and shot dead. The court has set four conditions for his release, which he must respect or risk going back to India.


    26/05/2016 - INDIA

    Bishop of Pune: The new shrine to St. Anthony, "monument of mercy" for the poor

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The structure will be inaugurated on May 29. The first stone was laid in 2012 by His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio in India. The sanctuary over the years has attracted the faithful of every religion. It became the "symbol of the relations among the faithful." The Bishop of Pune hopes it will foster fraternity and friendship.
     


    26/05/2016 - CHINA - VATICAN

    Evangelize China for the good of society, demanding an end to persecution

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Official and underground Christians have celebrated the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, wanted by Benedict XVI. In a China marked by individualism and corruption, academics and scholars advise greater freedom for the economy and religious freedom for communities. Religions, viewed with suspicion by the leadership, are actually one of the few glues for a supportive and creative society. The strange silence of some commentators on persecution. The priority is formation of the clergy, the religious, the faithful. Now is the opportune time for the evangelization of China.

     


    25/05/2016 - NEPAL

    As Everest kills again, Nepali authorities try to downplay the challenges

    by Christopher Sharma

    As a result of the 2015 earthquake, old trails and tracks were wiped out, a major blow to one of the mainstays of Nepal’s economy recovers. In recent days, three climbers and a Sherpa died, which has led the authorities to downplay the gravity of the situation, noting that climbing “is not an easy task” and that people do die in accidents.


    25/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Activists from different religions pursue peace-building in Pakistan, against hatred and terrorism

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Tehreek Rwadari, an interfaith movement that promotes respect for all religions and peace building in the country, celebrated its first anniversary yesterday. At the event, activists stressed the difficulties minorities, women and children face, as well as the lack of security. Extremism, mistrust and intolerance are the root causes.


    25/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: "Our duty to protect all children, especially those exposed to high risk of exploitation"


    Prayer keeps the faith and transforms our desire modeling it according to the will of God, but "it is not a magic wand." A prayer for the victims of Monday's bombings in Syria. May Mary  "convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction."


    25/05/2016 - EGYPT-VATICAN

    Pope-Grand Imam of Al Azhar: Egypt’s press enthusiastic and "political" comments


    Al Sisi mediation praised for success of encounter. Amazement at the sobriety of the Vatican statement. A corrective measure for Islamophobia generated by the Islamic State. A reader: I believe in Pope Francis and his smile

     


    24/05/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    At least 20,000 Catholics pray at Sheshan for the Church in China

    by Victoria Ma

    Pilgrims came from other dioceses like Ningbo and Taiyuan. Some groups organised web prayers. Under house arrest since 2012, Mgr Thaddeus Ma Daqin was not present. The Diocese of Shanghai organised a solemn pilgrimage.


    24/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore High Court rules on divorce law, ends marriage discrimination for Christians

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The 1869 law is restored. In 1981, under General Zia’s rule, an amendment was introduced that allowed Christian couples to divorce only in case of adultery. This chained women to violent and polygamous marriages, and forced Christians who wanted to end a marriage to convert to Islam.


    24/05/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Bangladesh mourns Nurjahan Begum, a pioneer in women's emancipation

    by Sumon Corraya

    The journalist died at the age of 91. Throughout her life, she fought to help women succeed in a conservative and male-dominated society. Her magazine ‘Begum’ inspired hundreds of women and girls to write. For one Catholic writer, she helped many people: “I am grateful to her”.


    24/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Dublin, 2018 the World Meeting of Families on "The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World"


    The event presented today at the Vatican, will be the first after the Synod and the publication of "Amoris laetitia". It is part of a process of discernment and encouragement, accompaniment and animation of families.


    24/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Holiness is "a journey to God’s presence", a step forward every day


    On the journey we need courage, hope, grace, conversion. "Nothing great, mortification: no, it's simple. The path to holiness is simple. Do not go back, but always move forward, right? And with fortitude ".

     


    24/05/2016 - IRAN – INDIA – AFGHANISTAN

    Delhi, Tehran and Kabul sign historic Chabahar port agreement


    India grants a US$ 500 million line of credit to build and maintain the facility. Indian goods will be able to reach Central Asia and Europe, halving time and costs. The port will be directly linked to Afghanistan. The goal is to boost cooperation and take advantage of the end of sanctions in Iran.






    Editor's choices

    IRAQ
    Baghdad Patriarch calls on Christians and Muslims to pray for peace between May and Ramadan

    Joseph Mahmoud

    Baghdad’s Queen of the Rosary Church will host an interfaith prayer against violence and terrorism next Monday. The Chaldean Patriarch launched the initiative, reiterating there are no military options but prayer against conflicts affecting "innocent people". He also urged Muslims to think about renewing their way of thinking and culture.


    EGYPT-ISLAM-VATICAN
    Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the said and the "unsaid"

    Samir Khalil Samir

    There are many positive aspects in the meeting between the Pope and the supreme Sunni authority, along with silence on some issues. For Al Tayyib Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. But Isis uses the black flag of Muhammad, the prophet's sword, the sentences of the Koran. The terrorists take their bloodthirsty statements from many imams. The urgency of a new renaissance of Islam, reinterpreting tradition in modernity: a task interrupted by fundamentalism.
     


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