07/28/2015INDONESIA Christians and Buddhists celebrate the end of Ramadan to fight violence with peace Religious leaders from various faith groups take part in halal bilhalal celebrations, which are traditionally held across the country with the participation of religious leaders from different faiths. This year, such meetings come at a time of rising confessional tensions and violence. Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The feat of Eid al-Fitri Mubarak, which marks the end of Ramadan, traditionally included halal bilhalal gatherings, which bring together religious and secular leaders from various faith communities "to ask...
07/28/2015PHILIPPINES Climate advocates hit Aquino for ‘dirty’ energy dependence During Aquino’s term, his administration approved the operation of 27 coal plant projects, and 118 coal mining permits, with 15 more coal plant projects still in pipeline. Based on this, it is projected that the Philippines will be 70 percent dependent on coal by 2030.
07/28/2015CAMBODIA Cambodia’s new NGO law is an opportunity to “promote clarity” The country’s Senate passed a Law on Associations and Non-Government Organisations that imposes restrictions on the activity of 5,000 NGOs. Activists fear the government will gag them during the 2018 parliamentary elections. Associations have come to play an important role in the country’s life following the end of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge dictatorship. Today, the challenge is to monitor results and plans.
07/26/2015 VATICAN-SYRIA Pope: urgent appeal for the release of Fr. Dall'Oglio, kidnapped two years ago in Syria At the Angelus, Pope Francis recalls the Jesuit priest, the two Orthodox bishops and all those who have been kidnapped, calling on all present to join him in the recitation of a Hail Mary. Joined by the presence of two young people, he opens registration for WYD in Krakow and registers himself as teh first pilgrim online with a tablet. Commenting on today's Gospel: "Who among us does not have his" five loaves and two fish "? If we are willing to put them in the hands of the Lord, they will be a bit more love in the world to go around".
07/24/2015CHINA Wenzhou: 90-year-old bishop and 26 priests protest against cross demolitions by Joseph Yuan This is not the first time that the old bishop and his priests speak out against the demolition campaign against crosses and churches, which has touched more than 400 buildings. During the protest, police tried to disperse the group, which sought to submit a petition. The faithful recite a Crown of the Divine Mercy is in support of the Chinese Church. In Lishui, churches are expected to be torn down by 31 August.
07/24/2015VATICAN - GREAT BRITAIN For the pope, euthanasia is what “mafiosi do. There is a problem: we get rid of this guy . . .” In his message to the Catholic Church in England and Wales for this year’s Day for Life, centred on the theme of ‘Cherishing Life and Accepting Death,’ Pope Francis said that “There is nothing progressive about solving problems by eliminating a human life." For him, “considering having a baby as a right is not a scientific achievement when the child should instead be welcomed as a gift; nor is it right to use humans as laboratory rats in order to save ostensibly others.”
07/23/2015ISRAEL - IRAN After nuclear deal, Israel ought to become Iran’s best ally by Uri Avnery This is the thesis of Uri Avnery, leader of Gush Shalom, a major supporter of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the great statesman and peace activist, Iran only wants to be a regional power in the Islamic world, able to trade with everyone, inspired by a sophisticated experience that goes back thousands of years. Iran, which faces backward-looking Gulf monarchies and emirates, could be a great ally against Daesh. Meanwhile in Israel Netanyahu, politicians and the media continue to blunder.
07/23/2015MYANMAR - CHINA Myanmar sentences 153 Chinese illegal loggers to life imprisonment The group were arrested in January in Kachin state, close to the Chinese border. More than 400 vehicles and 1,600 logs were seized during the raid. China has expressed concern about the severity of the sentences. Life sentences in Myanmar usually last 20 years.
07/22/2015VIETNAM Over a million Vietnamese victimised by forced evictions and violence by Ngoc Lan Government land policy has increasingly deprived peasants as well as Christian and Buddhist religious groups of their land. Not only is land bought up for paltry sums, but once it is taken away, much of it is left idle, unused. When ordinary Vietnamese protest they are beaten and arrested. Chinese companies and business interests are behind land policy.