02/27/2015PHILIPPINES - VATICAN For Filipino bishops' president, "pope awakes from indifference, a national evil" Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr Socrates Villegas, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and president of the Filipino bishops' conference, underscores "the enormous importance of Francis' message for this Lent. Ours is a Catholic country, but selfishness is conquering more and more." The pope's great mass in Manila was "ray of sunshine that illuminates the future. Among those present, 50 per cent were under 20. They are our best hope." Manila (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis' Message for this Lent "is an alarm
clock that plays on the conscience of all Filipinos. Indifference is now a
national evil here too. It is true that we are the...
02/27/2015MYANMAR - ASIA WHO sounds alarm over spread of Bird flu after massive cull in Myanmar Concerns over the rapid spread and genetic swapping of the virus, termed "unprecedented”. Taiwan, Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as Egypt, the United States and Hungary under observation. In the center of Myanmar in 1500 poultry and over 20 thousand quail specimens culled. Many poultry farms risk collapse.
02/26/2015MYANMAR Education Reform: Buddhist nationalists and government endanger agreement by Francis Khoo Thwe The government has been circulating a different draft from that one agreed with the students. It has not excluded taking legal action against protesting students. The latter have issued an ultimatum against the authorities. Fear is growing of a possible crackdown. Buddhist nationalist groups come out against the use of minority languages in education.
02/25/2015PHILIPPINES "People Power" returns after 29 years calling for President Aquino to resign Civil society groups are demanding the resignation of President - son of Corazon Aquino, icon of the 1986 revolution - for the Maguindanao massacre and the continuing allegations of corruption and media pressure. They were accompanied by Card. Vidal. President of the bishops tells AsiaNews: "Our job is to shake consciences, not sound the charge against the government."
02/24/2015EGYPT - ISLAM What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam by Samir Khalil Samir The grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
02/24/2015INDONESIA West Sumatra: Police attacks a group of elderly communist veterans by Mathias Hariyadi About 200 people attended celebratory event for the victims of the 1965 violence. Police and thugs disrupt the meeting and attack participants. Indonesian activist: "one person left unconscious ". Criticism of President Jokowi’s failure to defend freedom of thought and speech.
02/23/2015SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremism For Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
02/23/2015THAILAND Bangkok: Student actors jailed for treason after skit on monarchy Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and his 26 year old companion Pornthip Munkong were arrested and charged. They have been sentenced to two years and six months, but had their sentence reduced because they pleaded guilty. The laws on treason used by the military junta to suppress dissent.
02/22/2015VATICAN Pope gifts "Guard your heart" booklet as an aid to conversion in Lent At today's Angelus Pope Francis gave away booklets containing "the wealth of our doctrine," the essentials of the faith: "the seven sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Ten Commandments, the virtues, works of mercy. .. ". The booklet was distributed by volunteers and homeless people. "Those who are in need are also the ones who give us this great wealth." Lent is a time "for spiritual battle against the spirit of evil", already won by Jesus in the desert. "We go into the desert without fear, because we are not alone, we are with Jesus." This afternoon, the Pope goes to Ariccia on retreat with the Curia: "Pray so that in this desert we can hear the voice of Jesus and correct our many defects".
02/21/2015INDONESIA - BRAZIL Drug trafficking and diplomacy: Jakarta recalls its ambassador to Brazil by Mathias Hariyadi The President Dilma Rousseff has not accepted the credentials of the Indonesian delegate, in protest against the death sentence of a Brazilian citizen for drug dealing. The man is scheduled to be executed next week, but is schizophrenic. Indonesia confirms the executions of seven foreign drug traffickers and a compatriot.
02/20/2015VATICAN Pope: "a good Christian is just to the people who depend on him" "Love of God and love of neighbor are one in the same" and especially in Lent "fasting, is not just abstaining from meat” only to "fight with and exploit workers" and make offerings to the Church "on their backs". The point of Lent is "to think about them: what can I do for the children, for the elderly, who do not have the opportunity to be seen by a doctor?", who maybe wait "for eight hours and then they give an appointment for a week after ".
02/20/2015ASIA Asia’s Catholics celebrate Year of the Goat with acts of charity Amid lavish dinners and firework displays sprout activities related to Lent: the PIME fathers in Hong Kong launch a mission among the prisoners of the Territory, while the South Korean Catholic Church send two containers of humanitarian aid to the North. In the Philippines a "new push" for Alay Kapwa, the program launched 40 years ago in support of the poor.
02/20/2015THAILAND Thailand bans surrogacy services for foreigners Parliament passes a law to prevent the country becoming "the world’s womb". Commercial surrogacy will be granted only to Thai or mixed couples in cases where the mother "for rent" is over 25. The case of Gammy, abandoned by his biological parents because of having Down Syndrome.