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by Pierre Balanian | SYRIA – TURKEY

The fall of Khan Sheikhoun marks the beginning of an offensive that should lead to the liberation of Idlib. Syria, which seems to have wrecked the deal between Moscow and Ankara, wants to expel the Turks from its territory. Everything points to a war between Syria and Turkey, not between the Syrian regime and mercenaries in Idlib, backed by Ankara and Doha. Encircling Mork is a direct response to the US-Turkish decision to create a safe zone in northern Syria.

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Turkey wants a 32-km zone to wrest control of areas currently held by the US-backed, Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG). Ankara considers the latter as allies of the PKK, which it deems a terrorist group.

 

| 23/08/2019
| TURKEY – UNITED STATES – SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

The Christian Marriage and Divorce Act 2019 is set to replace two British-era laws. The changes were long overdue, but Christian stakeholders were not consulted. The draft bill has flaws and problems, and leaves too much discretionary power in the hands of the courts.

| 23/08/2019
| PAKISTAN

Mgr Ivan Pereira says people are affected by unrest in the Indian state.  Students have been staying away from schools fearing “nationalists and young activists”. Catholics too are afraid. Christians are appreciated by other religious groups "because wherever we go, we are an instrument of peace".

| 23/08/2019
| INDIA

The meeting of the joint working group concluded at the Vatican.  The Vietnamese delegation received by Pope Francis.  In a joint statement released today, there is also talk of the establishment "as soon as possible" of the non-permanent papal representative in Vietnam.

 

| 23/08/2019
| VATICAN - VIETNAM
by Mathias Hariyadi

In St Joseph parish in Pringsewu, over 200 priests and thousands of faithful attended the service in which ten new fathers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus made their perpetual profession. “Your vital mission is to bring peace and spiritual comfort to others,” Bishop Harun told them. The meeting with a parish priest and a father’s encouragement helped the vocation of two new Jakarta priests.

| 23/08/2019
| INDONESIA

To protect its producers, the EU has imposed tariffs for three years on Cambodian and Myanmar rice. In just six months, exports to Europe have been halved. For Cambodia, the measure penalises producers of “jasmine and fragrant long grain rice” who “do not compete directly with products grown in the EU”. China is ready to support Cambodia’s economy and agriculture.

| 23/08/2019
| CAMBODIA – EUROPEAN UNION

Serikzhan Bilash founded a group to document human rights violations against his fellow citizens.  Foreign governments estimate that over one million people are held in Xinjang detention camps.  The activist accepts a plea agreement for "the good of my family".

 

| 23/08/2019
| KAZAKISTAN
by Paul Wang

Yesterday the web giant closed 210 accounts on YouTube that operate in a coordinated way.  Twitter blocked 936 accounts;  Facebook has removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts for their "false and coordinated behavior, part of a small network originating in China and focused on Hong Kong".  The young people taking part in the demonstrations prefer Telegram.

 

| 23/08/2019
| HONG KONG - CHINA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The feast of Mary "Vsetsaritsa" is celebrated at the end of August.  Miraculous healings of cancer patients and people infected with AIDS.  A prayer for doctors to "become an instrument of the Almighty Doctor, Christ our Savior".  The bishop-doctor Luka, who worked for many years in Soviet lagers, stated that without deep faith people indulge in depression.

 

| 23/08/2019
| RUSSIA

The two countries had signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (Gsomia) in February 2016. The exit of Seoul risks hindering US efforts for cooperation with two important allies in the region.  South Korea accuses Japan of using trade as a weapon in a dispute related to colonial rule.

 

| 23/08/2019
| SOUTH KOREA - JAPAN
by Melani Manel Perera

According to advocacy groups, Muslim women are treated as second-class citizens. The existing law dates back to 1951. For the past 30 years, attempts have been made to change the law to include a minimum age. Child brides are commonplace. Rape against married teens is not punished.

| 22/08/2019
| SRI LANKA
by Cần Giờ Parish – CSsR

The number of visitors to the shrine has been steadily increasing over the past few years. In his homily, Archbishop Nguyên Chi Linh expressed his desire to see at least 200,000 pilgrims next year. La Vang has seen destruction and persecution following the historical vicissitudes of Vietnam and local Catholics.

| 22/08/2019
| VIETNAM

The Myanmar government today was supposed to accept a first group of 3,454 displaced people. The Bangladeshi Foreign Minister accuses Rohingya leaders and NGOs of discouraging the return of refugees. In Myanmar, Rohingya procrastination reinforces doubts about their actual desire for repatriation.

| 22/08/2019
| BANGLADESH – MYANMAR

The public hygiene rehabilitation plan was launched in 2015 under the title "toilet revolution".  The goal is to reach 12 million public toilets renovated by the end of this year.  Serious deficiencies in sewage disposal system.

 

| 22/08/2019
| CHINA
Editor's choices
 
Two years after the Islamic State’s military defeat, going home appears a distant prospect. There are still many needs, but aid and resources have been reduced. The Iraq issue and Mideast political and religious tensions have increased insecurity. ...
| 05/08/2019
| IRAQ
 
A musician from the Philippines, two journalists from Myanmar and India, and two activists from Thailand and South Korea contributed with “courage and creativity" to human development on the continent. The award ceremony is set for 9 September....
| 05/08/2019
| PHILIPPINES
 
After four years, the PIME missionary has returned to the Southeast Asian nation.  It is going through a critical moment: in recent years, economic growth has projected it towards modernity.  But the Catholics have not changed.  "There ...
| 05/08/2019
| CAMBODIA
 
by Bernardo Cervellera
A document released by the Fujian authorities requires parish priests and religious personnel to ban minors from church and education; to refuse relations with foreign Catholics; to curb any momentum of evangelization. Meanwhile, the "Global Times" celebrates ...
| 25/06/2019
| CHINA-VATICAN
Devastating floods in India 2
Devastating floods in India 1
Monsoon floods ravage western India (2/2)
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