29 April 2016
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    29/04/2016 - SYRIA

    At least 202 people have been killed over the past week in Syria’s northern metropolis, including civilians (and many children). A MSF-supported hospital in a rebel-held area and two under government control are hit. “People are scared," but they "still want to stay,” according to Caritas Aleppo. The latter’s operatives visit hospitals to "respond to emergencies."




    29/04/2016 - NORTH KOREA- USA

    Pyongyang, 10 years hard labor for a US citizen


    Kim Dong-chul, who was born in South Korea and arrested in October 2016, was found in possession of a USB memory stick with within military and nuclear secrets. This is the latest detention of a foreign national, a tactic the North exploits for economic and diplomatic gains. UN Security Council convenes emergency meeting after latest missile test.


    29/04/2016 - CHINA

    Beijing changes law on foreign NGOs, giving police sweeping powers


    Until now, the Ministry of Civil Affairs handled applications and paper work. Nearly 10,000 foreign NGOs are present on the mainland. For the German ambassador, the law is too restrictive. For NGO official, it damages charitable activities.


    29/04/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: A Christian does not say one thing and do another: He walks in the light, "because God is Light."


    "The lie we know where it comes from: in the Bible, Jesus calls the devil 'father of lies', the liar". "Sin is ugly! But if you have sinned, He is watching and waiting for you to forgive you! '. Always! Because He - God - is greater than our sins".

     


    29/04/2016 - INDIA

    Msgr. Menamparampil: Amoris laetitia affirms values of Indian families

    by mons. Thomas Menamparampil

    The apostolic administrator of Jowai comments on Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation. He believes that the papal document is applicable to the condition of the Indian tribal families. Amoris laetitia talks about "irregular" situations, marriages, divorces, abandoned children. All of this is also found in India where, as the Pope recalls, we must not give in to easy judgments, but to discern each situation case by case.
     


    29/04/2016 - IRAN - USA

    Tehran asks UN assistance for frozen Iranian funds in the US, managed by the Supreme Court

    by Darius Karimian

    A letter from Javad Zarif to Ban Ki-moon, recalls the injustices suffered by the people of Iran because of US policy. Criticism of the Supreme Court that allows the release of frozen funds to compensate victims of terrorism in Beirut.

     


    29/04/2016 - INDIA

    Andhra Pradesh: Catholic bishop kidnapped and beaten for hours


    Msgr. Gallela Prasad is the bishop of Cuddapah and was returning from Kadapa district, where he celebrated Mass. The car IN which was traveling was stopped by unknown persons, who blindfolded him and beat up the driver and prelate all night. The Telugu Federation of Churches filed a complaint and asked the authorities to register the case to "ensure the safety of Christians."

     


    29/04/2016 - KUWAIT - YEMEN

    Positive atmosphere but "no progress" in Yemeni peace talks


    The UN special envoy speaks of friendly atmosphere in the talks, being held in Kuwait City, but adds that in the first week, there has been no positive developments. Distances remain between the parties and there were no face to face meetings. Offensive against al Qaeda in the south. Jihadis lose control of Al-Mukalla.

     


    28/04/2016 - IRAQ

    Patriarch Sako: Amoris Laetitia, a source of mercy and learning for Christians and Muslims


    The Apostolic Exhortation contains essential elements for Christian families. It has also elicited “positive thoughts” among Muslims. For the Chaldean Patriarch, Islam too is waiting for something different on the family and spousal relations. Despite the war, few families have broken down, which is not the case for those who emigrated. Married priests could be a model for the whole Church.


    28/04/2016 - RUSSIA – VATICAN

    Orthodox Church: Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) wants to lead the Russian anti-ecumenical movement

    by Marta Allevato

    Sergei Chapnin, former editor of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, holds this view. In a recent public statement, the bishop and rector of the Sretensky Theological Seminary said that most Orthodox do not view sympathetically dialogue with Catholics, and that most do not see "any real future in the idea of Church ecumenism."


    28/04/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: in the Church, there have always been resistance to the "surprises" of the Holy Spirit


    “[G]et together, join together, listen, discuss, pray and decide. This is the so-called sinodality of the Church, which expresses the communion of the Church,” the pope said. “Let us ask the Lord for grace to understand how the Church can face the surprises of the Spirit, to be docile and to follow the path which Christ wants for us and for the whole Church.”


    28/04/2016 - THAILAND

    Thai Muslim leader calls for learning from other religions to build peace

    by Weena Kowitwanij

    The Department of Religious Affairs organised an inter-faith forum that brought together leaders of major religions. According Abdulau Nhumsuks, a member of the Bangkok Islam Association, the idea that learning the teachings of other faiths is a sin “is old-fashioned and incorrect”.


    28/04/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Church slams LGBT activists’ murder in Dhaka, a moral failure for the government


    After two young LGBT activists are killed by persons unknown, the president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, says although the Church “does not approve the way of the LGBT life, it recognises the rights of all human persons,” including the right to life which is sacred. Killing people is what terrorists do. The government must guarantee protection to every citizen. For Rosaline Costa, a friend of one of the victims, “no more compromises with Islamist parties”.


    28/04/2016 - CHINA

    Xi Jinping and religions: the Party must lead “effectively” and “forcefully”

    by John Mok Chit Wai

    John Mok Chit Wai, from Chinese University of Hong Kong, highlights President Xi’s intentions toward religions, which should have no autonomy, and submit to the party. For some, this is the beginning of a "Second Cultural Revolution" to “decimate the religions”.


    28/04/2016 - JAPAN - USA

    Obama "ready to go" Hiroshima. But no apology for the atomic bombs


    Several Japanese and US government sources confirm that the American president intends to visit the city, devastated by US hydrogen bombs in 1945. Shinzo Abe will accompany the US leader, and said that they will not seek apology for victims of 'nuclear holocaust.

     


    28/04/2016 - INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh, police interrupt a Christian marriage: "The spouses are Hindus"

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Security officers and Hindu extremists stormed a place of worship in Satna, arresting 10 people including the pastor and the groom's parents. He is accused of having converted the pair illegally to Christianity and celebrating a marriage between minors. Christian leaders: "This is abuse of anti-conversion laws".


    28/04/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Church mourns Abp. Labayen, one of the "Magnificent 7" who defeated Marcos


    The Infanta bishop was one of the champions of human and civil rights in the country. In 60 years of priestly life he faced down the dictator’s martial law and corruption of his successors, pledging to protect the environment and respect for the dignity of workers. The Philippine Church, says the bishop of Caceres, "was blessed by his service".


    28/04/2016 - AUSTRALIA - PAPUA N. GUINEA

    Manus island refugees "have already paid. Now they must be helped "


    The Australian government agrees to close the refugee camp on the island, which falls within the sovereignty of Papua New Guinea, but does not know what to do about one thousand people living there. PIME missionary Fr. Giorgio Licini, 11 years in the country: "It is a huge problem that has no easy solutions. But you have to start by removing the causes of migration, not by rejecting those who suffer them".

     


    27/04/2016 - ITALY – BELARUS

    Chernobyl children in Italy, a gift for host families


    The Girotondo Committee gets families to give some of their time and resources to host Belorussian children, to allow them to detoxify from radiation and grow healthy. AsiaNews met some of these families, who “get more than they give”.


    27/04/2016 - IRAQ

    For Baghdad auxiliary bishop, Iraq “is a mess”, at a “low point” of its history


    Iraqis are “fed up”, Mgr Warduni said, because of the lack of work, resources, and perspectives. Oil has elicited the interests of many, but impoverished the country. Prime Minister al-Abadi wants reforms but is challenged in and outside parliament. For Christian lawmaker, Iraq needs domestic unity, and peace between Saudis and Iranians.


    27/04/2016 - SINGAPORE

    Marriage, "a sign of closeness to God" in hyper-competitive Singapore


    The archdiocese of the city-state has organised a series of meetings on the family and its problems in a society increasingly focused on productivity. The last meeting is set for 21 May. For one of the organisers, Christians are “called to be the alternative voice, the counter-culture.” Each year, 21,000 marriages take place; 7,000 end in divorce.


    27/04/2016 - INDIA

    Indian bishop: Church must focus on priestly training

    by Benigna Menezes*

    Mgr George Palliparambil is the bishop of the Diocese of Miao, Arunachal Pradesh. Yesterday, he celebrated the ordination of five new priests in Eluru from to the Missionaries of Compassion. In addition to India, they operate in Australia, Venezuela and the United States. The prelate spoke with concern about several suicide cases among Indian priests.


    27/04/2016 - VATICAN - SOUTH KOREA

    Thomas Choe, the second Korean priest, toward beatification


    The Pope approved a decree attesting to the heroic virtue. Together with St Andrew Kim Dae-gon, he entered the seminary in Macao in 1836. After his ordination he returned home and, despite the persecution of the Joseon kingdom, cared for about 4 thousand faithful spread throughout the peninsula. He translated catechism books from Chinese and put Catholic teaching to verse to foster learning. He died consumed by the mission in 1861.

     


    27/04/2016 - INDIA

    Card Gracias: as one of the most polluted countries, India needs a serious commitment to the climate


    The archbishop of Mumbai is among 260 religious leaders who signed an appeal to world leaders asking them to implement immediately the Paris climate agreement. Citing Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ encyclical, he stresses that it is the poor who pay for pollution. “Step outside in India, and often you will be breathing some of the dirtiest city air on the planet,” he writes.


    27/04/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Indifference to the suffering of man is to ignore God


    Jesus teaches us not to "categorize others to see who is our neighbor and who is not. You can become a neighbor to whomever you meet in need, and you will be if you have compassion in your heart, that is if you are capable of suffering with others".

     


    27/04/2016 - RUSSIA - VATICAN

    Catholics and Russian Orthodox join forces for the children of Homs


    New joint project announced after Syria and Lebanon visit. Msgr. Pezzi recalls the value of the encounter between Francis and Cuba Kirill: "Now we are in front of an effort that is not on paper but concrete steps of solidarity."


    27/04/2016 - IRAQ - SYRIA

    Air raids send $ 800 million in Islamic State funds up in smoke


    According to the General Staff of the United States Peter Gersten, between 500 and 800 million in cash destroyed in the attacks. Spike in defections (up to 90%) and decline in new arrivals, especially among foreign fighters. $ 150 million kept in one house in Mosul.


    27/04/2016 - ORTHODOX

    Bartholomew: Chernobyl teaches us to say "yes" to God and creation; "No" to technology at all costs


    The ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople marks 30 years since the nuclear disaster that shook Ukraine and the world: "We have to keep forever the memory of what happened. But we must also learn to say 'no' to technology with destructive effects and 'yes' to the reality that is beyond us, the Creator of all creation. "

     


    27/04/2016 - CHINA

    Harry Wu, witness to China’s Laogai, forced labor camps, has died


    The dissident spent 19 years in a "re-education through labor camp". Released, he fled to the United States from where he began a decades-long battle against the laogai system. Thanks also to his commitment and his courageous witness, Beijing was forced - at least on paper - to close its slave labor camps. As a Catholic, spoke out on many occasions in defense of religious freedom in China.

     


    26/04/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Ahmadis increasingly victims of human rights violations in Pakistan

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    According to the annual report on persecution against the group, 248 Ahmadis were murdered last year, with another 323 victims of attempted murder. Scores of their places of worship have either been seized or illegally disposed. Many of their tombs have been desecrated. Since 1974, Ahmadis have been treated as “non-Muslims” and a government ordinance bans them from using Islamic greetings and prayers, or to refer to their places of worship as mosques.






    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card



    In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.


    IRAN
    Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.


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