30 April 2016
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    30/04/2016 - VATICAN

    At an extraordinary Jubilee audience, Francis returns to the theme of reconciliation, "God has never failed to offer his forgiveness to men: his mercy is felt from generation to generation." An appeal to confessors: "You are in the place of God the Father." A special Jubilee greeting for the police and the Armed Forces: "Faced with every day challenges, irradiate Christian hope, which is the certainty of the victory of love over hatred and peace over war."




    30/04/2016 - SYRIA

    Pastor of Aleppo: "My city is a ghost town. Our Lady, bring us peace!"


    Father Ibrahim Alsabag speaks to AsiaNews of closed schools and shops, people barricaded in their homes even if they are not safe. Jihadist groups behind wave of violence, which has dragged in other rebel groups. Syria and Aleppo dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that She may bring peace. The war has strengthened unity between Christians and created greater solidarity with Muslims.

     


    30/04/2016 - RUSSIA

    The "young" Orthodox Church of Moscow and Easter. Amid interiority and appearance

    by Sergei Chapnin*

    During the Soviet period it was difficult, dangerous and exhausting to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. Yet the churches were full and the faithful involved in the liturgy of the victory over death. Today, 25 years after the newfound freedom of worship, the patriarchal liturgy is broadcast on television and Moscow does all it can to appear to be an orthodox city. But it is not and it will not be until it understands the intimate connection of the Easter period with the personal faith experience.


    30/04/2016 - LEBANON - EU

    Patriarch Rai’s wake up call to EU: We need solutions to Middle East conflicts


    Speaking to the European parliament, the head of the Maronite Church warns that the conflicts in the region not just directly impacting Christians, but also the Mediterranean and the EU itself. Islamic extremism is wiping out centuries of dialogue and is a threat to world peace. Enshrine Lebanon’s neutrality and encourage Muslim nations to separate religion from the state.

     


    30/04/2016 - CAMBODIA

    Drought kills hundreds of animals, survival of villages at risk


    In many areas of the country lack of water and high temperatures means survival is at risk. 50 degrees reached in areas. Tons of fish and hundreds of species of animals - monkeys, reptiles, birds – have died in the last days. People wait for rainy season and the arrival of the monsoon.

     


    30/04/2016 - SRI LANKA - EUROPE

    Europe removes ban on fish imports from Sri Lanka

    by Melani Manel Perera

    The ban was imposed in January 2015 against Rajapaksa government’s inability to curb illegal fishing. Since 2012, Sri Lankan fishermen under check due to lack of deterrent measures and violation of international law. Colombo exported 68% of fish to EU. The losses amount to 100 million dollars a year. Activist: "It is the fault of the unlawful conduct OF some fishermen, who then had a negative impact on the entire industry."


    29/04/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Punjab: home-based workers call for the recognition of their rights

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    More than a hundred women marched yesterday in front of the Lahore Press Club, holding banners, calling for their wages to be raised to the national minimum. Some 12 million workers are employed in this area, and are denied the same rights that other workers enjoy. Since 2013, a draft bill has been before the Punjab cabinet waiting for approval. See the video of the protest.


    29/04/2016 - INDIA

    Card Gracias, saddened by the attack on Bishop Gallela Prasad, champion of the poor

    by card. Oswald Gracias

    The archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference condemns the attack against the bishop of Cuddapah. He calls on the authorities to act quickly. He also prays that God may “touch and turn the hearts of those who committed this sacrilegious assault.” The attacked bishop is closely involved in empowering the poor and women.


    29/04/2016 - PAPUA NEW GUINEA – AUSTRALIA

    Manus Island refugees to sue PNG


    The fate of almost a thousand people held in a detention camp on Manus Island has not yet been decided after PNG authorities decided to close the facility. With Port Moresby and Canberra expected to hold emergency talks, lawyers for the asylum seekers plan to “go straight to assessing reasonable compensation” in the billions.


    29/04/2016 - SYRIA

    As Aleppo comes under attack, with hundreds of dead and wounded, Caritas Syria aid crucial


    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 - 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 - CHINA - ASIA

    Xi Jinping says only nations directly involved can discuss South China Sea disputes


    Chinese leaders slam "foreign interference" in territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific seas. Soon the international tribunal in The Hague will decide on the dispute initiated by Manila and Hanoi. Chinese President against military escalation on the Korean peninsula.


    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.






    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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