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In Mosul, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of wars. In Qaraqosh, the main Christian city in the country, “Even amid the ravages of terrorism and war, we can see, with the eyes of faith, the triumph of life over death.”

 

| 07/03/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN

Francis celebrated Mass in Baghdad’s Chaldean cathedral, “where wisdom arose in ancient times, so many witnesses have arisen in our own time, often overlooked by the news, yet precious in God’s eyes. Witnesses who, by living the Beatitudes, are helping God to fulfil his promises of peace.”

| 06/03/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN

Saad Salloum notes that al-Sistani's Islam is “different from that in Qom” and is “open to other religions”. In his view, “The roots of the Iraqi tree are Christian.” Iranian scholar says that Al-Sistani is a “good choice” to convey a “message of peace” to the Islamic world. Even in Israel the balance with the Muslim world is changing, says pacifist rabbi.

| 06/03/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN

Today was dedicated to dialogue between faiths. It began with a visit to the leader of Iraqi Shias, Al-Sistani, and continued with the interfaith meeting in Ur of the Chaldeans, a blessed place that “brings us back” to “the birth of our religions”. “Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion.”

| 06/03/2021
| VATICAN - IRAQ
by Francis Khoo Thwe

Demonstrations continue in Yangon, Lashio, Loikaw, Myitkyina, Dawei, Myeik, Kyaikto, and Myingyan. Police resort to tear gas, grenades, and beatings. The economy could come to a standstill. Withdrawing cash from ATMs has become difficult. Some foreign businesses are planning to leave. A total lockdown is possible as an extreme attempt to block protests, communications and social media platforms. The UN special envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, warns against providing legitimacy to the junta.

| 06/03/2021
| MYANMAR

This is the main goal of the 14th five-year economic plan. Beijing wants to dominate sectors like  robotics, smart machines, innovative vaccines and transport systems. US boycott of Huawei is a source of concern. Washington ready to respond with a US$ 30 billion investment.

| 06/03/2021
| CHINA

David Rosen, an Israeli Rabbi and a prominent figure in interfaith dialogue, speaks from Jerusalem about the Pope's trip to Baghdad. “It is great that the journey that began in Abu Dhabi continues. The fact that Judaism was mentioned in the speeches at the presidential palace is important. But the three religions must come together.”

| 06/03/2021
| IRAQ – ISRAEL

Francis met with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and catechists in the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of "Our Lady of Salvation" where a terror attack killed 48 people. “Their deaths are a powerful reminder that inciting war, hateful attitudes, violence or the shedding of blood are incompatible with authentic religious teachings,” said the Pope.

| 05/03/2021
| VATICAN – IRAQ

During his first hours in Iraq, Francis met with Iraq’s president, political leaders and diplomats. “May God grant that we journey together as brothers and sisters in ‘the firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace… mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence’.” The pontiff will travel in a bullet-proof car and wear a mask.

| 05/03/2021
| VATICAN – IRAQ

GDP grew by 2.3% last year due to the pandemic. Li Keqiang: We aim to create 11 million new jobs and raise the retirement age. Debt aggravated by aging population. Expert: low interest rates aid indebted countries like China.

| 05/03/2021
| CHINA
by Melani Manel Perera

The Navy stopped a group headed to the area to show solidarity to residents and learn the reasons for their protests. Security Forces have issued an order not to let any outsider on the island. For NAFSO activist, “This is a bigger question.”

| 05/03/2021
| SRI LANKA

A UN report mentions tens of thousands of civilian victims of violence, abducted and abused by government and jihadi groups with “unimaginable” suffering committed by all sides. For the  Bishop of Aleppo, there are too many interests to be able to shed light on abuses. From Christians comes a vocation to peace, respect and dignity.

| 05/03/2021
| SYRIA – UNITED NATIONS

The prosecution drops appeal against bail, which was denied outright to 31 defendants. A number of conditions have been imposed, plus bail money.

| 05/03/2021
| HONG KONG – CHINA
Editor's choices
 
by Shafique Khokhar
Thanks to the generosity of some AsiaNews readers, 52 families were helped to pay off their debt to kiln owners who had forced them to work as slaves. Now their children can go to school and are no longer forced to pay for their parents' debt. Some ...
| 03/03/2021
| PAKISTAN
 
Hong Kong authorities want to strike a blow at pro-democracy moderates, says Ernest Ng, expert in public policy. The 47 are back in court tomorrow. Freedom of association and the right to organise under International Labour Convention have been violated. ...
| 03/03/2021
| HONG KONG – CHINA
 
The Papal visit bears three messages: hope, peace and coexistence and it is a “dream come true". A thank you to the Yazidis for their support over the years. Sunni Muslim: "We want to pray together with Christians", a stimulus from the Pope "to ...
| 03/03/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN
 
To participate in the major pilgrimage, it will be "mandatory" to demonstrate immunization. Doubts about the presence of faithful from abroad. Riyadh started the vaccination campaign on December 17. Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost 380 thousand ...
| 02/03/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA
 
by Francis Khoo Thwe
Mya Thwate Thwate Kaing died yesterday after being wounded by police in Naypyidaw. The United Kingdom imposes sanctions on three generals; Canada on nine officials. The United States, India, Japan and Australia are demanding a quick return to democracy. ...
| 20/02/2021
| MYANMAR
 
by Wang Zhicheng
The church was built in 2000, with all the permits and praise of the local authorities. There are two reasons for the destruction: the land’s commercial value and erasing the "showy" symbolism of the religious building. The policy of "sinicization" ...
| 19/02/2021
| CHINA-VATICAN
 
Zdeněk Hřib targeted for having twinned with Taipei and supporting Tibetan dissidents. “No cost” for my commitment to Taiwan and Tibet. China is an “unreliable” trading partner. Alarm raised over Chinese lobbying campaigns in ...
| 11/02/2021
| CZECH REPUBLIC-CHINA-TAIWAN
 
by Francis Khoo Thwe
Buddhist monks in Pegu and Pakokku pray and march to protect the people from darkness. In Kengtung, Christians in procession with the statue of Our Lady. In Mandalay, the bishop's evening of prayer with priests and sisters. The religious of Saint ...
| 11/02/2021
| MYANMAR
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