The draft for the new Constitution provides enormous powers to the president. He is the head of the government and the judiciary, and personally appoints the judges and the president of the Supreme Council and the Constitutional Court, similar to the 2020 Russian Constitution. Population distrust of entire ruling class has led to a plebiscite in favour of Sadyr Žaparov.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The prosecution drops appeal against bail, which was denied outright to 31 defendants. A number of conditions have been imposed, plus bail money.