01 July 2016
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    30/06/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    A priest in central China looks at the bishop of Shanghai’s volte-face, comparing him to John the Baptist who was jailed after he accused Herod. Because of their crooked logic, the Patriotic Association and the government seek to eliminate religion from the country. The Vatican is in danger of contradicting itself if it makes compromises with the Patriotic Association. Pope Benedict XVI described the latter as “incompatible” with Catholic doctrine in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, which Pope Francis has never disclaimed, but has instead reiterated.

    by Gu Feng

    30/06/2016 - LEBANON - SYRIA

    For Lebanese bishop, Al-Qaa is a symbol of coexistence, the terrorists shall not win

    Mgr Elias Rahal, the Greek -Melkite archbishop of Baalbek, visited the town that was attacked. Lebanon’s army has re-imposed a semblance of security. In this border town, Christians and Muslims live peacefully and fruitfully. We “shall never leave the town,” the prelate said.

    30/06/2016 - TURKEY

    Istanbul airport attack: Turkey declares a day of mourning while the number of victims increases

    The dead are 42; among them there are 13 foreigners. The wounded are 239 of which 41 were in serious condition. For Erdogan terrorists " were non-Muslims." Still no claim of responsibility. Putin reopen dialogue with Turkey.

    30/06/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Rodrigo Duterte sworn in as Philippines president

    Nicknamed "The Punisher", Mr Duterte is credited with a dramatic reduction in crime in Davao, but rights groups say it was at the expense of human rights. He and his vice-president, Leni Robredo, will both serve a single six-year term.

    30/06/2016 - INDIA

    Church in India mourns the death of Mgr D'Souza, "spiritual son" of Mother Teresa

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The bishop led the Archdiocese of Kolkata during the revolution brought about by the soon-to-be-canonised Albanian saint. He himself revolutionised his archdiocese’ educational system, whilst remaining close to his former flock in Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar who went through horrific pogroms.

    30/06/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistani Church against cutting funds for minorities to finance a pro-Taliban madrassa

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Many have slammed the decision. The Islamic school has trained terrorists operating at home and in Afghanistan and is slated to get funds otherwise earmarked for the province’s minorities. One of its former students is among those who assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Muslim clerics defend the decision.

    30/06/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Two years after enduring Buddhist violence, Muslims suffer but forgive

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Buddhist radicals looted and torched homes in three towns in south-western Sri Lanka. Survivors still live in fear, remembering the violence: a car dealer who lost everything, a grocer who lost his shop, a young man who lost his leg.

    30/06/2016 - MALAYSIA

    For mufti of Pahang, all non-Muslims deserve death; for bishop, such a remark is dangerous

    by Joseph Masilamany

    The cleric applied the ‘kafir harbi’ label to politicians opposed to Sharia. For Mgr Paul Tan, if such words “are not rejected by the authorities, they pose a threat to national security”. Mufti of Perlis state regrets such a remark because not all non-Muslims are enemies.

    30/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope’s travels in the Caucasus to "encourage hope and paths of peace"

    At today’s jubilee audience, Francis spoke about his recent visit to Armenia, and his coming trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan in September. It is "one thing to talk about mercy, it is another to live mercy" because "the works of mercy are not theoretical issues, but actual deeds. They force us to roll up our sleeves to alleviate suffering. "

    30/06/2016 - CHINA

    China’s teachers: The unsung heroes of the workers’ movement

    Teachers make up less than two percent of China’s overall workforce but they account for about four percent of total strikes and protests. Moreover, unlike workers in privately-owned factories, most teachers are employed by the state and their protests often pose a direct challenge to local government officials and administrators.

    30/06/2016 - INDIA

    Hyderabad, held Isis group planning attacks during Ramadan

    The National Investigation Agency in India held 11 person, including 5 arrests. They are youth in their 20s and 30s and held regular jobs. They were in touch with the head of a group of Indian jihadists based out of Raqqa in Syria. They wanted to trigger communal riots between Muslim and Hindu communities.

    30/06/2016 - LEBANON - SYRIA

    Al-Qaa bids farewell to victims as archbishop urges declaring outskirts a 'military zone'

    The entire community bid farewell to five of its members died during 27 June attacks. In his homily the greek-Melkite Archbishop stressed: "We will remain in this land". He asked government to solve the emergency situation in the refugee camp on the outskirts of the town. Local sources: the aim of the bombers is to eradicate Christian presence.


    29/06/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Sri Lanka army admits to the existence of a list with names of missing Tamil rebels who surrendered

    by Melani Manel Perera

    The names of the missing are still unknown, by a high ranking official admits that a list exists. In the final stages of the civil war thousands of young Tamil fighters handed in their weapons. Many of them are missing, presumed dead in extra-judicial killings.

    29/06/2016 - MALAYSIA – ISLAM

    Opposition and minorities slam government’s attempt to introduce Sharia law in Kelantan

    The bill would allow the stoning of adulterers and the chopping off the hand of thieves. For former Prime Minister Mahathir, the government is trying to win over Islamist party.  “This is not Islam! This is not fair!” For Malaysia’s minorities, the bill is “unconstitutional”; it tears “at the core of the Federal Constitution” and undermines “religious freedom”.

    29/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope speaks about Peter and Paul, lights of the east and west, appeals after Istanbul attack

    At the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis talks about the two apostles who brought the faith to Rome. “They still want to carry Jesus, his merciful love, his consolation, his peace.” The pontiff welcomed the ecumenical delegation from Constantinople, as well as Chinese Catholics. Sharing the sorrow, he prays for the Turkish people after the Istanbul airport attack.

    29/06/2016 - TURKEY

    Islamic State suspected in Istanbul airport attack

    At least 36 people are dead and 140 wounded. Attackers began shooting before blowing themselves up at the terminal. Critics point to poor security measures.


    CIA, Saudi weapons for anti-Assad rebels end up on Jordan’s black market

    An expensive programme co-sponsored by the CIA and Saudi Arabia to supply weapons and train anti-Assad rebels derails after corrupt Jordanian officials sell weapons on the black market. Some might have ended in Jihadi hands; others might have been used to kill Americans on at least one occasion.

    28/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: mercy is the “criterion” for Catholic-Orthodox relations

    Francis welcomes a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, presently in Rome for the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. “For divine mercy frees us of the burden of past conflicts and lets us be open to the future to which the Spirit is guiding us.” Bartholomew mentions the visit to Lesvos Island.

    28/06/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Catholics live in in fear in Bonpara after Sunil Gomes’s murder

    by Sumon Corraya

    The victim had his throat cut after Sunday Mass. Police are still groping in the dark whilst the murderers are still at large. Younger parish members patrol at night to ensure Catholics’ self-defence and security.

    28/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Benedict XVI "continues to serve the Church"

    Marking the 65th anniversary of Benedict XVI’s priestly ordination, Francis said that from the place where his predecessor now lives "come tranquility, peace, strength, confidence, maturity, faith, dedication and loyalty” that “do so much good and give so much strength to me and to the whole Church.”

    28/06/2016 - HONG KONG – CAMBODIA

    From Hong Kong to Cambodia, the first married couple goes on mission

    Jonathan Yim Chi-ngai and Katherine Cheung Yu were commissioned to go to Cambodia with the Hong Kong Catholic Lay Missionary Association. Cardinal Tong congratulated them on their decision, saying that as a couple they can be of mutual support in their service. He added that they can also be strong witnesses to the importance and value of marriage and family.

    28/06/2016 - NEPAL

    Nepalese priest against using religion to shield crimes

    by Christopher Sharma

    Police detain Hindu holy man for deceiving and getting young people sold to human traffickers. They also arrest two Buddhists with 35 kilos of hashish hidden in sacred texts. This shows "how religion is improperly used in Nepal,” said Fr Ignitious Rai, pastor in Kathmandu, and how its dignity is being undermined.

    28/06/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Filipino bishops to law enforcers: Too many extra-judicial deaths; bring back justice

    by Mons. Socrates B. Villegas*

    An appeal from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference to address the “disturbing rise” of extra-judicial killings. Enough with bounties and vigilantes. The social responsability: “We must all ask ourselves whether or not by our silence, our indifference… we may have contributed to the proliferation of crime”.

    28/06/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore, Christian pastor accused of blasphemy; his family tortured

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Pastor Adnan Prince was accused of writing anti-Islam comments on a religious book in 2013. He is still imprisoned. His elder brother was abused, slapped, beaten with batons and leather slippers in police custody. The Government of Pakistan signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture but there is still no law to criminalize custodial torture.

    28/06/2016 - LEBANON - SYRIA

    Lebanon, new attacks in the Christian town near the Syrian border, eight injured

    Three suicide bombers struck in the evening the center of al-Qaa; one of them blew himself up in front of the church, two others near the municipality. In the morning four bombers caused nine victims. Clashes between army and jihadists in the suburbs. Terrorists wanted to strike a symbol of coexistence between Christians and Muslims, priest says. Patriarch Rai appealed for restraint.


    28/06/2016 - CHINA

    Wave of suicides among bureaucrats due to the anti-corruption campaign

    Since 2012, when Xi Jinping came to power, at least 120 government representatives have committed suicide. From 2003 to 2012, under Hu Jintao, 63 killed themselves. The suicide as a gesture of love for the family, which can save money coming from the bribes.

    28/06/2016 - MYANMAR

    Yangon, authorities cancel news conference on abuses by military

    An organization of Ta'ang minority wanted to denounce human rights violations in Shan State, where civil war rages. The authorities warned the hotel to cancel the event for "lack of permits".


    27/06/2016 - CHINA

    Beijing to cut heavy industry, lay off 1.8 million workers

    Steel and coal mining are set to get the ax. The government wants to reduce steel capacity by 45 million tonnes and cut output by 280 million tonnes. The chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission is “very confident” that China will reach its targets.

    27/06/2016 - IRAN

    As sanctions ease, foreign investment to pour billions of dollars into Iran

    In terms of greenfield investments, Iran was ranked 12th of 14 between 2003 and 2015 with a 1.6 per cent market share. This year, the Islamic Republic jumped to third place, behind the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia with an 11 per cent share. Jobs and capital spending are also up. South Korea and Germany are the main investors.

    27/06/2016 - RUSSIA

    Duma approves anti-terrorism measures that "threaten religious freedom"

    by Nina Achmatova

    Protestant leaders and human rights activists slam Yarovaya’s laws, a package of measures that, among other things, make it nearly impossible to carry out processions and limit "missionary activities".

    Editor's choices

    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.

    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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