31 May 2016
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    30/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Christian, Sunni, Shia, Yazidi and Sabean religious leaders join in peace prayer promoted by the Chaldean Patriarchate. Psalms and hymns recited together with the prayer. Sunni and Shia clerics spoke at the service. Candles were laid at the statue of Our Lady. AsiaNews publishes the text of Patriarch Sako’s address.


    by Louis Raphael Sako*

    30/05/2016 - AFGHANISTAN – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

    The late Taliban chief Mansur travelled to Dubai “several times” to raise funds

    by Pierre Balanian

    Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have funded the Taliban in Afghanistan (and still do). In ten years, Mullah Mansur frequently travelled abroad via Pakistan in violation of the UN embargo, including at least 18 trips to Dubai to meet Afghan and Arab businessmen.


    30/05/2016 - TURKEY

    Muslims in front of the St. Sophia "mosque" for the conquest of Constantinople and the neo-Ottoman glory of Erdogan

    by NAT da Polis

    Prayer in front of the basilica, now a museum, led by a Saudi imam from Mecca. An attempt to collect petition with millions of signatures to force the government to re-open it as a mosque. The celebrations of the conquest of Constantinople began in the 1950s with Adnan Menderes, who was deposed in the 1960s and hanged. Erdogan restored the festival in memory of the conquest to realize his neo-Ottoman dream.


    30/05/2016 - SYRIA - UN

    Syrian conflict: Chief opposition negotiator quits


    Mohammed Alloush, leader of the High Negotiations Committee (Hnc), has resigned. His decision the result of the "failure" of the indirect UN peace talks and the continuing violence on the ground. Other leading opposition figures also ready to step down. United Nations peace efforts at risk.

     


    30/05/2016 - SOUTH KOREA

    Family meals, a disappearing act caught between stress and competition


    Some 55 per cent of South Koreans aged 19 to 64 eat alone. One-person households now represent 27.1 per cent of the population. Caught under a heavy workload, more and more people do not have a social life. Young people, especially in Seoul, turn to virtual reality. One player in that world is Diva, a young woman making thousands of dollars a month by simply eating on a live webcam.


    30/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Human Rights Commission slams bill that would allow “light” beating of women

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The Islamic Ideology Council recommendations about wives who disobey their husbands goes against the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act, which criminalises certain offences against women. For Muslim scholar, history shows “that captured girls were used as sex slave by Arab armies”. Now that is how the “Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS [. . .] treat women folk”.


    30/05/2016 - SINGAPORE

    Singapore’s St Francis of Assisi parish is home to thousands of economic migrants


    Immigration from Asian countries has boosted the congregation of 4,500 with half of its members now hailing from the Philippines, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, China and Vietnam. Scores of volunteers help provide free meals to the needy. The church houses a relic of Saint Alphonsa, the first Indian nun to be canonised.


    30/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: The Church is not a closed system of standards, but open to prophecy


    "It would do us good to ask ourselves" if "Do I have the memory of the wonders that the Lord has wrought in my life? Can I remember the gifts of the Lord? I am able to open my heart to the prophets”, “am I open to that, or am I afraid, and do I prefer to close myself within the cage of the law? And in the end: Do I hope in the promises of God, as our father Abraham, who left his home without knowing where he was going, only because he hoped in God? ".

     


    30/05/2016 - INDIA

    Bandra, BJP politician finances convent restructuring

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Ashish Shelar is a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. He offered his own money because "here every person is welcomed and the sisters are serving the community." Prarthanalaya (house of prayer) is a complex that houses the convent of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master and a chapel.


     


    30/05/2016 - RUSSIA - VATICAN

    Msgr. Migliore, nuncio in Russia. The Moscow Patriarchate’s hopes for collaboration

    by Nina Achmatova

    Orthodox secretary for inter-Christian relations: "One of the most expert diplomats, we hope to contribute to developing relations between the two Churches, now growing after the Patriarch and the Pope’s meeting in Cuba."


    30/05/2016 - THAILAND

    Bangkok’s "floating market": doing business while respecting the environment and tradition

    by Weena Kowitwanij

    Chuchan Chuan, 62, has created a system of stalls on the capital’s Ladmayon canal, where local merchants display their products. However, because of river pollution, the market is likely to be stopped. Chuchan paddles down the river with his boat alone cleaning up the garbage ignored by everyone: "The pollution problem is resolved sporadically and with a person’s own hands."

     


    30/05/2016 - SAUDI ARABIA - IRAN

    Last efforts at negotiation between Riyadh and Tehran fails. No Iranian Hajj pilgrims


    For the first time in 30 years no citizen of the Islamic Republic will participate in the most important Muslim pilgrimage. Iran says insurmountable "obstacles" have been placed in the way, Riyadh wants to "block the path that leads to Allah." Saudis says the conditions posed by Tehran are "unacceptable."

     


    29/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Whoever proclaims Jesus is called to serve and whoever serves announces Jesus


    At the Jubilee of Deacons, Pope Francis noted that being both apostle and servant means being "two sides of the same coin". Whoever serves should not be “a slave to his own agenda”; instead, he should “be ever ready to deal with the unexpected” as well as “God’s constant surprises”.


    28/05/2016 - SYRIA

    As Raqaa gets ready for an attack, IS gets to flee into the desert


    Kurdish come within 45 kilometres of the city. Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohamad Al Adnani is already talking about “defeat” and “pullout”. US servicemen helping Kurdish fighters on the ground irks Turkey. An autonomous Syrian Kurdistan is in the making.


    28/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Faisalabad: hundreds of Christians protest police brutality against their pastor

    by Shafique Khokhar

    For two days, Christians have protested demanding justice from the authorities, but to no avail. On 19 May, police agents raided the church where Kamal Chugtai was celebrating Mass. They beat the pastor and intimidated the faithful. They want “to silence us,” he said, “but we shall not be silenced; we shall continue to raise our voice on behalf of minorities.”


    28/05/2016 - INDONESIA

    Jakarta archbishop calls for conversion to meet the environmental urgency in country’s forests

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    In a pastoral letter, Mgr Ignatius Suharyo calls on the faithful to heed the plea in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si. Pollution and deforestation have placed a huge burden on Indonesia’s environment. In the past 15 years, some ten million acres of forests have been lost. Working for the environment meets a moral call and needs new rules of conduct.


    28/05/2016 - VATICAN – SINGAPORE

    Pope meets Singapore president: Church and State collaboration good


    President Tony Tan Keng was received in the Vatican this morning. He also met Secretary of State Card Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Mgr Paul Richard Gallagher. The Church is appreciated in the country, "especially in the educational and social fields".


    28/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Baghdad Patriarch calls on Christians and Muslims to pray for peace between May and Ramadan

    by Joseph Mahmoud

    Baghdad’s Queen of the Rosary Church will host an interfaith prayer against violence and terrorism next Monday. The Chaldean Patriarch launched the initiative, reiterating there are no military options but prayer against conflicts affecting "innocent people". He also urged Muslims to think about renewing their way of thinking and culture.


    27/05/2016 - SENEGAL – CHINA

    China plundering the last forests of Senegal


    In a video shot with a drone, Senegal’s former environment minister denounces rosewood smuggling. Favoured by smugglers and sold to Chinese traders, the precious timber is taken from a region bordering Gambia where native forests have virtually disappeared. Beijing’s neo-imperialism continues in Africa as it gets unfettered assess to raw materials from local leaders without strings attached.


    27/05/2016 - INDIA

    Modi after two years: economic boom, and Hindu nationalist revival


    India’s PM acknowledges the huge task ahead. More economic growth, investments and largescale projects are still to come. However, this has included a crackdown on freedom of expression, and tense relations with India’s neighbours, upset by its geopolitical ambitions.


    27/05/2016 - JAPAN

    Obama in Hiroshima: after “death fell from the sky”, a world without nuclear weapons


    The first sitting US president to visit a city devastated by a US atomic bomb embraced a survivor and remembered the innocent who died. The US leader offered not apologies but called for a “moral awakening”. He also praised “one of the greatest alliances in the world between the United States and Japan.”


    27/05/2016 - EGYPT-ISLAM-VATICAN

    Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the said and the "unsaid"

    by Samir Khalil Samir

    There are many positive aspects in the meeting between the Pope and the supreme Sunni authority, along with silence on some issues. For Al Tayyib Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. But Isis uses the black flag of Muhammad, the prophet's sword, the sentences of the Koran. The terrorists take their bloodthirsty statements from many imams. The urgency of a new renaissance of Islam, reinterpreting tradition in modernity: a task interrupted by fundamentalism.
     


    27/05/2016 - EGYPT

    Extremist attack on Coptic woman in Minya due to pretext, sparks outrage, says Fr Rafic


    For the spokesman of the Catholic Church, the attack in Karma was sparked by hearsay. A 70-year-old woman was paraded naked. Seven homes were torched and stores looted as mob chanted “Allahu Akbar”. Terrorist groups are active in the area. Christians and Muslims slam the sad and painful incident.


    27/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Death squad nightmare returns to the Philippines


    Ferdinando Marcos’ infamous “special forces” were abolished with the fall of his dictatorship. President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly praised them, and, as mayor of Davao, has apparently re-established them turning the city into a security fortress. In the past week, gunmen have shot eight alleged drug dealers. For Cebu archbishop, the new president has a tendency to change his statements.


    27/05/2016 - NEPAL

    Kathmandu uncovers cocaine racket selling drugs to Europe

    by Christopher Sharma

    Four people of different nationalities arrested. 2.6 kilos of drugs and 1.3 million rupees Seized. The band refers to Nigeria but has contacts with all continents. Political instability and corruption have encouraged the growth of trafficking in the country.


    27/05/2016 - INDONESIA

    Justice and Peace: the death penalty "is unnecessary and wrong", Indonesia is too corrupt

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Jakarta has announced the imminent execution of 15 detainees. Fr. Siswantoko, Executive Secretary of the Commission, criticizes gaps in the judicial system, which does not guarantee the punishment of the guilty and condemns the innocent: "The death penalty is not a deterrent to drug dealers. Many of them continue to work from behind bars".


    27/05/2016 - JAPAN - G7

    Migrants and tensions with Beijing closes Iseshima G7


    The leaders gathered in Japan express "concern" about the tensions in Asia caused by the "renewed protagonism" of China, and define the migrant crisis "a global problem to be addressed on a global level". Each nation should strive to resolve the crisis with the means deemed most appropriate, the real issue is the need "to strengthen global demand while maintaining debt at sustainable levels."


    27/05/2016 - BANGLADESH

    "Secular" Publisher: Bangladesh, a land of terror for writers and free thinkers

    by Sumon Corraya

    Mahbub Leelen is the founder of the Shuddhashar publishing house. He was recently honored for his "courage in publishing texts even in the face of political persecution." The publisher denounces the complicity of the government with the Islamic forces. "We all live in fear, we are forced to hide and to seek safe places to live and continue to write."


    27/05/2016 - SYRIA - UN

    UN: Syria peace talks in deadlock, no meeting in the near future


    The special envoy Staffan de Mistura confirms that there are no further meetings scheduled within the next three weeks. Oppositions constrain the resumption of talks to end the violence and the distribution of aid. On the ground continue the violence increasingly puts the fragile truce at risk.


     


    26/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: “doing” the Eucharist with Jesus and breaking the bread and our life to “feed” our brothers


    Francis celebrated Corpus Domini in St John Lateran. “How many mothers, how many fathers, together with the slices of bread they provide each day on the tables of their homes, have broken their hearts to let their children grow, and grow well!  How many Christians, as responsible citizens, have broken their own lives to defend the dignity of all, especially the poorest, the marginalized and those discriminated!”






    Editor's choices

    IRAQ
    Baghdad Patriarch calls on Christians and Muslims to pray for peace between May and Ramadan

    Joseph Mahmoud

    Baghdad’s Queen of the Rosary Church will host an interfaith prayer against violence and terrorism next Monday. The Chaldean Patriarch launched the initiative, reiterating there are no military options but prayer against conflicts affecting "innocent people". He also urged Muslims to think about renewing their way of thinking and culture.


    EGYPT-ISLAM-VATICAN
    Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the said and the "unsaid"

    Samir Khalil Samir

    There are many positive aspects in the meeting between the Pope and the supreme Sunni authority, along with silence on some issues. For Al Tayyib Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. But Isis uses the black flag of Muhammad, the prophet's sword, the sentences of the Koran. The terrorists take their bloodthirsty statements from many imams. The urgency of a new renaissance of Islam, reinterpreting tradition in modernity: a task interrupted by fundamentalism.
     


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