27 July 2016
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    26/07/2016 - POLAND - CHINA - WYD

    The government yesterday blocked a group of 50 young pilgrims who had already boarded a plane bound for Krakow. Interrogated for hours by immigration, they were "admonished" and sent home with orders not to contact anyone abroad. Meanwhile, "young Chinese Catholics" hang around central World Youth Day locations in groups of five or six, with the task of spying on fellow countrymen. They work for cultural institutes or Chinese companies in Poland.


    by Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi

    26/07/2016 - POLAND – CHINA – WYD

    "Our dream is to bring World Youth Day to China, despite government obstacles”


    The big Chinese delegation in Krakow for 31st World Youth Days has not lost hope. “The government has done so much to discourage us, but they cannot win all the time.” One day the Pope “will celebrate young people in China." Participants express the joy and the wonder of being in Poland. “Religious aspect of this trip aside, the trip is a source of wonder. At home, it is like living in a kind of cultural prison”; what impresses here “the most so far is meeting the world.”


    26/07/2016 - CHINA

    General Guo Boxiong gets life for corruption


    A former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and Politburo member, the senior officer used his influence to get promotions and took bribes. However, many believe his real crime was his loyalty to former president Jiang Zemin, not current leader Xi Jinping, and maintaining close ties with him even after he left office.


    26/07/2016 - ISLAM - EUROPE

    Fr Samir: Islamic terror in France and Germany a crisis of integration, but above all of politics

    by Samir Khalil Samir

    The kidnapping and murder of a priest near Rouen (France) and the various attacks in Würzburg, Munich, Ansbach (Germany) were carried out by young people, who were indoctrinated with ease. Germany was a model for the integration of refugees. But radical Islam cannot be assimilated. It is supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. There is no other road other than integration. But we must tell the truth: the Koran contains elements of war and violence. Western politicians suffer from ignorance and a loss of all moral sentiment.


    26/07/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    PIME missionary thanks God for ceasefire between government and Communist rebels


    Fr Peter Geremia speaks about renewed talks between the government and the New People's Army. About 150,000 people have died in 50 years of guerrilla war. President Duterte announced the ceasefire in his first state of the nation address. “It was high time to end this conflict” that harms “civilians caught between the two sides.”


    26/07/2016 - INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh: abducted and beaten, two Christians are arrested by police for "forced conversions"

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Rev Ramlal Kori, a Pentecostal minister, and a friend named Nandalal were abducted by Hindu radicals in the village of Gadra, dragged into the forest and beaten with sticks. The police found them eight hours later tied to a tree. Instead of arresting the criminals, the authorities detained the Christians on the basis of the state’s anti-conversion law.


    26/07/2016 - SRI LANKA

    WYD in Krakow 28 young Sri Lankans "for a great spiritual and life experience"

    by Melani Manel Perera

    The group will also perform a Sinhalese and Tamil dance, and nearly had to leave some members behind over a visa problem. "We started to pray in groups" and finally "we received a miracle".


    26/07/2016 - MYANMAR

    For bishop of Kalay, faith grows in diocese affected by depopulation


    Mgr Felix Lian Khen Thang talks about the life of the Church in Chin State, where Christians are the majority. Catholics are only 6 per cent, but their numbers are growing. “Some people come back from foreign lands” after seeking work abroad. The Holy Year and preparing for WYD have seen a flourishing of works of mercy and a greater awareness of confession and “God’s forgiveness".


    26/07/2016 - TURKEY - USA

    Without Fethullah Gülen extradition, Turkey-US relations in danger


    The religious leader is accused of being the mastermind behind the "failed coup". But some analysts say the coup "succeeded" because it has given Erdogan total power. Media campaign against Gülen and the United States. West's growing mistrust of Turkey.


    26/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Dhaka, nine Islamic militants killed by police

    by Sumon Corraya

    The "Storm 26" operation lasted about an hour. It involves special forces, police and anti-terrorism agents. Yesterday evening the police were attacked by grenades by militants shouting "Allahu Akbar" and returned fire in a blitz. It is the first anti-terrorist operation since Dhaka massacre.


    26/07/2016 - JAPAN

    "Euthanasia for Disabled": 19 disabled persons killed by 26-year old Japanese


    The murderer, Satoshi Uematsu, had worked in the center that houses 150 disabled. He had written to parliament seeking euthanasia for the disabled who can not "be active in society." He turned himself in to the police with a bag full of knives still dirty with blood.


    25/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore, 207 children abducted in 2016: fears of sexual abuse racket

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Most of the children lived in a poor neighborhood of the city. No ransom demanded: fears of possible trafficking. This month 20 disappeared, children and adolescents; the bodies of four of them were found in garbage bags and dumped in landfills.


    25/07/2016 - JAPAN

    "Rent a friend": New boom of increasingly lonely Japanese society


    Boom in number of people who pay out 1000 yuan per hour for conversation with a stranger. The "ossan" men between 45 and 55 years, are paid to listen to people and their problems, which can not be told to friends and family. A psychologist: "The Japanese have a hard time finding someone to confide in."


    25/07/2016 - INDIA - WYD

    Msgr. D'Souza, the Church and the world need the young


    The talents of young people, their energy, their creativity and their leadership are needed. The "challenges" to be "joyful proclaimers" of the love of God and the Gospel, defenders of human life, promoting sustainable development, future leaders of ecclesial and social life and bearers of ethical values, capable of transforming the world.


    25/07/2016 - POLAND - VATICAN - WYD

    Saint John Paul II and Sister Faustina, "angels" of WYD youth


    Krakow is full of images of the two saints closely linked to Divine Mercy. Young people "want to learn more" about them: long queues of children and young people at info points - Poles and non - explain the life and works of the “champions of the faith". President Duda gave five days of leave to soldiers under 35: "This is a time when should only think of peace." And the Pope on Twitter: "It will be a pilgrimage of faith and fraternity".


    25/07/2016 - VIETNAM

    WYD far from Krakow: faith is “reborn” among Vietnamese youth

    by Thanh Thúy

    Thousands of young people who would have liked to have travelled to Krakow for WYD could not do so for economic reasons. Yet, they are committed to praying for the pope and putting into practice his message of mercy. Many students join charities and save money to donate to the poor.  Young people need to become “protagonists” in the life of the Church.


    25/07/2016 - LEBANON

    A patriarch on the borders

    by Fady Noun

    25/07/2016 - NEPAL

    Nepali prime minister's resignation leaves field open for Maoists

    by Christopher Sharma

    K P Sharma Oli avoids showdown in parliament ahead of opposition no confidence motion. His successor designate is Maoist leader Prachanda who is under investigation for crimes during the country’s civil war. Analysts stress the need for stable leadership to rebuild the country.


    25/07/2016 - POLAND – VATICAN – WYD

    WYD in Krakow, a “bridge of love and closeness for the Catholics in mainland China”

    by Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi

    A small informal delegation from Taiwan came to Poland to meet with mainland Chinese Catholics.  For its members, “it is very difficult for us to show our love and support to our brothers and sisters” in the mainland. Teresa Wang, from Kaohsiung’s Rosary Cathedral wants to work with disabled people in the mainland, “But political tensions between Beijing and Taipei make this wish almost impossible." An appeal is made to bishops not to forget religious freedom in Asia.


    25/07/2016 - ISRAEL – SAUDI ARABIA

    Saudi delegation meets Israeli officials in Jerusalem to discuss Iran and Palestine peace initiative

    by Joshua Lapide

    After a year, Israel and Saudi Arabia make public their talks on Mideast "challenges". Opposed to last year’s Iranian nuclear deal, the two talk about the stalled 2002 Arab peace imitative based on diplomatic relations in exchange for peace and the creation of a Palestinian state.


    25/07/2016 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Restoration on Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem reveals new findings and splendid mosaics (photos)


    Work on transepts reveals mosaics hidden for centuries: Ascension of Christ with Mary, the apostles and angels, the incredulity of Saint Thomas, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and fragments of the transfiguration scene. Artist’s name appears on a 12th century mosaic.


    24/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Appeals and prayer for Munich and Kabul massacres. The prayer of Our Father


    At the Angelus, Pope Francis makes the pilgrims pray for the victims of terrorist attacks in Germany and Afghanistan, against the "dark security and peace prospects." "The word 'Father' is the 'secret' of the prayer of Jesus, is the key that He gives to us so we too can enter into that confidential relationship of dialogue with the Father who accompanied and supported all his life”. The Pope’s upcoming trip for World Youth Day in Krakow, from 27 July.


    23/07/2016 - POLAND - VATICAN - WYD

    Krakow, young people from all over the world and high alert for WYD


    A few days before the opening of the 13th World Youth Day security levels have been raised at Wawel, in the Market Square and the rest of the historic center. But the "peaceful" invasion of the young people is filling the  streets with colour. The first vocational stands and “street confessionals” are appearing, ready for the events led by the pontiff. A Taiwanese delegation travels 42 hours to reach the cultural capital of Poland: "exhausting but beautiful".


    23/07/2016 - CHINA

    Flood hit Xingtai inhabitants against police: silence and futile efforts to save children from flood (video)


    Rains hit northern, northeast and central China. In Xingtai (Hebei) the local government has kept silent on the victims. According to the population there were no alerts and aid is not enough.


    23/07/2016 - INDIA - AFGHANISTAN

    Judith D'Souza, Indian Catholic worker kidnapped in Afghanistan, is freed

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    She was kidnapped on June 9. It is not known whether a ransom was paid. She worked in Afghanistan in an Aga Khan NGO to raise awareness of women’s rights. The family overjoyed.


    23/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Mymensingh, a tribal Catholic elected to Parliament

    by Sumon Corraya

    Jewel Areng is the youngest member of Parliament and is also the only Catholic. He has won in the constituency left vacant after the death of his father. His parent was Minister for Social Welfare and was well respected among Muslims. The local Church hopes the new deputy will follow his father's footsteps and work for the good of the population.


    23/07/2016 - INDONESIA

    West Java, nuns against corruption: a seminar to deepen awareness and initiatives

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    A group of 36 Franciscan Sisters of Sukabumi hold a three-day meeting. The event organized by Bhumiksara Foundation, in collaboration with the Bishops' Conference. Morality, intelligence and awareness against a "rampant" phenomenon.


    23/07/2016 - IRAQ

    Mesopotamian Marshes Unesco heritage site. Mar Sako: archeology worth more than oil

    by Joseph Mahmoud

    The Chaldean Patriarch welcomes the inclusion of three archaeological sites and four natural areas among World Heritage Sites. Part of the new sites are located in the site of the biblical Garden of Eden. Sako appeals to institutions: to protect this patrimony we need "peace and stability."


    22/07/2016 - LIBYA

    Oil exports resume from the ports of As Sidr and Ra’s Lanuf


    Oil exports are expected to bring stability to the war-torn country. The area in question is a major oil hub and can deliver up to 900,000 barrels a day.


    22/07/2016 - INDONESIA

    Wives “belong” to husbands, hence Indonesian Ulema against women’s pictures on social media

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Muslim Cleric Council leader in Palu, central Sulawesi, calls for fines of up to US$ 1,500 for married women who post pictures of themselves online. “Provocative” pictures endanger marriages and are an insult to husbands. In Islam, a woman’s beauty “belongs” to her husband.


    22/07/2016 - CHINA - TIBET

    Chinese authorities bring demolition of Buddhist Larung Gar center forward


    The center houses up to 10 thousand Tibetan and Chinese people. The authorities want to reduce the number of monks and nuns. They suspect that the monastery has ties with "separatist forces in exile". Religious freedom shrinking since Xi Jinping became president. Similar to case of Zhejiang’s crosses and churches.






    Editor's choices

    POLAND - CHINA - WYD
    Beijing's tricks and violence to stop Chinese youth from reaching WYD

    Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi

    The government yesterday blocked a group of 50 young pilgrims who had already boarded a plane bound for Krakow. Interrogated for hours by immigration, they were "admonished" and sent home with orders not to contact anyone abroad. Meanwhile, "young Chinese Catholics" hang around central World Youth Day locations in groups of five or six, with the task of spying on fellow countrymen. They work for cultural institutes or Chinese companies in Poland.


    POLAND – CHINA – WYD
    "Our dream is to bring World Youth Day to China, despite government obstacles”



    The big Chinese delegation in Krakow for 31st World Youth Days has not lost hope. “The government has done so much to discourage us, but they cannot win all the time.” One day the Pope “will celebrate young people in China." Participants express the joy and the wonder of being in Poland. “Religious aspect of this trip aside, the trip is a source of wonder. At home, it is like living in a kind of cultural prison”; what impresses here “the most so far is meeting the world.”


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