29 May 2016
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    29/05/2016 - VATICAN

    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 - SRI LANKA

    Caritas Sri Lanka sets up free mobile medical clinics for the poor

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Caritas Colombo set up a mobile clinic in the village of Delathura. Despite being ill and the rains, people came in droves. In a single morning, some 400 people were visited. A private hospital provided medical drugs free of charge.


    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 - 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!”


    26/05/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Caritas hands out aid to flood victims and homeless people

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Heavy rains hit 237,000 people, including some 62,000 forced out of their homes. Death toll now stands at 102. Government has set up 250 sites for people displaced by floods. Catholic bishops have appealed to fellow Sri Lankans’ solidarity, and churches have opened their doors. Catholics and Buddhists are donating money slated for other uses, like personal birthday, and the Buddha’s own birthday.


    26/05/2016 - LEBANON – SOUTH AFRICA

    Patriarch Rahi in South Africa to reinforce the Lebanese identity in the Diaspora

    by Fady Noun

    From 18 to 23 May, the cardinal visited South Africa’s Maronite community. He saw two parishes, opened a gym and laid the first stone of a new hall. The Maronite Foundation in the World’s mandate is to reconnect migrants to their homeland so as to preserve their homeland’s delicate demographic balance.


    26/05/2016 - HONG KONG - CHINA

    Our Lady of Sheshan "helps Chinese Catholics “see hope in the dark"

    by Eugenia Cheung

    Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai, secretary of Propaganda Fide, celebrated Mass in Hong Kong’s St Jude Church on the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians. During the service, he mentioned Fr Peter Yu Heping, who died in mysterious circumstances in 2015, but had great faith in the future of the Church in China.


    26/05/2016 - INDIA – ITALY

    Indian Supreme Court to allow Salvatore Girone to return to Italy right away


    The Italian marine had been held in India for four years. He could go home in a few days. The court accepted his application on humanitarian grounds. He is involved in the Enrica Lexie case in which two Indian fishermen were mistaken for pirates and shot dead. The court has set four conditions for his release, which he must respect or risk going back to India.


    26/05/2016 - INDIA

    Bishop of Pune: The new shrine to St. Anthony, "monument of mercy" for the poor

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The structure will be inaugurated on May 29. The first stone was laid in 2012 by His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio in India. The sanctuary over the years has attracted the faithful of every religion. It became the "symbol of the relations among the faithful." The Bishop of Pune hopes it will foster fraternity and friendship.
     


    26/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Archbishop of Kirkuk: Against violence and extremism, a "wide awake and merciful" Church


    Msgr. Yousif says the upcoming assembly of Chaldean clergy in Erbil must "chart a new path" in an era of "enormous changes and challenges." The priests also "essential" for the Muslims, because they assume a "bridge" role with modernity. The work of Catholic education and health care. The refugees from Mosul witnesses of a faith stronger than terrorism.


    26/05/2016 - INDONESIA

    For Indonesian activists, chemical castration of paedophiles "is legalised revenge"

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    President Joko Widodo signed a decree amending sexual violence legislation. Culprits now face the death penalty or life imprisonment. For Catholic Women’s association, castration is contrary to fundamental human rights and “does not heal” what leads to rape. Medical practice should “never cause further harm.”


    26/05/2016 - CHINA - VATICAN

    Evangelize China for the good of society, demanding an end to persecution

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Official and underground Christians have celebrated the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, wanted by Benedict XVI. In a China marked by individualism and corruption, academics and scholars advise greater freedom for the economy and religious freedom for communities. Religions, viewed with suspicion by the leadership, are actually one of the few glues for a supportive and creative society. The strange silence of some commentators on persecution. The priority is formation of the clergy, the religious, the faithful. Now is the opportune time for the evangelization of China.

     


    26/05/2016 - MYANMAR

    Government returns land confiscated by the military in the north


    The beneficiaries are the residents of Tant-If, in the northwest of the country. Of the 4 thousand acres expropriated under the Ne Win dictatorship, only 1,200 remain in state hands. After 35 years, the junta agricultural project is acknowledged as a failure.

     


    26/05/2016 - SAUDI ARABIA - IRAN

    Riyadh: "Positive" talks with Tehran for Iranian Hajj pilgrims


    Another round of talks between the Iranian delegation and a Saudi representative held yesterday. Discussions focus on visa process for Iranian pilgrims. Deal expected within the next few days. Diplomatic tension between the two regional powers remains high.


    25/05/2016 - MALAYSIA

    An audiobook Bible for tribal Malaysians in Kota Kinabalu


    After a year and a half of work, a Kadazan language version is available for the members of small ethnic groups in Sabah State. For Archbishop Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio to Malaysia, the project is "a significant event in the life of the Church in Kota Kinabalu”, giving many people access to “the history of salvation.”


    25/05/2016 - NEPAL

    As Everest kills again, Nepali authorities try to downplay the challenges

    by Christopher Sharma

    As a result of the 2015 earthquake, old trails and tracks were wiped out, a major blow to one of the mainstays of Nepal’s economy recovers. In recent days, three climbers and a Sherpa died, which has led the authorities to downplay the gravity of the situation, noting that climbing “is not an easy task” and that people do die in accidents.






    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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