25 July 2016
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    25/07/2016 - POLAND – VATICAN – WYD

    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.


    by Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi

    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.


    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 - 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

    Patriarch al-Rahi’s visit to Qaa shows the sense of joint responsibility of Christian Churches in the Middle East. Careerism remains a temptation. The laity involved in politics is incoherent.


    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.


    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.


    22/07/2016 - ASIA – WYD

    Card Gracias: young Asians bring Asian values to World Youth Day in Krakow

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    "Our Asian pilgrims not only bring the grandeur, the vitality and beauty of Asia, but also the multi-cultural diversity, pluralism as well as Asian values of hospitality and family and, of course, the Church of the young.” Asia youth come to discover Krakow and the charisma of John Paul II, founder of the WYD.


    22/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: the Church and the world are still in need of contemplative religious


    Apostolic Constitution "Dei Vultum quaerere – Seeking the Face of God" indicates 12 "themes of reflection and discernment" on women’s contemplative life in general. Yes to social media, but not  as a means of "wasting time or escaping from the demands of fraternal life in community". No to "recruiting" sisters to avoid closing monasteries. Prayer “must enlarge your heart to embrace all humanity, especially those who suffer” and not close monastic life in on itself.


    22/07/2016 - PAKISTAN – WYD

    Young Pakistanis to meet pope in Krakow

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    A delegation of 11 people will come from Pakistan, including five youth leaders, like Viviana Natalie Rodrigues, 26, and Zeeshan Bais, 25. The first set up her parish’s Facebook page and will post pictures and comments from Poland during the whole week. The second is making a spiritual journey in preparation for the trip.


    22/07/2016 - INDIA

    Mary Magdalene: woman, contemplative, apostle

    by Sr Marie Gemma, Ocd

    Starting now, the memory of St. Mary Magdalene is raised to the level of celebration, by expressed wish of Pope Francis. Sr Marie Gemma, Carmelite prioress in Baroda, explains the value of this saint, the first who announced the resurrection, a sign of the greatness of the feminine genius.


    22/07/2016 - INDIA

    Charged with recruiting terrorists in Kerala, under influence of preacher who instigated Dhaka massacre


    Arshid Qureshi is the public relations manager with the Islamic Research Foundation. He is accused of having converted 15 young people of Kerala to Islam, who then disappeared from home to fight with the Islamic State. Circle tightening around Salafi preacher Zakir Naik, after ban on his television programs in Bangladesh.


    22/07/2016 - LAOS - THAILAND

    Laotians arrested, held in isolation for criticizing government on social media


    The three were detained for criticizing the government and the ruling Communist Party while working in Thailand. The police detained them earlier this year when they returned home to renew their passports. Increased censorship ahead of ASEAN foreign minister’s summit.


    22/07/2016 - CHINA

    Former village chief of Wukan arrested for corruption. But people support him


    Lin Zuluan has "confessed" his misdeeds on television, but people continue to demonstrate for his release, waving red flags.


    21/07/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Young Sri Lankan Catholics and Anglicans seeking unity

    by Melani Manel Perera

    An Anglican and Roman Catholic Joint Youth Conference is held on “so that they may be one” (Jn, 17-22). Young Catholic and Anglican leaders meet to learn “how to become a true disciple of God” and put it in practice in the future.


    21/07/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Church and Pakistani activists call for swift law against ‘honour killings’

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Prime Minister Sharif’s daughter calls on parliament to legislate after the murder of Qandeel Baloch, a famous model and blogger who was killed by her brother to cleanse the family’s lost honour. A bill against honour killings has been languishing in parliament for years. However, for Muslim teacher, such a law would “make an already complicated issue even more complicated.”


    21/07/2016 - INDIA

    Attack against four Dalits for skinning cow sparks mass protests in Gujarat


    A group of cow vigilantes brutally beat four men for harming sacred animal. Prime Minister Modi’s home state is now in turmoil and voters’ dissatisfaction might negative impact the BJP's campaign among low caste voters.


    21/07/2016 - TURKEY

    Erdogan declares state of emergency to eradicate terrorist "virus" behind failed coup


    During the three-month state of emergency, the rights of assembly, publishing, broadcasting and movement will be suspended. Some 20,000 teachers have been fired. According to Erdogan, Fethullah Gülen and "other states" are behind the coup.


    21/07/2016 - SYRIA

    Horror in Aleppo: "moderate" rebel group beheads Palestinian child


    The Nour al-Din al-Zenki movement beheads 11-year old Abdallah Issa shouting "Allah Akbar". The child was executed for collaborating with government forces. Before he died he was tortured. The group’s leaders try to back away from the barbaric killing. The group is supported by Turkey, the US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.


    21/07/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Dhaka government says at least 11 NGOs fund terrorist groups

    by Sumon Corraya

    The organizations receive money since 2012. The funds come from the Middle East countries - such as Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - and the UK. Islamist groups have opened schools, madrassas, hospitals and training centers. At least 231 associations bankrolled terrorism, with 500 thousand employees throughout the country.


    21/07/2016 - NEPAL

    Kathmandu: Eight Christians on trial for proselytising, i.e. handing out copies of the Bible


    Local sources complain that the authorities are carrying out a crackdown against the local Christian community. This is the first trial related to religious freedom since the country’s secular Constitution came into effect in 2015. The defendants are out on bail. Trial set to start on 23 July.






    Editor's choices

    ASIA – WYD
    Card Gracias: young Asians bring Asian values to World Youth Day in Krakow

    Nirmala Carvalho

    "Our Asian pilgrims not only bring the grandeur, the vitality and beauty of Asia, but also the multi-cultural diversity, pluralism as well as Asian values of hospitality and family and, of course, the Church of the young.” Asia youth come to discover Krakow and the charisma of John Paul II, founder of the WYD.


    SYRIA
    Horror in Aleppo: "moderate" rebel group beheads Palestinian child



    The Nour al-Din al-Zenki movement beheads 11-year old Abdallah Issa shouting "Allah Akbar". The child was executed for collaborating with government forces. Before he died he was tortured. The group’s leaders try to back away from the barbaric killing. The group is supported by Turkey, the US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.


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