01 June 2016
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    31/05/2016 - ASIA

    Five Asian countries have the highest percentages of slaves: North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India and Qatar. The largest number of slaves in the absolute sense is held by India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. Loan sharks also creating slavery. Slavery fueled by businesses in search of cheap labor; organized crime, which exploits human trafficking; the exploitation of man by man. The need for legislation, transparency in production chain, but also a change of mentality to combat consumerist frenzy.

    31/05/2016 - KOREA

    Failed launch in Pyongyang missile test

    South Korean military: "Ready for any eventuality." Uncertainty over type of technology used. The new vice president of the North Korean Workers' Party arrives in China for a visit, "official but not announced".


    31/05/2016 - HONG KONG – CHINA

    Hong Kong to remember 4 June 1989, “On this, there is no doubt”

    Every year, the former British colony remembers the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Hopefully, the Student Federation “will give it a second thought”, and join the vigil, says PIME regional superior. Ding Zilin, founder and soul of the Tiananmen Mothers, will not issue an open letter to the government for the first time in 27 years. The Church continues its commitment to truth and justice.

    31/05/2016 - MYANMAR

    Burmese political exiles may return home, but “more reforms” are needed

    The new NLD-led government will allow activists who fled the military dictatorship to return home within 100 days. For National Youth Congress member Bosco Saw Aung Thu Ya, full democracy requires that “prisoners, activists and students” be released, and that young people take part in national reconciliation. “Unfortunately, there are still restrictions on young people’s participation” in politics.

    31/05/2016 - INDIA – GERMANY

    An Indian bishop attends Germany’s Katholikentag

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The 100th edition of Germany’s Catholics Day was held between 25 and 29 May in Leipzig. Some 30,000 people took part in the event, plus 15,000 visitors. Only 4 per cent of the eastern German city is Catholic; 12 per cent is Protestant. The others are non-believers or indifferent. The gathering included well organised prayers, exhibits, discussions, and conferences.

    31/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Shia leader thanks Iraqi Christians

    by Joseph Mahmoud

    Christian, Muslim, Yazidi and Sabean leaders took part in prayer promoted by the Chaldean Patriarchate. Shia leader Ali Al-Yacoubi thanked "our Christians brothers” for their work. Despite "having suffered lot", they still promote "unity." He called for joint response "against any deed or act of terrorism.”

    31/05/2016 - MALAYSIA – INDONESIA

    Indonesian migrant worker sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    The accused was arrested in 2013 at Penang airport with four kilos of amphetamines in her suitcase. According to some activists, she is yet another victim of traffickers who exploit the desperation of migrant workers. She received the suitcase from people she did not know and was not aware of the content. At least 158 ​​Indonesian nationals are on death row in Malaysia.

    31/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: "how the world would change " if we learnt to serve and reach out to others

    "Christians with a grimace or disgruntled expression on their faces, sad Christians, are a very ugly thing.  It’s really ugly, ugly, ugly. However, they are not fully Christian. They think they are (Christians) but they are not fully so ." "The courage of women. The courageous women who are present in the Church: they are like Mary. Courageous: they get up and help other people”.

    31/05/2016 - CHINA

    Xi Jinping raises the Zhejiang clique, fights the Communist Youth League

    by Willy Lam

    The great expert of Chinese politics looks at the ongoing power struggles within the leading group between Xi Jinping’s clique and those of Hu Jintao’s League and Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai clique. Zhejiang, where Xi worked from 2002 to 2007, has become the new breeding ground for future Sixth Generation leaders, even if they have no special qualities.

    31/05/2016 - INDIA

    Card. Gracias: Deep sorrow for the deaths of soldiers in ammunition depot fire

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Death toll of 17 victims and 19 seriously injured, but out of danger. Around 1000 people evacuated. The deposit is located in Pulgaon, Maharashtra, and is the largest in the country. The explosions occurred in the early hours of this morning. The flames were quelled after several hours.


    31/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Iraqi army launches final offensive for Fallujah, to wrest from Islamic State

    Anti-terrorism squads, the army and police forces are encircling the city. Iraqi and international air force air raids cover the offensive. But the military must overcome the counter-attacks of the jihadists resistance. The fear is that civilians are being used as human shields. IS strikes Baghdad with new attacks, 21 dead.


    30/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Patriarch Sako: Jubilee of mercy and Ramadan provide an opportunity for peace and reconciliation

    by Louis Raphael Sako*

    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.

    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.


    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 - 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."


    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.


    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 - 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.

    Editor's choices

    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.

    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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