05 2016
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    05/05/2016 - SYRIA

    Last night “a partial and shaky" ceasefire went into effect between the two sides at war. Jihadist groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda excluded. Fundamental  role of diplomatic pressure from Russia and the United States, concerned about the escalation of violence. In less than two weeks 300 civilian casualties in the northern capital.

     




    05/05/2016 - INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh, Hindu extremists stone Protestant church

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The incident happened in the early hours of this morning. According to the fundamentalists, two parishioners damaged saffron flags (the symbol color of Hindu nationalism) exposed outside the church for the festival of Rama. The US religious freedom Commission's report confirms the escalation of violence against Christians in India.

     


    05/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Lipa, 10 thousand people march against coal plants


    Led by their Archbishop, the protesters are asking the president who will be elected on 9 May to dismantle all polluting power plants in the country. Msgr. Arguelles: "We are in the middle of a planetary emergency. We only use fossil fuels”. The energy needs of the nation are great, some areas there without power for 4-5 hours a day. Regional superior: "We hope that there is power at least on election day."


    04/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Abu Sayyaf’s escalating violence due to political strife in Mindanao


    Terrorists release a video in which they threaten to kill three more hostages. Source tells AsiaNews that Jihadi group’s greater activity has been facilitated by the election campaign for the governorship in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Militants are a “tool of political propaganda”. The region has one of the most corrupt governments in the country, and “has dealings with Jihadis”.


    04/05/2016 - NEPAL

    Against Hindu discrimination, widows wear dress in protest

    by Christopher Sharma

    According to Hindu tradition, when a woman loses her husband she becomes impure, cannot honour the gods, nor sing or dance. She can only wear white. Child widows and women in arranged marriages are also victims. However, Nepal’s new constitution bans violence in the name of religion, traditions, or culture.


    04/05/2016 - SOUTH KOREA

    Sisters Marianne and Margaret, a life on a mission for lepers, quietly


    The two Austrian nuns spent 40 years on Sorok Island as nurses in a sanatorium for Hansen's disease patients. Despite a climate of fear and marginalisation, they treated patients trying to restore their dignity. Old and fearing they might become a burden on their hospital, they left, quietly. After they were invited for a final farewell, many of the children and grandchildren of the 6,000 patients hoped to see them.


    04/05/2016 - CHINA

    Authorities in Henan warn workers against suicide threats over back wages


    Zhengzhou wants to punish migrant workers who threaten suicide to get what is owed to them, a growing practice that has caught the attention of national media. At the same time, the authorities want employers to set up accounts for workers who are not paid on time, and plan a score point system to rank companies.


    04/05/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Axes, ploughs, and pitchforks at the altar: Sri Lanka workers against forced labour (Video)

    by Melani Manel Perera

    The religious service was held at St Michael's Church in Colombo, with red flags and ornaments everywhere. Workers laid down their tools in front of the altar asking for God’s intercession for an end to the struggle and forced labour.


    04/05/2016 - SYRIA

    Pastor of Aleppo: Missiles on hospitals, schools and mosques. Call for Masses for peace worldwide


    The leaders of the Catholic communities of Aleppo launch an appeal: Masses and prayers around the world on Sunday for an end to violence in the city. Yesterday 17 children died when a hospital in the government sector was hit. The university also targeted with students hiding for hours in the basements to escape the bombs. Father Ibrahim: The situation is dramatic we need compassion and mercy.


    04/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope urges Christians to avoid “stink” of herd mentality


    God does not know culture of waste, for Jesus the Good Shepherd, "there is no such thing as sheep lost forever”, but only sheep that have yet to be found. "The only way to gather the flock together is to follow the path outlined by the mercy of the shepherd. While searching for the lost sheep, he calls on the ninety-nine to reunite the flock".


    04/05/2016 - TURKEY-EU

    With many "ifs" and "buts" the European Union set to grant freedom of movement for Turks


    The Commission gives the green light, but the agreement must be approved by the European Parliament and member states. Turkey’s many contradictions: violence against freedom of the press, of speech, assembly, and against minorities.


    04/05/2016 - CHINA

    Chinese government must "work to increase birth rate. Or face system collapse"


    Yi Fuxian, one of the best known opponents of the one-child law, said the easing of family control policies are not enough: "Beijing will soon find that it is much more difficult to increase the birth rate than empty cradles". But doctors in Shanghai and the capital foresee a "baby boom" for 2016


    04/05/2016 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Saudi giant Binladen Group in crisis, 77 thousand foreign workers laid off


    50 thousand workers refuse to leave the country claiming wages in arrears. 12 thousand contracts with Saudi workers and employees also at risk. The Saudi official unemployment rate is 11.5%, but the real figure could be much higher. Government's plan to disengage from the oil economy.


    04/05/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Israeli jailed for life: he kidnapped a young Palestinian and burned him alive


    The court sentenced 31 year old Yosef Haim Ben David for the horrible crime.  He is the leader of a gang that in 2014 killed the 16 year old Mohammed Abu Khdair. Insanity plea rejected. The father of the young man killed applauds the verdict. Meanwhile, Israel continues to demolish homes of Palestinian youths suspected of violence.


    03/05/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Workshop in Dhaka to train young Catholic writers

    by Sumon Corraya

    The 24th edition of a creative writing workshop ended today, organised by the Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement along with the Bishops’ Conference. Some 35 students followed courses taught by professionals in literature and publishing. For organisers, these youths will play “an important role in the life of the country” and the Church.


    03/05/2016 - CHINA

    After burying woman alive, authorities in China return land to her church


    Ding Cuimei died on 14 April defending the Beitou church from demolition. The authorities acknowledge they have no legal claim to the land, which belongs to dead woman’s husband, Rev Li Jiangong. Local Christians demand justice.


    03/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistan honours Christian politician in new postage stamp

    by Shafique Khokhar

    03/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Islamic State attacks the Christian village of Teleskuf, in the Nineveh plain


    Some Christians guarding the village are wounded, and rushed to hospital. Residents had fled in August 2014 when Daesh stormed the region. Lately, the village had been under the control of Peshmerga and Christian volunteers. The Chaldean Patriarchate fears Jihadi attacks will drive out more people.


    03/05/2016 - MALAYSIA

    Kampar: soup kitchen "is a small way to let others know about the presence of God”


    With the Jubilee of Mercy, the Sacred Heart parish has begun to run a soup kitchen with volunteers helping to prepare up to 200 meals each Saturday, including university students and lecturers. The food is handed out near the local market where the needy line up. As volunteers meet the poor, “their eyes are opened to the needs of others,” said Fr Tan who is behind the initiative.


    03/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: There are many Christians who are "mummified" or "vagabond" or "stubborn" or, finally, "halfway"


    There are many "confused" Christians who do not follow the only "right path" that is Jesus. "How am I on this Christian journey? Standing still, on the wrong road, hanging around, only stopping for things that I like or following Jesus  who said 'I am the way!'? Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to walk the right path, forever! And when you get tired, take a little refreshment and carry on. Let us ask for this grace. "

     


    03/05/2016 - INDIA - ITALY

    Widow of Indian fisherman: Let Italian marines return home


    Dora Jelastine is the wife of Valentine, mistaken for a pirate by the two Italian marines. Yesterday, the Hague Tribunal decided that Salvatore Girone will return to Italy until the end of the arbitration proceedings. Rome expresses satisfaction, Delhi throws doubt on ruling accusing Italy of "misconstruing the judgment."

     


    03/05/2016 - MIDDLE EAST

    Growing corruption in Arab countries, Lebanon and Yemen worst of all


    According to the study conducted by Transparency International in nine Arab countries, 92% of Lebanese and 84% of Yemenis say corruption is on the rise. By contrast, only 28% of Egyptians and 26% of Algerians believe that the situation is getting worse. Tunisia only note of hope: 71% believe that even ordinary people "can make a difference" in the fight against corruption.

     


    03/05/2016 - INDIA

    Andhra Pradesh: Priest among 14 arrested for bishop's kidnapping

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Fr. Raja Reddy is from the same diocese as Mgr. Gallela Prasad. The bishop was kidnapped and locked up a facility run by the priest. The police speak of kidnapping for ransom, injury, damage and criminal conspiracy. The kidnappers had already attempted the kidnapping four times.


    03/05/2016 - VIETNAM

    Chemicals in the sea: thousands of people without food

    by Paul N. Hung

    Tens of thousands of dead fish litter central coast of the country. The government has not yet given an answer to causes, but independent experts blame local steel company. An underwater pipe uncovered, it had polluted the coast for years. Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City: "Let us pray for our brothers and sisters affected by the tragedy."


    03/05/2016 - CHINA

    Web giant Baidu under scrutiny after man seeking cures for cancer dies

    by John Ai

    A young man, suffering from synovial sarcoma, trusts “medical advice” found on most popular search engine and dies after spending hundreds of thousands of yuan. His death unleashes public ire against companies that pay to obtain "best result" in the online searches. Hospitals also under fire; now entire departments are outsourced to private health companies.


    02/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistan’s trade unions in the streets for workers’ rights

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Hundreds of people took to the streets yesterday in favour of ‘a living wage’. Trade unions denounce the exploitation of women and children as well as low wages. The Asian Human Rights Commission slam collusion between officials and businesses.


    02/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Punjab: Muslims fund the construction of a Catholic church

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    The new church is being built in Khalsabad, a village near Gojra. The mud chapel used by eight local Catholic families was destroyed in the last monsoon. Muslim farmers and businesses gave financial support. For a Catholic clergyman, "This is a dialogue of life," even though Pakistan is famous for its violence.


    02/05/2016 - IRAN - SOUTH KOREA

    Seoul and Tehran agree to a record US$ 45 billion in MoUs


    President Park Geun-hye met her counterpart Hassan Rouhani to ink MoUs in infrastructure and energy. This is the main trade understanding in S Korea’s history. Leaders call for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and eradicating terrorism in the Middle East.


    02/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    CBCP: may the upcoming elections be tools of peace and reconciliation


    For Mgr Socrates Villegas, president of the Bishops’ Conference, “One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanour are diametrically opposed”. Winners should not seek revenge, but show respect for "the rights of God’s people enshrined in the Constitution and their demand for justice, unity, progress and peace”.


    02/05/2016 - INDIA

    May Day in India: justice and mercy in the workplace

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Mgr Oswald Lewis heads the Labour Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. He spoke about workers’ conditions, many of whom are unorganised, without health insurance or social security. He stressed the need to eliminate child labour.


    02/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Mar Sako appeals to politicians to stop divisions, focus on shared plans for Iraq’s rebirth

    by Louis Raphael Sako*

    The Chaldean Patriarch sends a tough rebuke against the country’s rulers, who have failed to promote reforms and reconciliation, calling for action against Iraq’s “institutional, economic and security deterioration”. As Green Zone protest ends, government’s wrath begins.






    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card



    In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.


    IRAN
    Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.


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