20 March 2018
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  • 20/03/2018 - CHINA

    Closing the National People's Congress, the president's address, full of rhetoric, speaks of a "great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream" as a way to achieve progress and stability, development and attention to the person. Just one condition: to submit and obey the Party leadership. Li Keqiang asks the US not to act "emotionally" in launching a possible trade war. The promotion of Xia Baolong, the mastermind behind the campaign to destroy crosses and churches in Zhejiang.

    by Wang Zhicheng

    20/03/2018 - SYRIA - TURKEY

    Hundreds of thousands flee Afrin as rebels sack the city

    Shops, homes, military and government facilities subject to raids and expropriations. The Turkish president announces the continuation of the offensive, Kobane is the final goal. At least 200 thousand civilians have left the area in recent weeks; nearly 300 victims, including 43 children. The deafening silence of the United States and Europe.

    20/03/2018 - KOREA-US

    South Korea and the US to hold 'low profile' military exercises

    "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" will start on March 23rd and April 1st. Kim Jong-un had expressed "understanding" for the "routine" of the exercises, to visiting South Korean officials. South Korean expert: possible exchange currency for negotiations

    20/03/2018 - INDIA

    Delhi Methodist church façade and entrance destroyed

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    According to the authorities, the cemented part was not authorized. Priest denounces not having received any notification. It had been built with church funds to facilitate the entry of elderly people. Sajan K George: "This demolition, during this holy period for the Christian community, hurts the religious feelings of the community and reinforces the growing anti-Christian sentiments and propaganda".

    20/03/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: 'Look to the crucifix' especially when we are tired of life’s journey

    "Such are the illusions the devil proposes. Once we begin to feel the heat of the day on the journey of conversion, the devil makes us see everything we left behind in a beautiful light, when you have not yet reached the promise of the Lord. It is a bit like the journey of Lent ":" there are always trials and the Lord’s consolation".

    20/03/2018 - SRI LANKA

    Nine years after the end of the civil war, the Vanni area is still under military occupation

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Many families are still displaced, without access to their livelihoods. The military are using illegally held land and taking advantage of women. A report by two civil society organisations calls on the government to respect UN recommendations.

    20/03/2018 - THAILAND-LAOS

    Bangkok, life imprisonment for Laotian drug lord 'Mr. X'

    He was the head of a smuggling network that produced the drug in the "Golden Triangle", where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. The Laotian route to the south is increasingly used by traffickers trying to reach Thailand, Malaysia and even Australia and Japan, where profits soar.

    19/03/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope Francis confers episcopal ordination to three new nuncios, tells them prayer is their first task

    The new prelates are Mgr Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, nuncio to Nicaragua; Mgr Alfred Xuereb, nuncio to Korea and Mongolia; and Mgr José Avelino Bettencourt, nuncio to Armenia and Georgia. The Pope emphasised that a bishop’s mission is “the good of men in things that concern God", adding emphatically, “not for business, not for politics, not for other things."

    19/03/2018 - RUSSIA

    Putin IV, 'the Terrible', has won

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    Although the tally is not yet final, Tsar Putin leads with 76.6 per cent of the vote. The "Crimea" effect and the division among liberals contributed to his success. Patriarch Kirill blessed Putin’s victory.

    19/03/2018 - IRAQ

    For the archbishop of Kirkuk, young Christians and Muslims are the engine to rebuild Iraq

    The new generation is the true foundation on which to rebuild after years of divisions, violence and extremism, says Mgr Yousif Thoma Mirkis who met 700 university students from Mosul, lodged in Kirkuk during the Islamic State rule. Two young men from Mosul, one Christian and one Muslim, shot a video telling the story of a friendship that is stronger than the jihadi madness.

    19/03/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: Escaping from the 'poisoned' logic of 'but it's always been that way'

    The pre-Synodal meeting is open, with over 300 young people from all continents, Catholic, Christians and non-believers. A Synod that "wants to be not only a Synod on the 'young and' for 'young people, but also a Synod' of 'young people and' with 'young people". "Too often we talk about young people without questioning you". Anticipation from the new book-interview: "" To understand a young person - you can read it - today you have to understand it in movement, you can’t stand still and expect to be on their wave length”.

    19/03/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Catholics to work with police as Easter security threat level raised

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Special steps are announced for Easter celebrations. Police will train volunteers before Good Friday. The Church has long called for the implementation of a court ruling to train special police task force to protect Catholic places of worship.

    19/03/2018 - INDIA

    Franciscan missionary: rural despair supplies sexual exploitation

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Sexually exploited women and girls do not come out of nothing. They do not choose to become prostitutes; they are tricked into it. Poor areas are vulnerable to traffickers who “dress up their evil as benevolence. “[T]here is always greed, always vulnerability and always deception” as well as a place of “origin – a location”. For the nun, “where I work, I am almost alone. And there are so many like me.”

    19/03/2018 - AUSTRALIA – MYANMAR

    Aung San Suu Kyi visits ASEAN summit, makes state visit to Australia amid controversy

    The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been criticised for her alleged silence over the growing humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state. The emergency was at the centre of talks among ASEAN members at the three-day summit (16-18 March) in Sydney. To resolve it, she is seeking ASEAN’s and Australia’s assistance.

    19/03/2018 - CHINA

    Enter Liu He, the man behind economic reform

    by Wang Zhicheng

    The personal friend and economic advisor to Xi Jinping was named vice-premier. He will be joined by Han Zhen, Sun Chunlan, Hu Chunhua. He is the person who pushes most for economic reforms and for a change in the Chinese development model. The nomination of Yi Gang as governor of the People's Bank of China was also appreciated.


    19/03/2018 - VIETNAM

    Hundreds of Vietnamese nuns in the USA to complete their studies

    by J.B. An Dang

    Private organizations, even foreign ones, can participate in the educational system of the country. So far, the government has never granted permits to private organizations affiliated to the Church. In some cases, nuns can manage nurseries and childcare centers in large cities, if local authorities turn a blind eye.

    19/03/2018 - SYRIA - TURKEY

    Turkish army bends resistance of Afrin’s Kurdish militias and conquers the area

    Turkish soldiers and opposition groups take the city. The statue of a popular figure of Kurdish culture and tradition has been demolished. Ankara intends to continue the operation until "the area is secure". The Kurds promise resistance and announce targeted attacks "at the first opportunity".

    18/03/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: the Crucifix is ​​not an ornament, but a religious sign to be contemplated

    "In the image of Jesus crucified the mystery of the death of the Son of God is revealed as the supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all times". Being, like Jesus, the grain of wheat "means thinking less about oneself, about personal interests, and knowing how to" see "and meet the needs of our neighbors, especially the least among us".

    17/03/2018 - CHINA

    Xi Jinping’s second term unanimously confirmed

    His ally Wang Qishan elected vice president with only one vote against. He was in charge of the fight against corruption and has experience in relations with the US. Xi Jinping consolidates his power.

    17/03/2018 - BANGLADESH

    Abp. Costa: Lent, 40 days to combat selfishness

    by Sumon Corraya

    The Archbishop of Chittagong issues his message in preparation for Easter. Lent is "the right time to renew our faith" and to "perform works of mercy". "We are one body in Christ. Therefore we cannot be indifferent to others who believe in Christ ".

    17/03/2018 - RUSSIA

    A vote to sanction twenty years of Putin

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    Given the certainty of its outcome, the only doubt about the 18 March elections concerns the turnout. Over two decades, the president has built a Russia where wealth is abundant, but is distributed among a few bureaucrats, strong men and oligarchs aligned to them, while most of the population has more or less the same standard of living as during the Soviet Union.

    17/03/2018 - VATICAN - ITALY

    Pope in Pietrelcina: Follow in the footsteps of Padre Pio

    Today Francis visits the birthplace of the saint and San Giovanni Rotondo on the centenary of the appearance of the permanent stigmata of Saint Pio and on the 50th anniversary of his death. In his native country "he was strongly tormented in his heart and he feared to fall into sin, feeling assaulted by the devil". "The devil - he added - tempts us".

    17/03/2018 - IRAQ

    One Iraqi Dominican’s mission to save 'treasures' of culture from jihadist madness

    Fr. Najeeb Michaeel: "A man without culture, is a dead man". With the arrival of the Islamic State, he transferred the religious and cultural heritage from Mosul and Qaraqosh to Iraqi Kurdistan. Today he continues his work teaching Christians and Muslims. Thousands of volumes and century old documents saved thanks to his work.

    17/03/2018 - VATICAN - ITALY

    Pope: Padre Pio, 'apostle of the confessional' who taught to us 'how to become small

    Francis celebrated Mass in San Giovanni Rotondo. Prayer, smallness and wisdom are the fundamental elements of Padre Pio's teaching. The visit to the little sick in the House of relief of suffering.

    16/03/2018 - YEMEN – SAUDI ARABIA

    Saudis and Houthis in secret talks in Oman to end Yemen conflict

    The two sides meet in Oman in their first attempt to end a war that has caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The goal is to reach a comprehensive agreement. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia deposits US$ 2 billion in the Central bank of Yemen.

    16/03/2018 - SRI LANKA

    Doubts over the new TV reconciliation channel because only Tamil can understand it

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Sri Lanka’s national television network opens a new channel dedicated to Tamil culture, identity and religion. For some it is "useless" because it cannot be understood in the south; for others it is "a positive effort” because today's Tamil youth have abandoned their culture in favour of “Western styles".

    16/03/2018 - BANGLADESH

    The manual for the 'perfect terrorist' available online

    by Sumon Corraya

    Police try to block websites that praise holy war. The number of young people radicalised online is growing. The extremist who tried to stab Prof Iqbal was inspired on the Dawahilallah forum.

    16/03/2018 - HONG KONG – CHINA

    Jeering China’s national anthem in Hong Kong to be punished with three years in prison

    Booing the anthem is a widespread form of protest by young people during football matches. The proposal parallels a law already in place in mainland China but not applicable to the city. Many fear for Hong Kong’s autonomy. The opposition does not have the numbers to block the bill.

    16/03/2018 - KOREA-US

    Preparations for Korea-US summit. Moon's approval ratings hit 74%

    Seoul reassures Tokyo over meetings as necessary for peace on the peninsula, and urges for a preliminary summit with Kim Jong Un. North Korean Foreign Minister flies to Sweden. "Sports diplomacy" continues. But some experts warn: a nuclear reactor active, the purpose is not clear.

    16/03/2018 - VIETNAM

    The remains of the late archbishop have come home to the archdiocese in Saigon

    by Paul Nguyen Hung

    Fr Ignatius Hồ Văn Xuân and Fr Joseph Đào Nguyên remember Mgr Paul Bùi Văn Đọc and his last days. For Catholics in Saigon, "Now Archbishop Paul belongs to the love of Jesus and the Church in heaven."

    Editor's choices

    Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda

    In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.

    Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.


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