28/02/2017 - CHINA - VATICAN
Half an hour with Pope Francis and images of faithful in St. Peter's Square; discussion on possible relations between Beijing and the Holy See. But the vision of religion remains the same as always: a political tool. Emphasis on the Taiwan issue. Chinese expert cites Wenzhou, but not the demolition of crosses in the countryside.
by Bernardo Cervellera
28/02/2017 - TURKEY - GERMANY
Istanbul: German journalist of Turkish origin arrested for investigating government
Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel in pre-trial detention. He was charged with "terrorist propaganda" and "incitement to hatred". In reality he is investigating mail hacking of Turkish Energy Minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law. The texts revealed executive pressure on media and public opinion manipulation strategies.
28/02/2017 - PAKISTAN
Lent: Catholic Church to help widows, visit the disabled, offer food baskets to the poorby Kamran Chaudhry
Local parishes are preparing for the period before Easter. In Hyderabad funds have been raised to help widows and their children. In Lahore, buses will take volunteers to visit the sick. In Karachi, catechism students, seniors, and children will take part in activities.
28/02/2017 - JAPAN
Unisex bathrooms for the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad
The Tokyo metropolitan government wants to promote a spirit of inclusivity and diversity. Toilet compartments will accommodate two people, but not those on wheelchairs. LGBT organisations praise the decision.
28/02/2017 - INDONESIA
Continuing education programme for diocesan priests in Sumatraby Mathias Hariyadi
"For seven years the plan has been is carried out with different participants,” said Fr Sutapa, a former educator at the St Peter major seminary in Pematang Siantar, with “priests from Palembang with less than five years of service, priests from Tanjungkarang with less than ten years, and priests from Padang with more than ten years."
28/02/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: those who follow Jesus and "leave everything", "will receive everything"
"Jesus gives all of himself, because the fullness, the fullness of God is fullness that is annihilated on the Cross." "This is the gift of God: annihilated fullness. And this is the style of the Christian: to seek fullness, to receive the annihilated fullness and follow that road. "
28/02/2017 - SYRIA – IRAQ
The Islamic state morphing because of internal strife and a collapsing ideology
Greater disagreements within the caliphate are marked by recent territorial losses. The jihadist group fed on marketing its strategy of terror online, but has begun to crumble when faced with its first real battles. Yet, far from disappearing, the movement is reorganising to continue the fight. Deadly attacks can be expected as it renews itself.
28/02/2017 - THAILAND
Msgr. Chaiyara: "Lent a time of change and acceptance"by Mons. Philip Banchong Chaiyara
"The Pope urges us to commit ourselves with determination to make our lives better, opening our hearts to others, no matter who they are, our neighbor or a stranger, all these are 'a gift' of God."
28/02/2017 - INDIA
A carbon fast for Lent in the Archdiocese of Mumbaiby Nirmala Carvalho
For two years the local Church proposes initiatives to reduce global warming. Auxiliary Bishop: "The Carbon fast is becoming popular and is also practiced after Lent". Pope Francis has created "a new beatitude: Blessed are those who protect and take care of our common home."
28/02/2017 - CHINA
Beijing, factories closed to clean the sky before the National People’s Congress
The closure order came after secret and night inspections of polluting factories. In Lanfang (Hebei) electricity also cut. A cosmetic operation under the cameras of the world in these two weeks.
27/02/2017 - KAZAKHSTAN
Imprisonment and violence against activists and dissident journalists
A Kazakh blogger is held for trying to interview a protester. Authorities crackdown on press freedom and opposition media.
27/02/2017 - IRAN – UNITED STATES
Asghar Farhadi boycotts Oscar ceremony in protest against Trump’s travel ban
The Iranian director won for best foreign film but refused to attend. In a message read by Anousheh Ansari, he slammed the travel ban as “inhumane”, calling it a “deceitful justification for aggression and war" that “creates fear”. Iranian Foreign Minister says he is proud of the victory.
27/02/2017 - CHINA
Beijing’s new scorched earth policy towards Uighursby Willy Lam
China’s crackdown intensifies through more police surveillance. Chen wants fewer mosques and tighter controls over the young. For him, the ethnic conflict can be settled through greater development in agriculture and textile manufacturing. The authorities intensify their efforts against terrorism, but attacks continue unabated. (Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation)
27/02/2017 - SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka’s former president complains of war widows abused by the militaryby Melani Manel Perera
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga spoke of widespread exploitation, touching more than 80,000 women with children in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. The lack of livelihood makes them even more vulnerable. Although the military has denied any wrongdoing, in the past it has cracked down on troop misconduct.
27/02/2017 - CHINA – NORTH KOREA
China’s responsibilities in Kim Jong-nam’s murderby Wei Jingsheng
Why was Kim Jong-nam killed now? Chinese bodyguards were support to protect him. The Communist regime made the operation possible. Diplomatic strategies are changing in East Asia. The threat of North Korean nuclear weapons is pushing the United States and China to reconsider their approach to North Korea. China ‘s great dissident and "father of democracy" speaks from his place of exile in the United States.
27/02/2017 - MYANMAR
For Aung San Suu Kyi, Muslim lawyer's death is a "great loss" for Myanmar
After almost a month of silence, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Foreign Minister speaks about the murder of Ko Ni. For the NLD leader, he is a "martyr" who spent his life to better the country. Mr Ni however also criticised the ruling party over the rising "Islamophobia".
27/02/2017 - EGYPT – ISLAM
Fleeing the Sinai, Christian families speak about the terror they experiencedby Loula Lahham
27/02/2017 - EGYPT – ISLAM
Christians flee Islamic State violence in North Sinaiby Loula Lahham
In only ten days, seven people have been shot, beheaded or burnt to death. Refugees have been welcomed in Ismailia, Suez, and Cairo. Christians are Daesh’s new target.
27/02/2017 - THAILAND
Thailand: Fr. Pelosin, a PIME missionary among children and abandoned elderly of the slums
Stories of "ordinary" mission: teaching reading and writing to children in slums, caring for the abandoned elderly, organizing football matches between slums, ethics courses in the schools and activities for children of the parish. And on March 6, the newly re-elected superior of the Thai Missionary Society will go to Taiwan to agree with the bishop of Hunshu to open a new mission in the diocese.
27/02/2017 - PALESTINE
A Palestinian Christian, 23, is the new Arab Idol 2017by Melki Toprak*
It is the most important musical competition, popular across the Middle East and North Africa. Hundreds of Palestinians take to the streets to celebrate the victory. During the program, he repeatedly demonstrated his ethnic and religious affiliation. A Deacon of the Syriac Church, is also a scout of the Arameans of Bethlehem.
27/02/2017 - INDIA
Gujarat, Isis lone wolves arrested: they planned an attack on a Hindu temple
They are the brothers Wasim and Naeem Ramodiya, both computer scientists. Within "one or two days" they would have hit the famous temple of Chamunda, in Surendranagar district. A military arsenal and Islamic propaganda material found in their apartment.
27/02/2017 - MALAYSIA - NORTH KOREA
Kim Jong-nam, a 'painful death within 20 minutes'
Malaysian health minister confirms that the nerve agent acted quickly by blocking the heart and lungs. The two women arrested thought they smeared "baby oil" on Kim's face and were taking part in a television prank. One was paid with 80 dollars.
26/02/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: God is not distant and anonymous, he is our refuge
During the Angelus, Pope Francis called on everyone to rediscover that God is Father "in this age of orphanhood". The "obsessive search for earthly goods and riches" is an "illusion and a cause of unhappiness". Entrusting oneself to the love of the Father enables us to overcome “the torments and adversities of life, even persecution, as the testimonies of so many of our brothers and sisters show." The pontiff greeted groups involved in ‘Rare Disease Day’.
25/02/2017 - CHINA
Shaolin abbot Shi Yongxin cleared of all chargesby Wang Zhicheng
Monks, former monks and monastery employees had accused him of extortion, having mistresses with children, and leading a lifestyle devoid of religion and spirituality. Henan authorities and the State Administration for Religious Affairs cleared him of all charges. Thanks to him, Shaolin has become a successful brand.
25/02/2017 - NEPAL
Hindu parents forbid their children from attending Shia celebrations because of drug useby Christopher Sharma
During the festival, Hindu holy men sell drugs and invite young people to smoke hashish and cannabis. Hundreds of young people have become addicts. The Hindu festival accused of driving many to crime. Attendance at the Pashupatinath Temple drops from 500,000 to 200,000.
25/02/2017 - INDONESIA – SAUDI ARABIA
Oil. Pilgrimage, and Saudi king’s visit to Indonesiaby Mathias Hariyadi
On 1 March, King Salman will arrive in Jakarta on an official visit. Breaking with Protocol, President Widodo will welcome him in person at the airport. The Saudi monarch will travel with an entourage of about 1,500 people, including government ministers and princes. The visit includes a short vacation in Bali.
25/02/2017 - LEBANON – SYRIA – VATICAN
Greek Melkite Church: peace reached between Patriarch Gregory III and “rebel” bishopsby Fady Noun
The Synod held a few days ago in Rabieh, Lebanon, ends in success. Divisions between the patriarch and a group of dissident prelates over real estate is settled. Communion and fraternal charity prevailed in the community. The presence of the nuncios to Syria and Lebanon, Card Zenari and Mgr Caccia, proved crucial.
25/02/2017 - JAPAN
Tokyo, past forced sterilisations and today’s demographic winter
Approximately 25,000 sterilisations and 60,000 forced abortions were performed under the Eugenic Protection Act, which was abolished in 1996. Some call for an official apology and compensation for the victims. Japan’s grave demographic crisis requires new policies to promote life.
25/02/2017 - INDIA
For Kolkata nun, serving the poor means welcoming everyone, regardless of their faithby Santosh Digal
Sister Mary Mukta Kindo has worked at the Mother Veronica Social Centre for Women of Barrackpure since 2001. The centre makes garments like uniforms and tunics as well as church linen. Some 200 women have been trained allowing them to be independent and help their families.
24/02/2017 - SRI LANKA
In Jaffna, displaced Tamils want back land seized by the military or used for tourism (photos)by Melani Manel Perera
Thousands took part in a rally organised by the People's Alliance for Right to Land and the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement. Seized during the civil war, properties are still held by the military or businesses operating them for tourism or agriculture.
24/02/2017 - INDONESIA
Standoff between Indonesia and US mining giant Freeport McMoRan
On 10 February, Freeport-McMoRan discontinued its mining activities, leaving thousands of Indonesians out of work. The reason is a dispute over fees and contract to be renegotiated by the company and the authorities.
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