02/05/2016 - IRAQ
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.
by Louis Raphael Sako*
02/05/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: the Christian bears witness to Jesus, but "often" this provokes attacks and persecution
"The Spirit gives witness to Jesus. And each time we feel something in our heart that brings us closer to Jesus, it is the Spirit who is at work". It 'good to ask "that worldliness, easy things, the things that come directly from the father of lies, the prince of this world, sin, do not turn away from witness".
02/05/2016 - CHINA
Hainan, women and children beaten for trying to stop village demolitionby John Ai
A video posted on a national social network forces the government into rare public apology for the incident. The officials, however, insist on "zero tolerance" against illegally built structures. The video of the beating.
02/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES - INDONESIA
Jolo, 10 Indonesian sailors freed: they were held by Abu Sayyafby Mathias Hariyadi
On April 26 last the terrorist group beheaded a Canadian hostage. The crew members were found yesterday in front of the house of the governor of Sulu. In good condition, they were transported to Jakarta. Mystery over the payment of a ransom: according to Philippine media it amounted to 900 thousand euro, but Indonesia denies any knowledge.
02/05/2016 - PAKISTAN
Pakistan’s trade unions in the streets for workers’ rightsby 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 churchby 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 workplaceby 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 - IRAN
Tehran’s new parliament increasingly reformist and open to womenby Darius Karimian
After the second round of the elections two days ago, the reformists can count on 133 seats; the conservatives 125 and for the first time they lose their majority. There are also 17 women, mostly reformist. A female member of parliament was blocked by the Guardian Council for having shaken hands with a man. The doubts of Khamenei.
02/05/2016 - SYRIA - USA - UN
International diplomacy "at work" to stop fighting in Aleppo
The US secretary of state in Geneva to broker a fragile ceasefire in the northern capital. Scheduled to meet with the UN special envoy and the foreign ministers of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The next round of Geneva talks set for 10 May.
01/05/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: May the Holy Spirit help us to understand and to remember the words of Jesus
After the Marian prayer of the Regina Caeli Francis appeals for peace in Syria: "There is a spiral of violence in the country that continues to aggravate the already desperate humanitarian situation of the country, particularly in the city of Aleppo, and claim innocent victims, even among children, the sick and those who with great sacrifice pledged to provide assistance to others ". Economic development "must take into account human dignity and fully respect labor laws". Pedophilia "is a tragedy. We must not tolerate it, the guilty must be severely punished."
30/04/2016 - CAMBODIA
Drought kills hundreds of animals, survival of villages at risk
In many areas of the country lack of water and high temperatures means survival is at risk. 50 degrees reached in areas. Tons of fish and hundreds of species of animals - monkeys, reptiles, birds – have died in the last days. People wait for rainy season and the arrival of the monsoon.
30/04/2016 - RUSSIA
The "young" Orthodox Church of Moscow and Easter. Amid interiority and appearanceby Sergei Chapnin*
During the Soviet period it was difficult, dangerous and exhausting to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. Yet the churches were full and the faithful involved in the liturgy of the victory over death. Today, 25 years after the newfound freedom of worship, the patriarchal liturgy is broadcast on television and Moscow does all it can to appear to be an orthodox city. But it is not and it will not be until it understands the intimate connection of the Easter period with the personal faith experience.
30/04/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: No one be distanced from God because of man-made obstacles!
At an extraordinary Jubilee audience, Francis returns to the theme of reconciliation, "God has never failed to offer his forgiveness to men: his mercy is felt from generation to generation." An appeal to confessors: "You are in the place of God the Father." A special Jubilee greeting for the police and the Armed Forces: "Faced with every day challenges, irradiate Christian hope, which is the certainty of the victory of love over hatred and peace over war."
30/04/2016 - SYRIA
Pastor of Aleppo: "My city is a ghost town. Our Lady, bring us peace!"
Father Ibrahim Alsabag speaks to AsiaNews of closed schools and shops, people barricaded in their homes even if they are not safe. Jihadist groups behind wave of violence, which has dragged in other rebel groups. Syria and Aleppo dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that She may bring peace. The war has strengthened unity between Christians and created greater solidarity with Muslims.
30/04/2016 - SRI LANKA - EUROPE
Europe removes ban on fish imports from Sri Lankaby Melani Manel Perera
30/04/2016 - LEBANON - EU
Patriarch Rai’s wake up call to EU: We need solutions to Middle East conflicts
Speaking to the European parliament, the head of the Maronite Church warns that the conflicts in the region not just directly impacting Christians, but also the Mediterranean and the EU itself. Islamic extremism is wiping out centuries of dialogue and is a threat to world peace. Enshrine Lebanon’s neutrality and encourage Muslim nations to separate religion from the state.
29/04/2016 - PAKISTAN
Punjab: home-based workers call for the recognition of their rightsby Kamran Chaudhry
More than a hundred women marched yesterday in front of the Lahore Press Club, holding banners, calling for their wages to be raised to the national minimum. Some 12 million workers are employed in this area, and are denied the same rights that other workers enjoy. Since 2013, a draft bill has been before the Punjab cabinet waiting for approval. See the video of the protest.
29/04/2016 - INDIA
Card Gracias, saddened by the attack on Bishop Gallela Prasad, champion of the poorby card. Oswald Gracias
The archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference condemns the attack against the bishop of Cuddapah. He calls on the authorities to act quickly. He also prays that God may “touch and turn the hearts of those who committed this sacrilegious assault.” The attacked bishop is closely involved in empowering the poor and women.
29/04/2016 - PAPUA NEW GUINEA – AUSTRALIA
Manus Island refugees to sue PNG
The fate of almost a thousand people held in a detention camp on Manus Island has not yet been decided after PNG authorities decided to close the facility. With Port Moresby and Canberra expected to hold emergency talks, lawyers for the asylum seekers plan to “go straight to assessing reasonable compensation” in the billions.
29/04/2016 - SYRIA
As Aleppo comes under attack, with hundreds of dead and wounded, Caritas Syria aid crucial
At least 202 people have been killed over the past week in Syria’s northern metropolis, including civilians (and many children). A MSF-supported hospital in a rebel-held area and two under government control are hit. “People are scared," but they "still want to stay,” according to Caritas Aleppo. The latter’s operatives visit hospitals to "respond to emergencies."
29/04/2016 - CHINA
Beijing changes law on foreign NGOs, giving police sweeping powers
Until now, the Ministry of Civil Affairs handled applications and paper work. Nearly 10,000 foreign NGOs are present on the mainland. For the German ambassador, the law is too restrictive. For NGO official, it damages charitable activities.
29/04/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: A Christian does not say one thing and do another: He walks in the light, "because God is Light."
"The lie we know where it comes from: in the Bible, Jesus calls the devil 'father of lies', the liar". "Sin is ugly! But if you have sinned, He is watching and waiting for you to forgive you! '. Always! Because He - God - is greater than our sins".
29/04/2016 - INDIA
Msgr. Menamparampil: Amoris laetitia affirms values of Indian familiesby mons. Thomas Menamparampil
The apostolic administrator of Jowai comments on Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation. He believes that the papal document is applicable to the condition of the Indian tribal families. Amoris laetitia talks about "irregular" situations, marriages, divorces, abandoned children. All of this is also found in India where, as the Pope recalls, we must not give in to easy judgments, but to discern each situation case by case.
29/04/2016 - IRAN - USA
Tehran asks UN assistance for frozen Iranian funds in the US, managed by the Supreme Courtby Darius Karimian
A letter from Javad Zarif to Ban Ki-moon, recalls the injustices suffered by the people of Iran because of US policy. Criticism of the Supreme Court that allows the release of frozen funds to compensate victims of terrorism in Beirut.
29/04/2016 - INDIA
Andhra Pradesh: Catholic bishop kidnapped and beaten for hours
Msgr. Gallela Prasad is the bishop of Cuddapah and was returning from Kadapa district, where he celebrated Mass. The car IN which was traveling was stopped by unknown persons, who blindfolded him and beat up the driver and prelate all night. The Telugu Federation of Churches filed a complaint and asked the authorities to register the case to "ensure the safety of Christians."
29/04/2016 - KUWAIT - YEMEN
Positive atmosphere but "no progress" in Yemeni peace talks
The UN special envoy speaks of friendly atmosphere in the talks, being held in Kuwait City, but adds that in the first week, there has been no positive developments. Distances remain between the parties and there were no face to face meetings. Offensive against al Qaeda in the south. Jihadis lose control of Al-Mukalla.
29/04/2016 - NORTH KOREA- USA
Pyongyang, 10 years hard labor for a US citizen
Kim Dong-chul, who was born in South Korea and arrested in October 2016, was found in possession of a USB memory stick with within military and nuclear secrets. This is the latest detention of a foreign national, a tactic the North exploits for economic and diplomatic gains. UN Security Council convenes emergency meeting after latest missile test.
28/04/2016 - IRAQ
Patriarch Sako: Amoris Laetitia, a source of mercy and learning for Christians and Muslims
The Apostolic Exhortation contains essential elements for Christian families. It has also elicited “positive thoughts” among Muslims. For the Chaldean Patriarch, Islam too is waiting for something different on the family and spousal relations. Despite the war, few families have broken down, which is not the case for those who emigrated. Married priests could be a model for the whole Church.
28/04/2016 - RUSSIA – VATICAN
Orthodox Church: Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) wants to lead the Russian anti-ecumenical movementby Marta Allevato
Sergei Chapnin, former editor of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, holds this view. In a recent public statement, the bishop and rector of the Sretensky Theological Seminary said that most Orthodox do not view sympathetically dialogue with Catholics, and that most do not see "any real future in the idea of Church ecumenism."
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