18 August 2017
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  • 17/08/2017 - CHINA – VATICAN

    The first, an underground bishop not recognised by the government, was cremated and hurriedly buried. The faithful and priests were forbidden to attend the funeral Mass, and taking pictures at the service was banned. The second, a bishop with the official Church and a political advisor to the Chinese parliament, was exposed for several days honoured and his funeral was open to concelebrants and the faithful.


    by Bernardo Cervellera

    17/08/2017 - KOREA - USA

    Moon: There will be no new war on the Korean peninsula


    100 days since the beginning of his mandate, the South Korean President reiterated his approach to North Korea: openness to dialogue and sanctions. Any military option (of the US) will need Seoul's consent. Pyongyang has to stop the production of nuclear weapons. Relations with Japan.


    17/08/2017 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Suicide bomber kills Hamas militant in Rafah


    He was stopped a few hundred metres from the border with Egypt. The blast killed one and wounded four, one seriously. According to the Interior Ministry in Gaza, an Islamic State militant is responsible. Salafi threats rise in the Strip.


    17/08/2017 - INDIA

    For Jesuit activist, India is still ruled by tyrants after 70 years of independence


    Fr Cedrik Prakash, who works for the Refugee Service in Lebanon, speaks on the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. The country has fallen into the hands of Hindu nationalists, and religious minorities, the education system, and freedom of expression are its victims. He cites the poem ‘Where the Mind does not Fear’.


    17/08/2017 - VIETNAM

    Church against the pollution of Montagnard water resources in Kon Tum

    by Nguyen Hung

    Unfettered industrial development and the lack of government enforcement of environmental protection threaten the existence of local tribal communities. "Many children have contracted scabies. Adults are pale," said the local diocese’s charity and social committee. Local authorities confirm that "about 80 per cent of the poor are affected by illnesses due to contaminated water." Local clergymen and nuns are very aware of the importance of environmental protection for the health of local communities. Water contamination is a growing problem in the region.


    17/08/2017 - CHINA – SOUTH ASIA

    As China inks deals with Nepal and Pakistan confrontation with India continues


    For the past three months, Indian and Chinese troops have faced off near Bhutan. China’s deputy prime minister signs a humanitarian aid package and an agreement for oil and gas exploration with Nepal. Beijing is set to build a US$ 4 billion refinery and petrochemical complex near Karachi.


    17/08/2017 - IRAN

    Kharroubi hospitalized: on hunger strike to demand public trial


    He would accept the verdict even if he would not expect a "fair trial". His health conditions, worsening since July, deteriorated after a day of fasting from food and water. The Reformist leader has been under house arrest and 24 hour surveillance since 2011 without any formal charges.


    17/08/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA - QATAR

    Riyadh opens the border with Qatar to let pilgrims in


    King Salman orders the reopening of the Salwa border area. A gesture of courtesy towards the Muslim population and Muslims, but the deep divisions between the two countries remain. Bahrain accuses Qatar of fomenting the anti-government revolts of the past. It points to contacts between the former Doha premier and the former leader of the internal opposition.


    17/08/2017 - RUSSIA

    The Feast of the Assumption at the Kremlin

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    The cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, consecrated on August 15, 1327, is erected in the historic center of Moscow. The building that is seen today is the work of a Venetian architect who has integrated Italian, Byzantine and Russian styles. The church, still functional, but more like a museum of icons, is witness to the greatest events in Russian history.


    16/08/2017 - TURKEY – IRAN

    Kurds and Islamic State at the centre of the historic visit by Iranian General Bagheri to Turkey


    For Iran’s official news agency, the visit is "unprecedented". Turkish media consider it a "milestone" in relations between Tehran and Ankara. Iran’s top Revolutionary Guards official will meet Turkey’s president and defence minister. For analysts and experts, despite its defeats the Islamic state is still a threat to the future of Syria and Iraq.


    16/08/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Christian prisoner who refused to reject his faith dies in custody in Lahore


    Indaryas Ghulam died under mysterious circumstances in police custody. He had burns and cuts on his body. He was one the 42 people arrested for lynching two Muslims after the Youhanabad church attacks. The prisoner could have saved his life had he denied Christ.


    16/08/2017 - KAZAKHSTAN

    Orthodox priest put on trial for praying with children at a summer camp in the mountains


    Officials inspected the camp and tried to interrogate the children. This is the first time an Orthodox clergyman I charged with breaking the ‘Law on Religious Activities and Religious Associations’.


    16/08/2017 - KOREA – UNITED STATES

    Rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington toned down


    Kim Jong-un holds off on his threats against Guam. Tillerson says the US is open to talks with North Korea. South Korea, China and Russia continue to urge calm and demand no military action.


    16/08/2017 - INDONESIA

    Indonesian Church: Pancasilia is the nation's philosophical and political platform

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    The basic principles of the nation reiterated in a Catholic national conference. The "Five pillars" must be protected and defended in critical situations, including intolerance and secularism.


    16/08/2017 - VIETNAM - TAIWAN

    Vietnamese Church brings Formosa victims' protests to Taiwan


    "Going abroad to be heard." Bishop Paul Nguyên Thai Hopof the diocese of Vinh, visitsTaipei with the Victim Support Committee. Protests fueled by compensation criteria set by Vietnamese government and Formosa. The province of Nghệ An is excluded from the list of the four provinces affected under remuneration scheme.


    16/08/2017 - INDIA

    Indian Associations: On 25 August we remember the Christian victims of Kandhamal

    by Purushottam Nayak

    The National Solidarity Forum includes over 70 organizations and was born following the 2008 pogroms against Christians. "Kandhamal Day" not to forget the victims and give them justice. "Your solidarity will inspire those still struggling." The Forum's demands.


    16/08/2017 - HONG KONG - CHINA

    Activist 'kidnapped' and 'tortured by Chinese' arrested: the police doubt his version

    by Paul Wang

    Security Cameras at Yau Ma Tei picture Howard Lam always alone, wearing a hat, a surgical mask and sunglasses. He states he is not the man in the film. Doctors doubt his mental health. But the Democratic Party demands more evidence from the police and still defends Lam's version. chief of the executive Carrie Lam remains prudent .


    15/08/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope: May the Blessed Mary bring the grace that is Jesus Christ to our families


    During the Angelus of the Assumption, Pope Francis entrusted to Mary "the anxieties and sorrows of the populations who suffer in many parts of the world from natural calamities, social tensions or conflicts." God “works great things through humble people, unknown to the world, like Mary herself,” whilst “Our Lady also brought to us a new joy full of meaning”.


    14/08/2017 - HOLY LAND

    Theophilos III slams Israeli court over illegally obtained Greek Orthodox properties


    In 2004, the previous patriarch sold Church property in the Old City to an organisation of Jewish settlers. The current patriarch opposed the authorised sale, starting a legal battle. On 1 August, the Israeli court confirmed the sale agreement. Theophilos III will appeal to the Supreme Court against the “politically motivated” ruling, which will “have the most negative effect on the Christian presence in the Holy Land”.


    14/08/2017 - PAKISTAN

    For Muslims and Christians remember, Sister Ruth Pfau was “shining icon”

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi orders a state funeral for the nun, deemed a national hero. Muslims express their condolences. For writer and researcher Kakkazai Aamir, “we must pray to earn a small place” next to her. Hamza Arshad, a Muslim educator, calls Ruth Pfau “an angel of mercy for Pakistan." Inam Rana, lawyer and editor at the online Mukaalma newspaper, describes the nun as “a symbol of love, humanity and sacrifice." For the Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference, "her services to humanity were a pure manifestation of God's divine love".


    14/08/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Nobel Laureates write to the Saudi king asking him to halt the execution of 14 Shia activists


    The accused were arrested in 2012 during the Arab Spring. Activists and civil society groups warn that the execution is imminent. Pleaders ask Salman to show a merciful face and correct a great injustice. The ultraconservative kingdom has one of the world's highest rates of execution.


    14/08/2017 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Two elderly Chinese bishops die: Mgr Li Jiantang of Taiyuan and Mgr Xie Tingzhe of Urumqi

    by Victoria Ma

    Both spent scores of years in forced labour camps. Bishop Li devoted his life to the renaissance of the Diocese of Taiyuan as well as its clergy and nuns. Bishop Xie was an underground bishop, recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government. He chose to serve as a bishop in the same place where he was imprisoned for 20 years.


    14/08/2017 - NEPAL

    Kathmandu, hundreds of dead and thousands displaced by bad weather

    by Christopher Sharma

    The government was not prepared for the monsoon rains. Appeal to humanitarian organizations. Caritas Nepal bringing emergency aid.


    14/08/2017 - INDIA

    Odisha, online clinic project in support of rural areas

    by C.T. Nilesh

    For years, the project responds to the needs of unemployment and health care in remote areas. 127 centers already opened. An electronic consultation costs a third of the normal ones.


    14/08/2017 - IRAN

    Tehran strengthens military spending and allocates 500 million


    The Iranian Parliament has voted for investment growth in missile defense and foreign operations. MPs voted in favor (240 out of 244) with anti-US slogans and songs. Ali Larijani: Response to "terrorist and adventurism" in Washington and in the Middle East.


    14/08/2017 - INDIA

    Card. Cleemis: Church mourns for children who died in Uttar Pradesh hospital

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The toll climbs to 79 victims. The tragedy caused by lack of oxygen in neonatal pediatric and neurology wards . Gorakhpur hospital had failed to pay debt with the supplying company. Political repercussions on newly elected chief minister Yogi Adityanath.


    14/08/2017 - RUSSIA

    'Extremism': the Russian state and the witch hunt against Jehovah's Witnesses

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    A woman and her son arrested in Kursk for distributing invitations to the sect. Bible translations not originating from the Hebrew and Greek sources deemed 'extreme'. The same for translations of the non-Arabic translations of Koran. A Protestant pastor who cared for drug addicts arrested . Even the faithful of a bishop considered a holy man, branded as "extremists": they risk the prison.


    13/08/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope: safety is found on the boat of the Church, not on the “bewitching boats” of ideologies, fashion, horoscopes and fortune-tellers


    During the Angelus, Pope Francis compared the lives of people and the Church to a boat, which face difficulties and trials. "Faith gives us the assurance of a Presence that pushes us to overcome the storms of life, [it is] the certainty of a hand that grabs us to help us cope with difficulties, pointing us towards the way even when it is dark."


    12/08/2017 - MALAYSIA – ISLAM

    Racism in Selangor school: cups for 'Muslims' and 'non-Muslims'


    The school has labelled cups next to the water dispenser for children. For Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, the practice is discriminatory and could lead to hatred of Islam. “This practice is an insult,” he said. Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon noted that "national schools are for all Malaysians”.


    12/08/2017 - CHINA

    Rising lung cancer rate due to air pollution


    The disease also affects groups not normally at risk, like women and non-smokers. This “might be related to the long-term exposure to air pollution, particularly PM2.5,” said Xue Qi, deputy director of thoracic surgery at the Cancer Hospital Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2015, nearly 4.3 million new cancer patients were recorded, more than 730,000 of them with lung cancer, almost 36 per cent of the world's total. In 50 years, the lung cancer rate rose tenfold.






    Editor's choices

    LEBANON – MIDDLE EAST – VATICAN
    For Eastern Catholic patriarchs, the genocide of Christians is an affront to all humanity

    Fady Noun

    Afflicted by wars, emigration and insecurity, Christian communities have now become "a small flock" amid the indifference of the international community. Patriarchs appeal to Pope Francis and the international community. Catholics and Orthodox share the same problems. The end of Christians in the East would be "a shameful stigma for the whole 21st century".


    KOREA
    Korean Bishops say no to “unreasonable provocations', call for a stop to the nuclear escalation by working for the “coexistence of humanity”



    Korean bishops issued an Exhortation today on the rising tensions around the Korean peninsula. North Korea but also "neighbouring countries" are at risk of "hasty unrestrained action" that could lead to the "death of innumerable people" and "deep wounds for the whole of humanity." They call for reduced military budgets and more spending on human and cultural development. They urge using "conscience, intelligence, solidarity, piety and mutual respect". A prayer is set for the feast day of the Assumption, which is also Korean Independence Day.


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