01/03/2017 - VATICAN
Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday. Lent is "a time of grace" which recalls "the breath" of the creator, time to free ourselves from asphyxiation selfishness, to say no to pollution caused by indifference, hypocrisy that soothes the conscience, to ask ourselves " what would become of us if God had closed the doors? ".
01/03/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: Lent, a journey of hope, because "oriented" towards Easter
"The fact that Jesus has opened the way for eternal life" does not mean that He has done it all and we must not do anything, that he has passed through the Cross, and we 'go to heaven in a carriage'. Not so. Our salvation is certainly his gift, but because it is a love story, it requires our 'yes' and our participation, as demonstrated by our Mother Mary, and after her, all the saints. "
01/03/2017 - RUSSIA
The majority of Russians do not want to fast during Lentby Vladimir Rozanskij
Only 2% is willing to engage in ascetic practices of the 40 days. 30% try to limit alcohol consumption; 15% are willing to stop sexual relations; 19% to give up social media and online entertainment. Orthodox Lent requires a strict vegan diet: complete abstinence from all animal food. Belonging to Orthodoxy is seen as of socio-cultural and religious value.
01/03/2017 - CHINA - ISLAM
For the first time the Islamic State threatens Beijing that "rivers of blood will flow"by Wang Zhicheng
In a first, Uighurs claim alliance with the Islamic state. The images broadcast on the same day Beijing deploys 10 thousand police in Urumqi in a showdown. Among the 10 million Uighur, only a small minority part of violent groups. The "terrorist" threats motivates China's repressive policies in Xinjiang.
01/03/2017 - VATICAN
Abuse survivor Marie Collins resigns from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
In an article she cites the lack of resources, inadequate staff, slow progress, and cultural reluctance as her reasons to quit. She especially mentions resistance by people and offices of the Roman Curia to the Commission's recommendations "despite their approval by the pope". She will nevertheless continue to cooperate with the Commission in an "educational role."
01/03/2017 - VIETNAM – JAPAN
Emperor Akihito visits Vietnam to boost bilateral relations
Japan is Vietnam’s main partner. More than 1,600 Japanese companies are active in the country. Since 1992, the Japanese government has provided US$ 23 billion in development aid.
01/03/2017 - PHILIPPINES
For Manila bishop, Senator De Lima’s arrest is a “political vendetta”
The senator was investigating the president. For Mgr Pabillo, “Duterte and his minions just want to get back at her”. The Filipino Church is united against the culture of death. Its goal is to “educate the people” and “double its efforts to address the problems of society”.
01/03/2017 - PALESTINE – ISRAEL
For Prof Osama Hamdan, Palestinian youth need hope
The Jerusalem-based scholar talks about the lack of expectations for the future among young Palestinians. Some escape via education or migration. Others choose death and terrorism.
01/03/2017 - NEPAL
For Nepali youth, Communism has failed, call for conversion to God’s loveby Christopher Sharma
Some Christian and non-Christian students react to Pope Francis' Lent message. Some young people read the recently released message. Some “non-Catholics said that that the Pope's message about Lent is applicable to Nepal’s context,” says Catholic youth leader. “My friends and I would like to welcome God’s grace through conversion,” student says.
01/03/2017 - SYRIA - UN
Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria
The Western bloc intended to impose new sanctions on Damascus for the (alleged) use of chemical weapons by government forces. For the seventh time, Moscow blocks a measure within the Security Council. 11 Syrian citizens and 10 entities, included on a black list. Deadlock in United Nations peace talks in Geneva.
28/02/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: each country should accept all the migrants it can accommodate
In an interview, Francis stressed the need to integrate and not ghettoise those fleeing war or famine. The latter have a right to emigrate. A homeless Polish man attended seminary with John Paul II.
28/02/2017 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE
For Gaza priest, a forgotten people sees hope in war to receive aid
Fr Mario da Silva, from Brazil, heads the Strip’s only Latin parish of the Holy Family. Young people are jobless, seniors have no pensions, and everyone wants to escape. The Church has undertaken some initiatives to meet needs. Jihadi infiltration is a danger. Gaza Christians are "heroes of the faith".
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
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.
28/02/2017 - CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing: TV show about the Pope, a "lunar" programby Bernardo Cervellera
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.
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.
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
Copts who fled El Arīsh tell harrowing stories of point-blank shootings, robberies and fires. Some of those who fought in the Sinai War in 1973 are now branded "Crusaders" by Daesh. Death threats have appeared on homes, or just the word “Go”. Some refugees sleep in several cars to ensure that some at least survive in case of an attack. Muslims in Ismailia show friendship.
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.
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