17 December 2017
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  • 16/12/2017 - INDONESIA

    The epicentre was at a depth of six kilometres in Tasikmalaya (West Java). The quake was felt in Jakarta as well. More than 70 buildings were badly damaged. The dead were killed by collapsing walls. Churches also suffered damages.


    by Mathias Hariyadi

    16/12/2017 - MYANMAR

    After Pope Francis, Card Bo visits displaced Kachin


    Fighting between the Myanmar military and rebels has recently resumed. More than 120,000 people live in 167 refugee camps since 2011. Despite tensions, Pope Francis’s words of peace continue to echo in the country. Catholic leaders undertake initiatives of reconciliation.


    16/12/2017 - CHINA

    Liu Xiaobo’s wife sends letter abroad whilst police in Shenzhen cover up a mural

    by Paul Wang

    In a letter in poem form, Liu Xia, wife of the great dissident, says she is "going crazy" after years living in isolation without the possibility of meeting anyone. In Shenzhen, the work of a Chinese-French artist focuses on Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment and Nobel Prize. The author and his wife are currently in custody.


    16/12/2017 - INDIA

    Indian Church slams attack on seminarians and priests in Madhya Pradesh


    In Satna, Hindu extremists held Catholics hostage. “The charge of conversion on which the priests and seminarians were detained is frivolous and laughable,” said Mgr Mascarenhas. It is time “to go beyond words and promises”. Hindu terrorists “have taken on the garb of ‘religious police”.


    16/12/2017 - IRAQ

    For parish priest in Amadiya, Advent among Mosul refugees sees solidarity stronger than hardships (photos)


    Fr Samir describes an atmosphere of joy and hope, despite the lack of resources and less aid. The struggle for survival has boosted the bond between Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis. About 150 refugee families are still living at the centre, 70 per cent depending on resources provided by the Church. Hundreds of young people attend the prayer meeting in preparation for Christmas.


    16/12/2017 - RUSSIA

    As the election campaign kicks off in Moscow, Putin set to run as an 'independent'

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    The date of the elections, 18 March 2018, is the anniversary of the referendum of Crimea’s annexation. The president wants to be seen as "father of the nation". His re-election is almost a forgone conclusion. He backs pro-life NGOs and claims a "personal" success in Syria. An exhibition opens centred on the Romanov tsars and the Vatican.


    15/12/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope: Christmas is also an occasion to “encourage openness to others”


    Francis met with the performers and organisers of tomorrow’s Christmas Concert in the Vatican. "There is a need today also to spread the message of peace and fraternity that is inherent in Christmas,” he said.


    15/12/2017 - SINGAPORE

    Cancelled circus featuring performing dogs deemed “unethical”


    The event was scheduled for Chinese New Year in February 2018, which coincides with the Year of the Dog. Some seven thousand signatures were collected in a campaign against the "inhumane" show.


    15/12/2017 - CHINA

    Against the freezing cold, the Chinese government wants clean energy, but there is not enough gas for heating


    The authorities are urging consumer to use natural gas instead of coal to reduce pollution. However, gas prices have increased by up to 20 per cent. Hundreds of trucks carry liquified gas from Zhuhai (Guangdong) for up to 3,000 km to Hebei, Shanxi, and Hunan.


    15/12/2017 - LEBANON

    Christian and Muslim leaders offer a "single voice" on Jerusalem

    by Fady Noun

    Leaders held a historic meeting in Bkerke yesterday. Trump's "unfortunate" decision is a provocation to the Christians and Muslims of the world and distorts the spiritual mission of the Holy City. The choice by the US "lacks the wisdom needed by true peace makers". Lebanon’s Islamic-Christian voice is precious.


    15/12/2017 - INDONESIA

    Constitutional Court will not intervene on extra-marital and homosexual relationships

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    The request of an Islamic group was rejected by the Constitutional Court and the request in favor of the marriage between colleagues was accepted. The common practice requires one of the spouses to resign or relocation. Homosexual relationships, judged "illicit" by most of society, not a crime. The approval of human rights activists. 


    15/12/2017 - SRI LANKA

    Colombo, the world's tallest Christmas tree “symbol of unity"

    by Melani Manel Perera

    The project by a Buddhist group is listed in the Guinness World Records. The artificial tree measures 72.1 metres and cost almost US$ 72,000. For the prime minister, “although Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country, it has shown the world that all religions".


    15/12/2017 - BANGLADESH

    Government thankful for pope's visit, churches to be protected at Christmas

    by Sumon Corraya

    Important leaders of the Christian minority met the Home Affairs Minister. The pontiff's pastoral visit took place in security. The country’s places of worship are placed under tight security.


    15/12/2017 - VATICAN-ASIA

    Xenophobia and populism. The case of Asia

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Theme studied during symposium jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and by the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development. Tracing the commitment of Churches amid rising hostility towards others, considered as enemies and foreigners. "Migrants" are an important political theme in Germany and in UK Brexit. Testimonies from Latin America and Africa. Asian experiences entrusted to the director of AsiaNews.


    15/12/2017 - KAZAKHSTAN

    Karaganda, more than 600 miners lock themselves in mine to demand better working conditions


    Largest protest since 2011, when the police killed 14 demonstrators. The miners have refused to come up to the surface for five consecutive days. The economic giant ArcelorMittal grants 30% of wage increase.


    15/12/2017 - INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh, dangerous Christmas songs: 30 seminarians and two priests held hostage

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The Christians were detained yesterday in Satna. Their car was burned. Like every year, they wanted to reach a remote village to hold a Christmas carol service.


    14/12/2017 - INDIA

    Missionary of Mother Teresa hopes that Christmas will bring the joy of God’s presence even in times of martyrdom

    by Yesudas*

    He calls for putting Pope Francis's call into practice, namely "Let us love, not with words but with deeds". The example is that of the four nuns killed by extremists in Aden, Yemen. Speaking about one of the nuns, he writes that she had “faith and trust that God's love is stronger than all the aggressive powers of the world and it transformed her from victim of darkness into a daughter of light.”


    14/12/2017 - MYANMAR

    For MSF, some 6,700 Rohingya have been killed, but for Rakhine Buddhist, the outrage is one-sided


    About 69 per cent have died from gunshots, 9 per cent burnt to death, 5 per cent beaten to death, including 730 children under the age of five. According to the Red Cross, some 300,000 Rohingya are left in Myanmar. For a young Buddhist native of Rakhine, the international media coverage is one-sided.


    14/12/2017 - VATICAN

    For the pope, cultural and religious diversity is good for a globalised society


    Francis met with a group of ambassadors, including the representatives of India, Yemen and Azerbaijan. The “centrifugal forces that would drive peoples apart are not found in their differences but in the failure to set out on the path of dialogue and understanding as the most effective means of responding to these challenges.”


    14/12/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope: God is "father and mother" and is also "Dad"


    "He is the great God who becomes small and in his smallness does not stop being great. And in this great dialectic he is small: there is the tenderness of God. The great that makes himself small and the small  that is great". Which manifests itself in the wounds. " My wounds, your sores, when you meet my wound with his wound. We have been healed in their wounds".


    14/12/2017 - JAPAN

    'North' is the ideogram of 2017


    Pyongyang’s threats and Hokkaido explain the choice. About 150,000 people took part in the poll.


    14/12/2017 - CHINA

    Beijing’s party boss worried about migrants, but does not stop their expulsion


    Cai Qi, a friend of Xi Jinping, visited the Chaoyang district as the campaign against “low-end” residents continues and their neighbourhoods are demolished. Another fire at a farmhouse kills five and injures eight. Some now fear that the “cleansing” campaign will start in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.


    14/12/2017 - JORDAN

    Amman, Churches march against Trump's decision on Jerusalem


    About 2 thousand people marched in silence, carrying candles, photos of the king and flags. The opposition against Trump's choice to recognize the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is in the heart of all Muslims; and it is also rooted in those of Christians.


    14/12/2017 - INDIA

    Cyclone in Kerala, Msgr. Pakiam: a disaster. Find the resources soon


    Rescue operations underway, while the state authorities lag "out of negligence". A meeting with the governor to define short and long-term support programs. There are no precise numbers of displaced people "because the devastation is unprecedented".


    14/12/2017 - TURKEY - ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Islamic countries against Trump: East Jerusalem, capital of Palestine


    The OIC leaders define the declaration of the White House that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel "null and void". An "attack" on the rights of the Palestinian people that undermines peace efforts. A UN Security Council resolution was presented to show Washington's international isolation.


    14/12/2017 - ISRAEL - SAUDI ARABIA

    Israeli Minister: Israel allies with the Saudis against Iran, the 'absolute enemy'


    The government invited the Saudi hereditary prince to visit Israel. Saudi Arabia, "the richest and most influential country in the Arab world" is the ideal represented by the Palestinians, "too weak and divided". Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have official diplomatic relations, but in recent months there have been signs of openness.


    14/12/2017 - CHINA

    After the Fed, China also raises interest rates


    Yesterday, the Fed raised rates by 0.25%. A few hours later, Beijing lifted its 7-day and 28-day reverse repurchase agreements by 5 basis points. Bank of China: Only market adjustments. Attempt to limit the flow of capital out of the country.


    13/12/2017 - IRAQ

    Chaldean priest sees Christmas as a time for the rebirth of the Nineveh Plain freed from the Islamic State


    Fr Paul describes the expectations of 270 families who are back home in Karemlash. The priority is to rebuild houses and clear the land for planting and sowing. He appeals to those who have fled to come back to breathe new life into the area. A football match with young Christians and Muslims marks the difficult return to normal life.


    13/12/2017 - HONG KONG

    Christmas letter from Hong Kong

    by Mario Marazzi

    "[T]he joy of Christmas, the joy of life, does not come from material things, but from simplicity and the gift of ourselves to others." A PIME priest who experienced his mission between Italy, Hong Kong, and China gives his thoughts and memories. The laity who consecrate their lives to evangelisation following the example of Felice Tantardini.


    13/12/2017 - SRI LANKA

    Environmental care starts at Rathmalana, near Colombo

    by Melani Manel Perera

    The clean-up was carried out last Saturday as part of a series of initiatives undertaken to mark a local association’s 200th anniversary in 2020. People must be informed on how to manage trash disposal. Provincial and local authorities backed the initiative.






    Editor's choices

    MIDDLE EAST – UNITED STATES
    Mideast Christians against Trump over Jerusalem capital, a decision that destroys hope for peace



    The Chaldean patriarchate criticises a choice that complicates the situation and fuels conflicts and wars. Card al-Rahi calls the decision “destructive” and a violation of international resolutions. Coptic pope Tawadros II cancels a meeting with US Vice President Pence. Somewhat resigned, Palestinians continue their protest. For Israeli peace group, the US has abdicated its role of mediator in the region.


    CHINA
    Xi Jinping’s false promises and the expulsion of the “low-end population” from Beijing

    Willy Wo-Lap Lam

    Tens of thousands of migrants and their families have been expelled and sent away from the capital. Yet, at the recent Party Congress, President Xi had promised to provide support and help against poverty. There is no reward nor legal or charity for displaced persons. The country’s "social Darwinism" condemns the rural people to marginalisation and allows urban classes to enjoy privileges and advantages. Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.


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