10/12/2016 - CHINA
Signatories include: Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, JM Coetzee. The memory of Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in prison; his wife Liu Xia, under house arrest; Academician Ilham Tohti, sentenced to life imprisonment for his criticism of Beijing's policy towards the Uighurs.
by Paul Wang
10/12/2016 - PAKISTAN
Pakistan’s largest lake destroyed by pollution
The Manchar lake was an immense reserve of fresh water and covers over 250 square kilometers. Its shores were home to the fishing boats of the Mohanna tribe. In the seventies a plan was launched for the spillage of industrial, human and agricultural waste. Out of 200 species of fish, 14 have become extinct; there are few remaining boats; 15 thousand fishermen have emigrated in search of work.
10/12/2016 - PAKISTAN
Human Rights Day in Lahore: The government must stop all discriminationby Shafique Khokhar
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Press Club, displaying placards and chanting slogans. Disabled, trans-gender, women, men and children have called for respect of minorities, the guarantee and protection of the fundamental rights of each individual.
10/12/2016 - JAPAN
The Kansai University says no to the government: We will not do research for military purposes
The private institution has allowed its researchers to be part of the Ministry of Defense Program which provides technological studies in peaceful and military context: "This could be used against humanity without the approval of the scientists."
10/12/2016 - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Apostolic Vicar of Arabia: the Jubilee of mercy has brought people closer to faith
Msgr. Hinder speaks of the Holy Year as an occasion for "reconciliation and forgiveness." In an atmosphere of war and violence "forgiveness become increasingly important." A gesture that must also embrace those who "deny rights and inflict suffering." Thousands of faithful attend Advent Masses. Immigration "contaminates" the very life of the Church.
10/12/2016 - RUSSIA
Krasnodar: flurry of convictions for high treason and espionage
Komanda-29 association for legal protection denounces situation. The case of Oksana Sevastadi, sentenced to seven years in prison for a text message sent to a Georgian acquaintance.
09/12/2016 - MYANMAR
Lashio bishop speaks about his diocese, wounded by war and drugsby Phillip Za Hawng*
Mgr Philip Za Hawng describes the tragic situation in the northern region of Shan State, where fighting rages between the government army and rebel forces. Civilians have fled to China to escape the fighting. In the meantime, illiteracy and the drug trade grow. The prelate offers a proposal for lasting peace.
09/12/2016 - BANGLADESH – VATICAN
Prime Minister Hasina to invite Pope Francis for a visit to Bangladesh (photos)by Sumon Corraya
Card D'Rozario met the prime minister in her office. The apostolic nuncio, Archbishop George Kocherry, was present at the meeting. "On behalf of the 600,000 members of the Christian community that I represent, I express my loyalty to the prime minister and the nation,” the cardinal said.
09/12/2016 - GULF
Washington and London rake up billion-dollar contracts to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE
The United States plans to sell military helicopters and hardware worth billions of dollars despite criticism from activists and NGOs that the weapons kill innocent civilians in Yemen. UK and Gulf nations enter a strategic partnership against Iran, a "threat" to the region.
09/12/2016 - INDIA – UNITED STATES
After placing US Christian NGO under supervision, which puts thousands of poor children at risk, India has second thoughtsby Nirmala Carvalho
Compassion International operates in India with 580 partners, providing US$ 50 million a year. In February, the Indian government placed it under its supervision. The group has gone before the US Congress. Radical Hindu group criticises the explicit goal of evangelising children.
09/12/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: Priests should not be "officials", or worldly or "intermediaries" of God's love
The authentic priest "is a mediator very close to his people," an official instead just does his job, but then moves onto another "always as an official", "he does not know what it means to get his hands dirty" be in the midst of reality. And that is why when "the priest changes from official to intermediary he is not happy, he is sad." And looks for a little bit of happiness "in being seen, making his authority felt".
09/12/2016 - SYRIA
An interview with Assad: Yes to inter-Syrian dialogue, no to terrorism and foreign interference
The Syrian president distinguishes between the opposition forces in the country. Not all are collaborators and talks are not possible with those who are "serving foreign agendas". He attacks Saudi Arabia and Qatar responsible for Israeli superiority in the region. The fight against corruption and the commitment to improving the living conditions of citizens. A truce in the fighting in Aleppo.
09/12/2016 - INDONESIA
Muslim extremists slam Christian university for “false” advertisingby Mathias Hariyadi
A banner at Duta Wacana University, a Protestant institution, shows a female student wearing a hijab. According to Islamic radicals, a Muslim should not be shown in an ad for a Christian institution. However, for one Muslim student, “no political agenda should interfere with academic studies”.
09/12/2016 - INDIA
Sister Meena Barwa: Handmaids of Mary mark Feast of the Immaculate with renewal of vowsby Nirmala Carvalho
Seven nuns operate in Madhya Pradesh. Yesterday 19 new sisters made their profession in Orissa. About 500 sisters in India and Germany. With particular preference for the poor, women and children, working in the field of social work, education and healthcare.
09/12/2016 - VIETNAM - CHINA
South China Sea: Hanoi continues to build on disputed islands
Satellite images taken on November 30 show Vietnamese ships near the Ladd Reef, a small island in the Spratly. The military purpose of the new base is still unconfirmed, but it could trigger Beijing’s ire.
09/12/2016 - TIBET - CHINA
Gansu, Tibetan self immolates invoking the Dalai Lama
The 146th immolation since 2009. Police have taken the victim's body. The scene was filmed. The Dalai Lama: "Safeguarding life as the highest" value.
09/12/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
UN: Israeli settlements norm violates international law
09/12/2016 - SOUTH KOREA
South Korean parliament votes to impeach President Park Geun-hye
Members of her own party voted against her. Decision now rests with Constitutional Court. If ousted, Park would be the first South Korean president to undergo such a fate.
08/12/2016 - VATICAN
Pope’s prayer for the Immaculate in Piazza di Spagnaby Papa Francesco
In homage to Mary in Piazza di Spagna, Pope Francis ideally brings the entire city of Rome and the world. He calls for an “immaculate heart” to love without" masks and ruses”. He asserts the certainty of grace that wins over "discouragement". Afterwards, he visited S. Maria Maggiore.
08/12/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: God comes to dwell among us by means of a great Yes, that of Mary
On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis compares man’s ‘No’ before God to Mary’s ‘great Yes", "the most important in history”. We are "experts in half Yeses" or ‘missed Yeses’. He also mentioned the victims of the earthquake in Aceh (Indonesia), and invited the faithful to attend the homage to Mary in Piazza di Spagna this afternoon. The pope will also visit S. Maria Maggiore.
07/12/2016 - PHILIPPINES
Ozamiz archbishop calls for a stop to child soldier recruitment in Mindanao
Mgr Martin Jumoad wants the government to " double their efforts to win the sympathy of our young (people) [on] the side of goodness.” Poverty and lack of education are the main causes of the problem. Rebel groups fighting government forces take hundreds of children.
07/12/2016 - YEMEN
Aden: authorities uncover Islamic State cell, arrest eight Jihadis
Security forces detain militants blamed for recent deadly attacks, seizing silenced pistols and letters from IS leaders in Syria and Iraq. Government troops find four tonnes of explosives in Shihr and arrest five suspects planning “terrorist attacks”.
07/12/2016 - INDIA
In Andhra Pradesh, believers from every religion give thanks to Mary for miracles received
The Gunadala shrine it is one of the most important Marian sites in all of India. It was founded by PIME missionaries who brought a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in 1928. A non-Catholic family thanked the Virgin for healing their child’s heart condition. Offering facial and head hair is a gesture of humility in praying to God.
07/12/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: the secular state is a good thing, but laicism is old-fashioned
In an interview with a Belgian weekly, Francis criticises laicism that “closes the doors to transcendence”, which instead is part of the human essence. "[N]o religion as such can foment war. Because in this case it would be proclaiming a god of destruction, a god of hatred." Synodality does not mean “descend[ing] from high to low”; it means instead “listen[ing] to the Churches, harmonis[ing] them, discern[ing]."
07/12/2016 - JAPAN
Fukushima: fish and shellfish no longer radioactive
Over the past five and a half years, the Fukushima fisheries experimental station analysed fish and shellfish samples. For the first time in years, radioactive cesium levels are within the safety limit.
07/12/2016 - VATICAN
Pope: "I hope God is with me", walking beside me
Francis began a series of catechesis dedicated to Christian hope, "that never disappoints." Appeals for days against corruption and human rights, "two realities closely linked: corruption is the downside to fight"; "Human rights are the positive aspect, to promote."
07/12/2016 - UAE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch: Save Iraq's cultural heritage threatened by warby Louis Raphael Sako*
In Abu Dhabi the international conference dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage in conflict areas. The goal is to collect 100 million to finance projects and initiatives. Unesco: Protection of heritage as "global strategy against hatred and extremism." Mar Sako: "Urgent need for decisive action by the international community" in cooperation with the Iraqi government.
07/12/2016 - INDONESIA
West Java: Islamic radicals disrupt a Christian Christmas celebrationby Mathias Hariyadi
The faithful of the Evangelical Reformed Church were gathered in a hall in Bandung, when dozens of people stormed interrupting the choir and dispersing the crowd: "You cannot celebrate in a place that is not a church."
07/12/2016 - CHINA
Workers of multinationals pulling out of China go on strikeby Wang Zhicheng
Clashes with police and arrests in the Danone and Sony factories. Also problems with Coca Cola. The workers fear that the new masters (Chinese) will cut jobs, lower their wages, impoverish working conditions. Apple, McDonald's, KFC and many other moving elsewhere because the cost of Chinese labor has grown and sales fall.
07/12/2016 - LEBANON
Patriarch Rai: A government by Christmas, as a gift to revive country's future
The Maronite leader urges political forces to reach an agreement, as was the case for the election of the president. The common consensus and reconciliation between Maronites and Sunnis will be complete "with the formation of a new government." But there are internal divisions and power struggles. And the "obstacles" of a "regional dimension" working to "weaken" the mandate of Aoun.
07/12/2016 - INDONESIA
6.4 earthquake in Aceh: At least 52 dead, search for missingby Mathias Hariyadi
The earthquake struck at 5:03 am local time. Many residents were preparing for morning Muslim prayers. Homes destroyed and thousands displaced. It is the worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.
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