23/01/2017 - KAZAKHSTAN – SYRIA
For the first time, government delegates and representatives of armed groups meet. Rebels refuse to hold the first session “face-to-face” to protest the government’s failure to respect the truce. Syria’s chief negotiator calls the opposition’s attitude "provocative". Russia’s role and Turkey’s shift are key factors.
23/01/2017 - EGYPT – ISLAM
“We shall build the biggest church,” says Al Sisiby Loula Lahham
Egypt’s president makes the pledge to Patriarch Tawadros. The Institute for Islamic Legal Research defends the right of Christians to build churches in Muslim countries. However, Copts are still discriminated in society.
23/01/2017 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Waiting for Trump, Netanyahu gives green light to hundreds of new settlements
The meeting between the prime minister and the US president will be in February. The Jerusalem municipality has approved 556 new homes in the settlements of Pisgat Zeev, Ramot and Ramat Shlomo. With Trump’s swearing in to office, Israel sees a "new era" in relations between the two countries. Pressure from the extreme right for expansion of controversial Maaleh Adumim settlement, frozen in led up to the Washington Summit.
23/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: Christ’s priesthood, he forgave sins, intercedes for us and will return to take us with Him
The three stages of the "wonder" of the priesthood of Christ. "The Lord forgives everything if we open our heart a little", "but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven."
23/01/2017 - INDIA - YEMEN
Catholics and others in pray for Fr. Tom’s release, Indian Salesian kidnapped in Yemenby Nirmala Carvalho
A day of prayer organized by the Bishops' Conference. The initiative was also joined Protestant communities. Rev. Thomas Jacob: "Let us pray for him to return home safely." Hundreds of faithful at candlelight vigil organized at Our Lady’s Cathedral Trivandrum.
22/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: All areas of human life are soil on which to cast Gospel seeds. New Year wishes for Far East
At the Angelus Pope Francis speaks of how early Christians preached Gospel in a "geographically peripheral and religiously impure land", and that from there “the light on which we have reflected over the past few Sundays spread: the light of Christ." "The joy of proclaiming and witnessing to our faith”. Wishes that during the New Year of the Rooster, the families of the Far East "increasingly become a school of respect for each other". Closeness to earthquake victims in central Italy. Prayers for victims and rescuers. Vespers in St. Paul Outside the Walls together with representatives of other Christian confessions.
21/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope to the Roman Rota: It takes great courage to get married today. The Church must lend its support
An audience for the beginning of the judicial year in the Vatican, Pope Francis calls for greater effort in preparing couples for marriage to mature in "love and truth". The importance of not abandoning young couples, but "welcoming, accompanying and helping them". Going beyond legal formalism for a catechesis which would show the faith and the value of agreement. "The ruinous pitfalls of the dominant culture of the ephemeral and the provisional".
21/01/2017 - VATICAN - USA
Pope to Trump: America’s greatness is measured by its attention to the poor
Pope Francis exalts the "rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people” and the nation’s “commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide ". Concerns " for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door ". The oath Trump preceded by various prayers of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish Representatives. The slogan "America first" will guide political choices. String criticism of the establishment. China’s caution and the enthusiasm of the president of Taiwan.
21/01/2017 - LEBANON - EU
The cultural and political mission of Lebanon and Europe
The Land of Cedars can help reawaken the European continent to rediscover its forgotten religious dimension. Without the memory of its Christian roots, without a vision and a desire for peace, nothing great can happen in Europe, or between it and the world. The religious dimension is important for political and cultural dialogue with the South. Card. Parolin’s intervention of in Davos.
21/01/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Grand Mufti against cinema and concerts: A source of depravity and immorality
Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, against forms of entertainment that encourage mingling of sexes. Films are "libertine, obscene, immoral, and atheist" because they are founded on an "imported culture". Concerts promote promiscuity, corrupt morals and values. An appeal to citizens and institutions: "Do not open the doors to such evil."
20/01/2017 - CHINA - UNITED STATES
The Trump era begins: The China-US relationship and the risk of warby Wei Jingsheng
As the inauguration ceremony of the Trump presidency approaches, the Propaganda Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party has banned all journalists from “unauthorized criticism" of Trump’ words and deeds. According to the great dissident Wei Jingsheng there is a chance that Trump will force China into fair trade deals, possibly leading to political and legal reforms. A trade war is an option.
20/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: "Change your heart, change your life", to belong only to the Lord
"When God forgives, He forgets." "He forgets, He forgives. In front of a repentant heart, forgive and forget: 'I will forget, I will not remember their sins'. This is an invitation not to remind the Lord of our sins but to sin no more. "
20/01/2017 - SYRIA
Palmyra: the Islamic State executes 12 people, beheading four
The other eight victims shot dead. The executions took place in a museum, not far from the ruins of the heritage site. Four of the victims were teachers and government employees. Daesh jihadists accumulating explosives to destroy other ancient artifacts.
19/01/2017 - IRAQ – SYRIA
Iraqi priest has “confidence and hope" in Mosul’s liberation
Fr Paul Thabit Mekko talks about the sense of expectation among the refugees from Mosul and the Nineveh plain. A small group has already visited their homes in the eastern liberated part of the city. Security in the liberated areas is necessary, so is a new form of administration and management. In 2016, Daesh lost a quarter of the territory it once controlled.
19/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: Christian life is a struggle, because the Father draws us to Jesus but "another pulls us the other way”
"Jesus came to destroy Satan! To destroy his influence on our hearts. " "If you want to go forward," you have to fight! Feel the heart that struggles, because Jesus will win. " "We ask the Lord to be Christians who are able to discern what's going on in our heart and choose the right path on which the Father draws us to Jesus."
19/01/2017 - IRAN
Tragedy strikes in Tehran as building collapses following devastating fire
At least 300 people were trapped inside the building when it collapsed. Some 30 firefighters are feared dead.
19/01/2017 - TURKEY - RUSSIA - IRAN
For the first time joint Russia and Turkey air raids against Isis
18/01/2017 - EGYPT – SAUDI ARABIA
Court stops islands handover to the Saudis, prompting nationalists to exult
Egypt’s High Administrative Court ruled that Tiran and Sanafir islands are Egyptian. The decision unleashed celebrations in the courtroom, with lawyers and patriots hugging each other. Once allies, Cairo and Riyadh are further apart with Egypt moving closer to Russian, Syrian and Iranian positions in the Middle East.
18/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity "makes us think about Christ’s love that urges reconciliation"
Francis recalls that the week begins today, he says that "Communion, Reconciliation and Unity are possible. As Christians, we have a responsibility to give this message and we have to bear witness with our lives". "Prayer carries hope and when things are dark more prayer, so there will be even more hope."
18/01/2017 - INDIA - YEMEN
Indian Church in prayer for Fr. Tom, the Salesian priest kidnapped in Yemen
On January 21 and 22 the Bishops' Conference has invoked a day of prayer for the liberation of the Salesian missionary. Card. Cleemis: We await with "anguish and prayer," news of his "release", that he is "alive and safe." Salesian Vicar: Amid the difficulties prayer is "essential" to "keep hope alive".
18/01/2017 - TURKEY
Turkish judiciary issues 243 arrest warrants for members of military
The military are stationed in 54 provinces of the country. The measure part of the tens of thousands of arrests following the attempted coup of July. The suspects allegedly used an encrypted messaging system also used by Islamic preacher Gülen. Uzbek arrested for New Year massacre in Istanbul confesses.
17/01/2017 - SYRIA – KAZAKHSTAN
“All” rebel groups to be present at the Syria peace talks in Astana
Brokered by Russia and Turkey, the meeting is set for the Kazakh capital. For rebel leader, the aim is to end the "crimes" of the Syrian government. Assad is "optimistic". For Lavrov, this is an opportunity to extend ceasefire and involve rebel field commanders in "the political process".
17/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: No to "parked Christians." The courage of hope
At Mass in Santa Marta, Pope Francis exhorts people to walk in hope, which is like "an anchor" to which we are attached. "To live by hope, always looking ahead with courage ... even where everything seems dark". "Stop to selfish Christians."
17/01/2017 - TURKEY
Istanbul: Masharipov, Uzbek jihadist behind New Year massacre, arrested
The police arrested the main suspect in the attack on the nightclub, which killed 39 people. He was in the suburban district of Esenyurt, hosted by other Islamic State militants. Relief and satisfaction of Turkish authorities. Deputy prime minister confirms: "Our war on terror continues".
16/01/2017 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Uri Avnery: Two-state solution is the only game in townby Uri Avnery
The great Israeli leader and pacifist gives his thoughts a few hours before the Paris Conference. By tolerating Hamas and treating Abbas as an enemy, the Israeli government hinders real peace negotiations. People’s conferences should be held to overcome the most difficult aspects of future Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.
16/01/2017 - TURKEY
Turkey’s parliament takes first step in favour of a presidentialist constitution
A second vote is scheduled for this week, to be followed by a referendum for final approval. The ruling party obtained the required three fifths needed thanks to the support of a far-right party. Kurdish MPs boycotted the vote. In recent days, MPs clashed in parliament.
16/01/2017 - FRANCE - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Israel-Palestine: from Paris a renewed commitment to peace and two States
Over 70 countries, including the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Arab League attended the meeting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas absent. The final communique result of long negotiations between the parties. No direct reference to unresolved issues, including the status of Jerusalem and the US embassy move.
16/01/2017 - KYRGYZSTAN
Bishkek, Turkish airplane crashes into houses: at least 32 dead
It had left Hong Kong bound for Istanbul. The cause of the disaster seem to be the weather. The plane crashed into about 15 houses, killing entire families, some caught in their sleep. The Kyrgyz president has interrupted a trip to China to return immediately to the capital.
15/01/2017 - VATICAN
Pope: The Church does not proclaim itself, it proclaims Christ; it does not bring itself, it brings Christ
During the Angelus, Pope Francis said that "The Church, in every age, is called to do what John the Baptist did – show Jesus to the people." The pontiff warned though, “Woe, woe to the Church when it proclaims itself, for it loses its compass, and does not know where it goes.” On the World Day of Migrants and refugees, dedicated to migrant children, “It is necessary to take every possible measure to ensure protection and defence to migrant children, as well as their integration." Speaking to ethnic communities, he expressed his hope that they will “live peacefully in the towns that welcome you, respecting their laws and traditions and, at the same time, maintaining the values of your cultures of origin.” He thanked the Migrantes Office and cited the example of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, patron saint of migrants.
14/01/2017 - KAZAKHSTAN – RUSSIA – UNITED STATES
Moscow to invite new Trump administration to Syria peace talks in Astana
The Kremlin bypassed President Obama, not involved in the background work for the talks in the Kazakh capital. Outgoing administration tells Trump to honour the invitation. Russia is in favour of the "broadest possible representation of the parties." According to Ankara, the US presence is necessary.
14/01/2017 - VATICAN – PALESTINE – ISRAEL
Pope Francis meets with Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian Embassy to the Holy See is inaugurated
The 20-minute meeting was held in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. For Abbas, the pontiff "loves the Palestinian people and loves peace." He hopes that other countries will follow the Holy See and recognise Palestine as "an independent state." Concerns remain over the Holy Places. The Middle East Peace Conference starts tomorrow in Paris. Abbas criticises Trump for his statements on Jerusalem.
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