24 February 2018
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  • 23/02/2018 - UNITED NATIONS – SYRIA

    The text calls for a 30-day truce in order to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate wounded from eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave under government siege. In five days of attacks at least 400 people have been killed. People have also died in Damascus. Moscow threatens to use its veto if the resolution is unfavourable to its Syrian ally.




    23/02/2018 - IRAN – UNITED STATES

    US sanctions have turned Iranian airplanes into ‘flying coffins’


    Last Sunday’s air crash that killed 65 people has raised the issue of airplane safety in Iran. Some 200 accidents have occurred in 20 years with at least 2,000 deaths. Most of the fleet should have been changed ten years ago, but sanctions have stopped purchases. And Trump is now set to block a billion-dollar agreement between Teheran and Boeing (as well as Airbus).


    23/02/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: A Day of Fasting and Prayer for South Sudan, Congo and Syria


    Francis recalled it at the conclusion of the spiritual exercises. The Spirit of God "also flies and works outside" the Church, "it also works in unbelievers, in 'pagans'".


    23/02/2018 - RUSSIA - VATICAN

    Kirill: the meeting with Francis in Havana saved the world

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    The conflict in Syria was likely to lead to a confrontation between Russians and Americans. With the Pope "we were able to agree on many important issues, above all by focusing on the dangerous situation that had arisen in Syria".


    22/02/2018 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Chinese priest talks about the enflamed climate surrounding China-Vatican talks

    by Cheng Zhi

    Some media in favour of a deal speak in "disgusting" ways. Those who oppose it are not against an agreement or against diplomatic relations, but are against reaching one at any cost. "[W]here does the Church truly exercise her rights?"  The author is a priest in the underground Church in eastern China.


    22/02/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope to the young: Like Mary, do not be afraid. The WYD is for the brave


    The Message for the 33rd World Youth Day, which will be celebrated on 25 March next at the diocesan level, released today. Bearing in mind the October Synod, the Pope urges young people to "not fear", to "name" their fears and to live in discernment of  God's call to a "love full of audacity and entirely projected towards the gift of self".


    22/02/2018 - UN - SYRIA

    UN told Ghouta east is 'hell on earth'. Diplomats scramble to secure a ceasefire


    The Security Council ready to vote for a draft resolution. The goal is to reach a 30-day ceasefire and promote the delivery of aid and medicines. Uncertainty of Russian support. UN Secretary-General: The "humanitarian tragedy" demands intervention.


    21/02/2018 - SYRIA - TURKEY

    Syrian army come to aid of Afrin’s Kurdish militias against Turkish offensive


    Pro-government forces have reached the autonomous region to the north, where YPJ Kurds are holding off an attack by Turkish forces. Erdogan threatens to besiege the area to bend the Kurdish resistance. International diplomacy fears an escalation of the conflict between Damascus and Ankara. A desperate situation envelopes East Ghouta.


    21/02/2018 - VATICAN-CHINA-RUSSIA

    The Ostpolitik of today and the 'outgoing' Church (III)

    by Stefano Caprio*

    The collapse of Soviet communism gave reason to the Vatican political choices in opening up to Russia and Eastern Europe. The new Ostpolitik announces a new world without geographic or confessional delineations. Pope Francis pushes the Church towards the peripheries and towards the high sea, as St. John Paul II had hoped. Part III of an expert analysis.


    21/02/2018 - ISRAEL

    Deportation of Migrants: arrest of first seven Eritreans who refuse to leave Israel


    Two of them survived torture in the Sinai. Refugees from the Holot detention center launch a hunger strike: "They are throwing our lives away". Israel wants to expel 15-20 thousand refugees, the prisons can only take 1,000.


    20/02/2018 - TURKEY – GREECE

    Seventeen Turkish officials seek political asylum in Greece

    by NAT da Polis

    The group of civil servants and judges with their families claim they are victims of persecution by the Turkish regime. Tensions between Turkey and Greece are bound to rise as both claim inlets off the coast of Turkey.


    20/02/2018 - SYRIA

    The Syrian army ready for the offensive in Ghouta east. Dozens of civilian victims


    At least 100 people died in one day alone yesterday, including 20 children; added to these are 470 wounded. The UN calls for an end to the bombings and talks about an "out of control" situation. Deposits and hospital facilities also affected. The rebels respond by throwing mortars on Damascus.


    19/02/2018 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Women to open own businesses without the permission of a male guardian


    The Saudi Ministry of Commerce made the announcement yesterday. The Saudi public prosecutor’s office has begun to hire women. After the passport department advertised 140 jobs for women, 107,000 applications were received.


    19/02/2018 - IRAN - ISRAEL

    Netanyahu terms Iran a global threat. Zarif responds: 'Cartoonish circus’


    Another battle is taking place between Israel and Iran at the International Security Conference in Munich. The Israeli premier shows the (alleged) fragment of a recently demolished Iranian drone. For Teheran, these are just attempts to distract from internal political problems. Israel's raid in Gaza in response to rocket launches from the Strip. 


    19/02/2018 - JAPAN – LEBANON

    Lebanon’s Adyan Foundation awarded the 35th Niwano Peace Prize


    The organisation’s mission is to strengthen coexistence between different groups and create the bases for solidarity between different faiths. To reach this goal, it has developed a Building Resilience and Reconciliation programme for children and educators, which offers a guide for peace and reconciliation for those affected by war in Syria.


    19/02/2018 - VATICAN-RUSSIA-CHINA

    The old and new Ostpolitik of the Holy See (I)

    by Stefano Caprio*

    The Vatican’s latest openings to China resemble the path traced by the old Ostpolitik of Card. Agostino Casaroli. Then as now, the Holy See’s moves have provoked and provoke disagreements, criticism and charges of forgetting the persecuted Church and human rights violations. Casaroli himself had doubts about his effectiveness, although he was eager to implement the dimension of dialogue, rediscovered with the Second Vatican Council. Part One.


    17/02/2018 - HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN

    The Church 'doesn't care about politics and human rights' ... Wrong!

    by John Mok Cit Wai

    In an attempt to please China, several commentators dare to conceal or manipulate the teaching of the Church. The Church's mission is linked to support for human rights and commitment to society. Jesus never challenged the Roman Empire, but created a revolution. Msgr Romero defending the poor and the Church, had to face the military junta. A comment by John Mok Cit Wai.


    17/02/2018 - AFGHANISTAN

    Like Metallica, Ennio Morricone and Paul McCartney: Afghan Institute wins the Polar award


    Anim was founded in 2010 to give hope to young Afghans and save the country's musical tradition. The focus on the most disadvantaged children and girls in particular. Between 1996 and 2001 the Taliban banished all forms of music. Founder: such a prestigious award "is not just an honor for me, but a great achievement for the whole country".


    17/02/2018 - EGYPT

    A cathedral dedicated to the Egyptian martyrs beheaded in Libya

    by Loula Lahham

    Three years after the massacre of the 21 young Copts, a cathedral for the "martyrs of the faith" was built and consecrated in Al Ur, in Upper Egypt. The remains of the victims, found in a cave in Sirte, after DNA testing, will be on display on the ground floor of the building. The words of the martyrs' families.


    16/02/2018 - IRAN

    Iranian intellectuals and activists push for a referendum against theocracy


    Following President Rouhani’s lead, 15 prominent Iranians demand a referendum to define the country’s constitutional future. They harshly attack the ruling clergy for denying people their freedom. The goal is overcome the Islamic regime in a peaceful manner and establish “a parliamentarian system according to democratic bases”.


    16/02/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: fasting is real when concerned with helping others


    Fasting is "stripping oneself a little"; maybe thanking the Lord because we are able to fast: "poor people", they must fast because they do not have anything to eat "and you even despise them ". Do penance in peace: "You cannot talk to God on one side and talk to the devil on the other" because it is inconsistent.


    16/02/2018 - VATICAN

    Young people from all over the world in Rome in preparation for the October Synod


    From March 19 to 24, the Pre-Synodal Meeting will prepare a document that will flow into the working document of the Synod. An encounter to "listen" to young people. To participate concretely through social media, young people will simply have to go to the website www.synod2018.va, where they will find the link to register with the Facebook Group of one of the 6 languages ​​provided.


    15/02/2018 - IRAN

    Iran environmentalist’s suicide in jail challenged


    Kavous Seyed Emami, 64, was a leading member of the Persian Wildlife Foundation. But according to the prosecution he was part of an espionage ring organised by the CIA and Mossad. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a video that ostensibly backs the suicide theory; however, some Iranian lawmakers, activists and the dead man’s family have rejected the official version.


    15/02/2018 - SYRIA

    Aid shipment arrives in besieged eastern Ghouta


    This is the first shipment of food and medicine in the last three months in the area besieged by Syrian troops. Supplies of food and medicines for about 7200 people, equal to 1440 families. The WHO sent 1.8 tons of medicines, sufficient for 10 thousand treatments. Director WFP: "Much more needed". The evacuation of 700 patients is still suspended.


    15/02/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope encourages young priests to seek guidance in older priests


    The ages in the priesthood, with their peculiar characteristics, risks and potentialities were the subject of which Pope Francis spoke today to the clergy of Rome gathered in the Basilica of St. John Lateran for the traditional meeting of the beginning of Lent.


    15/02/2018 - INDIA

    Nagaland, BJP offers Christians free pilgrimages to Jerusalem: 'Political opportunism'


    On February 27, the states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura will vote. In Nagaland, 88% of the population is Christian. The Council of Baptist Churches in Nagaland boycotts the nationalist parties and denounces violence against Christians.


    14/02/2018 - VATICAN

    Lent is a time to defeat the demons of distrust, apathy and resignation, says pope


    In celebrating Ash Wednesday, Francis calls on the faithful to look and contemplate "the real face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone, without exception” and to “Return to the house of your Father”.


    14/02/2018 - KUWAIT - IRAQ

    As Iraq’s reconstruction is discussed in Kuwait, Mar Sako bemoans promises, demands action


    Some US$ 88 billion will be needed to repair the damage caused by Iraq’s wars, including the one with the Islamic State group. The UN secretary general calls on the world to support the country’s recovery. The Chaldean patriarch voices scepticism. He noted that discussions did not mention minorities whilst money could fuel corruption and terrorism. Education and jobs are the bases for national rebirth.


    14/02/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: Prayer of the Faithful are for concrete needs of the Church and of the world


    Continuing his catechesis on Mass, Francis spoke of the Creed and the Prayer of the faithful, recalling Christ’s monition: "ask and you will be given". "We do not ask for this, because we have little faith, but if we had the faith Jesus speaks of, we would have everything". It a time to ask for the important things. But "the claims of worldly logic do not rise towards Heaven, just as self-referential requests remain unheard".

     


    14/02/2018 - TURKEY

    Turkish opposition leader convicted of documenting arms trafficking to Syria


    The Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoglu will have to serve five years and 10 months. For the judges he provided "secret information" to a pro-opposition newspaper. His arrest comes after a massive march from Ankara to Istanbul, the most important anti-government demonstration in recent months.






    Editor's choices

    BANGLADESH
    Snehonir, the 'house of tenderness' for the disabled (photos)



    Founded 25 years ago by Shanti Rani Sisters and PIME missionaries in Rajshahi, the facility is open to the mentally and physically disabled, deaf, blind, orphans, poor, and abandoned. The guiding principle is to start them in life.


    KOREA
    Defeated on ice, but 'first' in history, joint Korean hockey team players hug



    After losing to Sweden in their last match, the Korean team ends up in seventh place. Players burst into tears at their imminent separation. "Politicians made that executive decision [to have a joint team]. Our players and staff are the ones that made it work,” said the team’s proud Canadian coach. One South Korean athlete hopes the country is proud of them. "It was bigger than hockey."


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