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The 21st World Cup starts tomorrow with the host nation playing against Saudi Arabia. Asian teams have little chance of winning, but Asian businesses are swooping up sponsorship deals. Nike denies Iran boots as a result of Trump’s sanctions. Child labour used in making World Cup goods emerges as an issue.

| 13/06/2018
| ASIA – RUSSIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Pakistan goes to the polls on 25 July. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an alliance of five ultraconservative regional parties, is using religion “to attract votes”. The Constitution already promotes Islamic law. Some want to see a focus on women's rights and unbiased education.

| 13/06/2018
| PAKISTAN
by J.B. An Dang

The law was approved by an 86 per cent margin. For critics it will restrict political and religious freedom. Foreign companies will be forced to provide private user data to the government. In the past, Catholic sites, including AsiaNews, have been blocked. For Catholic priest, Vietnam’s Communist regime deems Catholic social doctrine unacceptable.

| 13/06/2018
| VIETNAM
by Mathias Hariyadi

Saint Mary is the oldest Cistercian monastery in Indonesia. It grows coffee, runs a dairy and makes bread and pastry, contributing to the community's self-sufficiency. In 1987, Trappist monks established the first female community in Gedono, on the slopes of Mount Merbabu. In 1996, the Abbey of Lamanabi was built on Flores, a predominantly Catholic island.

| 13/06/2018
| INDONESIA

The world is divided over yesterday’s agreement. Critics condemn it for the absence of a timetable for denuclearisation and the decision to suspend joint US-South Korea exercises. North Korean media celebrate Kim's victory. In South Korea, the corporate sector is happy. Card Yeom is praying for quick implementation for everyone’s sake. State visits and meetings between separated families are in store for the future. For the Korea Church, people want “peace”.

| 13/06/2018
| KOREA – UNITED STATES

The Statistical Yearbook of the Church shows that there are more bishops and permanent deacons. The number of priests stable but  religious and seminarians in decline. In Asia Catholics are 11% of the population, but vocations are growing

| 13/06/2018
| VATICAN
by Nirmala Carvalho

Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath were suspected of kidnapping children. Authorities ask 70 other people to delete fake news and fake videos from mobile phones and social media profiles. In the last month, at least seven people have been assaulted across India on unfounded charges.

| 13/06/2018
| INDIA

"Here is the challenge: find authentic life, not a carbon copy. Jesus offers no surrogates, but real life, true love, true wealth!". The World Cup in Russia can be an occasion for meeting, dialogue and fraternity between different cultures and religions, fostering solidarity and peace among nations ".

| 13/06/2018
| VATICAN

The nationalist leader has unexpectedly announced an alliance with the blockade that led the fight against ISIS. A move that marginalizes outgoing premier al-Abadi. Al-Sadr's goal is to form an executive "far from any confessionalism". A commission charged with writing the government contract is being examined.

| 13/06/2018
| IRAQ

Activists unveil the sculpture on Times Square. The space is visited by many tourists from mainland China. The discontent of the administration.

| 13/06/2018
| HONG KONG-CHINA

The telecommunications company, the fourth in the world, reopened trading today, after a two month suspension.  ZTE has to pay a fine to the US for violating the embargo on sales in Iran and North Korea. But the agreement reached risks being cancelled by the US Senate.

| 13/06/2018
| CHINA-US
Vatican, canonization Mass of St. Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan
The Extraordinary Missionary Month in the Archdiocese of Calcutta
Heilongjiang, China
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