20 July 2017
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  • 20/07/2017 - CHINA

    According to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in China, she it is being held in isolation by police in Yunnan province. Ceremonies are being held everywhere to remember the Nobel Prize laureate one week after his death, but Beijing is closely monitoring and censoring any reference to the dissident.

    20/07/2017 - EGYPT – CHINA

    China is suspected in the arrest of hundreds of Uyghur students

    China appears to be behind the round-up to get students home where they face long prison sentences on terrorism and extremism charges. Activists and international NGOs slam the "ridiculous" charges and the lack of legal protection for those in custody.

    20/07/2017 - LEBANON

    “Surrender or die”: Countdown for Al-Nusra in Jaroud Arsal and Qalamoun

    by Pierre Balanian

    Serious fighting is underway in Idleb with Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and allies. Al-Nusra in Lebanon is totally isolated and time is on the Lebanese army’s side. According to Basel El Hugeiri, mayor of Arsal, the Lebanese army urged civilians to leave.

    20/07/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Miniskirt-wearing Saudi woman released

    Officially the police accepted the version of the aspiring model who said that the video was private and posted without her knowledge. The case sparked opposite reactions on Saudi social media.

    20/07/2017 - SYRIA – UNITED NATIONS

    FAO: Wheat harvest in Syria improving, but still less than half of prewar production

    This year's harvest is 1.8 million tonnes, up 12 per cent over last. Some 6.9 million people are food insecure, another 5.6 million are at risk without monthly aid. Deir-ez-Zor and Ar-Raqqa are the most at risk.

    20/07/2017 - INDIA

    Nationalists are jubilant, Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, is India’s 14th president

    The former governor of Bihar won with 66 per cent of the votes with the support of the Hindu nationalist party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A foregone conclusion, the outcome confirms the prime minister’s political acumen. The next Union elections are set for 2019. Once marginalised, Dalits are courted today given their size (16 per cent) in the electorate.

    20/07/2017 - ASIA

    Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai among most sought-after destinations in 2017 City Index

    New York is still first, but Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong are second and third for business. The top ten includes Tokyo (fifth), Beijing (seventh), and Shanghai (tenth). The younger generation prefer Abu Dhabi and Tokyo. The data comes from the Ipsos Global survey of the best cities in which to live, work and visit.

    20/07/2017 - INDONESIA

    With support in civil society, Corruption Eradication Committee investigates lawmakers

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    The parliament is trying to hinder investigations by resorting to its Right to query. People's Representative Council Speaker Setya Novanto is among the suspects. Some legislators are thought to have received money over the electronic ID cards plan.

    20/07/2017 - CHINA - INDIA

    Modi’s Hindu nationalism could trigger another war, the Global Times says

    A belligerent editorial in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper clarifies Beijing's position. Tensions have reignited between China and India near the border with Bhutan, on the Doklam plateau claimed by China. The armies have been facing off for about a month. India feels still surrounded.

    19/07/2017 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Clashes break out in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Muslims

    Violence started at the end of the evening prayer. Worshippers prayed outside the mosques in protest against the presence of metal detectors. Fatah called for the "Day of rage".

    19/07/2017 - IRAN – UNITED STATES

    New US sanctions angers Iran, which pledges its own sanctions

    New sanctions against the Islamic Republic are due to its support for “terrorist” groups and the Syrian regime as well as its missile programme. Some 18 entities or individuals are targeted. Washington is “deeply concerned" about Iran's "malign activities". Tehran slams the sanctions as illegal, pledges sanctions of its own against the US.

    19/07/2017 - BANGLADESH

    Authorities suspect 17 Islamist NGOs of funding to terrorism

    by Sumon Corraya

    Most of these NGOs are controlled by Jamaat-e-Islam, and are based in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. The main ones are the Bangladesh Krishi Kalyan Samity, Muslim Aid Bangladesh, Rabeta Al-Alam al-Islami, Qatar Charitable Society, Islamic Relief Agency, International Islamic Relief Organisation (IRO), Hayatul Ighachha, Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, Tawhidi Noor, and al-Muntada al-Islami.

    19/07/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Punjab, 16-year-old Christian boy accused of blasphemy, police denies access to parents

    Shahzad Masih worked as a sweeper at the Shahmim Riaz Hospital, Gujrat District. His accuser, Ishtiaq Qadri, is a member of Tehreek-e-Tuhafaz, an Islamist extremist party. Death threats have forced his family to flee. Now the boy could die.

    19/07/2017 - KOREA

    North Korea’s public executions mapped

    Executions take place on riverbanks, school grounds and in marketplaces by shooting, and in some cases, by beating to save bullets. Stealing rice, corn, copper or circulating South Korean news are the main crimes. The report is based on interviews with 375 North Korean defectors over two years.

    19/07/2017 - THAILAND

    Court hands out 21 guilty verdicts in Rohingya crisis

    Sentences were expected this morning. A general is among the 103 defendants. Charges include human trafficking, kidnapping, and murder.

    19/07/2017 - PHILIPPINES

    Marawi bishop against Duterte: no to the extension of martial law

    Bishop Edwin de la Peña comes out against the government, which wants to extend the state of emergency and martial law. For the bishop, the latter was needed at the beginning, but now it is no longer necessary. In all, more than 465,000 people have been evacuated. The Church is playing a leading role in providing humanitarian aid. Caritas set aside another 200,000 dollars.

    18/07/2017 - RUSSIA

    “Evil cannot dominate forever,” says Kirill in Valaam, “good eventually overcomes” it

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    Moscow patriarch visits the monastery on Lake Ladoga. Under Soviet rule, the complex was all but ruins by the 1960s.  “[M]onastic life itself now resumes with unexpected vigour”. Vladimir Putin was present at the event.

    18/07/2017 - TURKEY

    More human rights activists arrested in Turkey, including Amnesty International's Turkey director

    A Turkish court has remanded into custody six militants, including İdil Eser, in what Amnesty International calls a "travesty of justice". Two trainers, a Swedish and a German, have also been detained. They were charged with "committing a crime in the name of a terror organisation without being a member”, namely the Gülen movement.

    18/07/2017 - IRAN

    President Rouhani's brother released on multi-million-dollar bail

    Hossein Ferydoun was arrested yesterday for "financial issues". His initial bail of US$ 13 million was reduced to US$ 9.3 million. The inquiry remains ongoing and he could still end up in jail again. The struggle between the judiciary (backed by the Guardians of the Revolution) and Rouhani gets worse.

    18/07/2017 - INDIA

    Pentecostal clergyman killed in Punjab. For Bishop Mulakkal, it is an attack on Christians

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Rev Sultan Masih was the pastor of the Temple of God Church. He was gunned down whilst talking on his mobile. For the bishop of Jalandhar, "This attack against Christians has deeply wounded the whole community". The victim's family blocks motorway. A “lynching culture” prevails across the country, says Sajan K George.

    18/07/2017 - SRI LANKA

    For Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Buddhism will be dominant in constitution, but minorities ask not to be ignored

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Discussions are underway in Sri Lanka over changes to the 1978 constitution. Ranil Wikremasinghe tried to reassure some 70 Buddhist monks who made serious threats. For Anglican clergyman, “The ideal would be to separate state and religion." For Muslim leader in Colombo, “it is political drama”.

    18/07/2017 - CHINA

    Xi Jinping wants more imports and foreign investment

    The Chinese president said that foreign firms should be able to benefit from the same treatment as Chinese companies. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Xi stood as a defender of free trade and globalisation against Donald Trump's protectionism, but foreign companies operating in China complain of obstacles they face to do business in that country.

    18/07/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope on twitter reaches 35 million followers

    Benedict XVI launched the account 3 December 2012. Available in nine languages, it is one the most followed in the world with the most retweets. In recent weeks, the pope’s thoughts about Charlie Gard and very sick children was extensively retweeted.

    18/07/2017 - INDIA

    Our Lady of Carmel, the encounter with Jesus in “the suffering flesh of our brothers and sisters”

    Amid the frenzy of everyday life, the search for the meaning of life takes place. Those who reach Mount Carmel, like the prophet Elijah, serve as an example. God's quest for happiness “is so important and all-consuming that some persons are ready to give up literally everything for this”. “Not all of us are called to climb up a faraway mountain; but all of us can try to make a little space for silence in our hearts to allow the voice of the Lord to reach us.” Helping the neediest is a way to meet Jesus, as Mary did at the foot of the Cross.

    17/07/2017 - LEBANON

    Young Maronites from around the world rediscover their roots

    World Maronite Youth Days (WMYD) are currently underway (13-23 July) aimed at immersing young foreign-born Maronites in an Antiochian-Syriac cultural environment to deepen their faith.

    17/07/2017 - QATAR – GULF

    UAE behind fake news that triggered Gulf crisis

    Unnamed US intelligence officials make the claim, according to the Washington Post. The UAE has denied it, saying it “had no role whatsoever” in the affair. FIFA also denies reports that Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations have called for Qatar to be stripped of the 2022 World Cup.

    17/07/2017 - IRAN

    Iranian President Rouhani's brother arrested for unspecified financial issues

    The authorities issued an arrest warrant for Hossein Ferydoun after he failed to secure bail. He is accused in connection with a scandal of inflated public managers wages. According to a spokesman for the judiciary, “other people have been investigated, some of whom are in jail”.

    17/07/2017 - INDIA

    Catholic arrested in connection with smashed crosses in Goa, but some see a cover-up

    Francis Pereira, 54, reportedly confessed that he wanted to free “trapped souls". A group of experts wonder how one man could do so much damage. The general perception is that Hindu radicals "encouraged" the incidents.

    17/07/2017 - CHINA

    China censors Winnie the Pooh

    The Disney-owned character has become a “sensitive” topic in recent years after a less-than-flattering comparison was made between the portly bear and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Some post the name and picture just to see how quickly they are censored.

    17/07/2017 - PHILIPPINES

    Church providing relief to Marawi victims

    by di Santosh Digal

    The National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) and Caritas Philippines are handing out food, hygiene kits and other essential goods to 3,005 beneficiaries in 12 villages in Illigan City. Psychological support is also provided to women and children traumatised by the fighting. Five staff members and 20 volunteers, Christians and Muslims, are working on the ground.

    Editor's choices

    Liu Xiaobo: a torch that enlightens human civilization

    The testimony of the great nonviolent dissident is the highest contribution to humanity in the last (sterile) 500 years of Chinese history. A priest from North China offers an elegy in memory of Liu (and his wife).

    Crosses broken and cemetery desecrated in Goa due to religious hatred, Mgr Neri Ferrao says

    The broken crosses were left on the side of the road. Some 28 niches, five wooden crosses, nine granite crosses, 16 graves and the big entrance cross at the Guardian Angel cemetery were damaged. At a Hindu extremist meeting, a leader said “those who eat cow should be hanged in public,” noted Sajan K George.


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