The Papal visit bears three messages: hope, peace and coexistence and it is a “dream come true". A thank you to the Yazidis for their support over the years. Sunni Muslim: "We want to pray together with Christians", a stimulus from the Pope "to arise and rebuild".
At the general audience, Francis asks to pray for the journey that begins on Friday. In Myanmar, "aspirations for peace must not be stifled by violence". Before knowing Jesus, he said, "we really did not know how to pray: what words, what feelings and what languages were appropriate for God."
Forest Department officials tore down a Seventh-day Adventist church in Bandarban district for lack of construction permit. Extremists attacked another Protestant church in northern Bangladesh because of the presence of new Christians. For the Bangladesh Christian Association, everyone should be guaranteed the right to practise their own religion and justice should be done.
Small business owners in the tourist provinces badly hit. The Caixin Index on services is down, a sign that Chinese companies are laying off. The new coronavirus outbreaks plunge the catering and wellness sectors into crisis. The government is not expected to give any indications on the expected growth in 2021.
More and more people are demonstrating under the motto: "We have nothing more to lose, because we have already lost everything". The protests involve several cities nationwide, with blocked roads and burning tires. The Lebanese pound collapses, the black market exchange rate is at 10 thousand per US dollar.
The schismatic 17th century community defends “the inalienable right" for the outlawed religious group, even if "they do not share doctrine and ideas". The Old Believers have suffered past "destruction of churches, confiscation of sanctuaries", with "exile and imprisonment, torture and the death penalty". The repression of freedom of conscience raises tensions, conflicts and divisions in society.
During the three-day visit, Francis will travel to Baghdad, Najaf, Ur, Erbil, Mosul, and Qaraqosh. During his stay, he will give four speeches and deliver two homilies, an Angelus and a prayer of suffrage for war victims. On Saturday, he will meet Al-Sistani, the country's highest Shia authority.
Defendants are seeking bail. Yesterday’s hearing lasted well into the night and was suspended when four defendants had to be hospitalised for exhaustion. For the prosecution, democracy is a crime. Pro-democracy advocates slam the trial for violating human rights. EU sees the procedure as the end of political pluralism.
Misheli Nethanya marked her 9th birthday by helping poor children as a gift. “I actually want to say to all my friends and to all Christian children who are my age that we, young ones, can make our Jesus happy.”
To participate in the major pilgrimage, it will be "mandatory" to demonstrate immunization. Doubts about the presence of faithful from abroad. Riyadh started the vaccination campaign on December 17. Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost 380 thousand infections and 6,500 deaths.
Through his anonymous blog Mosul Eye, the Sunni historian Omar Mohammed documented the atrocities in the years of the "caliphate". The arrival of the pontiff in his city is a dream come true: "he will also show us Iraqis that the only way forward is to accept each other"
The Indonesian government adopts the new measure to support the economy hit by the collapse of the tourist sector. The poverty index rose to 10.9 per cent. Meanwhile, mass vaccination has begun in Jakarta with priority given to the elderly and clerics, but there is concern about the time it will take to reach the farthest islands.
Clashes with security forces in Yangon. Rumours of two deaths. One dead and several wounded in Kale. Following global protestations, the military leaders ask security forces not to use lethal weapons. ASEAN runs for cover. Singapore: No to violence, free Aung San Suu Kyi, dialogue for peace. Democratic leader charged with two other violations.
Yesterday, someone set fire to the entrance of the Romanian Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem. The quick action of a priest prevented serious damage. This is the fourth such incidents in a month, caught on camera, but the police have so far failed to act. The chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate calls for a stop to the spiral of violence and better security measures to protect the Christian community.
Demonstrations in different cities: Nur-Sultan, in Almaty, Aktobe, Shimkent and Uralsk. The long-promised political reforms and the release of political prisoners are called for. Journalists detained, protesters beaten, arrests. Refugees from Xinjiang also took to the streets, accusing Turkey and Kazakhstan of being dominated by China and its repression.