02 2016
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    02/05/2016 - SYRIA - USA - UN

    The US secretary of state in Geneva to broker a fragile ceasefire in the northern capital. Scheduled to meet with the UN special envoy and the foreign ministers of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The next round of Geneva talks set for 10 May.




    02/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES - INDONESIA

    Jolo, 10 Indonesian sailors freed: they were held by Abu Sayyaf

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    On April 26 last the terrorist group beheaded a Canadian hostage. The crew members were found yesterday in front of the house of the governor of Sulu. In good condition, they were transported to Jakarta. Mystery over the payment of a ransom: according to Philippine media it amounted to 900 thousand euro, but Indonesia denies any knowledge.


    01/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: May the Holy Spirit help us to understand and to remember the words of Jesus


    After the Marian prayer of the Regina Caeli Francis appeals for peace in Syria: "There is a spiral of violence in the country that continues to aggravate the already desperate humanitarian situation of the country, particularly in the city of Aleppo, and claim innocent victims, even among children, the sick and those who with great sacrifice pledged to provide assistance to others ". Economic development "must take into account human dignity and fully respect labor laws". Pedophilia "is a tragedy. We must not tolerate it, the guilty must be severely punished."


    30/04/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: No one be distanced from God because of man-made obstacles!


    At an extraordinary Jubilee audience, Francis returns to the theme of reconciliation, "God has never failed to offer his forgiveness to men: his mercy is felt from generation to generation." An appeal to confessors: "You are in the place of God the Father." A special Jubilee greeting for the police and the Armed Forces: "Faced with every day challenges, irradiate Christian hope, which is the certainty of the victory of love over hatred and peace over war."


    30/04/2016 - SYRIA

    Pastor of Aleppo: "My city is a ghost town. Our Lady, bring us peace!"


    Father Ibrahim Alsabag speaks to AsiaNews of closed schools and shops, people barricaded in their homes even if they are not safe. Jihadist groups behind wave of violence, which has dragged in other rebel groups. Syria and Aleppo dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that She may bring peace. The war has strengthened unity between Christians and created greater solidarity with Muslims.

     


    30/04/2016 - LEBANON - EU

    Patriarch Rai’s wake up call to EU: We need solutions to Middle East conflicts


    Speaking to the European parliament, the head of the Maronite Church warns that the conflicts in the region not just directly impacting Christians, but also the Mediterranean and the EU itself. Islamic extremism is wiping out centuries of dialogue and is a threat to world peace. Enshrine Lebanon’s neutrality and encourage Muslim nations to separate religion from the state.

     


    29/04/2016 - SYRIA

    As Aleppo comes under attack, with hundreds of dead and wounded, Caritas Syria aid crucial


    At least 202 people have been killed over the past week in Syria’s northern metropolis, including civilians (and many children). A MSF-supported hospital in a rebel-held area and two under government control are hit. “People are scared," but they "still want to stay,” according to Caritas Aleppo. The latter’s operatives visit hospitals to "respond to emergencies."


    29/04/2016 - IRAN - USA

    Tehran asks UN assistance for frozen Iranian funds in the US, managed by the Supreme Court

    by Darius Karimian

    A letter from Javad Zarif to Ban Ki-moon, recalls the injustices suffered by the people of Iran because of US policy. Criticism of the Supreme Court that allows the release of frozen funds to compensate victims of terrorism in Beirut.

     


    29/04/2016 - KUWAIT - YEMEN

    Positive atmosphere but "no progress" in Yemeni peace talks


    The UN special envoy speaks of friendly atmosphere in the talks, being held in Kuwait City, but adds that in the first week, there has been no positive developments. Distances remain between the parties and there were no face to face meetings. Offensive against al Qaeda in the south. Jihadis lose control of Al-Mukalla.

     


    28/04/2016 - IRAQ

    Patriarch Sako: Amoris Laetitia, a source of mercy and learning for Christians and Muslims


    The Apostolic Exhortation contains essential elements for Christian families. It has also elicited “positive thoughts” among Muslims. For the Chaldean Patriarch, Islam too is waiting for something different on the family and spousal relations. Despite the war, few families have broken down, which is not the case for those who emigrated. Married priests could be a model for the whole Church.


    28/04/2016 - THAILAND

    Thai Muslim leader calls for learning from other religions to build peace

    by Weena Kowitwanij

    The Department of Religious Affairs organised an inter-faith forum that brought together leaders of major religions. According Abdulau Nhumsuks, a member of the Bangkok Islam Association, the idea that learning the teachings of other faiths is a sin “is old-fashioned and incorrect”.


    28/04/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Church slams LGBT activists’ murder in Dhaka, a moral failure for the government


    After two young LGBT activists are killed by persons unknown, the president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, says although the Church “does not approve the way of the LGBT life, it recognises the rights of all human persons,” including the right to life which is sacred. Killing people is what terrorists do. The government must guarantee protection to every citizen. For Rosaline Costa, a friend of one of the victims, “no more compromises with Islamist parties”.


    27/04/2016 - IRAQ

    For Baghdad auxiliary bishop, Iraq “is a mess”, at a “low point” of its history


    Iraqis are “fed up”, Mgr Warduni said, because of the lack of work, resources, and perspectives. Oil has elicited the interests of many, but impoverished the country. Prime Minister al-Abadi wants reforms but is challenged in and outside parliament. For Christian lawmaker, Iraq needs domestic unity, and peace between Saudis and Iranians.


    27/04/2016 - IRAQ - SYRIA

    Air raids send $ 800 million in Islamic State funds up in smoke


    According to the General Staff of the United States Peter Gersten, between 500 and 800 million in cash destroyed in the attacks. Spike in defections (up to 90%) and decline in new arrivals, especially among foreign fighters. $ 150 million kept in one house in Mosul.


    26/04/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Ahmadis increasingly victims of human rights violations in Pakistan

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    According to the annual report on persecution against the group, 248 Ahmadis were murdered last year, with another 323 victims of attempted murder. Scores of their places of worship have either been seized or illegally disposed. Many of their tombs have been desecrated. Since 1974, Ahmadis have been treated as “non-Muslims” and a government ordinance bans them from using Islamic greetings and prayers, or to refer to their places of worship as mosques.


    26/04/2016 - EGYPT

    For Egyptian activist, protesters want jobs and rights, not the Muslim Brotherhood


    For Mina Magdy, a spokesman for the Maspero Youth Union, people want "stability, growth and jobs". There is resentment over the cession of islands to Saudi Arabia, and concern over close links with Riyadh. Most are against Islamic extremists, who led yesterday’s protest. The Giulio Regeni affair is being used against country.


    26/04/2016 - SYRIA - TURKEY

    In memory of the genocide, Armenian districts of Aleppo bombarded. Christians rail against Assad


    Explosions also in Yerevan and Karabakh. The Aleppo Armenians accuse the "Islamic terrorists" backed by Turkey, of  using raids to "commemorate" the anniversary of the genocide. Fires in the districts of Suleymaniye and Ashrafieh. 17 Armenians killed, including three children and a woman. For the first time, in Yerevan, a bus packed with explosives is detonated .


    25/04/2016 - ISLAM

    Islam and modernity: "halal" cosmetics business, a 20 billion dollar market


    Beauty products, creams, makeup and lipsticks free of "prohibited ingredients" major market among Muslim women. Business volume expected to double by 2019, carving out a 6% share. According to the Global Islamic Economic overall value of the "halal" market will touch 7 trillion. China at forefront of production.


    23/04/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Rajshahi: English professor hacked to death, police blame Islamic radicals

    by Sumon Corraya

    Rezaul Karim Siddique taught at Rajshahi University. Known and liked by the local community, he participated in local cultural activities. His wife said he had no enemies. For anonymous journalist, undoubtedly "He was killed for his poems." The attack’s modus operandi is the same used in killing other bloggers and liberal thinkers.


    23/04/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Minority leaders slam murder of Sikh minister who was a friend of the Christians

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Two men on motorbikes gunned down their victim. At the start of his mandate as minister, he had asked a bishop for his blessing. Muslims liked him for his welfare work. For one observer, the incident highlights the government’s failure to protect minorities.


    23/04/2016 - TURKEY

    Turkish Parliament: whistles and jeers against Armenian MP who remembers genocide


    Speaking about the anniversary of the genocide, Garo Paylan calls for an investigation into the killing of Armenian MPs in 1915 whose photos he displayed. In Turkey, talking about the “Armenian genocide" can mean three years in prison.


    22/04/2016 - SYRIA

    At least 5,000 jihadists entered Syria from Turkey, including Chinese Uighurs


    Preparations are underway for a big fight in Aleppo. Turkey allows weapons and recruits through. Saudi Arabia blocks peace talks. For people in villages near Aleppo, there is only flight.


    21/04/2016 - GULF STATES – UNITED STATES

    Obama in Riyadh to mend fences with Saudis, boost fight against the Islamic State


    The US President arrived in Saudi Arabia yesterday. King Salman did not meet him at the airport but at the palace where the two had a long tête-à-tête. Today, Obama and Gulf States leaders met terrorism and Iran. A US congressional report on 11 September could further strain US-Saudi relations.


    21/04/2016 - IRAQ

    Iraqi priest: my vocation, in the drama of war and disease

    by Dario Salvi

    Fr. Gabriele Firas A Kidher is one of the priests ordained by Pope Francis. Faith fueled by personal suffering and the collapse of a country at war and divided. University in Mosul and confronting Muslim students. Openness and dialogue to build a relationship of coexistence. Mercy, a desire to put into practice in daily life.


    21/04/2016 - YEMEN - SAUDI ARABIA

    Yemeni peace talks underway in Kuwait


    They were supposed to start four days ago. Postponed by violations in truce. Talks sponsored by the UN. In over a year of conflict there have been 6400 deaths and nearly 3 million displaced. The presence of Al Qaeda and Daesh "allies" of the Saudi coalition. The Sisters of Mother Teresa and the kidnapping of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil.

     


    21/04/2016 - SYRIA - LEBANON

    Patriarch Laham: We will not forget and pray for the abducted bishops


    There has been no news of Syrian Orthodox bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, and Greek-orthodox bishop Boulos Yaziji, Aleppo. Gregory III: We cannot get reliable information. United effort for peace. The hope is that "their fate and their suffering" be a " sign for the future".

     


    20/04/2016 - IRAN

    Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.


    20/04/2016 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    For Palestinian activist, Jerusalem bombing is the wrong answer to a mistaken occupation


    Adel Misk, spokesman for The Parents Circle, slams Israeli policy in the territories for the violence. For him, it is urgent to find a “path to peace” and "determine the cause of the problem". The bus explosion, which is a throwback to similar incidents in the early 2000s, left 21 people wounded.


    20/04/2016 - SYRIA - UN

    Syrian conflict: Opposition walks out on Geneva peace talks


    Part of the delegation leaves the negotiating table, accusing the Syrian government of massacres. Government air strikes hit two markets in Idlib province, 44 civilians killed. Damascus open to the formation "of a broader unity government". United States and Russia scrambling to save the truce.

     


    20/04/2016 - IRAN - USA

    Kerry and Zarif set to implement nuclear deal. But there is opposition in the US


    The meeting took place in UN headquarters in New York. The US has not yet lifted the ban on the use of the dollar for Iran. In this way Tehran cannot receive credits for 100 billion accumulated over the years. At the same time, European banks and companies are afraid to open contracts with Tehran because they fear fines from the United States.






    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card



    In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.


    IRAN
    Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.


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