05/04/2015CHINA – TAIWAN Xi Jinping meets KMT party leader to boost cooperation China’s president, who is also Communist Party chief, met Eric Chu, head of Taiwan’s ruling KMT party. During the meeting, he praised their mutual efforts to co-operate, which has improved cross-strait relations and prevented war. He also urged the two sides to ensure a brighter future across the Taiwan Strait. For mainland China, Taiwan remains a breakaway province. Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Communist Party chief Xi Jinping told Kuomintang (KMT) leader Eric Chu that efforts by the two sides to co-operate in the past decade had greatly improved cross-strait relations and helped prevent them from going to war.
05/04/2015SRI LANKA John Kerry meets Tamil leaders, calls on government to investigate war crimes by Melani Manel Perera The US Secretary of State ended a visit to the country yesterday. Inter-ethnic reconciliation six years after the end of civil war was one of the issue discussed with Tamil leaders. For Kerry, investigating war crimes is a key point, "No matter how painful the truth is".
05/01/2015VIETNAM – VATICAN Vietnam today, 40 years after the fall of Saigon by Lee Nguyen On 30 April 1975, North Vietnamese forces seized Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, thus ending the Vietnam War. Forty years later, the country has become a medium-size economic "tiger" in Asia and the world, a country with a capitalist economy behind a Communist facade, under a regime still bent on exerting tight social controls. There are some positive signs for the Church, but also acts of persecution, bans, and censorship, especially against bishops and priests. Yet, the country really needs the reconciliation Christians can bring to heal still present wounds and divisions.
05/01/2015VATICAN For the pope, the faces of hungry men and women should take centre stage at Expo by Papa Francesco Pope Francis today addressed via a televised link-up the opening ceremony of Expo Milano 2015 (1 May-31 October), the world fair centred on ‘Feeding the planet. Energy for Life’. For the Holy Father, this “Expo is a propitious opportunity to globalise solidarity. Let us not waste it; let us make the very most of it.” In his view, a change of mind-set is also needed to overcome the “paradox of abundance” and the culture of waste and castoffs. The pope’s full speech is reprinted below.
05/01/2015CHINA China’s one-child policy is state violence against women and children by Reggie Littlejohn Although occasionally “tweaked,” the infamous law has not been eliminated and is having disastrous demographic consequences: labor shortages, an aging population, a skewed sex ration between men and women, women trafficking and sexual slavery. However, the government is not going to repeal it because it helps it control the population. The Party “is maintaining its grip on power by shedding the blood of the innocent women and babies of China,” said Reggie Littlejohn in her testimony before the Congressional Executive Commission on China.
05/01/2015IRAQ Baghdad grants amnesty to deserters to fight the Islamic State group Prime Minister Abadi offers an amnesty to defectors who return to their units within 30 days. The military collapse last June paved the way for the Islamic State group to seize parts of the country. The amnesty does not include those who committed crimes against state security, corruption and abuse of influence. Meanwhile, suicide attacks continue.
05/01/2015NEPAL Kathmandu: as relief fails to arrive, survivors resort to eating dead animals and reading the Bible by Christopher Sharma In many areas far from the capital, no relief has arrived in seven days. “I have three children and a pregnant wife,” said Ram Bhujel, a survivor. “They all started crying from hunger. So, we decided to eat the meat of a dead buffalo." Epidemics are a real danger. The government admits the lack of resources. “The Lord saved me,” said one survivor, a convert to Christianity. “I shall dedicate my life to God, [. . .] and raise awareness [. . .] about His grace.”
04/30/2015JAPAN Doing more: the Church and the plight of migrant workers in Japan “Although it is hard to judge from a legal and legislative point of view, from a human one, expelling them from the country is an injustice,” said PIME regional superior. Perhaps, the Church “ought to do” something. Yesterday, a group of immigrants staged a protest, calling on the government to allow them to remain in the country where they have lived for decades.
04/30/2015RUSSIA Energy giants write to Putin: 'Made in Russia' does not work by Nina Achmatova Kommersant newspaper, cites a letter signed, among others, by Gazpromneft and Rosneft. The companies are against a bill that aims to discourage the purchase of foreign machinery and engineering and increase state control in the background of the wider campaign of "import substitution".
04/29/2015NEPAL Nepal earthquake: apostolic vicar calls on everyone to help in this time of crisis by Christopher Sharma Mgr Paul Simick appeals for action, calling on Catholics to be responsible citizens and a role model for their fellow human beings. Meanwhile, thousands of people are stuck outdoors, fearing the outbreak of diseases. Broken sewers and water mains have contaminated drinking water. Looters are taking advantage of the situation to steal from abandoned houses.
04/29/2015SRI LANKA Historic victory for democracy as Sri Lanka abolishes "absolute presidency by Melani Manel Perera Parliament passes the 19th amendment reintroducing term limits to presidential mandate and reduces the powers of office. Civil Society: "A blessing for the people and the nation." The previous constitutional amendment had transformed the country into a semi dictatorship.
04/28/2015NEPAL Nepal: 8 million earthquake victims, and over 4 thousand dead The United Nations issues an updated toll. The wounded exceed 8 thousand. At least 1.4 million people have no food. In hospitals have treated a mere one thousand patients. The population denounces poor coordination among government agencies responsible for aid, recovery and rescue.