20 March 2018
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  • 20/03/2018 - SRI LANKA

    Many families are still displaced, without access to their livelihoods. The military are using illegally held land and taking advantage of women. A report by two civil society organisations calls on the government to respect UN recommendations.

    by Melani Manel Perera

    20/03/2018 - CHINA

    Xi Jinping to NPC: socialism with Chinese characteristics alone can save the country

    by Wang Zhicheng

    Closing the National People's Congress, the president's address, full of rhetoric, speaks of a "great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream" as a way to achieve progress and stability, development and attention to the person. Just one condition: to submit and obey the Party leadership. Li Keqiang asks the US not to act "emotionally" in launching a possible trade war. The promotion of Xia Baolong, the mastermind behind the campaign to destroy crosses and churches in Zhejiang.

    20/03/2018 - THAILAND-LAOS

    Bangkok, life imprisonment for Laotian drug lord 'Mr. X'

    He was the head of a smuggling network that produced the drug in the "Golden Triangle", where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. The Laotian route to the south is increasingly used by traffickers trying to reach Thailand, Malaysia and even Australia and Japan, where profits soar.

    20/03/2018 - SYRIA - TURKEY

    Hundreds of thousands flee Afrin as rebels sack the city

    Shops, homes, military and government facilities subject to raids and expropriations. The Turkish president announces the continuation of the offensive, Kobane is the final goal. At least 200 thousand civilians have left the area in recent weeks; nearly 300 victims, including 43 children. The deafening silence of the United States and Europe.

    20/03/2018 - KOREA-US

    South Korea and the US to hold 'low profile' military exercises

    "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" will start on March 23rd and April 1st. Kim Jong-un had expressed "understanding" for the "routine" of the exercises, to visiting South Korean officials. South Korean expert: possible exchange currency for negotiations

    19/03/2018 - RUSSIA

    Putin IV, 'the Terrible', has won

    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    Although the tally is not yet final, Tsar Putin leads with 76.6 per cent of the vote. The "Crimea" effect and the division among liberals contributed to his success. Patriarch Kirill blessed Putin’s victory.

    19/03/2018 - AUSTRALIA – MYANMAR

    Aung San Suu Kyi visits ASEAN summit, makes state visit to Australia amid controversy

    The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been criticised for her alleged silence over the growing humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state. The emergency was at the centre of talks among ASEAN members at the three-day summit (16-18 March) in Sydney. To resolve it, she is seeking ASEAN’s and Australia’s assistance.

    19/03/2018 - CHINA

    Enter Liu He, the man behind economic reform

    by Wang Zhicheng

    The personal friend and economic advisor to Xi Jinping was named vice-premier. He will be joined by Han Zhen, Sun Chunlan, Hu Chunhua. He is the person who pushes most for economic reforms and for a change in the Chinese development model. The nomination of Yi Gang as governor of the People's Bank of China was also appreciated.


    19/03/2018 - KOREA-US-FINLAND

    Helsinki, first meeting between officials from the two Koreas and the USA

    Choe Kang-il, a senior North Korean diplomat, left for Finland yesterday. The goal is to prepare the summits between Kim Jong-un, Moon and Trump. The South Korean president evaluates a possible coordination of South Korea-China-Japan.

    19/03/2018 - SYRIA - TURKEY

    Turkish army bends resistance of Afrin’s Kurdish militias and conquers the area

    Turkish soldiers and opposition groups take the city. The statue of a popular figure of Kurdish culture and tradition has been demolished. Ankara intends to continue the operation until "the area is secure". The Kurds promise resistance and announce targeted attacks "at the first opportunity".

    16/03/2018 - SRI LANKA

    Doubts over the new TV reconciliation channel because only Tamil can understand it

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Sri Lanka’s national television network opens a new channel dedicated to Tamil culture, identity and religion. For some it is "useless" because it cannot be understood in the south; for others it is "a positive effort” because today's Tamil youth have abandoned their culture in favour of “Western styles".

    16/03/2018 - KOREA-US

    Preparations for Korea-US summit. Moon's approval ratings hit 74%

    Seoul reassures Tokyo over meetings as necessary for peace on the peninsula, and urges for a preliminary summit with Kim Jong Un. North Korean Foreign Minister flies to Sweden. "Sports diplomacy" continues. But some experts warn: a nuclear reactor active, the purpose is not clear.

    16/03/2018 - PHILIPPINES

    The Hague investigates Duterte’s drug war, Manila abandons the Rome Statute

    The Filipino government is accused of crimes against humanity. The police say they have killed about 4 thousand suspects for resisting arrest, but human rights groups claim that the number is three times higher. Duterte has often called on authorities to kill drug suspects by promising to protect agents from legal consequences.

    16/03/2018 - ISRAEL

    Supreme Court freezes refugee expulsions

    The government has until March 26 to explain the plan. The lack of clarity of nations where migrants are deported to is a source of insecurity. Until the Court's final decision, Israel cannot expel or arrest other asylum seekers.


    Another US$ 100 million pledged at Palestinian refugee conference in Rome

    With a shortfall of US$ 446 million, the UN agency faces the "worst financial crisis in its history" and could cut many critical services. The situation is due to the US decision to reduce its contribution. This “could push the suffering in disastrous and unpredictable directions.”

    15/03/2018 - INDIA

    BJP anti-minority policies in north-eastern India

    by Ram Puniyani*

    Last week the nationalist party won big in state elections. The anti-Bangladeshi feelings and the illusory promise of development were decisive in Tripura. Through its flexibility, the prime minister’s party has been able to use manipulation to gain power.

    15/03/2018 - BANGLADESH-MYANMAR

    Naypyitaw, less than 400 of 8 thousand Rohingya 'eligible for repatriation'

    There are no fingerprints and identification photographs of the other applicants. Three terrorists identified among them. Refugees must prove that they have lived in Rakhine since before October 9,  2016.  

    15/03/2018 - THAILAND

    An Easter letter from Thailand: The greater the pain, the greater the hope

    by Adriano Pelosin

    This is the story of an ordinary day of pain. "The greater the sin, the greater the forgiveness". God “frees us from slavery paying the price of our redemption with the Blood of his One and Only son, Jesus Christ.”

    14/03/2018 - JAPAN

    The Japanese will become adults at 18 in 2022

    The amendment will allow 18- and 19-year-olds to get married and sign contracts on their own. However, they will still not be allowed to smoke, drink and gamble. For the Justice Minister, this will encourage the active social participation of young people.

    14/03/2018 - CHINA

    Posters and graffiti in Guangzhou streets call for 'Independence', say ‘Go Hong Kong!'

    Dissatisfaction is growing in Guangdong over the suppression of the Cantonese language and culture in the public sphere. Slogans have been written at the Dayuanshuaifu and Xinhong Gardens bus stops as well as at the back of bus seats. Stickers have also appeared.

    14/03/2018 - INDIA

    BJP 'betrays' Hindutva to win in the north-east of India

    by John Dayal*

    Last week saw elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. In Tripura, the nationalists overturned 25 years of left-wing government. The party of premier Narendra Modi "compromised with the rampant corruption". "The 'Christian' image of the north-east is a myth".

    14/03/2018 - CAMBODIA

    Kratié, clashes over land dispute: eight peasants released

    On March 8, local police forces opened fire on the 400 demonstrators. The number of victims of unrest is not yet clear. United Nations Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith, on a visit to the country, has asked the government for an independent investigation into the incident.

    14/03/2018 - MALAYSIA

    Kuala Lumpur, jihadists recruited on social media: 249 in handcuffs

    The government monitors 3,871 Facebook accounts, while another 800 have already been blocked. Twitter and Instagram profiles are also being monitored. 19 people are involved in the de-radicalization program launched by the government.

    13/03/2018 - ISRAEL

    Ethiopian Jews tell government to bring their families to Israel

    Israel is home to about 140,000 Ethiopian Jews who moved there after 1975, when the Jewish State recognised their Jewish identity. About 8,000 are left in Ethiopia, separated from families already in Israel. The government has promised to get them out, but is not willing to spend the money to do so.

    13/03/2018 - INDIA

    Catholic hospital attacked over a land dispute in Madhya Pradesh

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Hindu nationalist BJP member Chintamani Malviya has claimed ownership of the hospital land. Attackers beat up nurses and pushed around nuns. The Pushpa Mission Hospital was founded in 1974 at a time when no medical facilities existed in the area.

    13/03/2018 - MALAYSIA

    Immigration: foreign workers allowed ‘only in the kitchens', no contacts with the public

    Labour shortages threaten traditional ethnic restaurants. About 2,000 Chinese coffee shops and 400 Indo-Muslim and banana leaf restaurants have ceased their activity in 2017. Some 71,515 foreign workers are legally employed in the restaurant sector. Since January, the authorities have carried out 3,844 raids and detained 10,378 foreigners on immigration offences.

    13/03/2018 - INDIA

    Maharashtra farmer’s victory: Government concedes to demands

    The administration will extend the scheme for the extinction of agricultural debts and the ownership of forest land will pass to the farmers. The demonstrators marched for about 180 km for six days. The voice of women.

    13/03/2018 - INDONESIA - ISLAM

    Yogyakarta, Islamic university withdraws the full veil ban

    "Maintaining an academic climate conducive to equity". The rule was aimed at countering religious extremism. The provision had sparked heated debate. The niqabs are rare in the country and are often seen as an unwelcome Arab export.

    12/03/2018 - SOUTH KOREA

    MeToo movement turns South Korea against sexual abuse

    Charges are levelled at leading political, artistic, religious and social figures. Harsher sentences have been introduced against sex crimes, including in the military. President Moon backs the campaign. The Catholic Church sets up a prevention committee.

    12/03/2018 - VATICAN

    Lent is the ‘proper occasion' to help the Christians of the Holy Land

    The Congregation for Eastern Churches renews its appeal. In the past year the Collection has funded conservation work (like the restoration of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem), the training of priests, and men and women religious, as well as housing for young couples and accommodation for pilgrims.

    Editor's choices

    Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda

    In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.

    Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.


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