12/21/2014VATICAN Pope: At Christmas, once more, Christ comes by and knocks on the doors of our hearts, and we should not let him get away On the fourth Sunday of Advent, Francis emphasises two aspects in Mary's life, "a model to prepare for Christmas," namely her faith and her capacity to recognise God's time. "The example of Mary and that of her husband Joseph are an invitation to accept with total openness of mind Jesus, who became our brother out of love." What is more, "If you feel the desire to improve, Christ will come by and knock at your door: open it!" Vatican City (AsiaNews) - As he began the Marian prayer for the Angelus on
the fourth Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis said that at Christmas, Christ "passes
by and knocks at our heart. Let us not let him get away; let us throw open our doors
before him." Likewise, Mary "is an example of how to...
12/20/2014CHINA Mongolian rights activist Hada released after 20 years Considered a prisoner of conscience by major human rights groups, he slams Chinese authorities for torturing him and for persecuting his family. He said he would "continue to fight against the oppression of the Mongolian nationality". Like Tibet and Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia has suffered for decades from the arrival of Han Chinese settlers, whose immigration is undermining local traditions and beliefs.
12/19/2014MACAU - HONG KONG - CHINA Occupy effect: umbrellas banned during Xi Jinping's visit to Macau (despite the rain) by Paul Wang Hong Kong activists were expelled from the former Portuguese colony. At the Macau Ferry Pier, people opened their umbrellas to demand freedom for all Chinese political prisoners. Opponents to Occupy are up (plus 9 per cent, to 38). Some 43.1 per cent are opposed to China's electoral reform. At least 1.2 million people took part in the Occupy protest.
12/17/2014CHINA China's anti-corruption campaign claims more victims China Resources' vice-president Jiang Wei is in the spotlight for lending US$ 320 million to a businessman "friend". In Jiangxi, a former senior official gets life imprisonment for getting banks to lend him money to buy 248 properties. Hu Jintao aide pledges loyalty to Xi Jinping, as does the military.
12/16/2014CHINA China loses US$ 1.25 trillion to tax evasion and corruption According to a report by Global Financial Integrity, illicit outflows from the mainland grew exponentially over a ten-year period. Tax evasion and corruption are the main reason. This makes China the biggest loser among 151 developing nations.
12/16/2014IRAQ - VATICAN As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers by Amel Nona Persecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.
12/16/2014HONG KONG Christmas in Hong Kong: discovering Jesus Christ "increases the desire for a real life" Fr Luigi Bonalumi, a missionary at the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, heads the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the New Territories. "Here it is all lights and celebrations, but not many people know what it all means. That is why, amid the Christmas carols and charity work in hospices and hospitals, we try as much as possible to bring attention to the birth of the Saviour." After the holiday, some 90 new catechumens will enrol in the parish. "Occupy has shown that values are changing, and people are looking for the truth."
12/15/2014HONG KONG - CHINA Hong Kong, no more occupied site. Catholics "will keep the fight for democracy" by Victoria Ma The Occupy Movement's last occupied site of Causeway Bay, a business and shopping district, was cleared by police today. Yesterday PIME fr. Franco Mella presided the Mass: "Don't be upset. We should have hope, like John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus Christ".
12/14/2014VATICAN On the "Sunday of Joy", pope gives a prayer booklet, telling the faithful to "always carry it" After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis gave the crowd a pocketbook of prayers "for the various times of the day and for different situations in life". Earlier, he had blessed the "Baby Jesus" figurines for Nativity scenes brought by the children from Roman oratories. He also said, "With Jesus, joy dwells in us". He also shared the Christmas candle in solidarity with Polish faithful.
12/13/2014CHINA - JAPAN Xi Jinping solemnly commemorates Nanjing massacre About 10,000 people attended the state ceremony, which marked three new holidays associated with Japan's invasion and the end of World War Two. For Xi, the commemoration will serve peace, not hatred, between the two peoples. However, governments foster patriotism as a weapon.
12/12/2014CHINA Xinjiang want to ban burqa: Could spark unrest The burqa, a garment worn by Muslim woman to cover themselves from head-to-toe, is considered a symbol of religious extremism by the local authorities. Authorities already said they would ban the practice of religion in government workplaces, public schools and state-owned enterprises from next year.
12/12/2014ASIA - OPEC Oil falls below 60 US dollar a barrel Since last June, the price per barrel has almost halved. The price war caused by high US production and the crisis in Europe, Japan and China.
12/11/2014HONG KONG - CHINA Police clear the Occupy Movement sit-in. Students: "We will return" by Victoria Ma Cardinal Tong's appeal to police and students to renounce violence and return to dialogue on democratic reforms. Student leaders, parliamentarians, sit-in supporters in the area prepare to undergo arrest. University professors oversee the use of force by police. Some students cry. Others say that they will find new ways to fight for democracy.