25 May 2016
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    25/05/2016 - NEPAL

    As a result of the 2015 earthquake, old trails and tracks were wiped out, a major blow to one of the mainstays of Nepal’s economy recovers. In recent days, three climbers and a Sherpa died, which has led the authorities to downplay the gravity of the situation, noting that climbing “is not an easy task” and that people do die in accidents.


    by Christopher Sharma

    25/05/2016 - VIETNAM

    Vinh: Masses and torchlight processions for justice in sea pollution case


    Catholics took to the streets last Saturday to defend their bishop, vilified by state media. Mgr Hop had accused government authorities of ineptitude in tackling the environmental disaster. The diocese’s presbytery council signed a petition addressed to the authorities. Fishermen are caught between dead fish and Beijing’s fishing ban.


    24/05/2016 - SINGAPORE – ITALY – VATICAN

    Singapore president in Italy to meet Pope Francis


    Tony Tan Keng Yam arrived in Rome on Sunday. He will visit the Holy See next Saturday, a first for a Singapore president. This “is a significant event” for the Catholic Church in the city-state. “We are fortunate to be held in high regard and receive great support from the government.”


    24/05/2016 - IRAN – INDIA – AFGHANISTAN

    Delhi, Tehran and Kabul sign historic Chabahar port agreement


    India grants a US$ 500 million line of credit to build and maintain the facility. Indian goods will be able to reach Central Asia and Europe, halving time and costs. The port will be directly linked to Afghanistan. The goal is to boost cooperation and take advantage of the end of sanctions in Iran.


    22/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: May Chinese Catholics become concrete sign of love and reconciliation


    After the Angelus, Francis remembers the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which falls on May 24: "Let us ask Mary to give to his children in China the ability to discern at all times the signs of the loving presence of God, that always welcomes and forgives. " Before the Marian prayer, a reflection on the Holy Trinity: "This feast invites us to engage in the daily events to be leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy."


    20/05/2016 - CHINA

    China’s online propaganda generates 488 million “positive” comments a year


    A study by Gary King and his research team found that China has invested in generating favourable online comments. In addition to government employees, anti-change volunteers do their part. Currently, a nationwide drive is underway to get 10.5 million youth volunteers to banish Western influence from social media.


    20/05/2016 - IRAN

    Western governments invite banks and enterprises to promote trade with Iran


    United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom encourage companies and financial institutions to resume relations with Tehran. The removal of sanctions is only partial and obstacles remain amid fears of retaliation by some governments. So far, European banks have been "timid" in the resumption of relations with Iran.

     


    19/05/2016 - HONG KONG – CHINA

    Beijing realising that its iron fist might lose it Hong Kong


    For Lee Cheuk-yan, pan-democratic lawmaker and pro-democracy activist, the mainland seems to have realised that hardline confrontation can only spark an independence movement. During a meeting with China’s third ranking leader, four pan-democratic lawmakers called for the ouster of Hong Kong’s chief executive. A Communist Party paper calls it “a sharp demand”, but “that is part of their rights to ask”.


    19/05/2016 - NEPAL

    Arson destroys 1,400 hectares of Nepali forest

    by Christopher Sharma

    Fires broke out at 44 different sites, endangering biodiversity and local communities. Breeders believe that fires create fresh grassland for cattle, or secretly set fires to prevent elephants and rhinos from encroaching on farmland.


    19/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: The exploitation of labour is a mortal sin


    "We consider this drama of today: the exploitation of the people, the blood of these people who become slaves, the traffickers of people—and not just those who deal in prostitutes and children for child labour, but that trafficking we might call “civilized”: “I’ll pay you this much, without vacation, without health care, without… everything under the table… But I will become rich!”'.


    19/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Filipino bishop: To soon to judge contentious Duterte. No to death penalty


    Msgr. Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary of Manila, says that "the newly elected president has introduced a language of hatred and violence into the political landscape. We do not know how much of what he says is just propaganda". The mayor of Davao wants to ban alcohol, impose a curfew on minors and reintroduce hanging. "Death is never the way to build a better life."


    19/05/2016 - EGYPT

    EgyptAir flight disappears over Mediterranean


    The plane disappeared from radar a few minutes before landing. 66 people were on the flight, 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security people. Impact on tourism.

     


    18/05/2016 - MYANMAR

    Police arrest 76 labour rights protesters near Naypyadaw


    Those detained were part of a group that started off on a march to the capital three weeks ago. Stopped not far from the city limits, marchers were arrested and handcuffed. Many from a plywood firm joined the march to protest failed talks with the company and unfair dismissals.


    18/05/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Heavy rains provoke mudslides, 150 people buried

    by Melani Manel Perera

    For three days, heavy rains have been battering the island nation. So far, the official death toll stands at 35 with 350,000 people displaced. A huge landslide in the central Province swept away 66 houses and 400 residents. About 250 have been rescued, and there is little hope for the others.


    18/05/2016 - SOUTH KOREA

    Korean literature and cinema taking the West by storm


    Writer Han Kang won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize, a first for a South Korean. South Korean literature in translation has carved a major niche in the British market. South Korean feature films, screenwriters and directors are also playing a leading role. K-culture reaches out to the West whilst sticking to its values.


    18/05/2016 - CHINA - USA

    Price war: Washington increases taxes on Chinese steel by 500%


    The steel industry in China is over-producing and domestic demand is low due to the economic crisis. Tax cuts and a devalued yuan facilitate exports. The US steel industry has lost 12 thousand jobs. Calls for a ban of Chinese imports of steel to International Trade Commission.


    17/05/2016 - HONG KONG – CHINA

    "I want universal suffrage" banner welcomes Zhang Dejiang to Hong Kong


    The chairman of the National People’s Congress, who also heads the party's leading group on Hong Kong and Macau affairs, arrived in the former British colony today. He is the highest ranking mainland official to visit Hong Kong since 2012. Pro-democracy advocates welcome him with a huge banner calling for universal suffrage. A former Guangdong governor, Zhang said he came to see, listen, and talk. Security seize journalists’ umbrellas, symbol of the 2014 protests.


    17/05/2016 - INDIA

    Indian doctor: Giving birth at 72 years of age, the result of the globalization of indifference

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The story of an elderly woman becoming a mother has raised the debate on "inhuman and immoral medical practices." India has become a preferred destination for medical tourism. Fertility industry yields over 4.4 billion euro per year. Clinics that allow the in vitro treatments and offer surrogacy services are scattered throughout the country.

     


    16/05/2016 - SOUTH KOREA – IRAN – SAUDI ARABIA

    Closer South Korean-Iranian relations threaten to unleash Riyadh’s wrath


    MOUs worth US$ 45 billion were signed during President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Iran. Some analysts are concerned about skewed relations at a time when sanctions have not been completely lifted. Saudi oil is at stake. Saudis would like to see a Seoul street named after the Saudi capital.


    16/05/2016 - VIETNAM

    For Justice and Peace Commission, Hanoi hindered fish death investigation, beat protesters

    by J.B. Nam Nguyen

    Commission president Mgr Paul Nguyen Thai Hop issued a pastoral letter slamming "the government’s iron fist against protesters who demand the restoration of a clean environment”. Thousands of dead fish began showing up a month and half ago due to pollution by the Hung Nghiep steel, threatening human health. "As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato si, we cannot tolerate crimes against nature, which are sins against God."


    14/05/2016 - CENTRAL ASIA - SOUTH ASIA

    Launch of CASA-1000 power grid project between Central and South Asia


    Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will provide electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It will cost 1.2 billion dollars and will be completed by 2018. All contractor-countries stand to benefit economically and ensure regional stability. The power supply to Pakistan will avoid blackouts in the summer, causing hundreds of victims among the population.

     


    14/05/2016 - ASIA

    WHO: Asia home to world’s most polluted cities


    Foremost Peshawar, Pakistan, which has a concentration of fine particles of 540 micrograms / m3. The threshold established by WHO is 20 mg / m3. In India there are four of the five most polluted cities in the world. Each year 7 million people die of causes related air pollution.

     


    13/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore funding the restoration of the tower of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Last November's earthquake damaged the church, its tower, and cross, which toppled. Until recently, engineers refused to work on the project because of its height. A local city official, a Muslim, helped secure US$ 30,000 in public funding.


    13/05/2016 - YEMEN

    As Yemen moves towards partition, ethnogeographic cleansing continues


    Thousands of northerners living in the south are being driven from their homes. People are terrorised with police raids, job dismissal, and hangings by security committees and Saudi troops.


    13/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Caritas Philippines: Duterte tell where Yolanda victims’ money is


    Fr. Gariguez, executive secretary of the organization, appeals to the new government to shed light on the investigation into billions of pesos spent on recovery projects. In 2013, the typhoon struck 11 million people, and many of them never received aid. The president-elect has promised to tackle corruption in six months. Find out how this money " has been spent would be a good start."

     


    12/05/2016 - SYRIA

    The war of the dollar against the Syrian pound: growing poverty and increasing consumer prices


    In recent days the dollar is trading at 650 Syrian pound. Many fleeing ask for dollars or Euros. Poverty now affects 85% of the population.


     


    11/05/2016 - CHINA

    Pushing back against Xi Jinping's “core leadership”

    by Willy Lam

    The senior China expert looks at the developing split inside the Politburo due to Xi Jinping’s heavy-handed crackdown and rising personality cult (à la Mao). Divisions are sinking financial policy and slowing down necessary reforms. Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.


    11/05/2016 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Riyadh challenges markets and boosts crude production


    Oil giant Aramco announces a 33% increase in production, touching one million barrels a day. Within 10 years it the production of natural gas will be doubled. Strengthening strategic partnership with China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam.


    10/05/2016 - VIETNAM

    Police crack down hard on protests against mass fish kill

    by Quang Ha

    For the past few days, peaceful protests have been occurring in Vietnam’s main cities following a mass fish kill caused by Hung Nghiep, a steel company. At least 200 people have been arrested and forcibly loaded into vans, including women and children. A priest was also among those detained. A petition calling for a stop to the pollution and for the payment of damages reaches a million signatures.


    10/05/2016 - THAILAND

    Growing number of seniors with low pensions and no medical care


    Thailand’s working-age population is expected to shrink by 11 per cent by 2040. Most Thais reach 60 without adequate savings. Many rely on their children. Others “just let go and die because” they don’t have money, says Fr Adriano Pelosin. State pensions amount to “less than a dollar a day.”






    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    The persecution of Catholics during the Cultural Revolution

    Sergio Ticozzi

    The documentation of that violent period was burned or buried in archives. Only a few survivors speak. The persecutors are silent in fear. The burning of religious objects and furnishings in Hebei. Bishops humiliated and arrested in Henan; nuns beaten with sticks and killed, or buried alive. A persecution that "is not over yet"; Today it is perhaps only more subtle.


    CHINA
    Silence shrouds 50th anniversary of Cultural Revolution in China and in the West

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The bloody campaign launched by Mao Zedong killed nearly 2 million people and sent  a further 4 million to concentration camps. Every Chinese has been marked by fear. But today, no memorial service has been planned and no newspaper article has appeared. The Party’s internal struggles and Xi Jinping’s fear of ending up like the USSR. Even today, as then, there are those in Europe who keep quiet and laud the myth of China. Many are predicting a return to the "great chaos".

     


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