02/05/2016 - PAKISTAN
Hundreds of people took to the streets yesterday in favour of ‘a living wage’. Trade unions denounce the exploitation of women and children as well as low wages. The Asian Human Rights Commission slam collusion between officials and businesses.
by Shafique Khokhar
02/05/2016 - IRAN - SOUTH KOREA
Seoul and Tehran agree to a record US$ 45 billion in MoUs
President Park Geun-hye met her counterpart Hassan Rouhani to ink MoUs in infrastructure and energy. This is the main trade understanding in S Korea’s history. Leaders call for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and eradicating terrorism in the Middle East.
02/05/2016 - INDIA
May Day in India: justice and mercy in the workplaceby Nirmala Carvalho
Mgr Oswald Lewis heads the Labour Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. He spoke about workers’ conditions, many of whom are unorganised, without health insurance or social security. He stressed the need to eliminate child labour.
02/05/2016 - IRAQ
Mar Sako appeals to politicians to stop divisions, focus on shared plans for Iraq’s rebirthby Louis Raphael Sako*
The Chaldean Patriarch sends a tough rebuke against the country’s rulers, who have failed to promote reforms and reconciliation, calling for action against Iraq’s “institutional, economic and security deterioration”. As Green Zone protest ends, government’s wrath begins.
02/05/2016 - IRAN
Tehran’s new parliament increasingly reformist and open to womenby Darius Karimian
After the second round of the elections two days ago, the reformists can count on 133 seats; the conservatives 125 and for the first time they lose their majority. There are also 17 women, mostly reformist. A female member of parliament was blocked by the Guardian Council for having shaken hands with a man. The doubts of Khamenei.
02/05/2016 - CHINA
Hainan, women and children beaten for trying to stop village demolitionby John Ai
A video posted on a national social network forces the government into rare public apology for the incident. The officials, however, insist on "zero tolerance" against illegally built structures. The video of the beating.
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 - SRI LANKA - EUROPE
Europe removes ban on fish imports from Sri Lankaby Melani Manel Perera
The ban was imposed in January 2015 against Rajapaksa government’s inability to curb illegal fishing. Since 2012, Sri Lankan fishermen under check due to lack of deterrent measures and violation of international law. Colombo exported 68% of fish to EU. The losses amount to 100 million dollars a year. Activist: "It is the fault of the unlawful conduct OF some fishermen, who then had a negative impact on the entire industry."
29/04/2016 - PAKISTAN
Punjab: home-based workers call for the recognition of their rightsby Kamran Chaudhry
More than a hundred women marched yesterday in front of the Lahore Press Club, holding banners, calling for their wages to be raised to the national minimum. Some 12 million workers are employed in this area, and are denied the same rights that other workers enjoy. Since 2013, a draft bill has been before the Punjab cabinet waiting for approval. See the video of the protest.
29/04/2016 - PAPUA NEW GUINEA – AUSTRALIA
Manus Island refugees to sue PNG
The fate of almost a thousand people held in a detention camp on Manus Island has not yet been decided after PNG authorities decided to close the facility. With Port Moresby and Canberra expected to hold emergency talks, lawyers for the asylum seekers plan to “go straight to assessing reasonable compensation” in the billions.
29/04/2016 - IRAN - USA
Tehran asks UN assistance for frozen Iranian funds in the US, managed by the Supreme Courtby 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.
28/04/2016 - AUSTRALIA - PAPUA N. GUINEA
Manus island refugees "have already paid. Now they must be helped "
The Australian government agrees to close the refugee camp on the island, which falls within the sovereignty of Papua New Guinea, but does not know what to do about one thousand people living there. PIME missionary Fr. Giorgio Licini, 11 years in the country: "It is a huge problem that has no easy solutions. But you have to start by removing the causes of migration, not by rejecting those who suffer them".
27/04/2016 - SINGAPORE
Marriage, "a sign of closeness to God" in hyper-competitive Singapore
The archdiocese of the city-state has organised a series of meetings on the family and its problems in a society increasingly focused on productivity. The last meeting is set for 21 May. For one of the organisers, Christians are “called to be the alternative voice, the counter-culture.” Each year, 21,000 marriages take place; 7,000 end in divorce.
27/04/2016 - INDIA
Card Gracias: as one of the most polluted countries, India needs a serious commitment to the climate
The archbishop of Mumbai is among 260 religious leaders who signed an appeal to world leaders asking them to implement immediately the Paris climate agreement. Citing Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ encyclical, he stresses that it is the poor who pay for pollution. “Step outside in India, and often you will be breathing some of the dirtiest city air on the planet,” he writes.
27/04/2016 - CHINA
Harry Wu, witness to China’s Laogai, forced labor camps, has died
The dissident spent 19 years in a "re-education through labor camp". Released, he fled to the United States from where he began a decades-long battle against the laogai system. Thanks also to his commitment and his courageous witness, Beijing was forced - at least on paper - to close its slave labor camps. As a Catholic, spoke out on many occasions in defense of religious freedom in China.
26/04/2016 - CHINA
China, teen dies in his sleep: he worked 11 hours a dayby John Ai
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 - RUSSIA
Easter eve anti-abortion drive in Russian Orthodox parishesby Nina Achmatova
Russia’s pro-life movement launches a petition with the backing of the confessor of the Moscow patriarch. Starets Iliy wants to “collect a million signatures” to ban government-funded abortions in the public health system.
25/04/2016 - NEPAL
A year after the earthquake, thousands of survivors still in tents or under tree branchesby Christopher Sharma
Reconstruction operations are taking place too slowly. Survivors are hungry and cold. Those who can take out loans at high interests to build houses. Political divisions and party privileges prevail. NGO are being stopped and closely monitored to avoid “proselytising”.
25/04/2016 - TAIWAN-CHINA
May 20, Tsai Ing-wen begins new presidency. The expectations of the Taiwaneseby Xin Yage
The winning party in the elections, the DPP, is seen as closer to young people and determined to try new paths. But the new president will also have to find a balance with mainland China. And her contribution as a woman.
23/04/2016 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE
For Fr David, Tel Aviv kindergarten for migrant children is like Jesus’ family
The facility has 52 children from the Philippines, Sudan, Eritrea, India and Sri Lanka, including two with autism, and one with Down. The “multi-faceted project” is not profit oriented, manager says. For one parent, children get “children everything they need”.
23/04/2016 - SRI LANKA
For Sri Lankan environmentalists, the Paris climate agreement is not enough to save the planetby Melani Manel Perera
The Paris climate agreement was signed yesterday in New York. More than 150 heads of state and government have pledged to keep the increase in global temperature "well below 2 degrees", and limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. Despite this, islands are likely to face rising sea levels. In Sri Lanka, coal plants continue to pollute.
23/04/2016 - PHILIPPINES
Davao: running against child malnutrition
The archdiocese organises ‘I am running for you’ (Para sa Iyo ang Takbo Ko), a fun run to raise funds for its nourishment centre, which feeds 200 children every day. Davao is located in one of the areas most affected by El Niño-related drought.
22/04/2016 - INDONESIA
Jakarta brings home Samadikun Hartono, wanted for financial scandals in the 1990sby Mathias Hariyadi
The former head of the now defunct Modern Bank, Hartono had been on the run for 13 years. Five different passports and identities did not save him. Indonesia’s intelligence agency, who found him in Shanghai, brought him home, possibly with Chinese help.
22/04/2016 - CHINA – EUROPE
The Silk (Rail) Road on track, directly from Wuhan to Lyon
After 16 days and 11,300 km, the first freight train reached France after crossing six time zones through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Germany, taking half the time of sea shipping. Xi’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ is back in the spotlight, to trade with Europe, bypassing the United States.
22/04/2016 - NEPAL
One year after the earthquake, Nepal still reeling
On 25 April, Nepal marks the first anniversary of a quake that killed 9,000 and displaced five million. Reconstruction requires up to US$ 8bn. Four have already been pledged, but the government is not releasing funds for fear of graft and embezzlement. Meanwhile, four million have no home, power, or building materials. NGOs hope to start work soon.
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.
22/04/2016 - UKRAINE
“Chornobyl story is not over” 30 years after the disasterby Marta Allevato
The director of the Chornobyl Museum in Kyiv calls for action to help the “people who still live in the contaminated area and who have been abandoned." Meanwhile, nature is reclaiming its due as wildlife repopulates the Exclusion Zone. A new huge sarcophagus is set to secure the reactor that blew up.
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 - CHINA
Hundreds of students with cancer and leukemia in school built on contaminated landby Wang Zhicheng
The school stands next to the site of three former pesticide plants. Groundwater and soil pollution levels are way above the safety limit. The authorities tried to hush up the problem. Government and business interests tend to protect polluting companies.
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