08/04/2015VATICAN Pope to altar servers: The joy of friendship with Jesus makes us all missionaries Meeting thousands of participants in the international pilgrimage "Here I am Lord. Send me!", involving children and young people from about 20 countries, Francis thanks the altar servers and recalls that "it was God who made the first move. God’s actions were not impeded by his imperfections; it was God’s goodness alone that enables us to take up the mission, transforming us nto a totally new person and therefore one able to respond to the call of the Lord" Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The joy of friendship with Jesus Christ "makes us all naturally missionaries. Like the prophet Isaiah, we too are astonished to discover that it was God who made the first move; God is the one drawing close. He noticed that God’s actions were not impeded by his imperfections; it was God’s goodness alone that enabled him to take...
08/04/2015QATAR-US-IRAN US "accelerates" arms sales to Gulf monarchies, after "landmark deal" with Iran Secretary of State, John Kerry, defends the agreement, but also promises new weapons, more joint military exercises, a regional ballistic missile. The Gulf monarchies among the largest customers in the arms trade. Rouhani and Javad Sharif propose talks between the Islamic nations to resolve armed conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
08/04/2015PAKISTAN Another hanging in Pakistan: almost 200 executions so far in 2015 Appeals useless for Shafqat Hussain, convicted of murder when he was 14. According to his lawyers, his confession was obtained by torture. After lifting its moratorium on the death penalty, Pakistan is set to have the highest rate of executions worldwide
08/03/2015IRAQ For Erbil archbishop, education will save Christians from the barbarity of the Islamic State A year after the invasion of the Nineveh plain, Mgr Bashar Warda spoke the situation of Christian refugees. The Kurdish region is "safe" haven but "we are waiting for the liberation" of our lands. Housing, health care, and education remain the priority. To ensure a Christian future in Iraq, education and literacy are the right response to Jihadi violence.
08/02/2015VATICAN For pope, Jesus urges us to look for the "bread of life", which expresses His love During the Angelus, Francis commented the Gospel of John. The crowds that followed Jesus for material bread did not understand their own "spiritual blindness". Christ "is gift and the one who gives it.” In light of the encounter with Him, the sufferings of human life “will be illuminated." Remembering the Pardon of Assisi, the “Father forgives everyone,” he “always forgives everything”.
08/01/2015IRAQ Baghdad Patriarch calls for prayer of peace one year after Nineveh’s fall by Louis Raphael I Sako* Overnight on 6-7 August 2014, Islamic State terrorists seized Christian the villages in the Nineveh Plain and forced out hundreds of thousands of people. A year later, Mar Sako addresses a prayer to the pope and the bishops of the world "to join with us in this sad anniversary."
07/30/2015TURKEY – SYRIA – IRAQ Erdogan’s ambiguous policy and the beginning of the Turkish (and Kurdish) tragedy by NAT da Polis Air strikes against IS in Syria and PKK targets in northern Iraq are a last ditch attempt to save Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman policies. A great game is being played out in the Middle East to redesign the borders between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. The United States also seems to be using IS. The Incirlik air bases is part of the bargaining between Washington and Ankara.
07/28/2015SAUDI ARABIA Second Saudi execution after Ramadan The man executed was a hashish trafficker. No executions took place during the holy month. In the first seven months of 2015, the Saudi kingdom carried out 104 executions. In 2014, 84 took place.
07/27/2015TURKEY – SYRIA – IRAQ Ankara changing strategy vis-à-vis the Islamic state and the Kurds at NATO meeting by Sami Osman Tomorrow’ "emergency meeting" is set for Ankara with all NATO representatives. Yesterday Turkish jets carried out air strikes against PKK bases north of Dohuk and Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey wants to ensure that no autonomous Kurdish region emerges in Syria. Clashes occur in Istanbul and Diyarbakir.