03/30/2015SINGAPORE The mixed legacy of Lee Kuan Yew, a leader who turned Singapore into a model for Asia Hundreds of thousands of people paid tribute to the city-state’s historic founder, who died on 23 March at the age 91. Ruling with an iron fist, and isolating opponents, the once pro-union lawyer became a bane of his country’s organised labour movement. Under his rule, religious freedom was subordinate to the “common good,” and for China, he was a model. Singapore (AsiaNews) – For days, hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans paid tribute to Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of the city-state who died from on 23 March from complications of pneumonia at the age of 91. The...
03/30/2015BANGLADESH Death threats cleanse a Hindu village of its inhabitants by Sumon Corraya The 14 families who lived in Chandantola are now refugees in a neighbouring town. Police arrested some of the local politicians who forced the Hindus to sell their properties at bargain prices, but the refugees complain of long-term persecution and sexual harassment of their young women.
03/30/2015INDONESIA - PHILIPPINES Indonesian Church prays for a Filipino on death row but believed innocent by Mathias Hariyadi Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, 30 and mother of two, will be executed in the coming days. In 2010 she was arrested because caught at the airport with 2.6 kg of heroin. The young woman was exploited as a courier and was unaware of the contents of the bag. The Supreme Court recently rejected the last appeal for a pardon.
03/30/2015NEPAL Nepal on alert for Indian terrorists travelling in Europe with fake passport by Christopher Sharma An investigation by Nepali and Indian police identified four Indian terrorists who used fake Nepali passports to travel for at least six years. The men were able to get into the Nepal illegally and bribe local officials. The government announced that corrupt officials would be properly punished. For a former Nepali Interior minister, “the terrorists take advantage of the country’s political instability, poverty and rampant corruption."
03/30/2015INDIA The conversion of Rupali, a seed that will bear fruit at Easter by Rupali Belose Born into a Hindu family, the young woman always had "a lot of questions about God, but no one gave me answers." Her interest in Christianity grew from meeting a Catholic, who spoke of Christ and familiarized her with the Bible. Today they are engaged, and after a journey of catechumenate she is ready to receive baptism and first communion. "I learned that everyone must carry his or her own cross, but should never feel lost, because God gives us the courage and strength to face it."
03/30/2015VIETNAM Kontum, communist authorities threaten to tear down 22 chapels. Appeal from Bishop by Paul N. Hung The leadership of Djak Tô district want to demolish dozens of private premises used for prayers and functions. The area lacks churches and in the past, people would travel up to 100 km to attend mass. Faithful turn to the bishop, who responds with a letter. While calling for calm, the prelate recalls the right to religious freedom recognized by the government.
03/30/2015INDIA Kashmir, Christian leader arrested for "fomenting sectarian clashes" by Nirmala Carvalho The authorities have detained Rev. Paul Augustine, local coordinator for Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). The Christian pastor was attending a Sunday service. Sajan George, president of the association: "The law of the majority prevails. Where the will of the greatest number enforces that the beliefs and practices of the minority remain threatened "
03/29/2015VATICAN Pope: Holy Week, God’s way is humility, it is Jesus’ way, and “we will take this path” During Palm Sunday Mass, which begins Holy Week, Pope Francis cited the example of people “who, in silence and hiddenness, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person . . .” He also cited today’s martyrs, persecuted because of their faith, a “cloud of witnesses”. Palm Sunday also marks the celebration of the 30th World Youth Day. Deacons of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions provided the service to the pope and the altar. The pope called on young people to come in pilgrimage to Krakow in 2016. He also mentioned the victims of the plane crash in the French Alps.
03/28/2015EGYPT – MIDDLE EAST Arab military force to fight Shias and (perhaps) the Islamic state Arab League members agree to a military coalition to address conflicts in the Arab world. The "historic" deal shelves past Western-led coalitions. The anti-Islamist fight and even the Israeli-Palestinian problem are overshadowed by the main goal: containing Iranian influence. However, the confessional divide is giving the Islamic State group greater leeway and is undermining the social and political demands of the Arab Spring.
03/28/2015THAILAND Amid conversions, charity and mission, Fr Pelosin tells more stories about the Thai Church by Adriano Pelosin One story is about a widow, Ari, her diabetic father and her conversion. In the case of Mueli and Visal, the young couple fled their native Cambodia and gave birth to a child, welcomed like Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. In his Easter letter, Fr Adriano Pelosin, a 34-year veteran of the mission in Thailand also talks about the 25th anniversary of the Thai Missionary Institute, new ordinations, and the Thai Church’s first synod in 350 years.
03/28/2015VIETNAM Vinh: government uses violence to drive out Catholics from their parish The authorities targeted the small, remote parish of Dông Yên. Most Catholics have left, but about 150 families have decided to stay. Police carried out a raid, injuring several parishioners, a few days ago. The bishop of Vinh expressed his solidarity with the victims.