07/05/2015ECUADOR – VATICAN In Ecuador, pope says that the Gospel holds the key to solving current challenges, excluding no one Francis began his pastoral visit to Latin America in Quito. After Ecuador, he will travel to Bolivia and Paraguay. At the airport, Ecuadorian President Correa, the country’s bishops and a group of faithful met him. “I thank God for having allowed me to return to Latin America [. . .] the point closest to outer space” is in Ecuador. “No one, save Jesus Christ, possesses his or her own light”. If the Church turns away from Christ, it no longer bears witness. Quito (AsiaNews) – “May you,” the people of Ecuador “never lose the ability to protect what is small and simple, to care for your children and your elderly, to have confidence in the young, and to be constantly struck by the nobility of your people and the singular beauty of your country,” said Pope Francis today after his arrival in the Latin American country, the first stage of his trip, which will take him...
07/04/2015IRAN Agreement on Iranian nuclear never been closer Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif posts message online saying agreement is close, opening new ways to address common challenges such as extremism in the Middle East.
07/04/2015TIBET Tibetans around the world mark the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday The Buddhist leader was born on 6 July, but the event was marked in late June following the traditional calendar. Top officials from Arunachal Pradesh, the Tibetan government in exile and the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism were present. The Dalai Lama received a statue of the Buddha and a traditional Mandala. “The more you care for the happiness of others,” he said, “the greater your own sense of wellbeing becomes and without a doubt, cultivating this sense will help everyone”.
07/03/2015INDIA Maharashtra: Hindu nationalist government cracks down on madrassas by Nirmala Carvalho State authorities prepare to inspect 1,889 registered madrassas. Those that do not teach English, maths and science will lose their formal status as educational facilities. Critics slam the decision as "unconstitutional", but the government defends himself by saying that it wants to modernise education. Jesuit theologian and Islam scholar tells AsiaNews that the state should not interfere with schools, that its action “threatens democratic values."
07/03/2015BANGLADESH Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ translated into Bangla in record time by Sumon Corraya In a pastoral letter, Mgr D’Rozario highlights the main points of Pope Francis’ “green” encyclical. Catholic priests are called to spread the pope’s message among the faithful. The executive director of Caritas Bangladesh urges Catholics to use less and consume resources moderately. The charity’s projects include environmental protection, and alleviating the suffering of the weakest.
07/03/2015NORTH KOREA - IRAN Pyongyang seeks Iranian Red Crescent aid to battle drought A long conversation between the North Korean ambassador to Tehran and the head of the Muslim humanitarian organization concludes with assurances of "unremitting efforts" to help North Korea overcome the crisis. The regime has refused the help offered by Beijing and Seoul. Catholic source tells AsiaNews: "The relations are good and the North has long been suffering from drought. But the diplomacy of the peninsula is not changing".
07/03/2015ASIA 2015, young people celebrate anniversaries of Taize and Brother Roger by Frère Ghislain* Over 100 years since birth, 10 years after his death and 75 years after the foundation of the experience of Taizé, Brother Roger's charism is still alive. Gestures of prayer and solidarity across Asia: Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam. In Calcutta, prayer around the tomb of Mother Teresa, who Frere Roger visited in 1976 and 1997. In Japan and throughout the continent an experience of the Church united "in God’s heart".
07/03/2015CHINA Chinese firm planned to punish employees who had unscheduled children A credit union in Jiaozou (Henan) told its female employees to get pregnant according to schedule to avoid too many taking maternity leave. If they did not they could be fined as well as lose their end of year bonuses and chances of promotion. After the issue made it on social media, the company backed off. For the local family planning commission, which enforces similar practices, the company’s draft policy “violates a female employee’s reproductive rights”.
07/03/2015JAPAN Japan’s population drops to historic lows: a quarter over 65 The last national census data confirms fall births compared to deaths for the sixth year in a row. 126,160,000 Japanese, down 271,058 in sharpest decline ever recorded in modern times. 25,90% over 65, a quarter of total population, for first time since 1968.
07/03/2015SYRIA Aleppo, Islamists attack to oust Assad's troops and introduce sharia An alliance of rebel forces, led by a group affiliated with al Qaeda, wants to take over the second largest city of Syria. Aleppo is an economic and industrial center of huge strategic importance. Islamic State militia’s not involved in attack. So far four dead and 70 wounded among civilians.