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. Vatican City (AsiaNews) – During “This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be ‘holy’ for us too! [. . .] This is God’s way, the way of humility. It...
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.
03/27/2015SOUTH KOREA – ASIA As South Korea joins Asian "Super Bank", Washington wavers Proposed by Beijing, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is designed to limit US influence in Asia and reduce Asia’s dependence on the International Monetary Fund. As South Korea accepts China’s predominance, the United States has to rethink what to do. Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain have already decided to join.
03/27/2015YEMEN-MIDDLE EAST Saudis continue raids against Shiite rebels. A religious war, but also a question of power by Paul Dakiki The military operation "Firmness Storm " has already caused 39 civilian deaths. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) along with Sudan, Turkey and Pakistan against Iranian influence in the Middle East. Objectives include: to ensure Bab-el-Mandel Strait; undermine the agreement on the Iranian nuclear question. Inter-Arabian military force launched to fight Islamic State terrorists.
03/27/2015INDONESIA Indonesia tops human-elephant run-ins As farming encroaches on wild areas, elephants are more likely to encounter humans. The authorities are concerned about the economic impact of elephants trespassing onto farmland, and humans’ violent reaction to it.
03/27/2015UZBEKISTAN Expulsion of Russian expert monitoring child labour practices in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry Uzbek authorities arrested and then expelled the consultant whose presence was part of a deal with the World Bank. The latter’s loans were predicated on the Central Asian nation eliminating child labour from its cotton industry. The expert was in contact with the country’s only human rights NGO. For many years, Uzbekistan has tried to circumvent international rules to counter the boycott by American and European companies.
03/27/2015IRAQ Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, has died He was responsible for the rebuilding of his Church and overcoming old divisions. Fond of ecumenical dialogue, on 11 November 1994, he signed a Joint Declaration on Christology with John Paul II, which recognized that the Assyrian Church of the East and the Catholic Church confess the same faith in Christ.
03/27/2015CHINA Who has confidence in the future of the Chinese Communist Party? No one by Bao Tong One of the country’s foremost political dissident looks at Chinese society and politics at a time when the endgame for the ruling regime seems to be fast approaching. No one believes that China’s pyramid model can last. As the rich escape and government oppression continues, faith in the one party system is collapsing. Courtesy of Radio Free Asia.
03/27/2015UNITED NATIONS – MIDDLE EAST Patriarch of Baghdad addresses UN, calling for new laws against states or individuals who support terrorists by Louis Raphael I Sako* The Security Council is meeting in a French-sponsored session dedicated to Christians and persecuted minorities in the Middle East. Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako hopes to see the international community provide its full support to Iraqi and Kurdish authorities. He also calls for strict laws against terrorism, as well as actions in favour education reform and exegeses of sacred texts that oppose extremism.