03/31/2015IRAN Christians in Iran: safe but in a ghetto (II) by Bernardo Cervellera The small Armenian, Chaldean and Latin communities are free but inside their churches. Muslims seeking baptism have to be turned away to avoid antagonising the government. The prevailing model is one of tolerance, living side by side, but without dialogue. As a new Latin cathedral is under construction, many fear that Rouhani’s openness may not last. Tehran (AsiaNews) – The following is the second part of a report on Christian life in Iran. The first part was published yesterday: Christians in Iran: with Rouhani there is some movement (I).
Emigration has delivered a serious blow to the Christian presence in Iran. Sometimes...
03/31/2015MYANMAR Although government and ethnic groups reach ceasefire deal, it is too soon to celebrate by Francis Khoo Thwe Myanmar’s government and representatives from 16 armed groups fighting for some of the country’s ethnic minorities have reached a draft ceasefire agreement. Rebel leaders must give the green light before proceeding. However, the Kokang have not signed on. Myanmar President Thein Sein is satisfied with the deal. For Catholic Kachin activist, it is hard to trust Burmese authorities because the agreement does not include every group and fighting continues in some parts of the country.
03/31/2015INDIA - TANZANIA Diocese of Mangalore: school, catechism and solar panels for mission in Africa Since 2012 the diocese of Karnataka has sent four priests in Kituri, Tanzania. Msgr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza: "It was time to share the faith with those who need it most." Positive response from local population, working with the missionaries. Among the future projects, the opening of a kindergarten.
03/31/2015INDONESIA Jakarta shuts down 22 pro-Islamic State websites by Mathias Hariyadi The targeted sites are no longer accessible via Indonesian servers because they contained "false teachings" of Islam. After years of doing nothing, the government took direct action against online radicalism.
03/31/2015LEBANON A standing Islamic-Christian conference in Lebanon to meet the region’s challenges by Fady Noun Christian and Muslim leaders yesterday agreed to establish such a structure in Bkerké. It will hold quarterly meetings. The failure to elect a new president and the Islamist threat are the main issues that require a solution. On the long run, the arrival of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, on top of existing Palestinian refugees, threatens the country’s very existence.
03/31/2015UZBEKISTAN Karimov wins fourth term in office with more than 90 per cent of the vote by Nina Achmatova The outgoing president wins a landslide. Western observers criticise the “unconstitutional” poll. The former Soviet republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States praise the election. Analysts warn that the fight for succession is already underway and could turn violent.
03/31/2015MIDDLE EAST - ISLAM Fr. Samir: Arab military coalition possible peacekeeping force to guarantee pluralism by Samir Khalil Samir For the first time in history, a dozen Arab countries have decided to launch a joint military force to fight terrorism. The idea in itself good, in practice is sliding into a sectarian struggle between Sunni and Shia. Instead they could fight the Islamic state, ensure the return of Christians in Iraq and in Syria, push for peace between Israel and Palestine.
03/31/2015JAPAN - NORTH KOREA Tokyo extends sanctions against the Kim regime Shinzo Abe’s executive will continue tourist and commercial embargo against Pyongyang for "at least another two years,". At the center of the dispute are Japanese citizens kidnapped in the 70s and 80s, whose fate remains unknown.
03/31/2015TAIWAN - CHINA - ASIA Taipei races against time to get into Beijing’s "Super Bank" The Taiwanese government decides at the last minute useful to apply to be a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. More than 40 nations have already joined, including Egypt. Doubts regarding the island’s legal status: China requires that members are nations, but defines Taiwan as "a rebel province."
03/30/2015IRAN Christians in Iran: with Rouhani there is some movement (I) by Bernardo Cervellera As the world’s most powerful nations try to find an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue in Lausanne, in Iran things are changing. Despite known limitations on freedom of conscience and problems, including violence, the country’s 350,000 Christians enjoy a degree of freedom that is certainly greater than in other countries of the region. This is the first part of a report.
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.
03/30/2015CHINA - HONG KONG Beijing "defends" the Hong Kong Basic Law but warns: It may fail According to a senior Chinese official, the formula "one country, two systems" could be a mistake. For democracy in the former British colony "no need for Beijing to give additional guarantees." The Territory’s residents "have violated the rules, and this does not bring development but social division".