Jakarta: new president thanks bishops for encouraging Catholics to vote
by Mathias Hariyadi
Joko Widodo pays a courtesy call to the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, where he met with its president, Archbishop of Jakarta Mgr Suharyo. Padang bishop tells AsiaNews that his election is "a blessing" that brings a "new national spirit", "unity of the people" and "social ethics" to the country.
For Yangon archbishop, Myanmar's ethnic groups are part of a single family
Mgr Charles Bo makes the point in his message for the feast day of St Anne and St Joachim. The prelate notes that ancestor worship is an integral part of the oriental culture. For this reason, there is an "urgent need to unify in one Myanmar family ", leaving aside hatred because "blood and tears" have no religion.
Air disasters: 2014 could beat 2005 in terms of fatalities
So far this year, 680 people have died, higher than 12-month totals for the past three years. With 916 deaths, 2005 was the worst year. IATA points out that about 100,000 flights take place every day without incident with passenger trips on airlines exceeding three billion last year.
Jharkhand, a journey among children crippled by uranium contamination
For years, environmental groups have denounced the living conditions of the inhabitants of the villages around Jaduguda, India’s first uranium mine. The majority of children suffer from severe physical deformities, which often lead to their death. Activisits denounce the dumping of toxic waste products. The president of the company that operates the mine claims the children "were brought here on purpose."
07/25/2014 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
As efforts to stop the war in Gaza intensify, death toll tops 800
Israel and Hamas are vetting a proposal US Secretary of State John Kerry for a temporary ceasefire, during which the parties meet to seek a wider agreement with Egypt's mediation. Yesterday, Israel hit a UN hospital in Gaza, killing at least 15 civilians.
Bishkek: Supreme Court outlaws Ahmadis
The country's highest judicial authority rejects the appeal filed by the community for state registration and freedom of worship. In practice, it will also be impossible for Ahmadis to pray in private. The ruling "is equal to banning us in Kyrgyzstan," a believer says.
Shandong, flurry of arrests against Church of Almighty God members
A group of 5 members, that the state has outlawed as an "evil cult," beat to death a woman who had refused to join them. The murder has sparked public outrage because, during the violence, no one intervened to help the victim. "Hundreds" of other members arrested by the police.
07/25/2014 BANGLADESH - HOLY LAND
Bishop of Bangladesh: Stop Israeli attacks on Gaza, a humanitarian tragedy
by Sumon Corraya
Msgr. Gervas Rozario, President of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, condemns war on the Gaza Strip. The prelate also criticizes the actions of Hamas: "Terrorism generates terrorism, we need to embark on a path of dialogue and reconciliation”. Every day in Bangladesh, people of all religions and social backgrounds peacefully demonstrate against the Israeli attacks.
07/24/2014 VATICAN - SUDAN
Pope meets Meriam, thanks her for her courageous witness of faith
Today at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Francis received the Sudanese woman, jailed in recent months for her faith, together with her husband and two sons. "Francis wanted to express his closeness, concern and prayers for all those who suffer for their faith," said Father Lombardi.
Fr Nithya: Hunger and extreme poverty hinder human development in India
by Nirmala Carvalho
Fr Nithya OFM talks to AsiaNews about the 2014 Human Development Report. Based on the Index of Human Development, the studies ranks India 135th out of 187 countries. For the clergyman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic promises "mock the poor and the marginalised."
07/24/2014 SUDAN - ITALY
Meriam free at last in Rome where she could meet the Pope
Sentenced to death for apostasy, the young Sudanese Christian woman arrived in Italy on an Italian government plane. Her story had sparked protests across the non-Muslim world. "Today is a day of celebration," said Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. "The Pope has been informed," said Father Lombardi.
Purwokerto: Muslims in parish hall to break Ramadan fast
by Mathias Hariyadi
A priest from Banjarnegara Regency, the "heartland" of Islamic Indonesia, calls on "all people of good will" to eat together after sunset. Gus Khayatul Maki, the local leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, attends the event, speaks in favour of pluralism and religious tolerance. In Java, a priest involves more than 90 young people in a two-day event dedicated to interreligious dialogue.
Pope sends condolences to Archbishop of Taipei for Magong plane crash
The Pope sent a telegram through the Secretary of State. The plane was carrying 58 people; 48 have died. 10 others are hospitalized for injuries. The immediate cause is believed to be bad weather conditions, but the government has opened an investigation.
07/24/2014 SRI LANKA
Bishop of Mannar: Pope Francis’ visit, a consolation for victims of war
Msgr. Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of Mannar, talks about expectations ahead of the apostolic trip scheduled for January 2015. The Church's mission in the north ravaged by civil war, with the population "left to itself" by the government and institutions. The discrimination suffered by the Tamil minority, and "the only possible solution: a federal and truly democratic state."
07/24/2014 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Gaza war, the death toll grows; 150 Palestinians imprisoned and stripped naked
The Palestinian death toll rises to 718; 32 Israeli soldiers and three civilians killed. Among these there is also a Thai migrant who worked in a garden centre near the Strip. Palestinians stripped naked because they were suspected of "terrorism". Uproar over unnecessary humiliation. Khaled Meshaal rejects any cease-fire. UN denounces use of schools in Gaza as a weapons depots. Ban on flights to and from Tel Aviv lifted, but the air traffic yet to return to normal.
Mindanao's only Christian municipality does not want to be part of Islamic region
The peace agreement between the government and Muslim guerrillas provides for the creation of an autonomous region, to be governed under Islamic rules. Wao, the only municipality with Christian majority, wants out. "We respect their culture and desire for freedom lived, but want to stay out. The government should list to us."
07/24/2014 LEBANON - IRAQ
For Syriac Orthodox patriarch, "Mosul must be retaken"
by Fady Noun
"The planned expulsion of Christians is a barbaric act," said Ignatius Ephrem, "unprecedented in the history of relations between Christians and Muslims." There are states that support those groups, but "these acts will inevitably rebound sooner or later on those who support them."
07/24/2014 JAPAN - KOREA
Tokyo government to make “officially apology” to Korean comfort women
Announced by Junichi Ihara, head of Asian Affairs of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the end of a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Sang-deok. The issue of women sexually exploited by Japanese soldiers has divided the two nations since the end of World War II. Today only 54 remain alive: some will meet the Pope during his visit to South Korea
07/24/2014 IRAQ - UN
Baghdad Patriarch to Ban Ki-moon: UN cannot stand by in silence as Christians are being massacred
Mar Sako writes to the Secretary-General of the United Nations: "The situation worsens, the international community must intervene to stop the violence against religious and ethnic minorities. We need everything, from water to medicines." An appeal to save the religious heritage: "It will be difficult to rebuild ancient monasteries and churches burned by extremists."