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."
Defeated candidate set to appeal to Indonesia's Constitutional Court
Former general Prabowo Subianto is getting ready to challenge the results within three days. According to members of his staff, the vote was rigged in at least 5,000 polling stations. For analysts and experts, the vote will not be overturned because the gap between the two is too wide.
07/23/2014 MACAU - CHINA
Beijing's censorship and Macau universities
Lecturers are fired because they express pro-democracy views or mention the horror of Mao's reign. The politburo and the principle of "one country, two systems" are off-limits on university campuses.
07/23/2014 SOUTH KOREA
Seoul: Buddhist nuns rap and pray to attract young people
The unusual performance took place during a prayer competition organised by the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist order in the Asian country. We "wanted more young people to take an interest in Buddhism and the message of its prayers," said one of the rapping nuns. A clip of the performance is available online.
Catholic Church is "best" in protecting human rights in Nepal
by Christopher Sharma
Activists and public figures from various religions praise the commitment of Catholics and their institutions, especially to women and children. For former National Human Rights Commission president, priests "are a model for Nepali society."
07/23/2014 JAPAN - MONGOLIA
Tokyo and Ulaanbaatar sign deal to cut duties, agree on mediation with Pyongyang
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Mongolian President Elbegdorj ink free trade pact to boost bilateral trade, mostly cars and beef. The deal is also inspired by a desire to get Mongolia to help in North Korean-Japanese relations. Former Communist nation is playing an increasingly important diplomatic role.
The plague detected in Gansu: 30 thousand people in Yumen under quarantine
A resident skinned a groundhog feed it to his dog and contracted pneumonic plague, the only one of the 3 strains of the disease that can be transmitted from human to human. After his hospitalization and death, the authorities have sealed the area off: the quarantine expires tomorrow, but 151 residents will remain under observation. Since 2002, WHO has reported a total of 7 outbreaks of pneumonic plague.
07/23/2014 CHINA - KOREA
China arrests 29 North Korean refugees who face death if repatriated
by Joseph Yun Li-sun
The arrests were made between Qingdao and Kunming and include 5 Chinese and Koreans who were trying to help them get to South-East Asia. The Beijing government set on sending them back home, where they face concentration camps or execution. Seoul "at work" to resolve issue, experts skeptical: "China does not want refugees from the north, it fears the economic impact."
07/23/2014 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Gaza War: U.S. and Europe suspend flights to Tel Aviv
The flight ban lasts 24 to 36 hours. Fears of accidents similar to MH17 in Ukraine. For Israel, the suspension is a “prize” for Hamas. Michael Bloomberg on a flight to Tel Aviv. 637 Palestinians killed and more than 4 thousand wounded. Among Israelis, 29 soldiers killed, two civilians.