January 2014

Kerry at Vatican as part of Vatican peace initiatives for Syria
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

VATICAN (SE): The secretary of state from the United States of America (US), John Kerry, met with his counterpart from the Vatican, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, at the Vatican on January 13 to discuss foreign policy, especially relating to peace in the Middle East and Syria in particular, the Vatican Information Service reported.

The two gave particular attention to preparations that are underway for the Geneva II Middle East Peace Conference and the ongoing...

What’s happening to press freedom?
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

In Hong Kong, following a spate of incidents including the government refusal to grant a free-to-air licence to the Hong Kong Television Network and the replacement of an outspoken programme host by Commercial Radio, the Ming Pao newspaper announced the replacement of its chief editor and the management of AM730, a free newspaper, claiming that advertising had been pulled because of its editorial stance.

These incidents have raised public concern over press...

Budget cap on saints
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

VATICAN (Agencies): In an attempt to level the sanctity playing field, Pope Francis has put a cap on budgets for saints, telling postulators they must adhere to financial restraints, the prefect for the Causes of Saints, Angelo Cardinal Amato, announced on January 13.

In a speech at the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Amato said that a reference tariff came into force earlier this year inspired by a sense of simplicity and fairness in order to avoid...

More study needed on religious life in China
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

HONG KONG (SE): Researchers at the Purdue Centre on Religion and Chinese Society are getting together with the China Data Centre at the University of Michigan to conduct a Spatial Study of Chinese Religions in Society.

The research will focus on Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Taoism and will be funded by the Henry Luce Foundation to the tune of US$400,000 ($3.1 million), the Imperial Valley News reported from California, the United States of America (US), on...

Colombo Plan gets a new face
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

HONG KONG (SE): Hong Kong is to be included as a place of study and immersion for young Australian undergraduates between the ages of 18 and 28 under what is dubbed the New Colombo Plan, aimed at promoting knowledge of the Indo-Pacific Region in Australian society, a press release from the Australian Consulate General to Hong Kong announced on December 13.

It is being billed as a system of study and internships, and is slated to kick off in 2015, with a pilot...

Call for inquiry into final stages of Sri Lanka’s war
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

BANGALORE (CNS): Two Tamil bishops Bishop Rayappu Joseph from Mannar and Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam Emmanuel, from Jaffna, in Sri Lanka, joined a call for an independent inquiry into reported war crimes in the closing stages of the protracted war between the government and the rebels from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (Tamil Tigers) in 2009. 

They reiterated the demand during a meeting with Stephen J. Rapp, the ambassador-at-large for war crimes...

New priests in China sign of hope
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

BEIJING (SE): In what is being called a sign of hope, the dioceses of Kaifeng and Zhumadian, in Henan province on mainland China, welcomed six new priests on January 2.

Fides reported that over 1,000 people attended the ordination by Bishop Lian Jiansen, from Jiangmen, of three deacons from Kaifeng and one from Xingtai to the priesthood at a new church dedicated to the Sacred Heart.

Fifty priests concelebrated and 40 seminarians from Shjiazhuang...

Who wants to be rescued anyway?
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

HONG KONG (SE): The discovery that not all children who have been kidnapped for forced labour want to be rescued anyway is highlighted in a January 14 report broadcast on Radio Free Asia.

It says that the reluctance of 41 young people in their early teens to be rescued after they were discovered at an electronics factory in Shenzhen, highlights three problems in China: the unscrupulous push for profit on the part of companies and the dire poverty of the rural...

China will not scrap its family planning programme
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

ROME (Agencies): “Amid conflicting news reports over changes to the one-child family planning policy in China, disturbing reports continue to arrive about serious abuses of human rights,” Father John Flynn says in the Huffington Post.

He quotes the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as reporting on December 31 last year that a Chinese obstetrician is on trial, accused of stealing newborn babies and selling them to child traffickers.

A red hat for Seoul
(Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

SEOUL (SE): Red seems to run in the family of Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, form Seoul, South Korea, of Seoul, as come February 22 he will don the red hat of a cardinal and no doubt remember the red blood his great-great-grandfather shed for the faith in 1850, the Vatican Insider reported on January 16.

The cardinal-designate’s great-great grandfather, Peter Yeom Seok-tae, and his wife, Mary, were executed in 1850, in the early days of Korean...