December 2017

Looking for throwaway labour
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

As the government in Hong Kong mulls the dilemma of caring for its aging population, bureaucrats are once again looking off shore to find labour to fill the gaps and talking the need for a further 600,000 of what it puts the demeaning tag—domestic helpers.
 
But what it is not talking about is how to attract that number to come here, particularly as it is now looking for skilled labour prepared to undergo training in the care of people in their sunset years and appears...

Education through intercultural exchange
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): On November 15, the Caritas Wu Cheng-chung Secondary School in Pokfulam hosted 30 teachers and students from the Chua Chu Kang Secondary School in Singapore for a day of enriching understanding of life on an educational campus with a mixed nationality student body.
 
Organised to promote a better understanding of and respect for other cultures, as well as broadening students’ vision of the world, it proved to be a good opportunity for the students to...

China puts ban on Vatican tours
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): Travel agencies in China have received an instruction not to sell any package tours that include the Vatican City on their itinerary, a report from Radio Free Asia on November 22 claims.
 
Radio Free Asia quoted an employee of Phoenix Holidays International Travel Agency as saying that the reason given is that there are no diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Beijing.
 
The order is described as coming from high up,...

Priest prosecuted for silence over disputed confession
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

BRUSSELS (SE): A chaplain to a retirement home in Bruges, Belgium, 57-year-old Father Alexander Stroobandt, is being prosecuted for keeping silent over the suicide plans of an old friend.
 
The priest is basing his defence in part on the requirement to maintain the secrecy of the confessional at all costs and in all circumstances.
 
The case went to trial in the criminal court on November 15. “The fact that the Council Chamber sent my client for trial...

The pope’s day with the poor
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

ROME (SE): Pope Francis once said that he has learned two things in life; to speak simply and to use symbols.
 
In unearthing World Day of the Poor he picked a potent symbol for the whole of the Church as a sign that Christians should be serious about their commitment to promoting human welfare, not just leaving it to others, but in their own person.
 
“On this day, I invite the entire Church to keep its gaze fixed on those who hold out their hands...

Duterte moves to avoid peace
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

MANILA (UCAN): An upsurge in violence around The Philippines is anticipated following a decision by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, to formally declare a termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front and the Communist Party.
 
The three parties have been locked in an informal war for decades which has left tens of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes over the years.
 
On November 24, both Catholic and...

Rights advocate dies in neglect
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Yang Tongyan, the 56-year-old recipient of the 2008 PEN Freedom to Write Award, died on November 7 from an aggressive form of brain cancer after being released from Nanjing Prison on medical parole.
 
He underwent an operation on August 23 on a brain tumour and had almost completed a 12-year sentence for posting anti-government articles online in 2006. It was his second stint in prison, already having spent a decade behind bars for counter-revolutionary...

Still no resolution on Maguindanao Massacre
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

MANILA (UCAN): It is now eight years since the Maguindanao Massacre took place on a lonely road in Ampatuan on 23 November 2009, which saw 58 people murdered and buried in mass graves.
 
At least 34 of them were journalists covering a journey being made by the vice mayor, Esmael Mangudadatu, to file his certificate for candidacy as governor of the province at the office of the Commission on Elections.
 
Manguadadatu believed that surrounded by the bevy of...

Government translation of bible!
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

KUALA LUMPUR (UCAN): Christians in Malaysia are calling a decision by the government in Kuala Lumpur to place the translation of the bible into Malay in the hands of a public service department a heinous breach of the constitution.
 
The chairperson of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, Archbishop Julian Leow, said the constitution guarantees Christians the freedom to manage their own religious affairs.
 
“The holy bible and the Al-Kitab (...

Duterte frustrated at failure
(Saturday, 9 December 2017 )

MANILA (SE): The controversial president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, told a gathering of boy scouts from the First Scout Ranger Regiment in San Miguel, Bulacan, that if he cannot win his pet drug war, then he may think about resigning.
 
“If I can’t hack this I will leave,” Rappler.com quoted him as saying at the gathering on November 24.
 
The 72-year-old president said that he has no more need for prestige and power, as he has...