Print Version    Email to Friend
Around the Traps

Papal condolence to Manchester
VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis said he is deeply saddened by the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester. In a message to the people of the city, he expresses his solidarity with all those affected by violence on May 22.
He commended emergency and security personnel, offering his prayers for the injured and all who have died.
Jailed former governor drops appeal
JAKARTA (UCAN): The former governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who has been sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy, is withdrawing his appeal against his sentence.
The appeal was filed on May 22, but the following day his wife, Veronica Tan, read a handwritten letter from her husband quoting Psalm 131 and telling his supporters to “put hope in the Lord.”
His lawyer said that he is staying true to his principle to put the interest of the nation ahead of his own and out of respect for the Muslim people.
Knock knock, ‘Pope here’
ROME (SE): On May 19, Pope Francis visited a public housing project in Ostia, on the Mediterranean coast outside Rome near Leonardo da Vinci Airport knocking on their doors and blessing homes.
He spoke about not returning evil for evil and asking people not to proselytise, as only an ugly house goes in search of extra members. He insisted that the Church grows by attraction, not proselytism.
Archbishop Romero quoted against repression
CARACAS (SE): Jorge Cardinal Urosa Savino, from Caracas called on the memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the slain bishop from El Salvador, in a plea to his government to end its abuse of power.
“In the name of God and of his people who suffer, I beg you, I order you to stop the repression,” Cardinal Urosa said in his homily on May 21. Words taken directly from the mouth of Archbishop Romero. 
The cardinal spoke out as the government of Nicolas Maduro continues to crack down on public protests, which erupted after the regime closed down the legislature.
Taiwan’s war games look towards China
TAIPEI (SE): Taiwan held military exercises simulating an attack by China on an outlying island group as part of its annual military drills.
The Associated Press reported units from the army, navy and air force were deployed on May 25 to the Penghu Islands.
Tanks, rocket launchers, assault helicopters and soldiers using shoulder-fired missiles to repel an invasion from across the 160-kilometre-wide strait, were deployed.
Warships manoeuvred offshore and fighter jets deployed flares.
The war games came amid heightened tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory.
Korea’s Blue House blessed
SEOUL (SE): True to his election promise to remain a man of the people, the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has had his new house blessed.
But he did not invite the cardinal archbishop of the city, Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, as many in his position would be want to do, but asked his parish priest to bless the presidential palace, the Blue House, for him.
Not funny Mr. President
MANILA (SE): The president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, told soldiers working under martial law that he will protect them from all legal repercussions no matter what they do—including rape.
Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former United States of America president, Bill Clinton, said that if this was meant as a joke it was not funny and then went on to call the martial law president a murderous thug.
Duterte was quoted by the Inquirer as saying, “Just work. I will support you. I will go to jail for you. If you happen to have raped three women, I will own up to it. If you marry four, son of a bitch, you will get beaten.”
Fines for Christian literature in Azerbaijan
GYANJA (SE): Christians in the largely Muslim nation of Azerbaijan are facing fines and the prospect of imprisonment for making religious literature available that has not been authorised by the government.
The World Watch Monitor reported that 84 books and CDs were seized from a shop in Gyanja and 378 from five homes in Astara.
There is only one Catholic parish in the nation of 9.9 million people. Azabaijan is a secular state and regarded as one of the most irreligious in the world.

More from this section