Print Version    Email to Friend
Around the Traps

The bottom 100 richest
VATICAN (SE): Fund for Peace has taken a cue from Forbes Magazine, but instead of listing the top 100 richest people in the world, it chose to list the bottom 100.
The Australian non-government organisation has named 13-year-old Mary Myaluak Gai, from South Sudan, as Bill Gates’ absolute alter ego.
Myaluak fled to Uganda with her parents, but was deported back to South Sudan where she now lives in a refugee camp.
Deaths in Bangladeshi clothing factory
DHAKA (UCAN): At least 13 workers died and over 50 were wounded when a boiler exploded on July 3 in a garment factory in Bangladesh, sparking fresh concerns over workplace safety in the core industry of the country.
The incident occurred in a four-storey factory owned by Multifabs Limited on the outskirts of Dhaka where a five-ton, 15-year-old boiler that had been recently serviced exploded.
Labour unions say, “Workers complained that the boiler was dysfunctional, but management tried to fix it, illegally, instead of replacing it.”
The government and the International Labour Organisation pledged to inspect and to upgrade some 2,000 clothing factories.
Goddess of sea takes a plane
KUALA LUMPUR (AsiaNews): The image of the statue of Mazu, the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, travelled business class on a flight from Xiamen to Kuala Lumpur on July 7.
The patron of the sea and protector of fishing folk, Mazu is part of the Buddhist and Taoist pantheon.
She is widely venerated in China, Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan. She checked into business class along with statues of Qianliyan and Shunfeng’er, her celestial guardians.
The visit to Malaysia and Singapore was organised by the Meizhou Mazu Ancestor Temple in China.
Former Vatican pressman dies
VATICAN (SE): The long serving spokesperson for the Vatican, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, died at the age of 80 on July 5.
The Spanish doctor-turned-journalist became the director of the Vatican press office in 1984. The first professional journalist to fill the role, he remained in place until 2006.
The immaculately groomed Navarro-Valls spoke with a confident authority, always clipped and to the point when conducting press conferences, which he did in a variety of languages.
He became an institution in his role, calling the shots in the pressroom during papal tours overseas.
Old mosque to get a facelift
TAWI-TAWI (UCAN): The mosque in Tawi-Tawi in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is in line for a facelift. Believed to be the oldest mosque in The Philippines, it was built in 1380 and the local government has put aside US$980,000 ($7.6 million) for the renovation of the structure, a nearby cultural centre and access road to the site.
The Sheikh Karimul Makdum mosque in the village of Tubig Indangan in Simunul town has been declared a national historical landmark.
Pope donates to earthquake appeal
VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis sent a donation of €50,000 ($441,750) to the town of Vrisa on the Greek island of Lesbos to assist people recovering from a devastating earthquake the hit the island on June 12.
The donation came in response to leaders of the Orthodox Church, who had asked their Catholic counterparts to inform the pope of the tragedy on the island he visited in April last year.
Reformed Churches come to the party
VATICAN (SE): The World Communion of Reformed Churches accepted the Joint Declaration on Justification that was originally signed by the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation in 1999, and later by the World Methodist Council in 2016, on July 4.
It formalised its assent to the statement at an ecumenical prayer service to be held in Wittenberg, Germany, on July 5. The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity welcomed the acceptance as an important milestone in ecumenical affairs.
One of the crucial issues of disagreement between the Reformers and the Catholic Church in the 16th century is now being diffused.
Clampdown on religious activity
HONG KONG (SE): Sixteen members of a Sunni Muslim missionary group and two Jehovah’s Witnesses were arrested in Kazakhstan during the first half of this year for indulging in religious activities. Most have been sentenced to prison terms.
Forum 18 also reported that police in Tajikistan have arrested a Protestant pastor and raided a Baptist service, in addition to forbidding Muslims under 40 to go on pilgrimage to Mecca.

More from this section