CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

Print Version    Email to Friend
Around the Traps

Vietnam’s new cyber law sparks concern
HANOI (AsiaNews): Vietnam’s National Assembly approved a cyber security law on June 12, giving the authorities the power to access sensitive private user data spy on users and exercise greater control over websites and social media like Facebook and Google.
 
For activists, this means loss of privacy and greater restrictions on freedom of thought. The government insists the new restrictions are necessary on national security grounds.
 
Information technology companies will have to register their data in Vietnam and provide user information to the Ministry of Public Security in case of violation of the law.
 
Moreover, the new law bans Internet users from organising themselves for “anti-state purposes,” using terms that “distort history” or “deny the revolutionary results of the nation.”
 
Foreign investors have criticised the passage of the law as it could undermine business confidence and slow down the growth of the country’s digital economy.
 
Technology companies operating from Singapore or Hong Kong will be forced to open an office in Vietnam and keep their data in-country.
 
In the past, Catholic sites, including AsiaNews, have been blocked. However, users could bypass the block using Virtual Private Networks. This is now prohibited and is punishable by imprisonment.
 
Dominican sisters decry separation of families
WASHINGTON (CNS): The Adrian Dominican Sisters, based in Adrian, Michigan, in the United States of America (US) and more than 1,200 of women of all faiths spoke out against the Trump administration’s policy of separating families by taking children into custody and sending parents to detention centers at the US-Mexico border. 
 
They called for “an immediate end to the morally reprehensible practice” in a June 11 statement. 
 
The sisters said the policy of children being taken into government custody while their parents are sent away from them—with no way of communicating and no way of knowing when they will be reunited—indicates “the nation has lost its moral compass.” 
 
They are calling on Congress “to enact long-overdue immigration reform that enjoys broad public support and reflects American values.” 
 
A letter to the secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, also states that “many of these families seek to apply for asylum; by international law, these families should receive a fair hearing, not immediately be judged as criminals.” 
 
Bangladeshi priest had string of relationships
RAJSHAHI (CNS): The case of Father Walter William Rozario of Bangladesh, who mysteriously disappeared a just days before Pope Francis visited the country in 2017, took a new and dark turn when a police investigation found that the 41-year-old priest had allegedly been involved in relationships with a string of women and at least one girl under 18-years-old.
 
“From our interrogation and findings, I can confirm that five women and an underage girl had illicit and physical relationships with the priest. One of those who admitted having an illicit affair with the priest was a girl aged 17 who was studying in college,” Inspector Saikat Hasan of Boraigram police said. 
 
Father Rozario was thught to have been kidnapped by Muslim extremists when he went missing on 27 November 2017. 
 
Police found him on December 1 after he claimed to have escaped from his abductors and called his brother for help. 
 
Father Rozario now denies the claims saying, “I didn’t violate the vow of celibacy in my priestly life.”
 
He has been removed from his post as acting headmaster of a school in the Natore district.
 
Catholic groups condemn cruel asylum rejections 
WASHINGTON (CNS): At a June 11 news conference explaining why he reversed an immigration court’s decision that granted asylum to a Salvadoran woman who said she had been abused by her husband, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general of the United States of America (US),  said that asylum seekers fleeing domestic or gang violence need not apply for protection in the US. 
 
Sessions said that while a person may suffer threats of violence in another country, “for any number of reasons relating to her social, economic, family or other personal circumstances,” US asylum laws cannot be used to remedy “all misfortune.” 
Various organisations quickly condemned the ruling. 
 
“No longer will the United States of America welcome and protect our vulnerable and abused brothers and sisters who are experiencing persecution and brutality,” said Lawrence Couch, director of the National Advocacy Centre of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. 
 
Couch said in a statement that Sessions’ decision was “inherently hostile and cruel.”

More from this section