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Dangerous liaisons

WASHINGTON (SE): Advocates for persecuted Christians and minorities in the Middle East received unexpected tidings straight from the mouth of the vice president of the United States of America (US), Mike Pence, on October 25.
 
Pence informed a Christian solidarity group that from now on all US aid going to the Middle East would be channelled through non-government agencies for the support of persecuted Christians.
 

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Sacred peace walk violated

BAGHDAD (SE): “Peace must be achieved by us, as well as politicians, through courageous initiatives and responsible decisions,” the Catholic Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, the archbishop of Baghdad, said in announcing a 140 kilometre peace walk through the Nineveh Plain during Holy Week.

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Truth long dead media victim

HONG KONG (SE): “I think that those who control the information in the west have a political agenda,” Bishop Antoine Audo SJ, the director of Caritas Syria, said in an interview with Vatican Radio.

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Negatives in China positives in Middle East during Ramadan

URUMQI (AsiaNews): Observing the fast for the holy month of Ramadan was banned by the government for all public officials, members of the Communist Party, students and children in the Uyghur majority province of Xinjiang in the north-west of China.

An instruction, published on various government websites says that people in these categories “should not fast and should not take part in the religious activities.”

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Catholic Russian Orthodox project

MOSCOW (AsiaNews): The plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East has become the focus of the first concrete act of cooperation between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches following the historic meeting in Havana between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on February 12.

The Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church announced that the Moscow patriarchate and the Vatican will join forces to help restore churches in Syria.

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Saudi executes 70th person this year

RIYADH (AsiaNews): The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has carried out its 70th execution for this year. The Saudi Ministry of the Interior announced on March 7 that Alaa al-Zahrani was stoned to death after being convicted in Jeddah.

Last year, 153 death sentences were carried out, most of them for drug trafficking and murder. This was the highest number in 20 years.

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Day of prayer for Middle East

 

LEEDS (SE) : December 4 has been set as a day of prayer for peace in the Middle East by the bishops of England and Wales.

Vatican Radio reported that the bishops made the decision at a meeting held in Leeds on November 15. They said, “Conscious of the civil war in Syria and its impact on neighbouring countries, as well as the continuing conflict in the Holy Land, they are calling on all people to pray for peace in the region on December 4, the feast of St. John Damascene.”

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