25 June 2014
By providing services like traffic management the rebels hope they can get locals to help consolidate their hold. Imran Khan reports. (video: Al Jazeera)
Iraqi prime minister rejects emergency ‘salvation’ government (BBC) Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has rejected calls for an emergency “national salvation” government to help counter jihadist-led Sunni rebels. Such calls represented a “coup against the constitution and an attempt to end the democratic experience”, he warned. The United States has led appeals to the country’s political leaders to rise above sectarian and ethnic divisions.
Ukraine helicopter shot down, ceasefire shattered (Vatican Radio) Ukrainian officials say nine people have died when a military helicopter was shot down by pro-Russia separatists, shattering a temporary ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and adding to fears of civil war…
Israel reins in West Bank military offensive (Christian Science Monitor) Israel’s military is starting to rein in its retaliatory offensive against Hamas in the West Bank amid concern that a campaign of arrests and raids following the disappearance of three teenagers may backfire by stirring Palestinian unrest. Since the abduction of three Israeli teens, Israel has arrested about 350 Palestinians, conducted sweeps of 1,800 locales, and raided 64 Islamic charities with suspected links to Hamas…
Chechen extremists threaten Jordan (Al Monitor) The exceedingly small number of foreign heads of state who have visited Grozny, the capital city of Russia’s Chechen Republic, increased by one last week when Jordan’s King Abdullah II met there with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Though neither side offered any real detail on their discussions, the central topic may have been a profound one for the Middle East. According to Chechnya’s regional government, tens of thousands of Chechens live in Jordan, in itself an important topic for the leader of this relatively small ethnic group. Hardened veterans of Chechnya’s two unsuccessful wars for independence from post-Soviet Russia have become a significant component within the groups of international extremist Islamist fighters ranging across the Middle East and South Asia…
24 June 2014
Tags: Iraq Ukraine Jordan War Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Some of the more than 500 sets of twins are seen on 19 June taking part in the feast of Sts. Gervasis and Prothasis, patron saints of twins, at the parish of the same name in Kothanalloor, India. The church was dedicated in 1599 to the twin saints of the second century. To learn more about this unusual feast, visit the parish’s website. (photo: CNS/courtesy Kothanalloor parish)
24 June 2014
Tags: India Kerala
Kashmiri Shiite Muslims in Narbal, India, shout religious slogans as they take part in a 20 June protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Saying the United States has a special responsibility to the people of Iraq, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace called for diplomatic measures rather than a military response to the crisis facing the country. (photo: CNS/Danish Ismail, Reuters)
Bishop Pates, Pax Christi U.S.A. call for diplomacy to resolve Iraq crisis (CNS) Saying the United States has a special responsibility to the people of Iraq, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace called for diplomatic measures rather than a military response to the crisis facing the country. In a letter to Susan E. Rice, national security adviser, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, called upon the U.S. to urge Iraqi political leaders to “form an inclusive government” so that people who feel they have no voice in the country’s affairs are included in its governance.
In Mosul, Iraq, feared crackdown by militants has not materialized (Los Angeles Times) When gunmen broke through the city’s perimeter on 9 June amid a hasty retreat by Iraqi police and army units, with the mayor joining the exodus, many who remained braced for the worst. It came as somewhat of a surprise when residents awoke the next day to a city not under a harsh form of sharia, or Islamic law, imposed by foreign extremists, but one whose government offices were staffed in part by Iraqis allied with the insurgents against a Shiite Muslim-led central government that has little support among Mosul’s Sunni Muslim majority…
U.N. urges Israeli restraint in hunt for teens, warns of violence (Christian Science Monitor) A senior United Nations official on Monday urged Israel to exercise restraint in its search for three missing teenagers it accuses the Hamas Islamist group of kidnapping, while warning the Security Council that violence in the region could escalate. Israel’s army said it had detained another 37 Palestinians overnight as it searched and extended a crackdown on Hamas, which has denied having any knowledge of the missing teens. The Israeli military says it has detained 361 people since the Israeli students went missing on 12 June…
U.N. rights chief decries Egypt sentencing of journalists (U.N. News Center) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed deep concern over a string of recent court decisions in Egypt, including the verdicts and heavy jail sentences handed down today to three Al Jazeera journalists, as well as 11 other defendants who were tried in absentia. “Proceedings that clearly appear not to meet basic fair trial standards, particularly those resulting in the imposition of the death penalty, are likely to undermine prospects for long-term stability…”
Maronite bishops: Middle East turmoil threatens to change regional map (National Catholic Register) Maronite Catholic bishops expressed their concern about the war in Syria and Iraq and warned that Lebanon’s presidential vacuum poses a dangerous risk to the country, particularly amid the escalating regional turmoil that they said threatens to change the map of the Middle East. In a 19 June statement at the conclusion of their annual synod at the patriarchal seat of Bkerke, the bishops said they completely support the views expressed by Patriarch Bechara Peter about the presidential stalemate, and “his tireless efforts to push [parliamentary] members to perform their duty” and vote…
23 June 2014
Tags: Iraq Egypt Israeli-Palestinian conflict United Nations Maronite Church
Once again, ONE won.
CNEWA’s multimedia magazine triumphed again at the Catholic Press Association awards banquet last Friday, winning 15 — including First Place for General Excellence — at the Catholic Media Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Evaluating the magazine, the judges wrote:
This magazine is a high quality publication with a sophisticated look and feel. It is filled with powerful images and stories from around the world, filtered through a Catholic lens. Outstanding.
The newspaper and magazine judges included journalism professors from Marquette University and Spring Hill College.
Here’s a complete list of ONE’s awards:
General Excellence (Mission Magazines)
Best Electronic Newsletter
“Discover ONE Online” by Gabriela Gaibor, Paul Grillo, Greg Kandra
Best Single Photo — Color
“Hungry to Learn: Boy With Homework” by Petterik Wiggers
Best Special Issue, Section or Supplement
“Summer 2013 Issue — Spotlight: Children in Need”
“Very compelling diverse section, wonderfully presented,” wrote the judges. “This thorough, compassionate work made me proud of your publication.”
Best Coverage of Religious Liberty Issues
“Faith Under Fire: Young Copts Persevere in Egypt” by Sarah Topol
Best Essay (Mission Magazines)
“Letter from Syria: Saving Children of War” by Ziad Hilal, S.J.
Best Multiple Picture Package — Feature
“Hungry to Learn” by Petterik Wiggers
Best Single Photo — Color
“Hungry to Learn: Smiling Child With Biscuit” by Petterik Wiggers
Best Online/Multimedia Presentation of Visuals
“Visiting Georgia and Armenia” by Michael J.L. La Civita, Blaine Hicklin, Thomas Varghese
Best Feature Article (Mission Magazines)
“A Greek Tragedy: In a deepening economic crisis, churches and charities help” by Don Duncan
Best Online Blog (Publication)
Individual Excellence — Photographer/Artist
Paul Grillo, Designer, ONE Magazine
Best Feature Article — Mission magazines
“Reaching the Young ‘Untouchables’” by Jose Kavi
Best Online Content Not Published in Print
“Journey Through the South Caucasus” (blog series) by Michael J.L. La Civita
23 June 2014
Palestinian refugee Mohamad Yaser, 6, from the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, West Bank, plays music with the "Sounds of Palestine" program at the Bethlehem Live festival on Star Street on 20 June. The festival brings attention to the neglected street and raises awareness about its needs in the municipality. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)
Residents of Bethlehem gathered to make a little noise — and get some attention — last week.
Sitting outside their childhood home on Star Street, three sisters and their cousin chatted as they watched a small parade of children dance past, following a variety of clowns and jugglers and two giant dancing puppets.
An actor dressed as a caveman, hunched over and stomped through the crowd while clutching a walking staff in one hand and a stone in another; he brought smiles to some faces and sent even some of the older boys scurrying with fright.
Along the side of the stone road, vendors sold traditional olive wood crafts, homemade Palestinian delicacies, thin traditional shrak bread, protest posters, clothes, designer jewelry and the prerequisite popcorn, hot dogs and ice cream.
“When we were young, this street was always full and lively. Children were in the streets. There were shops and offices here,” recalled Marlene, 60, one of the three Catholic women who asked that their last name not be used. Antoinette, 77, the oldest and unmarried sister, still lives in the house where they grew up. “But since the intifada, everything closed. Now usually the street is always empty. Seeing all these people here reminds us of the good days.”
Though on the face the Bethlehem Live Festival is a cheerful street festival — originally intended to bring attention to the neglected street and raise awareness about its needs — it also focuses on faith, justice and culture, said Elias D'eis, project manager for the festival.
Workshops and panels such as nonviolence and nonlinear leadership were part of the festival schedule. An art gallery exhibited works by local artists, and an open-mic cafe allowed young local artists and performers to be seen and heard. Eight international bands were to perform on nights of the festival.
D’eis said Bethlehem Live aims to empower local small nongovernmental organizations, artists, youth and community committees to take action in defining their future and addressing some topics that affect them daily but also relate to the global community. The project was initiated in 2013 by the Holy Land Trust, a nonprofit peacebuilding organization in Bethlehem.
There are more than 128 closed shops on Star Street because tourists are not coming here,” D’eis said. “Our responsibility as a community organization is to work for the future, to help the community remember this is their city and to show them their social responsibility.”
23 June 2014
A woman who fled fighting in Sloviansk, Ukraine, cries while holding a child at a shelter in the town of Makiyivka in eastern Ukraine on 4 June. (photo: CNS/Maxim Zmeyev, Reuters)
Ukrainian Orthodox Church calls for end of violence in Ukraine (Pravmir) “The clergy and believers from these regions are asking for all possible measures to be taken to stop the bloodshed, which is hurting civilians. Our believers in the eastern part of the country think that any contradictions should be resolved through dialogue and negotiation. Our entire church believes that problems should be resolved peacefully. Together we should do everything to prevent the deaths of civilians,” the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said in its address to President Petro Poroshenko, which was posted on its official website…
Assyrians in U.S. rally for Assyrians in Iraq (AINA) Assyrians in the United States held demonstrations in three cities on Friday in support of Assyrians in Mosul, Iraq, and other areas that have fallen under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Mosul has been cleared of Assyrians and other Christians, as they fled the city after the onslaught of ISIS. Demonstrations were held in Chicago, home to 90,000 Assyrians; San Jose, home to 50,000 Assyrians; and Turlock, home to 15,000 Assyrians…
E.U. warns of Iraqi humanitarian crisis (Daily Star Lebanon) The European Union warned Monday of a looming humanitarian crisis in Iraq as Sunni militias advance towards Baghdad, and warned of the danger to regional stability of foreign fighters from Syria. There are reports that some fighters from the E.U. are already in Iraq…
Syrian rebels recruiting teens, says rights group (Vatican Radio) Syrian rebel factions have recruited teenagers as young as 15 years old to fight in the country’s civil war, using them in roles ranging from soldiers and snipers to stretcher bearers and suicide bombers, a rights group said on Monday. Human Rights Watch said rebel groups across the ideological spectrum have employed children in the conflict, including the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front as well as the Al Qaeda breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant…
The strong female voice of Hamas (Der Spiegel) Isra al Mudallal is the outspoken, strong-willed new spokesperson for the Hamas government in Gaza. Her goal is to become a role model for young girls — but first she has to overcome the region’s conservative traditions…
Egypt sentences Al Jazeera journalists to years in prison (Al Jazeera) An Egyptian court has sentenced two Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison and another to 10 years, on charges including aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and reporting false news. Al Jazeera has always rejected the charges against its journalists and maintains their innocence…
20 June 2014
Tags: Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank Children Syrian Civil War Women
An icon by Ian Knowles, written directly on concrete, adorns one of the segments of the Israeli separation wall near the Rachel’s Tomb checkpoint in Bethlehem. Read more about Prayers in Paint in the Summer issue of ONE. (photo: Tanya Habjouqa)
20 June 2014
Tags: Palestine Bethlehem Art Icons Separation Barrier
A woman walks past the site of a car bomb attack on 18 June 18 in Baghdad, Iraq. At least 13 people were killed and 30 others wounded in a car bomb explosion in Baghdad’s mainly Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, according to police and hospital officials. (photo: CNS/Wissm al Okili, Reuters)
Caritas Iraq: Many Baghdad families fled fearing civil war (Vatican Radio) Nabil Nissan, executive director of Caritas Iraq, says that many of Baghdad’s inhabitants have fled the city for the Kurdish enclave in the north or other areas of Iraq because “they fear a civil war.” He said Caritas Iraq is mobilizing its resources to help care for the tens of thousands of displaced people, including Christians, who were forced to flee their homes in the northern city of Mosul after it fell to the ISIS militants…
Fuel shortages and power cuts dominate ISIS-controlled Mosul (Financial Times) Fuel shortages and power outages are putting pressure on the Islamist insurgents who last week seized control of Iraq’s second-largest city. The reports suggest Isis is either keeping a loose grip to maintain public good will or, as several residents described, has handed over control of the city, at least temporarily, to nationalist Sunni insurgent groups with a different social vision while the hardline group fights for control of other cities and the crucial nearby oil refinery at Baiji. “There is no Isis in Mosul. The ones controlling city are now the clans” or tribal armed groups, said a 58-year-old Mosul travel agency employee. “There are 12 different armed groups, but the power is with the tribes…”
Aleppo fears new ISIS offensive (Al Monitor) The spectacular and shocking offensive in Iraq by ISIS that has seen the extremist terror group take large areas in the west of the country, including its second largest city, Mosul, has the entire region and the world rightly worried. ISIS is said to boast an army of 10,000 fierce fighters, more than $2 billion in assets and huge caches of weapons and equipment seized from the Iraqi army, making it a serious threat to global security. Rebels holed up in Aleppo worry that ISIS’ newfound power and advanced military hardware in Iraq will result in a renewed offensive on Aleppo…
Lebanon car bomb attack kills two, shatters months of relative calm (Los Angeles Times) A suicide car bomb that may have targeted Lebanon’s internal security chief exploded Friday on the Beirut-Damascus highway, killing at least two people and wounding dozens, according to official and media accounts. It was the first such attack after several months of relative calm in Lebanon and raised fears that the sectarian-fueled violence that has lately erupted in Iraq could be reverberating in this vulnerable Middle Eastern nation. Lebanon has long experienced episodes of spillover violence from the war in neighboring Syria…
Lebanon roads locked down over security fears (Daily Star Lebanon) After the news of the bombing spread around the country, security forces took extreme measures in closing off all major roads in the country, fearing further attacks…
Israel seizes political, military opportunity in teens’ disappearance (Electronic Intifada) Since three Israeli youths went missing while hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank on 12 June, Israel has mobilized all its resources “to crush Hamas in the West Bank and destroy the recently formed unity government as well as collectively punish the Palestinian people,” said the rights group Addameer in a fact sheet issued today on Israel’s ongoing West Bank military assault and the Palestinian hunger strike long underway in Israeli prisons…
U.N. says global population of displaced tops 50 million (U.N. News Center) World Refugee Day marks yet another somber milestone in a year of crisis. A new U.N. report reveals that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people…
19 June 2014
Tags: Iraq Syrian Civil War War Israeli-Palestinian conflict United Nations
In this photo from 2009, two years before Syria’s civil war, youth in Aleppo participate in a dance workshop hosted by an organization that uses sports to bridge sectarian divides. To learn more about this scene, read Lebanon’s Urban Youth, from the July 2010 issue of ONE. (photo: Spencer Osberg)
19 June 2014
Tags: Lebanon Unity Art Dialogue Youth
As Islamist militants battle Iraqi security forces for control of towns and cities not far from Baghdad, the capital has taken on the tense feel of a city under siege. (video: CNN)
Assyrians and Christians under attack in Iraq and Syria (AINA) With extremists battling for control of Iraq’s largest oilfield on Tuesday, raising the stakes in a burgeoning war against the central government in Baghdad, Iraq’s Christians once again find themselves at risk. Over the past 10 days, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a fundamentalist Islamist group, has streamed across the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq from its bases in eastern Syria, capturing a line of towns and cities, including several with large Assyrian and Chaldean Christian populations…
Black flags fly over Iraqi refinery, as U.S. weighs cooperation with Iran (Al Jazeera) ISIL fighters, who want to carve out an Islamic caliphate stretching across Iraq and Syria, have reportedly made progress at Iraq’s largest oil refinery. The rebels hung their black banners on watchtowers at the Baiji refinery, 150 miles north of Baghdad, a witness said Thursday, though a top Iraqi security official said the government still held the facility…
Ukrainian Catholic leader appeals for Christian reconciliation (AsiaNews.it) Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis, tensions are getting worse between local Catholics and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, which continues to denounce the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine for its alleged involvement with Western policy vis-à-vis Russia. In making an appeal for reconciliation, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk hopes Moscow will recognize the dignity of the Ukrainian people and open a sincere dialogue based on truth…
United Nations: ‘Climate of fear’ grips eastern Ukraine (U.N. News Center) With United Nations monitors reporting today that armed separatists have used killings, abductions and torture to instill a “climate of intimidation and fear” in eastern Ukraine, the world body’s human rights chief urged all armed groups to put down their weapons, end the violence and begin the process of long-term reconciliation…
Syrian refugees in Turkey exceed 1 million mark (The Guardian) The number of Syrians in neighboring Turkey has surpassed 1 million, the Turkish deputy prime minister has said. There are more than 20 refugee camps in Turkey near the roughly 500-mile border with Syria housing more than 220,000 people. But the bulk of people who have crossed the border are living in Turkish cities, mostly in the provinces of Hatay, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. They have taken advantage of the “open border” policy maintained by Turkey, a staunch opponent of the regime in Damascus, towards Syrian refugees…
Tags: Iraq Ukraine Refugees Iraqi Christians United Nations