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December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
13 June 2017
Greg Kandra




Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, speaks at the Vatican 13 June about the theme of the first World Day of the Poor, to be celebrated on 19 November. He said Pope Francis envisioned the day as a way for the whole church to reflect on the Gospel meaning of poverty. (photo: CNS/Robert Duncan)

Vatican announces first World Day for the Poor (CNS) People cannot sit back and be indifferent or unresponsive to growing poverty in the world as a privileged minority accumulates “ostentatious wealth,” Pope Francis said. “God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded,” the pope said in a message for the first World Day of the Poor...

Displaced Iraqis hit by food poisoning (BBC) Hundreds of people have fallen ill and a child has died of suspected food poisoning at a camp for displaced people near the Iraqi city of Mosul. People were said to be vomiting and suffering dehydration after an iftar meal, to break the daily Ramadan fast...

Israel agrees to reduce Gaza electricity (Al Jazeera) The Israeli government has agreed to cut down its electricity supply in the Gaza Strip, at the behest of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), Israeli officials said. According to Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), President Mahmoud Abbas requested Israel to stop supplying electricity to Gaza back in April...

Muslims and Christians in Goa join hands to protest against cattle sale ban (OutlookIndia.com) To protest against the Centre’s notification banning the sale of cattle for purpose of slaughter, Muslims and the Roman Catholic Church in Goa have come together to back a civil society collective called Goa for Beef — Beef for Goa...

Dozens of news sites blocked in Egypt (Amnesty International) The Egyptian authorities have shifted their onslaught against media freedom to the digital sphere, blocking access to more than 40 news sites without justification in recent weeks, in an attempt to eliminate the country’s last remaining spaces for criticism and free expression, said Amnesty International...

Armenia: where natural beauty and brandy trump a troubled past and volatile present (Economic Times) Bucolic locations, monasteries set in tumbling landscapes, gurgling streams, lapis lazuli lakes — Armenia is picture-postcard turf. One of the cradles of civilisation, the pint-sized country was also the first in the world to officially adopt Christianity as the state religion in AD 301. With doughty neighbors (Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran) hemming it in, the nation is also at a geopolitical and cultural crossroads...



Tags: Iraq India Egypt Gaza Strip/West Bank Vatican

12 June 2017
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as he meets with members, consultors and guests of the council 9 June at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

Pope urges Council for Interreligious Dialogue to uphold women’s dignity (CNS) The more women are involved in and contribute to communities, politics, economics and the church, the more positive changes will come about, Pope Francis said. “Women are fully entitled to actively take part in all settings, and their rights must be affirmed and protected, including through legal instruments wherever it may prove necessary,” he said 9 June. The pope was speaking to members, consultors and guests of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which was holding its plenary assembly in Rome 7-9 June. Participants had discussed the role of women in teaching universal fraternity. “We cannot truly call on God, the father of all, if we refuse to treat (others) in a brotherly way,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran told the pope, quoting from “Nostra Aetate,” the Vatican II declaration that addressed the Catholic Church’s relations with other religions...

Holy See denounces retention of migrant children (Vatican Radio) The Holy See has called on the international community to protect the rights of unaccompanied migrant children and condemned their detention as a “grave error.” The Vatican’s Permanent Observer to the UN in Geneva, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, made the remarks to the Human Rights Council panel discussion on the rights of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents…

Refugee families in Lebanon return to Syria (Latin American Herald Tribune) Some 50 Syrian families who had found refuge in Lebanon have returned to their homes in a village located near the border, escorted by military units and members of the Lebanese intelligence services, according to the Lebanese Armed Forces on Saturday. The armed forces said that the families were transferred to Assal al-Ward village in civilian vehicles through Arsal Mountains in northeastern Lebanon to the border with Syria...

Family rejoices over returned of Christian girl kidnapped in Iraq (Fides) Christina Kader Ebada is the name of a Christian girl from Qaraqosh who has been returned to her family after being abducted three years ago by militia of the Islamic State group. The girl, now six years old, was united with her parents last Friday 9 June...

Mosul woman, 84, survives under rubble for a week (Rudaw.net) After seven days of entrapment under the rubble of a house destroyed by coalition warplanes in west Mosul, an elderly woman, whose family had held her funeral, was miraculously found alive. Niama Mohammed, 84, had been caught along with another 34 people by ISIS as they tried to escape. They were used as human shield in a house. The house was one day bombed when a group of the militants had fought against the advancing Iraqi troops on the rooftop. The house was bombed by the coalition warplanes. Of the 35, only Niama survived both the bombing and hunger and thirst for a week...

Indian priest fights to end discrimination against children whose parents have HIV (CNS) A priest in the north Indian state of Rajasthan is fighting to end discrimination against children whose parents live with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Father Jerish Antony is funding the education of 218 children whose parents have HIV as part of a program run by the Diocese of Ajmer...

Syrian refugee builds life as a surfer in Lebanon (AFP) Ali Kassem had never seen the sea before he fled his home in Syria for Lebanon, but now he’s a regular in the waves and dreams of his own surf school. Dressed in a purple wet suit, the 17-year-old confidently coats his board with wax and smears sunscreen on his face before dashing into the sea...



9 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Coptic Orthodox Christians celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Minya region, south of Cairo, on 27 May. (photo: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian minister warns Christians of church security risks (Fides) Egyptian Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffar said, in an 8 June meeting, that Egypt is under attack by forces wishing to destabilize the country, and advises Christians to reduce visits and celebrations in churches and monasteries, stating that conspicuous crowds at places of worship could be targeted. In his speech, reported by the Egyptian media, Mr. Ghaffar confirmed that churches and monasteries will be at the center of appropriate security measures currently managed in coordination with local communities and ecclesial authorities…

Pope Francis sends condolences to Tehran attack victims (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday sent his condolences for the victims of Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Tehran, Iran, saying he “laments this senseless and grave act of violence.” The Holy Father’s words were conveyed in a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin…

Ecumenical patriarch discusses importance of environmentalism (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) “For more than twenty-five years, the exacerbation of the ecological crisis, along with its attendant social and financial inequalities, have created unusual concern and vigilance for the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, adding that environmental destruction is always “accompanied by social and economic decline, unemployment and diminished quality of life…”

Iraq’s Kurds say ‘no turning back’ on independence vote (Daily Star Lebanon) Iraq’s Kurds said on Friday a referendum on independence will go ahead despite warnings internationally that a vote in favor of secession could trigger conflict with Baghdad at a time when the fight against ISIS is not yet won…

Kerala challenges Modi: No to beef ban (AsiaNews) Kerala is the first state in India to rebuke to the ban on cow meat imposed by central government of Narendra Modi. With a resolution adopted yesterday, the state’s legislators have rejected the measure…



Tags: Iraq India Egypt Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I Iran

8 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Palestinian friends and family mourn during the funeral of Fadi al Najjar, 25, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on 7 June. Al Najjar was killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip the previous day. (photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Half a century after the Six-Day War, some Israelis wonder if it was a victory (Los Angeles Times) Hundreds of guests and dignitaries gathered at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, for a special session Tuesday marking the 1967 Six-Day War. It was a celebration of Israel’s lightning military victory over Arab armies in the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, West Bank and East Jerusalem that forever changed the landscape of the Middle East. Absent from the parliamentary party, however, were legislators from Israel’s pro-peace Meretz party. Not enough attention, they said, was being paid to the consequences of Israel’s unending control over millions of Palestinians who live in the lands occupied 50 years ago this week…

Iraqi Kurds to hold September independence referendum (Fides) Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region will hold a referendum on independence on 25 September. The decision, aimed at provoking a negative reaction from the central government in Baghdad was announced last night, 7 June, during a summit between President Masud Barzani and members of the government of the autonomous region…

Iraqi forces liberate important crossing into Syria (AINA) Pro-government popular mobilization units (Hashd al Sha’abi) liberated the Safouk border crossing into the Syrian province of Hassake. The P.M.U. was able to take control of Safouk after launching a surprise assault, tonight, from the recently liberated town of Ba’aj, east of the Syrian border…

Indian farmers protest against debt-related suicides (AsiaNews) Millions of farmers have halted production in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In Maharashtra, many took to the streets on 1 June to demand the government cancel farm loan debts. In a desperate attempt to put the spotlight on their tragic conditions, they destroyed the product of their hard work in the fields, throwing onions, potatoes and milk in the streets. From there, the protest spread to Madhya Pradesh, where five people died in clashes with the police…

Kerala Catholics urged to spread the ‘message’ of Kandhamal (Vatican Radio) Catholics in southern India’s Kerala state have been urged to show solidarity with the suffering Christians of Odisha state and spread the message of their exemplary witness. Cardinal George Alencherry, major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly who heads the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, made the appeal on 6 June while releasing the Malayalam version of a book by rights advocate and journalist Anto Akkara that details the atrocities of the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Odisha’s Kandhamal district…

Kerala government announces new liquor policy, 700 bars to reopen (India.com) In a major move, the Kerala government on Thursday approved a new liquor policy that will see more than 700 closed down bars in three- and four-star hotels, allowed to reopen. Church leaders and anti-liquor activists staged a protest in front of the Kerala Assembly on Thursday against the change in policy…



Tags: Syria Iraq India Palestine Israeli-Palestinian conflict

7 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Young Muslim volunteers from the Al Arabi neighborhood of Mosul clean and repair the city’s Monastery of St. George, saying “Mosul is yours as it’s ours.” (photo: Mohammed al Zakaria via This Is Christian Iraq)

Muslims and Christians unite to rebuild Mosul monastery (Crux) Young Muslims joined Christians in repairing and cleaning the Monastery of St. George in Mosul, after ISIS militants vandalized it by smashing windows, damaging the church’s dome, and discarding its cross. The monastery belongs to the Chaldean Catholic Church…

U.S. House of Representatives approves law expanding intervention in Syria and Iraq (Fides) On Tuesday, 6 June, the United States House of Representatives unanimously approved the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief Accountability Act of 2017, which authorizes, among other things, targeted interventions in favor of ethnic-religious minorities persecuted by ISIS. The text of the law puts Christians at the top of the list of beneficiary groups of authorized assistance and rescue measures…

At remote desert garrison in Syria, a U.S.-Iran confrontation is brewing (Christian Science Monitor) U.S.-backed forces announced Tuesday that they had begun the long-awaited assault on the northeastern Syrian city of Raqqa, ISIS’ main stronghold in the country and its self-declared capital. But some 170 miles to the south, in a remote corner of Syria’s southeastern desert, another clash is brewing that is pitting the strategic objectives of the United States against those of Iran. Both U.S. and Russian warplanes have been deployed, and some shots have already been fired, including by U.S.-backed coalition forces on Tuesday…

Syria: As airstrikes hit Raqqa, U.N. sounds alarm over plight of civilians (U.N. News Center) The United Nations humanitarian wing today said it is deeply concerned for the safety and protection of more than 400,000 civilians “who continue to be exposed to daily fighting and airstrikes” in Syria’s Raqqa Governorate. “The humanitarian situation in Al-Raqqa governorate remains dire, with the majority of the population reportedly facing critical problems in meeting their immediate needs,” Alessandra Vellucci, director of the U.N. Nations Information Service in Geneva…

Mankind responsible for protection of nature: Mar Chrysostom (The New Indian Express) Syro-Malabar Catholic Metropolitan Philipose Mar Chrysostom spoke out about the critical importance of care for the environment at a function organized by the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council to honor him. “You become true humans only when you see God in others. If a person is starving, it is the God who is starving. God first created man, then nature. So, it is the responsibility of the mankind to protect nature,” said the church leader, who turned 100 this year…

Palestine in Motion (Al Jazeera) Al Jazeera presents “stories of loss, love, trauma, hope, and ultimately, of what it means to be Palestinian,” with each of the rotating photos linking to a separate profile…



Tags: Syria Iraq Christian-Muslim relations Palestinians Indian Bishops

6 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this photograph taken on 26 December, an Indian worker labors on a loom in a textile factory near Surat, some 180 miles south of Ahmedabad. (photo: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)

India doubles compensation for textile loom worker deaths (Vatican Radio) India has doubled the compensation for the death of power loom workers in its textile industry as part of a benefits scheme to weed out problems plaguing the labor-intensive sector. India is one of the largest fabric producers in the world and has traditionally been a cornerstone of the Indian economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment. A single person, working 12 hours or more, often tends to six to nine looms inside cramped spaces, exposing them to loud noise and injuries from the shuttle that moves at a high speed across the loom…

Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate to start television network (Fides) The Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, from its headquarters in Damascus, announced the future birth of its own television channel, designed to support the pastoral care of Syriac Christians through its programs. The channel will be called Suboro TV, from the Syriac word that indicates the Annunciation of the angel to Mary. Programming is scheduled for to begin on 25 March 2018 at the feast of the Annunciation, a Christian holiday celebrated in the Middle East — especially in Lebanon — and observed also by many Muslims…

U.S. coalition begins ‘long and difficult’ battle for Islamic State’s Raqqa stronghold (Washington Post) U.S.-backed forces have begun the “long and difficult” battle to capture the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremist group said Tuesday. Kurdish-led militants began laying the groundwork for the offensive in November, edging through the surrounding province and cutting supply lines into the city. But a showdown for the city itself will prove a major test for the coalition, with the potential for high civilian casualties…

Iraq: Lives of 100,000 children ‘on the line’ as fighting continues in west Mosul (U.N. News Center) Some 100,000 children remain in extremely dangerous conditions in western sections of Iraq’s Mosul as fighting between government and terrorist forces continues, the United Nations children’s agency today reported, warning that “children’s lives are on the line…”

Pan-Orthodox conference to discuss gender in the diaconate (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary) A Pan-Orthodox Conference — dedicated to examining diaconal ministry in the Orthodox Church — will include presentations on the present state of the diaconate; ways men and women are engaged in diaconal ministry today; opportunities to engage with both clergy and faithful on the rejuvenation of the male and female diaconate; and current challenges and future possibilities of the diaconate for the building up of the body of Christ…



Tags: Iraq India Orthodox Church United Nations Women (rights/issues)

5 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Iraqi Christians attend the Divine Liturgy in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on 31 May. (photo: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

ISIS victims face discrimination in Kurdistan (AINA) A new report explains how religious minorities in Northern Iraq — Yazidis, Christians, Shabak, and Turkmen — fled the ISIS onslaught in 2014 into Kurdistan. However, despite the freedom of religion of these minorities being “comparatively robust” in Kurdistan to other areas in the region, they still face discrimination, violence, and restrictions upon their movement there, the report alleges…

Dialogue with Muslims, defend human dignity, pope tells missionaries (CNS) Missionaries are entrusted with bringing hope to poor Christian communities while building bridges with Muslims and protecting human rights, Pope Francis told a group of men and women missionaries. Meeting with members of the Consolata Missionaries at the Vatican on 5 June, the pope also encouraged them to push the boundaries of their missionary activity, especially in “defending the dignity of women and family values…”

Pope sends second, personal note of condolence to Ukrainians (CNS) Saying he was moved by reports of tens of thousands of people gathering for a funeral procession for Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, who died on 31 May, Pope Francis sent a second message of condolence to the cardinal’s successor. Being grateful for Cardinal Husar’s “unique, religious and social presence in the history of Ukraine, I invite all of you to be faithful to his constant teaching and total abandonment to providence,” the pope wrote on 5 June, the day of the cardinal’s funeral in Kiev and two days after the massive procession in Lviv…

Divided by victory, Israelis still grapple with 1967 war (New York Times) The six days of the 1967 war were the most important in modern Israeli history. But after 50 years, Israel is still struggling with them. The accidental war and stunning victory also made Israelis occupiers. For with that land — the urban villages of East Jerusalem, the sprawling hills and metropolises of the West Bank, the concrete density of the Gaza Strip — came people: Palestinians now numbering more than 4.5 million. As the 50th anniversary of that war is marked in a series of events this week, Palestinians, of course, will mourn rather than celebrate what they call the “naksa,” or displacement. But even among Israeli Jews, the milestone does not seem a moment for national outpouring, despite the increasing power of the political right wing…

Syrians in Egypt demand clearer work regulations (Al Monitor) Syrians who fled their country and settled in Egypt have so far contributed to the Egyptian economy with more than $800 million, but they have yet to get their papers in order…

Ethiopian domestic worker commits suicide (Daily Star Lebanon) A domestic worker hung herself in the south Lebanon border town of Blida in Marjayoun, a security source told The Daily Star on Monday. The Ethiopian woman was found hung on the branch of a tree near her employers’ home with a small chair beside her. A coroner examined the body and declared the death a suicide. LBCI reported that she began working at the house three months ago…



Tags: Lebanon Iraqi Christians Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Migrants Catholic-Muslim relations

2 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis declares his prayer intention for the month of June: to end the arms trade. (video: Rome Reports)

Vatican’s ‘prayerful solidarity’ for Muslims during Ramadan (AsiaNews.it) The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has extended “prayerful solidarity” and greetings of “serenity, joy and abundant spiritual gifts” to Muslims for this Ramadan. Ramadan is the month of daily prayer and fasting broken only at night for a festive dinner (Iftar) and ends with the feast of Eid ul Fitr. This year the month began on 27 May and ends on 24 June…

Israelis join Palestinians in peaceful Hebron protest (Al Monitor) Long before the 1987 Palestinian intifada, the Arabic term sumud (meaning “steadfastness”) best reflected the form of resistance undertaken by Palestinians in the occupied territories. It reflected the important act of staying put on one’s land and refusing to budge no matter what. This is the term that Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jews recently applied to their unique act of nonviolent resistance in the largely abandoned village of Sarura, located south of Hebron. On 18 May, activists arrived in Sarura to support the villagers who have been harassed and intimidated to leave their homes by Jewish settlers and the Israeli army. In a span of 12 days, the Israeli army came to the camp and tried to break it up three times, without making any arrests. The Israeli army brought bulldozers and demolished all the established structures on 29 May. It seized all tents, mattresses and even a car…

ISIS militants battered Syria’s ancient Palmyra, but signs of splendor remain (Los Angeles Times) The once-resplendent Temple of Bel, dedicated to the principal deity of the ancient metropolis of Palmyra, has been reduced to a single sculpted arch rising gracefully from a jagged pile of tumbled columns and monumental stone blocks etched with grape vines and acanthus leaves. Also leveled are the Temple of Baalshamin, a Semitic god of the heavens, and the Arch of Triumph, an iconic assemblage whose image is stamped on Syria’s £10 coin. Still standing, however, are most of the stately colonnades lined up for nearly a mile along the main boulevard…

Following discrimination claims, Egypt’s Al Azhar enrolls Christian medical resident (Al Monitor) Al Azhar University is considered a beacon of centrist, moderate Islam in Egypt. But the university is still vulnerable to criticism and responds to any critiques with an eye on its public image. That may have been the case on 17 May, when the dean of Al Azhar’s Faculty of Dentistry in Assiut, Khalid Siddiq, accepted Abanoub Guirguis Naeem, a Christian student, for a residency training program — the first known case of a Christian student enrolling at the university…



Tags: Syria Egypt Pope Francis Palestine Ramadan

1 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro




Relatives of Copts killed during a bus attack attend their funeral service at Ava Samuel Monastery in Minya, Egypt, last Friday. (photo: Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Coptic Christians describe bus attack in Egypt: ‘Even the little children were targets’ (Washington Post) The passengers on the bus heard a noise and thought a tire had exploded. One young man got up to see what had happened, and why there was so much smoke. But before he could open the door, a bullet smashed the glass and hit him in the head. Several gunmen dressed in military-style uniforms then sprayed the bus with gunfire. “In a second, they [the gunmen] got inside and shot at every living and moving object they could see,” said the driver, Boshra Kamel, 56, who was shot several times but survived by playing dead. “Even the little children were targets to them.” The passengers — a group of Coptic Christians — were on their way to a monastery in the Minya region, 150 miles south of Cairo, when the gunmen attacked last Friday, killing at least 30 people and wounding 26. It was the latest incident in rising violence targeting the country’s minority Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population…

ISIS fighters seal off Mosul mosque preparing for last stand (Daily Star Lebanon) ISIS militants have closed the streets around Mosul’s Grand al Nuri Mosque, residents said, apparently in preparation for a final showdown in the battle over their last major stronghold in Iraq…

Iraqis demand compensation from U.S. for bombing that killed more than 100 civilians (Christian Science Monitor) On 17 March, United States forces reportedly targeted two ISIS snipers in a single building, which set off a series of explosives in the house that killed many civilians. Iraqi officials, however, say that there were only civilians killed in the blast, and that there were no hidden munitions…

For Syrian refugees in Jordan, a path to financial independence (Christian Science Monitor) As part of a new initiative spearheaded by the World Food Program, the United Nations is giving educated Syrians and Jordanians training in business and IT skills, equipping and encouraging them to open their own start-ups in Jordan…

What I’ve seen in 30 years of reporting on the Israeli occupation (Haaretz) I began to write about the occupation almost by chance. Dedi Zucker, at that time a Knesset member, suggested that we go see a few olive trees that had been uprooted in the grove of an elderly Palestinian, who was living in the West Bank. That was the beginning, gradual and not planned, of exactly three decades of coverage of the crimes of the occupation. Most Israelis didn’t want to hear about it and still don’t want to hear about it. In the eyes of many citizens, the very act of covering this subject in the media is a transgression…

Protests break out after India bans cattle slaughter (Vatican Radio) Church leaders in India say the government’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter across the country is a violation of human rights. The nationwide ban has alarmed minority groups and led to protests in several states. Beef is a cheap source of protein for Muslims and Christians who together form 20 percent of India’s population, as well as Adivasi and Dalit people…



Tags: Iraq India Egypt Violence against Christians Israel

24 May 2017
Greg Kandra




The Most Rev. Peter Remigius, Bishop of Kottar, speaks to a gathering of Caritas India in April. Pope Francis has just accepted his resignation. (photo: Caritas India)

Pope, President Trump discuss peace, dialogue, support for immigrants (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump met in the Vatican on Wednesday, discussing issues of peace, interfaith dialogue and religious freedom, as well as the role of the American Church in education, healthcare and support for immigrants...

Bishop of Kottar resigns, successor appointed (Fides) On 20 May 2017, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kottar, India, presented by His Excellency Peter Remigius. The Pope appointed as bishop of the diocese of Kottar, India, the Rev. Nazarene Soosai, Pastor of the Our Lady of Ransom parish of Kanyakumari in Kottar...

Official: Jordan cannot deal with more Syrian refugees (Middle East Monitor) Jordan has reached breaking point and can no longer accept more Syrian refugees, a senior minister told officials at the World Economic Forum. According to the country’s official news agency, Petra, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Imad Fakhoury, said the number of refugees currently in the country have put more economic and social burdens on the budget, infrastructure, services, education, health and water, especially in the northern and central areas...

Syrian army says senior ISIS militant killed (Reuters) The Syrian army said on Wednesday it had killed Islamic State’s military commander in Syria during operations in the north of the country, where the Russian-backed government forces are seizing more territory back from the jihadist group. If confirmed, this would represent a major blow against ISIS ahead of an attack which the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters — are expected to launch against the jihadists in their stronghold of Raqqa city...



Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Jordan





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