News Archives » Asia
Filipino Oblate Reflects on Pope’s Visit in NCR Story January 28th, 2015
Fr Eliseo (Jun) Mercado, OMI, quoted in an article in the National Catholic Reporter about Pope Francis’ recent visit to the Philippines, said that the Pope “communicated very effectively” the theme of mercy and compassion and did not dwell on rituals, structures and “the many things we have accumulated over centuries about the Catholic church.” He commented on how Pope Francis would drop his prepared speeches to stress points, teach or to express his own personal feelings. “It’s very touching, especially for priests like me,” Fr. Jun said. He added that he thought the church had lost touch with the poor and was trying to re-engage them.
“The poor are the very heart of evangelization. Remove the poor from the message of Jesus, and there’s nothing there anymore,” he said. However, Francis focused on the poor in most of his speeches and drew many people from poor communities to his various activities.
Thanks to the National Catholic Reporter for their permission to the Oblates to use the article from which this information came. Read the article in full..
Sri Lanka Votes for End to Nepotism and Corruption January 12th, 2015
In a surprising electoral upset, Sri Lankans voted in Opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena, a former Health minister. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man responsible for the crushing defeat of the Tamil Tigers, conceded defeat on Friday. The Tamil and Muslim voting appears to have decided the outcome of the election, as the Sinhalese vote was split.
A new Administration holds out the possibility for some change, although how much remains to be seen. The new President was acting Defense Minister at the end of the civil war in June 2009, and like Rajapaksa, rejects the UN investigation into war crimes allegations, and has pledged that senior commanders accused of such war crimes will not face legal action. He also reportedly has no plans to reduce the large military presence in northern (Tamil) Sri Lanka.
On the other hand, the issue of corruption will be addressed (the Rajapaksa family was in many positions of authority at the national and local levels of government, and controlled both the Defense Ministry and the Development Ministry.). The increasing consolidation of power in the Presidency will also be reversed. President Sirisena pledged, during the campaign, to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days of being elected, repeal the controversial 18th amendment, re-instate the 17th amendment and appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe as prime minister. The constitutional changes will be important. Already, the new President has called for Parliamentary elections to be held in three months.
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Important Advances in Pediatric AIDS Drug Development December 3rd, 2014
World AIDS Day saw two important announcements regarding development of much-needed pediatric AIDS drugs. This is an issue on which the Oblates and other faith-based investors in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) have pressed pharmaceutical companies on for years. Since most pediatric AIDS patients are in poor, developing countries, the usual market incentive for drug development does not exist. And, the development of pediatric AIDS drugs, particularly for infants, is challenging. ICCR members have actively encouraged the major pharmaceutical companies to participate in the Medicines Patent Pool, a mechanism established under the auspices of the UN to ‘pool’ patents for drugs to make existing formulations more readily available for generic production and for innovative fixed dose combinations to be developed.
On Monday, World AIDS Day, Abbvie announced a licensing agreement for lopinavir (LPV) and ritonavir (r), top World Health Organization-recommended medicines for children. The license will enable other companies and organizations to re-formulate and manufacture specially designed LPV/r and r pediatric treatments for distribution in low- and middle-income countries where 99% of children with HIV in the developing world live. [Abbvie is a spinoff of Abbott Laboratories that contains the research-based pharmaceutical business.]
On the same day, the HIV Medicines Research Industry Forum announced that the forum is joining PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and the Pediatric HIV Treatment Initiative (PHTI) in the newly established “Global Pediatric Antiretroviral (ARV) Commitment-to-Action” to accelerate innovation and save children’s lives. The initiative is designed to accelerate the development of new, high-priority pediatric ARV co-formulations for first- and second-line treatment by 2017.
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Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord Awaits Implementation After 17 Years December 2nd, 2014It is difficult to believe that the government of Bangladesh continues its intransigence around the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord. It seems like only yesterday when I had the opportunity and privilege to vista in Chittagong and meet with the indigenous who have been the victims of this ignored and broken agreement. The international community must continue to shine a spotlight of transparency and justice on this negligent behavior by the government. – Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI ………………………..
Kapaeeng Foundation forwarded this statement of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission on the implementation of the CHT Accord (issued 2 December 2014)
CHTC concerns over the failure to fully implement the 1997 CHT Accord and calls for roadmap with clear milestones on full implementation
Dhaka: December 2, 2014. The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) has expressed concern over the Government’s lack of political will leading to the failure of full implementation of the CHT Accord 17 years after its signing. The CHTC has called upon the Government to urgently adopt and enforce a roadmap with clear milestones for implementation of the Accord ensuring full participation of all stakeholders.
The Awami League signed the Accord together with PCJSS on December 2, 1997 and the present Awami League government has repeatedly pledged to implement the Accord, both nationally through each of its election manifestos to date and internationally during the Universal Periodic Reviews in 2009 and 2013. Yet the state of peace and stability in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) has continued to deteriorate throughout the two terms the government has held office and there have been no efforts to strengthen local institutions and ensure end to land conflict which has led to the deterioration of the human rights situation in the area.
Amendment of the HDC Acts and failure to hold elections
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International OMI JPIC Representatives Meet in Rome November 9th, 2014
JPIC representatives from the various Oblate regions met in Rome last week to share about the work being done, and to strategize for the future. Fr. Kennedy Katongo, OMI, as the new international JPIC Director, planned and facilitated the meeting.
International Monetary Fund Releases Plans to Stop Predatory Hedge Funds October 6th, 2014
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released new proposals for preventing predatory hedge funds and hold-out investors from blocking debt restructurings. The paper proposes a series of reforms to debt contracts, including strengthened collective action clauses and a modification of the pari passu clause that hold-out hedge funds used to sue Argentina.
“In the wake of debt restructurings in Argentina and Greece, the IMF is incredibly concerned about vulture funds,” stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious anti-poverty coalition, Jubilee USA Network. “The IMF is advocating a market approach, but we also need a statutory approach. We need to change both the contracts and the laws.”
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