Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Great Game

The history of Turkmenistan is strongly marked by its geographical position. The country is in fact located at the crossroads of that network of routes commonly known as the ‘Silk Road’ that linked Beijing to the Mediterranean Basin. The Silk Road has been, over the centuries, the most important transit and transportation corridor of ideas…

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Mexico. Bishop in the narco-traffickers’ Sierra

Drug traffickers have taken over and keep capillary control of Sierra Tarahumara. People live in fear. Young people are in the hands of the cartels. Every day somebody disappears. We talked with Monsignor Rafael Sandoval, Bishop of the Tarahumara Diocese, in the southeast of the Chihuahua State in Mexico. “Bands of drug traffickers keep capillary…

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Turkmenistan. From the Silk Road to the gas pipeline

Turkmenistan is a landlocked country along the Silk Road, in one of the most inaccessible and remote territories of Central Asia. Its desert, steppe and multicolour mountains resembling a lunar landscape make the country look one of the most melancholy places of the region. According to a tradition dating to the 11th century, the term…

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Nicaragua. The New Canal joining two Oceans

In December work will start on a new canal in Nicaragua joining two oceans. The cost will be 40 billion dollars and work will take 5 years. Questions from Environmentalists. Chinese interests. The Russian moves. The plan of the mega-canal will join Punta Gorda (facing the Caribbean) with the estuary of the river Brito facing…

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Mexico. Celebrating the departed

From ancestor veneration to the modern rituals of Dia de los muertos. The connections between life and death, between the living and the dead. As night falls, a young woman lights the candles surrounding the altar she created in honour of her grandmother who passed away two years ago. The ofrenda, an offering embodied in…

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Burundi. 2015 Elections – Coalitions take shape

Party coalitions are taking shape six months to the 2015 general elections.The opposition has already formed the Democratic Alliance for Change locally known as ADC-Ikibiri which brings together most large opposition parties such as Frodebu, CNDD and MSD. There are calls for a larger opposition coalition which should include the wing of the Union for…

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Music – From Illinois to Nigeria

What do you get if you bring an Illinois-born black singer of Ugandan and Rwandan descent to Nigeria for one and a half years? If the artist is as skilled as the 31 year-old Somi and is given enough time, the answer would be something very similar to The Lagos Music Saloon: a sophisticated 18-track…

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Mozambique – Business as usual

Mozambique’s next president will be Filipe Nyusi but lost its two-thirds majority in the parliament. Renamo claimed that the vote was riddled with widespread irregularities. According to the National Electoral Commission (CNE), Frelimo’s Filipe Nyusi has reportedly garnered 57 per cent of the presidential vote, with Renamo’s Dhlakama getting 36 per cent and MDM’s Daviz…

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Kenya. The Missionary for Social Justice

A Comboni missionary living in one of the slums on the outskirts of Nairobi tells us what defines his mission. “I am not trapped in the divide between ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’”. I live in Korogocho, one of the 200 slums of Nairobi. These slums are home to about 60% of Nairobi’s population.Yet, they occupy only…

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Kenya – Evangelize politics

Comboni missionaries working at the Institute of Social Ministry in Nairobi are helping Catholic parliamentarians to understand the social teaching of the church. When we hear about missionaries, it is almost a must to imagine the African village in the savannah, the women going to the river to fetch water, the elders meeting around the…

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The transition process

Like the majority of the Central Asian republics, Turkmenistan experienced a troubled and difficult transition process after gaining independence. In the aftermath of the USSR’ s implosion, the communist-inspired oligarchies became democratic overnight. This led to the establishment of despotic and nepotist regimes commonly known as ‘sultanistic regimes’. As far as Turkmenistan is concerned, the…

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Lesotho. The coup that never was

After the murky events of 30 August, peace has formally returned to Lesotho. However, the roots of the crisis run deep and many questions are still open in Maseru On 30 August, the people of Lesotho felt that they had been involved in something bigger than them. The true nature of the events that occurred…

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Rely on one own strength first.

We are in Pikine, a Dakar suburb, Senegal. Father Armel Duteil, is the one telling the story. He is an 80-year-old Spiritan missionary. French by…

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The Water-Buffalo and the Tiger.

Once there lived a hard-working farmer in a small village who had a water-buffalo. Every day, with his plough on his shoulder, he led his water-buffalo…

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Youth & Mission

Nine Challenges Facing Young People in Syria.

For over nine years, violence and displacement have devastated opportunities for youth across the country. Here are nine of the most pressing challenges facing young people…

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