Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s address to the nation

Source: Government of Sweden

Good evening!

Sweden is now a member of NATO. A few hours ago, I presented Sweden’s instrument of accession to the US Secretary of State here in Washington DC. 

I did so with a sense of both pride and humility. 

This is an epoch-making event for our country. After more than 200 years of non-participation in military alliances, Sweden has taken the step to become part of the Western defence community. Together, we are stronger and more secure.  

It is a major step, but at the same time a natural one. In joining NATO, we have come home. Home to the Alliance for peace and freedom to which many democracies belong. Home to our own neighbours’ security cooperation. Home to the circle of nations where we have long belonged. 

Sweden is an outstanding country, and we are joining NATO to even better defend what we are and what we believe in: our freedom and our democracy.

We are now a member of a defence Alliance together with our closest friends. Norway, Denmark and Iceland have been members from the start, as have the United States and the United Kingdom. Germany joined a few years later, Poland in the late 90s and our Baltic neighbours Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the early 2000s. As you know, Finland joined last year. 

Two years have now passed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and President Putin has not achieved any of his goals – on the contrary.

Through the support of the international community, Ukraine daily demonstrates its impressively strong will to defend itself. But Ukraine is not only fighting for its own independence, it is fighting for our right to determine our future. For everyone’s right to not be invaded and oppressed by countries like Russia. 

Instead of succumbing to Russia’s demands for a veto on other countries’ self-determination, NATO has been reinforced with both Sweden and Finland.

***

As Sweden’s Prime Minister, I am delighted today by the broad consensus on our NATO membership. Public support is strong and a broad majority of the Riksdag supports this decision. It is a strength for us as a NATO member. And it demonstrates that we are capable of uniting and cooperating in times of war and crisis. 

Our NATO membership is a joint Swedish success. 

Leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party Magdalena Andersson led her party to say yes to our NATO membership, and the Sweden Democrats also changed their position, and said yes. The process that began under the previous Government has now been completed by my Government. And we have cooperated at each stage. 

I will continue to safeguard this consensus on major security policy issues. It is a strength when it comes to Sweden’s security.  

But I would also like to speak directly to those of you who feel worried or disappointed, to those of you who feel none of the joy and relief that most of us feel today. 

In a democracy such as ours, it is perfectly legitimate to have different opinions, and of course I respect those who wanted Sweden to remain outside the Alliance. I’d like to try to allay any concerns you might have. 

NATO is an organisation whose member countries work together on a voluntary basis and where decisions are taken unanimously. We make our own decision whether to send Swedish soldiers and seamen to take part in joint NATO missions. And we make our own decision whether to request military support from NATO. This is a solidarity-based defence Alliance. We train and plan together to deter those who wish us harm – and ultimately, we defend our freedom together. 

The core of NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, which is based on the UN Charter, including the right to self-defence and the right to help other countries at their request. 

NATO membership is therefore a natural continuation of a long tradition of Swedish international engagement. We are a small country, but understand better than most the importance of the big world beyond our borders.

Sweden joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace 30 years ago. And Sweden has had its own delegation at NATO Headquarters in Brussels for more than 15 years.

Sweden has taken part in all major NATO peace operations. Tens of thousands of Swedish soldiers have served under NATO command in countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Few new NATO members have been as prepared as we are.

Our cooperation with the United States has also deepened over the years. Intelligence-sharing and defence technology cooperation with the United States were already crucial under Prime Minister Tage Erlander. There has never been any doubt as to where Sweden would turn in the event of war.

In those days, military cooperation was sensitive and often secret. Now we can cooperate openly and honestly – as Allies. NATO membership is the logical continuation of the security policy that Sweden has, in practice, pursued for many decades.

***

Alone, we are not strong. And Sweden’s security is intrinsically linked to developments in the world around us. We are now entering into a defence Alliance that has been very successful for almost 75 years. 

Sweden is a more secure country today than it was yesterday. We have Allies. We have support. We have taken out insurance in the defence Alliance of the Western world. And our part of the world is more secure – now and for future generations. 

With Sweden and Finland as NATO members, the Nordic countries now have a common defence for the first time in 500 years. We are no longer only good neighbours. (We still are). We are Allies. Sweden will defend freedom with the countries closest to us geographically, emotionally and in terms of values.

But our NATO membership is not only about receiving support from others; it is also about providing support to others. We will contribute our unique defence capabilities – on land, in the air, and on and below the sea. 

Many know of NATO’s Article 5 – that an attack on one member should be seen as an attack on all members. All for one, one for all.

Article 3 is less well-known: it says that all countries must also maintain own defence capabilities that are sufficiently strong. Both are important.

We are now making preparations and doubling Sweden’s defence appropriations to more than two per cent of GDP. We are increasing the number of conscripts, we are strengthening civil defence and we are reactivating civilian service. 

I have spoken a great deal with Sweden’s Supreme Commander, Micael Bydén, and I know that Sweden will have highly knowledgeable and skilful women and men in all NATO staff and working groups.

***

Many people have played crucial roles in Sweden’s NATO membership. I would especially like to thank the United States and President Joe Biden for his strong personal engagement in our cause. I would also like to extend my warm thanks to the tireless Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and to the recently retired President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. 

And I would like to thank Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Finland’s new President Alexander Stubb for many years of constructive cooperation. And thank you Sanna Marin, Finland’s former Prime Minister, who played a more vital role than many know. I am grateful that we were able to have trusting discussions across both national borders and party lines during a few critical months. 

Sweden is also grateful for the security assurances that many countries gave us during the sensitive period between application and membership. They provided us with security in times of insecurity. And thanks to all other NATO member countries and their parliaments for showing the confidence in Sweden to accept us as a full member of NATO. We will not let you down.  

There is no doubt that our country is worth defending, and more and more people want to contribute. More people want to go through national military service and more people apply for the Home Guard. And I know that more people will also take part in civilian operations. 

We are now standing here strong, together– for peace and freedom. All for one, and one for all. 

A new era for Sweden begins tonight. 

Thank you. 

Statement of Government EU Policy

Source: Government of Sweden

Mr Speaker, 

We are living in times of discord. War is raging in the Middle East, causing enormous human suffering. The EU is united on many aspects. We condemn Hamas’s heinous terrorist attacks of 7 October in which at least 1 200 people were killed and more than 220 were kidnapped. Not since the Holocaust have so many Jews been murdered on a single day. 

Sweden and the EU support Israel and its clear right to defend itself in accordance with international law. At the same time, the EU emphasises that humanitarian access to Gaza – with essential supplies such as water, food and medicine – is absolutely necessary. Sweden’s humanitarian assistance must be allowed to help the civilian population of Gaza. Civilian lives must be protected as far as possible. 

In Sweden and in Europe, people may have differing views on the conflict in the Middle East. That is part of our democracy. But it is entirely unacceptable when actions and demonstrations against the war there develop into hate and threats against Jews here. The Swedish Government unequivocally supports our Jewish minority. 

The Europe that once swore that Jews would never again need to fear for their safety is once again unsafe for Jewish families. This is a disgrace. Or to quote French President Emmanuel Macron: We must put antisemitism back where it belongs: in court and behind bars. No tolerance for the intolerable. 

*** 

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is the European tragedy of our time. And yet there are voices that question whether freedom is worth defending. As though appeasing dictatorship would be in the interests of democracy. If Ukraine loses, Europe loses, and then Sweden loses. 

The war in Ukraine demonstrates the EU’s significance to security policy. The EU Military Assistance Mission has already trained 30 000 Ukrainian soldiers. Under the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU, we agreed to provide Ukraine with one million artillery shells. 

EU membership is Ukraine’s goal. The Swedish Government shares that goal, and pursued the matter during the Swedish Presidency.

***

Mr Speaker,

It is no longer a question of whether the EU should grow, but when and how. Spreading stability, democracy and respect for the rule of law is in our common interest.

But EU membership is not handed out willy-nilly: it is based on merit, and progress on domestic reforms. The EU has requirements and conditions that must be met. There are no shortcuts. And the rule of law must be defended and apply to new and old members alike.

At the same time, the EU must be ready to admit new members when they are ready. And the EU needs to be reformed to continue to function effectively with more Member States. This applies in particular to agricultural policy and cohesion policy. The EU’s budget and decision-making procedures will also need to be reviewed.

***

Seventy per cent of the criminal networks in the EU are active in at least three countries. The Government is now conducting a historic offensive against Swedish criminal gangs. We are strengthening the judicial system and giving police necessary tools and powers. We are removing secrecy restrictions so that government agencies can fight the organised economic crime that feeds gangs.

The same kind of offensive is needed in the EU. When the EU’s heads of state and government decide next summer on the political priorities for the years to come, the fight against cross-border crime must be a priority issue.

The Government is working intensively on proposals to hone EU cooperation. More can be done to give the authorities better access to encrypted communications. More can also be done to cut off financial flows and to coordinate criminal investigations of cross-border offences.

Europol must be strengthened to be able to come down harder on organised crime, and more cooperation is needed to stop drugs being brought in via European ports.

***

Mr Speaker,

The EU must take control of the external border. This is important for the EU, but it is also absolutely crucial for Sweden.

The Government and the Sweden Democrats are now implementing a paradigm shift in migration policy. This has already had an effect. Migration to many EU countries is increasing dramatically, but in Sweden the number of asylum seekers has decreased by 25 per cent compared with last year.

More than 200 000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean this year alone – 52 per cent more than in the corresponding period last year. These people are grossly exploited, and this human smuggling is a significant source of income for organised crime.

Under the Swedish Presidency, the EU took a major step towards a new responsible and restrictive asylum and migration policy. This was a significant success. The aim is to reinforce the EU’s external border and introduce a fast track in the reception process to differentiate between economic migrants and refugees. This will relieve pressure on the EU and Sweden.

But returns must increase. We need more cooperation and exchange of information between all relevant authorities within the EU to enforce expulsion orders. Clearer readmission agreements with countries of origin are also needed.

Cooperation with countries of origin and transit must be dramatically expanded. This is the only way to prevent the underlying causes of migration and stop large numbers of people attempting to enter Europe via lethal routes over land and sea.

***

Mr Speaker,

The green transition is a core Swedish interest. Swedish businesses and industries are at the forefront of technologies that are in demand around the world – such as fossil-free steel, batteries, electric vehicles and forest-based innovations.

Sweden has already come a long way towards becoming fossil-free by phasing out oil boilers and coal power. Alongside Portugal, Sweden has the lowest per capita emissions in the entire EU. But more is needed. Climate change and environmental degradation are cross-border problems that demand cross-border solutions.

Sweden’s climate policy must be built on European foundations. The EU adopted one of the world’s most ambitious climate packages – Fit for 55 – under the Swedish Presidency. Now the EU has a common cause with common goals, and all of the Member States are taking their share of the responsibility. When 450 million Europeans make the transition, it will make a global difference.

Sustainable Swedish forestry is important for the transition not only in Sweden but throughout Europe. The Government is working together with Finland to create greater understanding of the importance of forests. Forests not only act as carbon sinks and are a prerequisite for biodiversity – they are also crucial in replacing fossil materials and reducing our emissions.

Nuclear energy also has a crucial role in fossil-free electricity production in the EU. The Government is working hard to ensure that both conventional nuclear energy and small modular reactors can be used as renewable energy on equal terms in the EU. We are working closely with other EU countries that are part of the ‘nuclear alliance’.

* * *

Mr Speaker,

Sweden and Europe need higher growth and the internal market is crucial to strengthening our economy. The EU is the very core of the internationalisation of Swedish industry.

But the EU’s share of the global economy is shrinking and its competitiveness is waning. Increasingly, new technologies are emerging from the west coast of the United States and the east coast of China.

Europe should be a continent that is involved in developing new technologies rather than mostly importing them. This applies in equal measure to complex matters such as artificial intelligence, where the EU can take the lead in constructive regulation that promotes innovation while also tackling issues such as ethical risks.

Overall EU investment in research and development as a percentage of GDP is considerably lower than that of the United States and China, but also lower than that of Japan and South Korea. It is high time that more Member States lived up to the EU target of investing at least three per cent of GDP in research and development.

At the EU Summit in June, following considerable Swedish legwork, a new growth agenda was launched.

But growth and innovation do not spring from state-managed economies, but from knowledge-based market economies with competitive businesses. These cut red tape and pave the way for lower energy prices, quicker permit processes and better access to capital and skills.

European businesses need regulations and conditions that withstand competition. At Sweden’s initiative, the decision has been made to reduce reporting requirements for businesses by 25 per cent.

Simpler and fewer rules will be a main theme for Sweden when it is time to decide on the direction for Europe’s competitiveness. EU legislation must take greater account of the conditions for businesses.

Free competition in the internal market and free trade with countries outside the EU have made Europe’s economy strong. But free trade agreements are also important for geopolitical reasons.

If the EU is not present in the world’s growth regions, others will be. The EU’s strength has long been its openness to the world. But that openness must be consistent with our interests, values and security considerations.

***

Mr Speaker,

In my first Statement of Government Policy, I said that Sweden would be an active, engaged and proactive member of the EU – before, during and now after our Presidency. EU affairs are not a luxury, to be considered by the Government when time allows.

EU policy is Swedish domestic policy. Many Swedish national interests can only be safeguarded through the EU.

But Sweden is often worse than other countries at identifying and formulating its national interests. Sometimes we lack the desire to take a clear stance. Sometimes we have not sought out likeminded partners. Sometimes we have simply engaged with issues at too late a stage.

We are now changing this. The Government will institute new forms of consultation and cooperation with the business sector, the social partners and other important stakeholders who represent strategic Swedish interests. This is good for Sweden and for the EU.

* * *

Mr Speaker,

I have outlined the Government’s view of the problems and opportunities facing the EU in these turbulent times. The EU is our main forum for international cooperation, and an important platform for a small, internationally oriented country such as ours.

Let us now use that platform. To combat crime and reduce immigration by securing Europe’s external borders. To succeed in the climate transition. To safeguard our Swedish export companies.

But also to protect the fundamental values of freedom, peace, democracy and the rule of law that we believe in. Sweden’s history is intimately intertwined with Europe’s – but so too is Sweden’s future.

VATICANO – Papa Francesco alle Pontificie Opere Missionarie: c’è grandezza della Chiesa nel martirio

Source: The Holy See in Italian

sabato, 25 maggio 2024

Città del Vaticano (Agenzia Fides) – Anche nel nostro tempo c’è «grandezza della Chiesa nel martirio», nella testimonianza di chi invoca il nome di Gesù mentre viene ucciso a causa sua. Lo ha ripetuto Papa Francesco in uno dei diversi passaggi “a braccio” disseminati nel discorso da lui rivolto ai Direttori nazionali delle Pontificie Opere Missionarie (POM), riuniti in questi giorni a Sacrofano (Roma) per svolgere la loro Assemblea annuale, e ricevuti stamane in udienza nel Palazzo Apostolico.Anche oggi la missione della Chiesa e il suo pellegrinaggio lungo la storia sono segnati dall’esperienza del martirio. Papa Francesco ha voluto «ringraziare Dio per la testimonianza martiriale» data di recente «da un gruppo di cattolici del Congo, del nord Kivu. Sono stati sgozzati» ha riferito il Pontefice «semplicemente perché erano cristiani e non volevano passare all’islam». Il Papa ha fatto riferimento anche ai cristiani trucidati su una spiaggia della Libia, «quei copti che sono stati sgozzati e in ginocchio dicevano: “Gesù, Gesù, Gesù”».Nel discorso rivolto ai Direttori nazionali delle POM, Papa Francesco ha preso le mosse dalla Solennità liturgica della Santissima Trinità – celebrata domani, domenica 26 maggio – per ripetere che l’opera missionaria affidata alla Chiesa non è un attivismo auto-prodotto, ma attinge alle sorgenti del misteso stesso di Dio, alla «missione divina» che nel mistero della Santissima Trinità «si offre, si dona e si consuma per la salvezza dell’umanità».I tratti che rivelano la sorgente trinitaria di ogni autentica opera apostolica – ha spiegato il Pontefice – sono quelli della comunione, della creatività e della tenacia. «Tre parole chiave» ha spiegato il Pontefice ai Direttori nazionali delle POM «che risultano attuali per la Chiesa in stato permanente di missione. E ancora di più per le nostre opere missionarie, chiamate ora a un rinnovamento per un servizio sempre più incisivo e efficace».Contemplando il mistero della Trinità – ha detto il Papa riguardo alla prima delle tre “parole chiave” che hanno scandito il suo discorso – «vediamo che Dio è comunione di persone, è mistero d’amore. E l’amore con cui Dio ci viene a cercare e salvare, radicato nel suo essere Uno e Trino, è anche ciò che fonda la missionarietà della Chiesa pellegrina sulla terra». Per questo la missione cristiana «non è trasmettere qualche verità astratta o qualche convincimento religioso, meno ancora fare proselitismo».Riguardo al proselitismo, in un’altra aggiunta “a braccio” al testo scritto, Papa Francesco ha voluto raccontare l’aneddoto di un incontro con una signora, militante di «un gruppo cattolico-ultra, troppo destrorso», che gli si era avvicinata durante una Giornata Mondiale della Gioventù: «la signora era con un ragazzo e una ragazza e mi ha detto: “Santità, voglio dirle che ho convertito questi due! Li ho convertiti!”. L’ho guardata negli occhi» ha raccontato Papa Francesco «e le ho detto: “E a te chi ti converte?”. Questa missione della conversione, ci sono gruppi religiosi che portano il catalogo delle conversioni…».La chiamata alla comunione – ha proseguito Papa Francesco «implica uno stile sinodale: cioè camminare insieme, ascoltarci, dialogare, litigare insieme, ma sempre in comunità. Questo – ha aggiunto il Pontefice ci allarga il cuore e genera in noi uno sguardo sempre più universale, proprio secondo quanto rimarcato nel momento della fondazione dell’Opera della propagazione della fede: “Non dobbiamo sostenere questa o quella missione in particolare, ma tutte le missioni del mondo”».Anche la «creatività» – seconda parola “consegnata” da Papa Francesco ai Direttori nazionali delle POM – non è frenesia di inventarsi cose per tenersi occupati, ma nasce dall’essere «radicati nell’opera creativa di Dio, che fa nuove tutte le cose». Per questo la creatività nell’opera apostolica «è legata con la libertà che Dio possiede e che dona a noi in Cristo e nello Spirito. Infatti, “dove c’è lo Spirito del Signore c’è libertà”». La creatività evangelica ha insistito Papa Francesco «nasce dall’amore divino. Quello che ci dà la libertà è lo Spirito. Leggiamo un po’ i primi capitoli degli Atti degli Apostoli, c’è una creatività lì, c’è lo Spirito». Per questo – ha rimarcato il Vescovo di Roma – «ogni attività missionaria è creativa nella misura in cui la carità di Cristo è la sua origine, la sua forma e il suo fine. Così, con fantasia inesauribile, genera modi sempre nuovi di evangelizzare e di servire i fratelli, specialmente i più poveri».Espressione di tale carità – ha aggiunto il Pontefice, riferendosi alle attività delle Pontificie Opere Missionarie sono anche «le tradizionali raccolte destinate ai fondi universali di solidarietà per le missioni. E a questo scopo dobbiamo promuoverle, e far capire che questo aiuto che io do, che ogni cristiano dà, fa crescere la Chiesa e salva la gente, e quindi aiutare questa partecipazione non solo delle persone, ma anche di gruppi e istituzioni che, con spirito di gratitudine per le grazie ricevute dal Signore, desiderano sostenere le tante realtà missionarie della Chiesa».La tenacia, terza parola “consegnata” da Papa Francesco alla riflessione della Assemblea delle POM, nell’opera apostolica attinge anch’essa alle sorgenti dell’amore di Dio e al mistero della Trinità. È una fedeltà donata, riflesso della «missione divina». Per questo – ha proseguito Papa Francesco, richiamando il suo messaggio per la Giornata Missionaria Mondiale 2024 «la Chiesa continuerà ad andare oltre ogni confine, ad uscire ancora e ancora senza stancarsi o perdersi d’animo di fronte a difficoltà e ostacoli, per compiere fedelmente la missione ricevuta dal Signore».Riferendosi alla tenacia evangelica, il Pontefice ha inserito a braccio i citati riferimenti all’esperienza martiriale che accompagna il cammino della Chiesa, e anche i richiami al tratto della pazienza con cui vanno guardate e abbracciate le debolezze e le cadute di fratelli e sorelle, «Per favore» ha detto il Papa «siamo pazienti, prendiamoli per mano e accompagniamoli. Per favore, non scandalizzatevi di queste scivolate. “Può accadere a me”, ognuno deve dire “può accadere a me”: essere molto caritatevole, molto delicato e aspettare. Una delle cose che a me tocca del cuore del Signore è la pazienza: sa aspettare, sa aspettare. Guardiamo di più agli aspetti positivi e, in questa gioia che nasce dal contemplare l’opera di Dio, sapremo affrontare con pazienza anche le situazioni problematiche, per non rimanere prigionieri dell’inattività e dello spirito rinunciatario. Tenaci e perseveranti, andate avanti nel Signore! E con i fratelli e sorelle che scivolano e cadono, ricordate che soltanto in una occasione è lecito guardare una persona dall’alto in basso, una sola: per aiutarlo a sollevarsi. Sempre questo gesto con i fratelli e le sorelle che sono scivolati». (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/5/2024)
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Baselstädtischer Besuch des Eidgenössischen Feldschiessens

Source: Switzerland – Canton Government of Basel Town in German

Am Samstag haben Vertreterinnen und Vertreter aus Politik, Militär und Verwaltung des Kantons Basel-Stadt das Eidgenössische Feldschiessen besucht. Der Rundgang führte die Delegation mit Regierungsrätin Stephanie Eymann zunächst zum Schiessstand Riehen und danach in die Gemeinschaftsschiessanlage (GSA) Lachmatt in Muttenz.

Während ihres Rundgangs ergriffen die Mitglieder der Basler Delegation die Möglichkeit, ihre Treffsicherheit auf die Distanzen von 300 Metern (Sturmgewehr) und 25 Metern (Pistole) unter Beweis zu stellen. Zum Abschluss trafen die Basler Vertreter die Baselbieter Delegation zum gemeinsamen Mittagessen in der GSA Lachmatt.

Rund 750 Basler Schützinnen und Schützen absolvieren während des grossen nationalen Schützenfestes das Gewehr- oder das Pistolenschiessprogramm in einer der beiden Anlagen.

Meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister

Source: Government of Italy (English)

25 Maggio 2024

The President of the Council of Ministers, Giorgia Meloni, received the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mustafa, at Palazzo Chigi today.
President Meloni reiterated Italy’s support for all ongoing efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire, the release of all hostages in the hands of Hamas and a step change in the provision of humanitarian aid to the population in Gaza. With regard to this latter point, President Meloni underlined Italy’s strong commitment to Gaza’s civilian population, including by providing additional funding for the ‘Food for Gaza’ initiative.
During the meeting, President Meloni reaffirmed the need to restart a political process leading to a lasting peace based on the two-State solution.

AFRICA/SUDAFRICA – Il Sudafrica segnato da disoccupazione, criminalità, xenofobia si appresta al voto

Source: The Holy See in Italian

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) – La “bomba a scoppio ritardato” dell’altissima disoccupazione è al centro della preoccupazione dei sudafricani che si accingono a recarsi alle urne il 29 maggio per le elezioni generali.La definizione di “ordigno a scoppio ritardato” è stata data dall’ONU nel 2022. Con 25 milioni di persone dipendenti da sussidi sociali, il Sudafrica deve far fronte a fortissime diseguaglianze che generano enormi tensioni e frustrazioni tra la maggioranza della popolazione. Sono in particolare gli abitanti delle zone rurali e delle township delle principali città sudafricane a risentire della mancanza di lavoro e di prospettive di vita. Con un sudafricano su tre senza lavoro in una delle società più diseguali del mondo, gli stranieri in generale sono diventati un bersaglio facile. Questo ha generato un movimento xenofobo contro i migranti provenienti da altri Paesi africani ribattezzato Operazione Dudula (“buttare fuori” in Zulu) nato nel 2021 nella township di Soweto ed ora diffuso in tutto il Paese.Da movimento più o meno spontaneo Operazione Dudula si è trasformato in due anni in un partito politico (che però non potrà partecipare alle elezioni perché escluso dalla commissione elettorale per non aver rispettato il termine per la presentazione della lista dei candidati), capeggiato da Zandile Dabula, una donna della classe media, che ha fatto proprie le accuse degli abitanti dei ghetti nei confronti degli stranieri che “rubano il lavoro, commerciano cibo adulterato e spacciano droga”. Luoghi comuni smentite dalle statistiche (ad esempio, secondo il Ministro della Giustizia gli immigrati costituivano l’8,5% di tutte le persone condannate nel 2019 e il 7,1% nel 2020), che però fanno comodo al partito al potere dal 1994, l’ANC (African National Congress), che da faro della lotta all’apartheid si è trasformato, secondo i suoi critici, in un apparato corrotto e clientelare le cui politiche hanno aggravato le condizioni dei “neri” sudafricani. Tra gli altri problemi cui devono far fronte questi ultimi, come il resto della popolazione, sono le frequenti interruzioni della corrente elettrica e la forte criminalità violenta, della quale ne hanno fatto le spese di recente due sacerdoti cattolici di origine straniera. Il primo, Padre William Banda, della Società di San Patrizio per le missioni estere (Padri Kiltegan) di nazionalità zambiana ucciso a colpi di arma da fuoco mentre si preparava a celebrare la Santa Messa nella cattedrale di Tzaneen (vedi Fides 14/3/2024): il secondo p. Paul Tatu Mothobi, sacerdote della Congregazione delle Sacre Stimmate di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, originario del Lesotho ucciso in Sudafrica il 27 aprile (vedi Fides 30/4/2024). In occasione di questo secondo delitto, i Vescovi locali hanno pubblicato una dichiarazione nella quale affermano che gli omicidi dei due sacerdoti sono avvenuti “in un contesto di crescente preoccupazione per il disprezzo in aumento del valore della vita, dove le persone vengono uccise arbitrariamente”. Il tasso di omicidi in Sudafrica nel periodo 2022-2023 è stato di 45 delitti ogni 100.000, dove negli USA è stato del 6,3 ogni 100.000 abitanti e solo uno nella maggiore parte dei Paesi europei. Questo tra l’altro ha creato uno dei pochi settori dove le assunzioni sono in crescita, quello della sicurezza privata. Vi sono 2,7 milioni di agenti di sicurezza privati a fronte di soli 150.000 poliziotti su una popolazione di 62 milioni di abitanti. Chiaramente solo persone che hanno disponibilità economiche possono avvalersi di queste forme di protezione privata.Il voto del 29 maggio dunque rappresenta una sfida per l’ANC, che potrebbe vedere una parte importante dei suoi elettori votargli le spalle dopo 30 anni di potere interrotto segnato da una fortissima corruzione. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/5/2024)
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ASIA/PAKISTAN – Nove mesi dopo la violenza sui cristiani, si lavora per ristabilire l’armonia e riabilitare le famiglie

Source: The Holy See in Italian

Jaranwala (Agenzia Fides) – A nove mesi dalle aggressioni che videro la distruzione del quartiere cristiano di Jaranwala, città del Punjab, “esiste ancora un certo livello di ostilità nella zona, e la tensione si avverte soprattutto sulla frequenza scolastica dei bambini cristiani, che vengono scherniti o emarginati da insegnanti e compagni di studio, e quindi hanno paura o non vogliono di andare a scuola”, racconta all’Agenzia Fides Michelle Chaudhry, Presidentessa della “The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation” (CICF) che si occupa di progetti sociali soprattutto a beneficio delle comunità cristiane emarginate in Pakistan. Il 16 agosto 2023 la comunità cristiana di Jaranwala è stata attaccata da una massa di persone, oltre 25 chiese e centinaia di case sono state saccheggiate e date alle fiamme, lasciando centinaia di famiglie traumatizzate e senza alcuna posto dove vivere, “Le persone  hanno perso tutto ciò che possedevano, molti hanno perso anche la speranza, la fiducia e i loro sogni sono stati  distrutti per sempre. Il tutto per una presunta accusa di blasfemia ancora tutta da dimostrare”, ricorda Michelle Chaudhry.Per venire in loro soccorso, la Fondazione si è  mobilitata per sostenere e riabilitare le vittime. Grazie alle donazioni ricevute, è stato avviato un processo a vari livelli: prima fornendo alloggi, pasti cucinati, acqua potabile, kit per l’igiene personale. Nella seconda fase, attualmente in corso,  si è passati al percorso riabilitativo, come il restauro o la ricostruzione delle case.  Inoltre la  Fondazione Cecil & Iris Chaudhry (CICF) ha allestito un campo medico a Jaranwala per i bambini che hanno sviluppato malattie della pelle,  fornendo cure e farmaci. Si è anche cercato di alleviare lo stress psicologico dei bambini con iniziative di ludiche soprattutto in occasione di feste come Natale e Pasqua. “Per 25 bambini  ci siamo occupati di sostenere le spese di istruzione ( tasse scolastiche, divise libri, cancelleria, vitto e alloggio)  in un collegio  cattolico di una città vicina,  e siamo pronti  a includere  anche altri bambini, se necessario”. Il fine è “restare accanto a queste famiglie per consentire loro di  reintegrarsi nella società, anche se in loro prevale la percezione di essere state abbandonate e  tradite dallo stato , che  non è riuscito a proteggerle. Nessuno dovrebbe mai sperimentare ciò che è avvenuto a  queste famiglie. È compito dello Stato tutelare e  garantire la protezione di tutti i suoi cittadini, indipendentemente dalla loro fede”, rileva. “In tal modo – conclude Chaudhry – la Fondazione  cerca di aiutare le famiglie a ricostruire le loro vite, ma anche a ricostruire la loro speranza, fiducia e sogni”.Alcuni cristiani della comunità locale si trovano anche al centro di un controverso caso legale, essendo accusati di aver violato il domicilio di un uomo musulmano, sospettato di essere tra  gli organizzatori della violenza  dell’agosto 2023. Secondo i cristiani, che chiedono un’indagine equa e trasparente, si tratta di una manipolazione con false accuse. Mentre il caso si svolge, c’è comunque ottimismo nella comunità cristiana di Jaranwala e circola  la convinzione che  la giustizia prevarrà e i fedeli saranno scagionati.(PA) (Agenzia Fides 25/5/2024)
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Message of the Holy Father Francis, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on the occasion of the 64th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes (24-26 May 2024)

Source: The Holy See

The following is the Message sent on behalf of the Holy Father Francis by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the participants in the 64th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes, presided over by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations:

Message
To the participantsin the International Military PilgrimageLOURDES
On the occasion of the 64th International Military Pilgrimage, His Holiness Pope Francis is in spiritual communion with all of you, who come from different backgrounds. He gives thanks to God for this annual meeting at the blessed Grotto of Massabielle, which enables you to forge bonds of friendship, to share the human and spiritual riches that each of you brings, to share moments of joy, and to find in common prayer and exchange the strength needed to overcome the trials, anxieties and loneliness that you often experience in the course of your various commitments.
May you strengthen your conviction that love is stronger than hatred and division, and that you too are called to play an irreplaceable role for the common good and the service of peace in the world.
Your pilgrimage is the conclusion of a triptych proposed by Saint Bernadette. On 2 March 1858, the Virgin Mary entrusted her with the following mission: “Go and tell the priests that a chapel should be built here and that people should come here in procession”. That people should come in procession: it was an urgent call to set out on a journey. First and foremost, to God, but also to our brothers and sisters, to build a more united and fraternal world.
The pilgrimage is an opportunity for everyone to renew their baptismal commitment, to encounter Christ, in particular by listening to His word, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and taking part in the Eucharist. This spiritual pause at Lourdes is a time to rethink your military vocation from the perspective of faith, and of the love that every Christian must cultivate towards his brother, even his enemy.
The pilgrimage is also a faith experience that helps us discover the beauty of walking together, supporting each other and reaching out to others. It allows you to be close to your sick and wounded comrades-in-arms and to care for them – especially in this place where the sick are so present – and to bring God’s Mercy to the military world. May this take the form of genuine, simple and humane gestures that reveal the tender face of our God. May you live this out not only at Lourdes, but wherever you are sent, bearing witness to the Gospel among your fellow soldiers.
Dear soldiers, the Pope invites you to stand up and walk with courage and perseverance. Be military men and women who stand tall and proud to honour your uniform, your motto and your homeland, but who are also aware that you are part of a single human family, a family that is divided and wounded, but which Christ came to redeem and save through the power of love, not the violence of arms. Be “sentinels of peace”, as Saint John Paul II said (cf. Angelus, 23 February 2003). The world needs you, especially at this dark moment in our history. We need men and women of faith who are capable of putting weapons at the service of peace and brotherhood.
The Holy Father Francis entrusts to God’s mercy all the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the service of their country or in international operations to defend peace. He invokes a particular abundance of graces on all those present at Lourdes and their families, as well as on the soldiers engaged on various fronts, on mission to preserve peace far from their country and those who are wounded and suffering. He imparted to all a paternal Apostolic Blessing.
Cardinal Pietro ParolinSecretary of State of His Holiness

Incontro con il Primo Ministro palestinese

Source: Government of Italy

25 Maggio 2024

Il Presidente del Consiglio, Giorgia Meloni, ha ricevuto oggi a Palazzo Chigi il Primo Ministro palestinese, Mohammed Mustafa.
Il Presidente Meloni ha ribadito il sostegno italiano a tutti gli sforzi in atto per un cessate il fuoco sostenibile, il rilascio di tutti gli ostaggi nelle mani di Hamas e un salto di qualità nell’assistenza umanitaria alla popolazione di Gaza.
A quest’ultimo riguardo, è stato sottolineato il forte impegno italiano a favore della popolazione civile di Gaza anche attraverso ulteriori finanziamenti per l’iniziativa “Food for Gaza”.
Nel corso del colloquio, il Presidente Meloni ha ribadito la necessità di riavviare un processo politico che conduca a una pace duratura basata sulla soluzione dei due Stati.

Warum My-Domains für Unternehmen jetzt besonders attraktiv sind

Source: Deutsche Nachrichten
Malaysia spielt eine wichtige Rolle als Handelspartner Deutschlands, insbesondere im Bereich der Elektronik, Maschinenbau und Chemie.

Die wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zwischen beiden Ländern sind stark, wobei Deutschland der größte Handelspartner Malaysias innerhalb der Europäischen Union ist. Im Jahr 2021 betrug das bilaterale Handelsvolumen etwa 15 Milliarden Euro. Deutschland exportiert hauptsächlich Maschinen, Kraftfahrzeuge und chemische Produkte nach Malaysia, während Malaysia Elektronik, Palmölprodukte und Gummiwaren nach Deutschland liefert. Diese starke Handelsbeziehung wird durch zahlreiche bilaterale Abkommen und Handelsmissionen unterstützt, die den Marktzugang erleichtern und Investitionsmöglichkeiten fördern.

Vorteile einer My-Domain gegenüber einer Niederlassung

Es ist viel kostengünstiger, Kunden in Malaysia über eine My-Domain zu gewinnen als durch die Einrichtung einer physischen Niederlassung. Eine My-Domain ermöglicht es Unternehmen, eine lokale Online-Präsenz zu schaffen, ohne die hohen Kosten und den bürokratischen Aufwand, die mit der Gründung einer Niederlassung verbunden sind. Diese Kosten umfassen Miete, Personal, Verwaltung und rechtliche Anforderungen, die alle signifikante Investitionen darstellen.

Mit einer My-Domain können Unternehmen ihre Produkte und Dienstleistungen direkt an den malaysischen Markt anpassen und einheimische Kunden gezielt ansprechen, was zu einer verbesserten Kundenbindung und höheren Umsätzen führen kann. Darüber hinaus signalisiert eine My-Domain den malaysischen Kunden eine lokale Verfügbarkeit und erhöht somit das Vertrauen in das Unternehmen.

Aktuelle Chancen für die Registrierung von My-Domains

Die jüngsten Änderungen in den Richtlinien für die Registrierung von My-Domains bieten Unternehmen weltweit neue Möglichkeiten. Bisher waren die Registrierungsbedingungen sehr restriktiv und schlossen Interessenten außerhalb Malaysias weitgehend aus.

Mit der Aufhebung dieser Restriktionen können nun auch internationale Unternehmen My-Domains registrieren und ihren Markennamen oder Firmennamen in diesem wachsenden Markt sichern. Dies ähnelt der Einführung einer neuen Domain-Endung, bei der ein früher Einstieg entscheidende Wettbewerbsvorteile bietet.

Unternehmen haben jetzt die Chance, ihre Online-Präsenz in Malaysia zu etablieren, ihre Marke zu schützen und sich einen strategischen Vorteil zu verschaffen, indem sie eine lokale digitale Identität aufbauen, die das Vertrauen der malaysischen Kunden stärkt und den Marktzugang erleichtert.

Hans-Peter Oswald

https://www.domainregistry.de/…  (deutsch)

https://www.domainregistry.de/…  (English)