Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Smog-choked Singapore berates Indonesia
Worst smog in 16 years caused by Sumatra fires
Picture: Roslan Rahman/AFP
- Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
- June 21, 2013
Indonesia’s president has demanded immediate action over haze pollution caused by burning peat lands, which has drifted over to Singapore and created the country’s worst smog problem in 16 years.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made the call yesterday following a letter sent by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in which he expressed alarm at the hazardous pollution levels in the city state.
The head of Indonesia’s Board for Disaster Management (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, has dispatched military aircrafts belonging to the Indonesian Air Force to help sow clouds with water to create artificial rain.
At present, 200 hectares of peatlands in Riau province on Sumatra Island are ablaze. “BNPB has allocated 25 billion rupiah (about US$2.6 million) to make artificial rain,” Nugroho said.
Forest fires are an annual occurrence in Indonesia, particularly in Sumatra and Kalimantan, but rarely does the smoke drift so far in such a quantity.
Malaysia has also experienced smog problems resulting from the fires, which are affecting the local population in Sumatra.
The executive director of the Riau chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, Riko Kurniawan, said the fires were an environmental crime.
“The motive is always the same, which is burning the lands for plantations,” he told ucanews.com.