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World View: China Makes Sizable Land Grab in Philippines

World View: China Makes Sizable Land Grab in Philippines

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • For Easter, Jerusalem lights up with the ‘Holy Fire’ celebration
  • Thousands of Egyptian Copts visit Jerusalem for Easter ceremony
  • China demands complete sovereignty over Philippine island
  • U.N. observers will arrive in Syria on Sunday
  • Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez skips ‘Summit of the Americas’ over cancer

For Easter, Jerusalem lights up with the ‘Holy Fire’ celebration

Thousands of Orthodox Christians filled Jerusalem’s ancient Church of the Holy Sepulchre and surrounding streets on Saturday for the Easter “Holy Fire” ceremony. At midnight, the priest produces a fire from the altar, lighting a candle with it. Each person is holding a candle, and the fire is passed from person to person. In Athens, the ceremony lights up the whole city. The ceremony dates back to the 4th century, and symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ. AFP

Thousands of Egyptian Copts visit Jerusalem for Easter ceremony

Over 2,000 Coptic Christians from Egypt visited the Holy Land for Easter, defying a ban imposed on visiting Jerusalem and Israeli-controlled areas. The ban has been in effect for three decades, imposed by the Coptic leader Pope Shenouda III to protest Egypt’s 1979 peace agreement with Israel. However, Shenouda died last month, and although the ban remains in effect, Egyptian Christians decided that this was their chance. AP

China demands complete sovereignty over Philippine island

Although the Chinese fishing boats have been permitted to leave the lagoon where they had been held by a Philippine warship, the confrontation with Chinese military vessels has raised nationalistic anger on both sides. (See “12-Apr-12 World View — Philippines and China in nationalistic confrontation in South China Sea.”) The fishing vessels were detained near the Scarborough Shoal (called Huangyan Island by the Chinese), off the coast of Manila. The island has historically been part of the Philippines, but China is demanding sovereignty over it and all the islands in a huge region in the South China Sea. On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said:

“Huangyan Island is an integral part of Chinese territory. Actions from the Philippine side have infringed upon China’s sovereignty and violated the consensus of maintaining the peace and stability of the South China Sea, not complicating and aggravating the situation. China has sent law enforcement ships to ensure the safety of Chinese fishermen and vessels.”

China’s demand for complete sovereignty over an island that historically has been part of the Philippines is a portent of things to come. Chinese Foreign Ministry

U.N. observers will arrive in Syria on Sunday

Now that the so-called Syria “truce” is in place, and only a paltry 20 people were killed on Saturday, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution approving a team of up to 30 unarmed observers to be deployed in Syria. Six observers will arrive on Sunday. In January, a previous team of observers was sent by the Arab League, and they were made fools of by the Bashar al-Assad regime, which restricted their movements to regions where there was no violence. It remains to be seen whether the new observer group will be more effective. BBC

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez skips ‘Summit of the Americas’ over cancer

This weekend the Organization of American States will be holding its annual “Summit of the Americas” conference, but Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez will be there to call America “the devil” in front of dozens of other leaders. Instead, he’ll be headed for a long stay in Cuba, perhaps as long as 90 days, to receive further cancer treatments. He’s never released information on the type and severity of his cancer, so Venezuelans do not know “how long the president has to live.” Reuters

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