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Asia’s deadliest place for environmentalists

MANILA (UCAN): Some 48 environmental campaigners in the Philippines were murdered in 2017, a 71 per cent increase on the 28 killings in 2016. Most victims were tribal people trying to protect their ancestral lands from mining companies and plantation owners, according to a report, At What Cost?, from international non-government organisation, Global Witness.
 
That makes the Philippines the second most dangerous country in the world after Brazil with 57 murder cases, and Asia’s most dangerous.
 

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Asian peace rankings take a dive

PHNOM PENH (UCAN): Asia has become a less peaceful place according to the 2018 Global Peace Index, with conditions in Cambodia and Myanmar deteriorating most in the region.
 
Published by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, the  index ranks the safety and security of 163 countries, including the degree of militarisation and the impact of ongoing conflicts.
 

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Respected former editor of UCAN dead at 85

COLOMBO (UCAN): Hector Welgampola, executive editor of UCAN from 1987 until he retired in December 2001, died on January 6 in Brisbane, Australia. He was 85-years-old.
 
The Sri-Lankan journalist was editor of the country’s two Colombo-based Catholic weeklies, the English-language Messenger and Sinhalese-language Gnanartha Pradeepaya (Lamp of Wisdom). He was also a senior columnist for the Daily Mirror and Sunday Times.
 

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A glimpse at xenophobia and populism in Asia

VATICAN (AsiaNews): A symposium on Xenophobia and Populism promoted by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was opened on December 13 by Peter Cardinal Turkson and Pastor Olav Fykse Tveit, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches.
 

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Interreligious dialogue more than timely for Asia

HONG KONG (UCAN): While interreligious dialogue may be a more urgent need in Asia than ecumenical relations, Bonifacio Tago, from the Good Samaritan Colleges in The Philippines, believes that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can serve as an impetus to rekindle appreciation of its value, as it is an appropriate time to pursue both avenues.

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Guidelines on cremation off kilter in Asia

TAIPEI (UCAN): New guidelines published by the Vatican on October 25 concerning the resting places of the dead are causing some unease and even dilemmas in and around Asia, as the guidelines, To Rise with Christ (Ad resurgendum cum Christo), advocate that the deceased should be treated with respect and laid to rest in consecrated ground.

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Forty years of Mandarin on Radio Veritas Asia

MANILA (UCAN): Better known as the Catholic voice of the air in Asia, during its 47 years of broadcasting, Radio Veritas Asia has moved beyond its clippie news services, interviews and reflections on religion and theology to become a multi-media communication centre sending out programmes in 17 different languages.

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Asia and the synod on family life

MANILA (UCAN): Most of the prominent reports on the 2015 Synod of Bishops on Family Life were prepared by western journalists and in Asia we have to rely on their writings.

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Our Asian Church

ROME (SE): “As Christians, we go to so-called mission territories, because we love all people and we want to share the great gift of Jesus and his gospel,” Luis Cardinal Tagle said in describing the context of the Asian Church at a vigil gathering marking Mission Sunday in Rome on October 16.

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An Asian challenge to the Synod on Family Life

HONG KONG (UCAN): In October last year, the same month the Vatican held an extraordinary synod as a prelude to the current Synod of Bishops on Family Life, Japan released a survey revealing the most skewed demographics on earth.

Some 26 per cent of Japanese are over 65, compared with just 11 per cent worldwide. Only South Korea has a lower fertility rate, 1.1 births per woman. China, with the world’s largest population, is grappling with a surge in the number of divorces.