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Floods and landslides inundate Kerala

KOCHI (UCAN): Monsoon rain, pouring down since August 7, triggered flash floods and landslides in India’s Kerala state claiming at least 23 lives, and washing away homes, as government agencies and voluntary groups rushed aid to the area.
 
Army, navy and air force personnel were called in to help police and residents manage the disaster in the worst-affected six districts in the central and northern hilly areas of the southern Indian state.
 

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Displaced tribal people of Mindanao trek home

MANILA (UCAN): “We had a confirmation that the army has pulled its troops out of our village. Now, we can finally return,” said Sarry Campos, spokesperson of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang Sa Sumusunod (Mapasu), an inter-municipal organisation of Lumad tribal people in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao.
 

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Manhunt alarms Philippine Church leaders

MANILA (UCAN): “The continued use of trumped-up charges to silence and impede the work of activists merely attests to the repressive and tyrannical character of the Duterte government,” Cristina Palabay of the human rights group, Karapatan, said in reaction to the Philippine National Police instigating a manhunt for four Filipino activists, all former leftist members of the Lower House of Congress. 
 








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New group set to counter extremism in Indonesia

JAKARTA (UCAN): More than 200 people, including religious leaders including Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, as well as politicians, attended the August 1 launch of the Said Aqil Siroj Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia.
 

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Mindanao on full alert after car bomb blast

Cotabato (UCAN): “There can never be peace if we continue this kind of attitude of fomenting fear among our people,” Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz, in Mindanao, said after security forces were placed on full alert in the southern Philippine region after a deadly suicide car-bomb attack in Basilan province —blamed on the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group—killed 10 people on July 31.
 
The archbishop, who was the bishop of Basilan for 14 years, said the attack makes the achievement of peace on the island elusive.
 

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Speaking out against India’s divisive politics

New Delhi (UCAN): “Some people are trying to divide the country in the name of religion, caste and creed. But we can’t sit here as mute spectators,” Mamta Banerjee, chief of Trinamool (grassroots) Congress party, told a gathering of 1,000 people in New Delhi, India, on July 31.
 
The assembly was organised on the theme, Love your neighbour, by the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and called on the country’s to stop being divisive and using religion as a way of attracting votes.
 

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Pope sends funds for Yemeni refugees in South Korea

Jeju (UCAN): Pope Francis lent his support to some 500 Yemeni refugees on the southern tourist island of Jeju, South Korea, sending €10,000 ($92,000) from the papal charities though Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the apostolic nuncio to Korea.
 
The archbishop visited the Diocese of Cheju (Jeju) from July 28 to 29 to show the pope’s solidarity with the Yemeni refugees. He said that that the diocese’s care and efforts coincide with the wishes of Pope Francis. 
 

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Another church demolished in Jinan province

Jinan (UCAN): Liangwang Catholic Church was demolished by authorities in Jinan province, China, the second to have suffered from this fate, while a third church is expected to face the wreckers ball soon.
 
Local Catholics prayed at the site and protested the unreasonable behaviour of authorities.
 
Shilihe Catholic Church was demolished earlier this year and sources expect Wangcun Catholic Church to soon be reduced to rubble.
 

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Deadly quake shakes Indonesian island

JAKARTA (SE): Catholic groups have started to collect aid for thousands of people affected by the deadly 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the popular tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia on July 29.
 
The tremor killed at least 16 people, left 355 injured and forced more than 5,100 to flee their homes, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, UCAN reported.
 
The quake also triggered landslides, cutting off hiking trails.
 

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Faulty vaccine scandal sparks outrage in China

HONG KONG (UCAN): Paul, a doctor in China said that revelations that major vaccine makers violated safety standards showed that the country has no moral boundaries, leading people to do whatever they want for their own interests. He quoted a priest in his parish who said: “China’s leaders and bigwigs at all levels have no beliefs and no moral boundaries, so they will do whatever they want.”
 
Public anger has been mounting since the information came to light in July.
 

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