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Japan invites the pope to pray at Hiroshima

HIROSHIMA (SE): “One of the things that I have learned since I arrived here in Japan and during my visit to Hiroshima is that Japan has a very particular and understandable take on the whole nuclear question,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the secretary for Relations with States for the Vatican, told a press conference in Hiroshima on February 2.

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Kidnapped to North Korea

SEOUL (UCAN): An American student, David Sneddon, who went missing while hiking in China is believed to still be in North Korea and still alive by Choi Sung-ryong, a Seoul-based representative of the families of people abducted to North Korea.

Choi said he has information on the Sneddon’s whereabouts.

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Beware martial law

MANILA (SE): “Let us continue to maintain safeguards against dictatorial martial law that our present constitution contains,” the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said at the completion of the bishops’ plenary meeting in January.

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Samurai takes first step to sainthood

OSAKA (SE): What is a statue of a 16th century Japanese samurai doing in Plaza Dilao in downtown Manila in The Philippines?

And what is more, why is the Japanese fighting man beatified as an honorary Filipino also being beatified as a hero of the Church and a role model for Christians in his native Japan?

The Samurai of Christ, Justo Takayama Ukon (1552 to 1615), was beatified in Osaka, Japan, on February 7.

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Mob acquitted of attack on Christian village

LAHORE (UCAN): An anti-terrorism court acquitted 106 people accused of being involved in a 2013 arson attack on the Christian village of Joseph Colony, Lahore, Pakistan.

On 9 March 2013, thousands of people armed with sticks and stones stormed Joseph Colony and set about 150 houses ablaze over allegations of blasphemy against Sawan Masih, a Christian.

Hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and three churches were torched by the raging mob.

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Mob acquitted of attack on Christian village

LAHORE (UCAN): An anti-terrorism court acquitted 106 people accused of being involved in a 2013 arson attack on the Christian village of Joseph Colony, Lahore, Pakistan.

On 9 March 2013, thousands of people armed with sticks and stones stormed Joseph Colony and set about 150 houses ablaze over allegations of blasphemy against Sawan Masih, a Christian.

Hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and three churches were torched by the raging mob.

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Bishops talk peace with Suu Kyi

MANDALAY (UCAN): Ethnic minority groups in the Union of Myanmar have always regarded Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counsellor of the nation, as having little interest in their fate, so they believe the challenge of bringing peace to their country necessitates she develop a new concern.

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Congress of Mercy hears plea from streets

MANILA (SE): The Catholic Church in The Philippines was weighed but found wanting in responding to the issues that confronted the people, especially the poor, over the past year.

During national elections in May last year, the Church-based Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting tried to give expression to a Church committed to making a difference in the political arena.

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Peace and war are not happy bedfellows

ROME (SE): The populist Rodrigo Duterte rode to victory in the May 2016 Philippine presidential polls on the back of two big issues, drugs and the peace process in Mindanao, promising to fix up both in a period of about 100 days.

However, as after six months he is no closer to denting the drug trade or rescuing the peace process, which is stumbling towards disaster, it is emerging that the two campaigns may be destroying each other.

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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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