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Iglesia ni Cristo leader named special envoy for Philippine migrants

MANILA (UCAN): In what looks like payback for supporting his presidential run, Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, named Eduardo Manalo, executive minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church), special envoy for Filipino migrants’ concerns.
 
In an appointment paper dated February 13, the presidential palace in Manila announced that Manalo would hold the position from January 30, until 29 January 2019.
 

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The late dawn of a restless dream

A faith born in the shadows cast by a single candle in a tightly curtained room of a small farming village in a China emerging from the repression of the Cultural Revolution in the early 1980s, blossomed on February 4 in the chapel of the Columban Seminary in Manila, as Peter knelt before Bishop Honesto Ongtioco to be ordained a deacon, becoming a minister of the word of God that he had imbibed in the clandestine darkness of his home so many years before.
 

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Indian bishops concerned about threats to diversity

BANGALORE (CNS): “Intolerance is causing a certain amount of anxiety to us,” Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai, said at the end of the February 2 to 9 assembly of Indian bishops held in Bangalore.
 
The newly elected president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), expressed “anguish” over increasing threats to pluralism in the country.
 

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Pope sends condolences to Taiwan after earthquakes

VATICAN  (CNS): Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the people of Taiwan after high-magnitude earthquakes on February 6 and 7 devastated the island nation, killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds more.
In a telegramme sent by the Vatican, the pope offered “the assurance of his prayers for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured.” 
 

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Indian government admits rise in religious hate crimes

NEW DEHLI (UCAN): India’s pro-Hindu government presented detailed data in parliament showing a surge in religion-based violence since it came to power four years ago. The statistics, revealed on February 6, confirm a long-standing allegation by rights groups that the situation is worsening.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the coalition government, has been accused by rights groups and civil society of fanning the flames of intolerance.

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Philippine democracy under threat

The young man, Jake, 22-year-old and single laughed when I asked him whom he voted for in the local elections for mayor. He said he abstained, but he went to the house of the mayor and received a payment all the same. “Why not?”, he reasoned, “It was for free everyone was going there.” 
 

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Vatican delegation attends Olympic Committee general meeting

VATICAN (Agencies): In a first, the Vatican has been invited to attend the February 5 to 7 annual general meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an official observer, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, L’Osservatore Romano reported on February 2. 
 
The delegation, led by Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture and head of its Culture and Sport section, will also be present at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games which run from February 9 to 25. 

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Don’t sideline constitution Indian cardinal says

BANGALORE (CNS): “Poverty is the mortal sin of modern times. It is the biggest terrorism and evil that needs to be fought by the Church,” said Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar. He was delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session of the 33rd general body meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) that began in Bengaluru on February 2 on the theme, United in diversity for a mission of mercy and witness.
 

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Those displaced by eruption in urgent need

LEGAZPI (Agencies): Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi said providing food for 84,000 people has become a “tall order” especially because of the constant threat posed by the erupting Mayon Volcano, UCAN reported on February 6.
 
The bishop said that Church leaders and government officials have been cooperating closely over the past few days to provide for the needs of displaced residents.
 

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Weapons licenses for Pakistan churches

QUETTA (UCAN): The provincial government in Balochistan, southwest Pakistan, plans to issue churches in the region with weapons licenses and has donated millions of rupees to Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta to support victims and families of a suicide bombing that killed nine people on 17 December 2017.
 
“The Balochistan Home Department will issue weapon licenses in the name of the churches,” Samuel Pyara, chairperson of the Implementation Minority Rights Forum (IMRF), said.
 

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