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Timor-Leste’s government teeters on the edge

DILI (UCAN): Timor-Leste lurched into a constitutional crisis after the minority government of prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, failed to pass key legislation, including a fresh budget, in the week before Christmas.
 
Asia’s most Catholic nation and youngest democracy now faces the prospect of a new government, or a second election inside nine months, as the country’s parliament has been in gridlock since the 22 July 2017 election failed to deliver a workable majority (Sunday Examiner, 24 September 2017).
 

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A protected Christmas in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AsiaNews): Christmas celebrations went off without a hitch in Pakistan as people in the cities of Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta marked the birth of Jesus under military protection.
 
Following the December 17 attack on a Methodist church in Quetta, authorities beefed up security around all Christian places of worship to prevent other terrorist attacks and allow Christian celebrations to go ahead without any problems.
 

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Top prize to Philippine movie

MANILA (SE): Ignacio de Loyola has become the first Philippine-produced movie to receive the Best Film Award at the Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival in the Vatican.
 

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Cost of trauma delayed

HONG KONG (SE): A gunfight resulting in three brutal deaths took place in the Barangay Mansangaban Playground of Bais City, Negros Occidental, on 25 April 1993, in full view of around 100 people, including the children and families of the dead and the daughter of a barangay captain, who was later to be found guilty of the multiple murder.
 

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Mining cause of deadly floods

MANILA (SE): The large gathering of predominately Filipino migrant workers paused prior to a celebration of Christmas at a Mass in Chater Garden on Christmas Eve to pray for the victims of Tropical Storm Tembin, which poured swathes of water onto Mindanao flooding many parts of the island on December 22 and 23.
 
Approximately 100 people are dead and a further 80 or so had not been accounted for by December 27. Few hold much hope for their welfare.
 

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Justice of the young injustice of the old

DILI (SE): Lucille Abeykoon, a social worker from the Human Rights Office Kandy in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is wondering why one of the youngest countries in the world, Timor-Leste, has made so much progress in the protection of human rights, accountability and the rule of law, while her own land, which has been independent from its colonial power for 69 years, has made so little.
 

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Religious leaders blocked from APEC surrounds

DA NANG (UCAN): People with an affiliation with unregistered Churches or religious groups were confined to their homes in Da Nang, Vietnam, for the duration of the gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting that took place from November 6 to 11.
 
Hua Phi, a leader of the Cao Dai indigenous faith, said he was ordered by five security officers on November 4 not to leave his home until the APEC summit hadconcluded.
 

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First Christian state funeral in Pakistan

KARACHI (SE): To the background boom of a 19-gun salute, members of the Pakistan army, navy and air force formed an guard of honour for the body of Sister Ruth Pfau, who died on August 10, as it was carried into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi for a state funeral.
 
The flag of the Vatican City flew at half-mast high above the cathedral, alongside the Pakistani national flag. The requiem Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Joseph Coutts.
 

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Social media award

MANILA (UCAN): Argentinean Father Luciano Ariel Felloni, from the urban poor community of Novaliches in Manila, has been recognised as the Social Media Influencer of the Year by the Catholic Social Media Awards for his work in drawing attention to drug-related extrajudicial killings in The Philippines.
 
Father Felloni said on November 21 that he is able to use social media to explain the contribution the Church can make to the effort against drug use and distribution.
 

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