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Asia-Pacific sees 900 million pay bribes

BANGKOK (SE): Bribery takes place at all levels of society and is an insidious reality, as it takes food off the table, but on another level puts food on the table.

For lowly paid public servants and service providers, withholding their services until the palm is greased can be the difference between having food or not, but for the hapless searcher of a necessary service, the table can be bare.

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A journalist’s lot is not an easy one

SELANGOR (AsiaNews): “We cannot sell our magazines in public,” a Pakistani journalist told the Asia Journalists Roundtable in Selangor in Malaysia on March 10. Indeed, “We cannot pin our name to stories of persecution.”

The Asia Journalists’ Roundtable was sponsored by the Centre of the Council of Churches of Malaysia and organised by SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, to highlight the problems that minority group media face.

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Bishops cop a tough ask

MANILA (SE): The bishops have copped a tough ask from the chief of the Philippine National Police, Ronald dela Rosa, when he called for a little bit of trust from the Church in the national campaign against drugs, which to date has left almost 8,000 dead bodies, mostly of poor people, strewn around the country.

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Togolese ordained in Taiwan

KAOHSIUNG (UCAN): Inspired by a 19th century missionary to China, Father Joseph Youta Djiba, from Togo, was ordained in Taiwan on February 18 for the Chinese province of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD).

Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan, from Taipei, who is a member of the same congregation, ordained the young Togolese at Our Lady of Fatima church in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan.

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Only Filipinos to kill Filipinos!

MANILA (UCAN): In what is a strange irony, The Promotion of Church People’s Response has requested the Philippine government, which is currently moving closer to reinstating the death penalty, to appeal to the government of the United Arab Emirates to refrain from executing a Filipino migrant worker, 30-year-old Jennifer Dalquez, who is convicted of murdering her employer.

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Insidious diluting of the Kill Bill

MANILA (SE): In the face of mounting opposition from both the general public and the senate to a proposal before the congress to reintroduce the death penalty in The Philippines, the list of crimes that could see an offender go to the gallows, the lethal injection room or stand in front of a firing squad has been considerably trimmed from its original 21.

Those that are being kept on the bill are the rarely invoked crimes of treason and plunder, but significantly a wide variety of drug-related offences.

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Boat capsizes during prayer for safety

COLOMBO (AsiaNews): An boat overloaded with people taking part in a procession as part of the celebration of Our Lady of Good Voyage capsized on February 19 off the southwest coast of Sri Lanka claiming many victims.

Our Lady of Good Voyage is considered to be the protector of fishing people and ironically, the victims perished in the midst of their prayer for safety at sea. Eleven passengers, including three children, drowned.

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Widely varied reaction to Cardinal Tong

HONG KONG (SE): The future of the Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view published by the bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, in the Sunday Examiner on February 12 is reminiscent of a university debate where one team sets up and defends a hypothetical argument and the other attacks it.

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An opening given to the Rohingya

KUALA LUMPUR (AsiaNews): The Malaysian government has become one of the first to introduce a skills training programme for the Rohingya people who have fled persecution in the Union of Myanmar and failed to find a welcome in Bangladesh or Thailand.

The programme is aimed at turning out semi-skilled workers that can be absorbed into the country’s labour market. It will also normalise their status in the country in order to give them the protection of labour legislation.

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Marry young bury quick

KOCHI (UCAN): An elaborate set of guidelines issued by Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil, from the Syro Malabar Church tradition in India, has caused controversy over a section that says men should marry before the age of 25 and women before 23.

It also says that extravagant marriage ceremonies should be avoided and bans bridesmaids and flower girls.

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