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Japanese warrior for refugees mourned

TOKYO (UCAN): Michiko Inukai, a nationally-known Catholic author who supported refugees in Japan and abroad, died on July 24 due to advanced age. She was 96.
 
Inukai was a granddaughter of the prime minister, Tsuyoshi Inukai, whose assassination by young naval officers in 1932 marked the end of effective civilian control of the Japanese government until after World War II.
 

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A first for Thailand

BANGKOK (SE): Ordinations to the priesthood in Thailand may be rare enough, but over the weekend of July 8 and 9 there was a first for the Church in the Land of Smiles when Reverend John Phong Phan Wongarsa was ordained a priest under the title of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in his home parish of the Holy Family in Ban Nong Khu.
 

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Myanmar shuns United Nations mission

MANDALAY (UCAN): Naypyidaw has denied visas to three members of a United Nations (UN) fact finding mission charged with an investigation into human rights violations against the Muslim Rohingya minority people by security forces in the Union of Myanmar.
 
Bishop Alexander Pyone Cho, from of Pyay in the troubled Rakhine State, said that when he read the news it was hard for him to believe it.
 

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Missionaries honoured in Taiwan

TAIPEI (UCAN): Taiwan has granted citizenship to two missionaries from the United States of America, Father Alan Doyle and Sister Mary Paul Watts, in recognition of their contribution to society.
 
“I am a genuine Taiwanese,” 80-year-old Father Doyle said on July 9 as he received his identity card.
 
Father Doyle has lived in Taiwan for 53 years and worked in the area of the preservation and development of the Hoklo language, often referred to as Taiwanese, during his more then half a century on the island.

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Double execution in Japan

TOKYO (AsiaNews): Japan hanged two men on July 14, the more high profile of who was 61-year-old Masakatsu Nishikawa, who had been convicted of multiple murder but was seeking a retrial.
 
Nishikawa had been convicted of killing four female bar managers in Himeji, Hyogo prefecture, in 1991. The second one to dangle on the rope was 34-year-old Koichi Sumida, who was sentenced to death in February 2013 by the Okayama District Court for killing his 27-year-old former colleague, Misa Kato, a temporary staff, on 30 September 2011.
 

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Priest banned from travelling abroad

HANOI (UCAN): Redemptorist Father John Nguyen Ngoc Nam Phong, who is known for his human rights advocacy campaigns for social justice, has been barred from leaving Vietnam for national security reasons.
 
A Church person said that the priest from Thai Ha parish in Hanoi was stopped at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport as he was checking in on a flight to Australia for study laave on June 27.
 

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Mixed reviews for south Asian nations in trafficking report

HONG KONG (UCAN): While China fell in ranking in the Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 (see page 3) issued by the State Department of the United States of America (US) on June 27, south Asian nations continue to fall short in their attempts to combat human trafficking and protect victims, but are making significant efforts.
 
The report ranked Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India among 44 countries on the list of Tier 2 nations.
 

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Children on the frontline of Philippine conflicts

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippines is home to one of the longest-standing conflicts in southeast Asia. The complex narratives of various insurgent groups fighting the government include the use of children as combatants.
 
The United Nations (UN) says the recruitment and use of children during conflict is a severe violation of human rights and is condemned by the Security Council. But in many parts of the world children play a direct part in combat.
 

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No dialogue with extremists bishop says

DAGUPAN (UCAN): Bishop Edwin de la Peña, from Marawi on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, said that there is no way the Church can dialogue with extremists at a conference in the northern province of Pagasinan on June 29.
 

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Catholic blogger jailed in Vietnam

HANOI (UCAN): Mary Magdelene Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a Catholic blogger known as Mother Mushroom, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the People’s Court of Khanh Hoa province in Nha Trang City on June 29.
 
The roads leading up to the court were blocked while police lined the streets.
 
Nguyen, a co-founder of a network of bloggers, was found guilty of “conducting propaganda against the Communist government” under Article 88 of the Criminal Law. She was arrested on 10 October 2016.

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