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Sri Lanka called to act on forced disappearances

COLOMBO (UCAN): Journalists in Sri Lanka are demanding that the government act quickly to pass a law that would make forced disappearances a criminal offence.
 
The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances ranks Sri Lanka as the second biggest offender in this area, as for decades people have simply been disappearing without a trace.
 

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A lark that almost changed the world

HONG KONG (SE): It began as a lark, but it could have changed the world, Victor Gaetan wrote in the National Catholic Register on April 28 in telling the story of Maryknoll Father Laurence Murphy who, when walking in New York in 1988 with a Korean-American friend, Yeomin Yoon, just decided to drop into the office of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) of North Korea, in Father Murphy’s own words, “Just for a lark.”
 

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If martial law’s the answer what’s the question?

HONG KONG (SE): Many have asked if martial law is the answer to the crisis in Mindanao, but the director of the Columban Mission Society in Manila, Father Paul Glynn, says it is not even clear what the question is.
 
Noting that the age-old enmity between Muslims and Christians was first sown by the Spanish colonisers of the country some 500 years ago to undermine the influence of the traditional sultanates, he says that it has become so deeply ingrained as to be not easily uprooted.
 

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Japan’s child starvation

TOKYO (AsiaNews): The birth rate in Japan, which has sat below population replacement level for decades, has plunged to its lowest level since 1950 and left the under 15-year-old population at its lowest ebb since the end of World War II.

At the beginning of April this year, the number of children under 15 stood at 15.71 million, down 170,000 on the previous year.

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Can only minorities be blasphemous?

JAKARTA (SE): The Indonesian Catholic Students Association has called on police in Jakarta to process a complaint it filed against the Islamic cleric, Muhammad Rizieq Syihab.
 

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Over the moon with new president

SEOUL (UCAN): Seoul is over the moon with what was termed a landslide victory for presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, from the Democratic Party of Korea.
 
Moon gleaned 41 per cent of the popular vote, while his nearest rival, the conservative Hong Jun-pyo, could only muster 24 per cent and what was described as the centrist candidate, Ahn Cheol-soo, just 21 per cent.
 

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Naypyidaw and Vatican tie diplomatic knot

VATICAN (SE): It was announced on May 4 that the Vatican is tying the diplomatic knot with Naypyidaw at the same time that Pope Francis was meeting with the first counsellor of the Union of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the Sala Regia in the apostolic palace.
 

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Harassment at Easter

HANOI (UCAN): Plainclothes officials in northwest Vietnam broke into the home of a Catholic family and attempted to take a priest into custody as he was preparing to celebrate Easter Mass.
 
More than 20 men and women, who identified themselves as local officials, barged into the house where around 100 people had gathered for Mass in the town of Muong Khuong, Lao Cai province.
 

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Governor invites pope to Hiroshima

HIROSHIMA (UCAN): The governor of Hiroshima, Hidehiko Yuzaki, has asked Pope Francis to visit the atomic-bombed city and send a message of peace to the world.
 
Yuzaki made the call during the pope’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square. Kyodo News reported that he also met with the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, to relay his hope for a visit to Hiroshima by the pope.
 

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