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Mindanao on full alert after car bomb blast

Cotabato (UCAN): “There can never be peace if we continue this kind of attitude of fomenting fear among our people,” Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz, in Mindanao, said after security forces were placed on full alert in the southern Philippine region after a deadly suicide car-bomb attack in Basilan province —blamed on the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group—killed 10 people on July 31.
 
The archbishop, who was the bishop of Basilan for 14 years, said the attack makes the achievement of peace on the island elusive.
 

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Speaking out against India’s divisive politics

New Delhi (UCAN): “Some people are trying to divide the country in the name of religion, caste and creed. But we can’t sit here as mute spectators,” Mamta Banerjee, chief of Trinamool (grassroots) Congress party, told a gathering of 1,000 people in New Delhi, India, on July 31.
 
The assembly was organised on the theme, Love your neighbour, by the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and called on the country’s to stop being divisive and using religion as a way of attracting votes.
 

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Pope sends funds for Yemeni refugees in South Korea

Jeju (UCAN): Pope Francis lent his support to some 500 Yemeni refugees on the southern tourist island of Jeju, South Korea, sending €10,000 ($92,000) from the papal charities though Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the apostolic nuncio to Korea.
 
The archbishop visited the Diocese of Cheju (Jeju) from July 28 to 29 to show the pope’s solidarity with the Yemeni refugees. He said that that the diocese’s care and efforts coincide with the wishes of Pope Francis. 
 

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Another church demolished in Jinan province

Jinan (UCAN): Liangwang Catholic Church was demolished by authorities in Jinan province, China, the second to have suffered from this fate, while a third church is expected to face the wreckers ball soon.
 
Local Catholics prayed at the site and protested the unreasonable behaviour of authorities.
 
Shilihe Catholic Church was demolished earlier this year and sources expect Wangcun Catholic Church to soon be reduced to rubble.
 

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Deadly quake shakes Indonesian island

JAKARTA (SE): Catholic groups have started to collect aid for thousands of people affected by the deadly 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the popular tourist island of Lombok in Indonesia on July 29.
 
The tremor killed at least 16 people, left 355 injured and forced more than 5,100 to flee their homes, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, UCAN reported.
 
The quake also triggered landslides, cutting off hiking trails.
 

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Faulty vaccine scandal sparks outrage in China

HONG KONG (UCAN): Paul, a doctor in China said that revelations that major vaccine makers violated safety standards showed that the country has no moral boundaries, leading people to do whatever they want for their own interests. He quoted a priest in his parish who said: “China’s leaders and bigwigs at all levels have no beliefs and no moral boundaries, so they will do whatever they want.”
 
Public anger has been mounting since the information came to light in July.
 

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Chongqing floods force mass evacuations

HONG KONG (UCAN): Father Ding Yang a parish priest in Tongnan, Chongqing, southwestern China, rushed to help people in need after a major flood swamped houses and damaged villagers’ livelihoods on July 12.
 
The country’s most populous municipality sits at the confluence of the Yangtze River and Jialing River, while the Minjiang River, Qujiang River and Wujiang River also run through it.
 

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Hopes for peace with new autonomous Muslim region

MANILA (UCAN) “Peace and harmony will be enjoyed if this new Bangsamoro government is inclusive and does not discriminate others,” said Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz in Mindanao, after Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, signed off on a law on July 26 that aims to give greater autonomy to Muslims in the southern Philippines.
 
The Bangsamoro Organic Law comes into effect four years after the government signed a peace agreement with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
 

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Duterte’s hype fizzling out with students and teachers

MANILA (Agencies): The problem with Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, is that he “lives on hype, on promises.” Fidelino Josol, a 50-year old public schoolteacher, was reported as saying in an article in La Croix on July 25.
 
She said, “I voted for him because he sounded firm and full of convictions,” but noted that Duterte’s promises “all went down the drain.”
 
The article noted that Duterte, seems to have failed to impress his “children.” 

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Peace advocate and social worker among winners of Ramon Magsaysay Awards

MANILA (UCAN): A Catholic lay worker in Timor-Leste, a psychiatrist in India, a peace advocate in the Philippines and a social worker in Vietnam are among this year’s winners of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award.
 
Carmencita Abella, president of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, said this year’s winners have been key in advancing causes to improve lives and transform societies across Asia. 
 

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