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Carollers beaten up

BANSWARA (AsiaNews): A group from Ss. Peter and Paul parish in the village of Tikariya, near the city of Banswara in India, was savagely beaten and accused of carrying out forced conversions  as a result of carol singing sessions held in private homes on December 14.

Father Stephen Rawat said, “I have no enemies, I was beaten because of my Christian faith.”

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Christmas explosion in Midsayap

MANILA (SE): An explosion outside the Shrine of Sto. Niño in the township of Midsayap in North Cotabato at 9.20pm on Christmas Eve left 12 people wounded, including one police officer, CBCP News reported.

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Pax Christi recognises rights groups in Pakistan

GENEVA (SE): The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan were jointly awarded the Pax Christi International Peace Award for 2016 at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 17.

Cecil Chaudhry, from the Justice and Peace Commission, accepted the award from Greet Vanaerschot, the secretary general of Pax Christi International, on behalf of both groups.

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The martyrs of Laos

VATICAN (UCAN): “In faith they committed themselves as priests and catechists to serving their brothers and sisters. Through faith, they shared in the sufferings of Christ,” Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said of the 17 people who died in Laos at the hands of Communist guerillas during the revolution of 1953.

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In Malaysia but belonging nowhere

MANILA (UCAN): Amira’s face lit up with a smile when the word school was mentioned. “Do you want to take them? Do you know where I can send them?” she asked before adding, “no one wants them.”

Her two children, five-year-old Nasir and three-year-old Noori, were sitting with her on top of an orange plastic container by the waterfront in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah state, Malaysia.

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Ex-Catholics are becoming younger

WASHINGTON (SE): “Young Catholics are leaving the faith at an early age—sometimes before the age of 10—and their reasons are deeper than being bored at Mass,” Mark Gray, a senior research associate at the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University (CARA), says in a new report published in conjunction with two national studies done in the United States of America by the centre.

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Universities are for learning not war

TOKYO (AsiaNews): The Kansai University, a private institution based in Osaka in Japan, has forbidden the members of its staff to participate in a programme sponsored by the Ministry of Defence aimed at achieving a technological development of national security.

The university president justified the decision by saying, “The research can be used against peace, without scientists even knowing about it.”

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Putting Christmas back on the rails

LAHORE (UCAN): The Railways and Human Rights Ministries in Pakistan ran a special train over the Christmas period to express solidarity with the minority Christian community and promote interfaith harmony.

State-run Associated Press Pakistan quoted unnamed officials as saying what they termed a special human rights train was the first rail service to celebrate a minority festival.

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Loved bishop of Sao Paulo mourned

SAO PAULO (SE): Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to Odilo Pedro Cardinal Scherer, the archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil, following the death on December 14 of its former archbishop, Paulo Cardinal Arns, at the age of 95.

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Church bombed in Myanmar

LASHIO (UCAN): A Catholic church was bombed in the conflict-torn northern Shan State in the Union of Myanmar as renewed fighting between the military and armed ethnic groups intensified.

In an ironic twist, the church of St. Francis Xavier in Mongkoe Township near the Chinese border was hit by air strikes on December 3, the feast day of the patron of the parish.

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