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Defending self not the country

MANILA (SE): The bishops of The Philippines regret that there seems to be a language gap between them and their shoot-from-the-hip president, Rodrigo Duterte, as they say they both aspire to achieving the same benefits for the country, but cannot seem to agree on anything.

There certainly is a language gap, as the president of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, admitted some months ago.

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Bloody crackdown defended by Myanmar

NAYPYIDAW (UCAN): The commander-in-chief of the defence forces in the Union of Myanmar, a senior general, Min Aung Hlaing, termed Rohingya Muslims illegal immigrants and defended a bloody and vicious crackdown on the minority group in the northern part of Rakhine State.

The suppression resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,000 people and has put more than 77,000 people on the run.

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Only minorities need apply for dirty jobs

MULTAN (UCAN): A government job advertisement in Pakistan singling out Christians, Hindus and Shia Muslims for sweeper jobs have drawn the ire of the Church, as well as human rights advocates.

The advertisement for sweepers, a designation put on people who clean the streets, public areas, do waste removal and sanitation work, was placed by local government officials in Bannu district in northwestern Pakistan in a local Urdu daily on March 17.

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Ban on washing women’s feet

NEW DELHI (UCAN): The sticky issue of the washing of the feet of women at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday has raised its head again, this time in the Syro-Malabar Church in India.

George Cardinal Alencherry, the major archbishop of the Church,  said in a directive that the decision of its synod is to continue with its tradition of washing only the feet of 12 men or boys.

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Japan called to pay for past forced abortions

TOKYO (AsiaNews): The Japan Federation of Bar Associations issued a written statement on February 25 challenging the government in Tokyo to conduct a full investigation into the effects of the now defunct Eugenic Protection Act, which prescribed abortions and sterilisation for people with certain disabilities and hereditary illnesses.

Adopted in 1948, the purpose of the Eugenic Protection Act was to prevent the birth of imperfect children.

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Japan called to pay for past forced abortions

TOKYO (AsiaNews): The Japan Federation of Bar Associations issued a written statement on February 25 challenging the government in Tokyo to conduct a full investigation into the effects of the now defunct Eugenic Protection Act, which prescribed abortions and sterilisation for people with certain disabilities and hereditary illnesses.

Adopted in 1948, the purpose of the Eugenic Protection Act was to prevent the birth of imperfect children.

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Ninety years for Pyongyang diocese

SEOUL (UCAN): The 90th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese of Pyongyang in North Korea was marked on March 18 at a Mass celebrated in Seoul’s Myeongdong cathedral in the presence of some 500 people who had lived in the northern city prior to the division of the country by the war that ran from 1950 to 1953.

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Rule of fear masquerades as society welfare

MANILA (SE): On 24 June 2006, the day that the Philippine congress removed the death penalty from its law books, the lights of the Colosseum in Rome burned brightly.

The shell is a sacred site in the Eternal City, standing as a reminder of the brutality of a bygone age, when it was an execution ground for the unwanted and a venue for the blood sport of the Roman Empire.

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Trampled rights in Tibet

MADRID (UCAN): Fifty-eight years ago, a large Tibetan protest against the Chinese government broke out in Lhasa, Tibet, on March 10, which eventually led to the political and spiritual leader of the country, the Dalai Lama, some government officials and tens of thousands of Tibetans fleeing to neighbouring India, Nepal, Bhutan and other countries.

On March 10 this year, exiled Tibetans around the world held a variety of activities to mark the anniversary and called on the Chinese government to improve its policy towards Tibet and resolve the issues that cause so much discontent.

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We’re not hopeless cases

MANILA (SE): The determination of the administration of Rodrigo Duterte to re-imposition the death penalty can mean only one thing, “Filipinos are hopeless cases,” a gathering of young people in Surigao, The Philippines, said on March 22.

“Passing the death penalty is as good as saying that the Filipino people are a hopeless case—that we are not capable of conversion,” the rally, organised by Youth for Christ, acclaimed.

A statement entitled, Life-giving justice not deadly revenge, released by the group challenges the Duterte administration to bring about a positive and influential change in the country.

The group says it is the sworn mandate of the government to improve the quality of life rendering death penalty unnecessary.

“It is… more becoming of a government to help their citizens in their moral transformation rather than putting an end to their life,” the statement says. “Killing a person through capital punishment will take away the opportunity of the person to repent and change.”

Describing the death penalty as a call to revenge and not to justice, the group says, “We want the young people to continue valuing life no matter how deformed and depraved it may be. We want to teach the young people not to (seek) revenge, but to promote transformative justice for everyone,” CBCP News reported.

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