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Cuba responds to pope’s jubilee request

HAVANA (SE): The government of Raul Castro in Cuba has announced the release of 787 prisoners on November 16 as a response to a request issued by Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year.

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Enriching Christian-Daoist dialogue

TAIPEI (SE): “Encouraged by the success of this encounter, we commit ourselves to share the fruit of our dialogue (in) expressing deepest respect for one another’s tradition and agreeing to engage in sincere dialogue at local, national and international levels,” a statement released by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the conclusion of a symposium at the Daoist Baoan Temple in Taipei on October 16 says.

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Murder of faceless barangay captain

MIDSALIP (SE): “He was one of our best barangay captains and a great servant of the people,” Father Sean Martin said from his parish in Midsalip in Misamis Occidental of Jovani Romo, who was shot 14 times by unknown assailants and died on the road just 30 metres from his home in Barangay Kanokano on July 29.

Romo is one of the faceless deaths in a Philippines swamped in a frenzied daily attack on the poor being carried out by the state under the guise of a war on drugs.

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Earthquakes are God’s punishment

ROME (SE): Father Giovanni Cavalcoli earned himself a rap over the knuckles from the Vatican when he told La Zanzara talk-back radio on November 4 that he believes two devastating earthquakes in central Italy that claimed almost 300 lives were the result of human sins, such as civil unions between gays.

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A hero to the court a villain to others

MANILA (SE): A vote of nine to five, with one abstention, saw the Supreme Court of The Philippines rule on November 8 that the body of the former president, Ferdinand Marcos, can be buried in the Heroes Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani) in accordance with the wishes of the powerful Marcos family and as ordered by the incumbent president, Rodrigo Duterte.

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Guidelines on cremation off kilter in Asia

TAIPEI (UCAN): New guidelines published by the Vatican on October 25 concerning the resting places of the dead are causing some unease and even dilemmas in and around Asia, as the guidelines, To Rise with Christ (Ad resurgendum cum Christo), advocate that the deceased should be treated with respect and laid to rest in consecrated ground.

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Japanese bishops call for end to nuclear power

TOKYO (SE): During October, the Japanese bishops published a 290-page technical, ethical and theological call for the abolition of nuclear power generation.

Under the title of the Abolition of Nuclear Power: An Appeal from the Catholic Church in Japan, it was prepared by an editorial committee from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan headed by Father Ichiro Mitsunobu sj.

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Sharia in Aceh discriminates

JAKARTA (UCAN): Aceh in Indonesia is one of only two places in Asia where Sharia-based bylaws are enforced, but complaints say that they are discriminating, with punishments only being handed out to the poor and weak, while officials or wealthy business people are never being seen to be punished.

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Web around Pakistan’s blasphemy laws

HONG KONG (SE): A petition sponsored by the American Centre for Law and Justice calling for the release of Asia Bibi (Asia Noreen), a Catholic mother of five who has been sitting on Pakistan’s death row since 2010 on charges under the nation’s controversial blasphemy law, has to date collected 540,000 signatures.

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Empowering young Asians in making own choices

HONG KONG (SE): The 15th CHOICE Asian Conference was held in Hong Kong from October 12 to 16 with people from nine regions descending on the city to share their experiences in journeying with young working people.

The CHOICE organisation sets out to empower young people to make good and independent decisions in life. In Hong Kong, it runs weekend camps under the name of Hong Kong Choosing Growth and has been running for 16 years.

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