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Trade deal will make vital HIV/AIDS medicines disastrously expensive

Hanoi (UCAN): The Vietnam Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS has attacked a possible trans-Pacific free trade agreement, claiming it will hamper access to cheap generic and antiretroviral drugs.

On the last day of its annual conference in Hanoi on January 9, some 312 representatives from the network signed a petition urging the government to review or reject the agreement.

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Church group protests detentions

Hanoi (UCAN): The Committee for Justice and Peace of Vinh diocese, Vietnam, accused security officials on January 11 of  breaking domestic and international laws in detaining nearly 20 Christian activists following a series of arrests last year.

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Myanmar releases some political prisoners

Mandalay (UCAN): Several of the Union of Myanmar’s most high-profile political prisoners were reportedly released or scheduled for release on January 13 in the country’s latest round of amnesties. Among them were 88 Generation Students Group leader, Min Ko Nain and Gambira, the monk who helped spearhead the 2007 Saffron Revolution.

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Koreans protest lack of radiation safety measures

SEouL (UCAN): Following a recent radiation leak at a factory at the Noksan Industrial Complex in Busan, South Korea, the Anti-Nuclear Association, accused local government officials of failing to implement effective safety measures.

The association was responding to a report, issued by the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety on January 3, which said that on December 30, radioactive material had leaked from a machine that had developed a crack.

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Vatican delegation heading to Vietnam for cardinal’s beatification cause

 

Ho Chi Minh City (UCAN): Jean Baptiste Cardinal Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, announced on January 1 that a delegation from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace plans to visit the country from March 23 to April 9 to meet and listen to witnesses in connection with the beatification cause of Francis Xavier Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, which was officially launched by the council on 22 October 2010

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Hundreds gather for first anniversary of assassination of Punjab governor

Lahore (UCAN/Agencies): Hundreds of people gathered on January 4 to remember the late governor of Punjab province, Pakistan, Salman Taseer, on the first anniversary of his assassination by his bodyguard for speaking out against the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.

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Vatican renews focus on Taiwan

For years relations between Taiwan and the Holy See have remained low-key and largely below the radar.

In the wake of recent visits by two Vatican officials just weeks before presidential elections, scheduled for January 14, relations seem to have taken a more high-profile turn.

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Priests refuse government Christmas visit in Ho Chi Minh City

 HO CHI MINH CITY (Agencies): The Redemptorist priests in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, refused to receive a delegation from the Religious Affairs Department for its traditional Christmas and New Year goodwill visit.

Father Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai sent a letter to Office for Religious Affairs and Ethnic Minorities on December 13, the day before the scheduled visit, declining to receive the government officials.

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Police back off on requiring permit for carol singing at home

KUALA LUMPUR (SE): In the run up to Christmas, two parishes in Klang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, received notification from the police demanding that the names and address of people who had been singing Christmas carols be reported, as they were in contravention of the new state security legislation.

The police said that Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 required that a permit was necessary for people to sing Christmas carols either in a church or in their own homes.

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Meeting highlights the significance of lay organisations

PATTAYA (SE): The second annual gathering of Ecclesial Movements in Asia was held from November 25 to 27 at the Redemptorist Centre in Pattaya, Thailand, highlighted the important role that lay organisations play in the pastoral role and evangelical mission of the Church in society.

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