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Distrust still simmers beneath peace overtures in Myanmar

MYITKYINA (UCAN): Since an outbreak of fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) shattered a 17-year-old ceasefire agreement in June last year, tens of thousands of villagers in the ethnic region have been forced to flee their homes and seek tenuous shelter in makeshift camps near the country’s border with China.








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Taiwan’s Catholic president leaves the way open for better Church relations

HONG KONG (SE): Ma Ying-jeou won a second term at the fifth direct election for president of Taiwan on January 14.

Defying predictions of a close result, he came in with a margin of 800,000 votes, taking 51.6 per cent of the estimated 6.89 million cast.

Prior to 1996, the president of Taiwan was appointed by the parliament.

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Anwar’s acquittal is sign of hope for Malaysia’s judiciary

 

KUALA LUMPUR (SE): The acquittal of the leader of Malaysia’s political opposition, Anwar Ibrahim, on sodomy charges on January 9, took everyone by surprise, according to Joy Wilson Appukuttan, the president of the Catholic Lawyers Society of Malaysia.

Appukuttan told UCA News on January 16 that although this one case does not by any means prove that the judiciary in Malaysia has become totally independent of the political executive, it is a sign that there is some progress being made.

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Church in Myanmar hopes for peace in Karen state

Yangon (UCAN): Representatives of the Church in Karen state, the Union of Myanmar, remain hopeful that an end to the region’s decades-long civil war may be near, after the signing of a truce between the government and the Karen National Union (KNU) on January 12.

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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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