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Sri Lankan clergy ask for independent inquiry

MANNAR (UCAN): Christian clergy from the Tamil-majority north of Sri Lanka have called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to push for an independent international inquiry into atrocities they say were committed during the country’s 30-year civil war.

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Asia’s hopes for popes

BANGKOK (SE): “Rejuvenate,” is the word Father Nithiya Sagayam, the executive secretary of the Office for Human Development of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, chose to describe his hopes for popes.

The Indian Franciscan said that he dreams of a pope who can rejuvenate the word, launch new hope and raise a prophetic and merciful voice amidst the racket of the current climate.

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Cry for peace from Kachin bishop in Myanmar

MYITKYINA (SE): “I appeal to all parties to return to the peace negotiation, since peace is possible, peace is the only way,” Bishop Francis Daw Tang, from the war-torn diocese of Myitkyina in the Kachin state of the Union of Myanmar, said in a strongly worded appeal for peace on February 8.


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Vietnamese priest nominated for Nobel award

Hong Kong (Agencies): Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, a 65-year-old Vietnamese human rights advocate, has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, by two members of the United States Congress, Chris Smith and Zoe Lofgren, the Independent Catholic News reports.


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Papal greeting for Year of Snake

VATICAN (SE): “To the various peoples of the Far East—the Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans and others, who are celebrating the Lunar New Year today,” Pope Benedict XVI said from his study window on February 10, the first day of the Year of the Snake.

He also added a special greeting to the Catholic people of those countries, praying that “they may let themselves be guided by the wisdom of Christ in this Year of Faith.”

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Religion is okay for the development of economy

HONG KONG (SE): “Among our people, it remains secondary whether they choose to believe or not to believe in religion, or which religion they chose to believe in. The common goal of realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is primary,” Xinhua reported Yu Zhengsheng, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the China Central Committee, as saying on January 23.

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Catholics take high profile in Vietnam government consultation

HANOI (SE): Hundreds of intellectuals, religious leaders and political leaders in Vietnam have signed an online petition calling for a revision of the national constitution and a multi-party system of government that separates the executive, legislative and judicial powers, it was reported on January 26.

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Thailand believes army involved in trafficking Rohingya

BANGKOK (UCAN): Thousands of Rohingya, people from a stateless Muslim minority group described by the United Nations (UN) as one of the most persecuted groups in the world, have fled their home in the Union of Myanmar in recent months, believed to be mostly heading for Malaysia.

A Thai naval official in Bangkok said more than 200 Rohingya were found on January 29 about 40 kilometres off the Thai mainland.

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Massive document find gives new insight into Asian Jews

Jerusalem (Agencies): The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem unveiled a collection of manuscripts from dry caves in northeastern Afghanistan, once at the fringes of the ancient Persian empire and now considered a Taliban stronghold, after purchasing it from private dealers.

The find has provided the first physical evidence of a Jewish community living in the region around 1,000 years ago, according to a January 3 report in the Daily Mail. 

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Will the iron fist of Seoul lighten up?

SEOUL (AsiaNews): Crossing the street between Seoul Plaza and Deogsu-gung Palace in the heart of the bustling capital of South Korea, puts you in a small village beside Daehanmun, the main gate of the Blue House, or presidential palace.

This temporary village is made up of three tents housing 10 villagers, which are engaged in a sit-in to draw attention to the plight of the marginalised in the communities of modern Korea.

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