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Boat capsizes during prayer for safety

COLOMBO (AsiaNews): An boat overloaded with people taking part in a procession as part of the celebration of Our Lady of Good Voyage capsized on February 19 off the southwest coast of Sri Lanka claiming many victims.

Our Lady of Good Voyage is considered to be the protector of fishing people and ironically, the victims perished in the midst of their prayer for safety at sea. Eleven passengers, including three children, drowned.

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Widely varied reaction to Cardinal Tong

HONG KONG (SE): The future of the Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view published by the bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, in the Sunday Examiner on February 12 is reminiscent of a university debate where one team sets up and defends a hypothetical argument and the other attacks it.

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An opening given to the Rohingya

KUALA LUMPUR (AsiaNews): The Malaysian government has become one of the first to introduce a skills training programme for the Rohingya people who have fled persecution in the Union of Myanmar and failed to find a welcome in Bangladesh or Thailand.

The programme is aimed at turning out semi-skilled workers that can be absorbed into the country’s labour market. It will also normalise their status in the country in order to give them the protection of labour legislation.

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Marry young bury quick

KOCHI (UCAN): An elaborate set of guidelines issued by Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil, from the Syro Malabar Church tradition in India, has caused controversy over a section that says men should marry before the age of 25 and women before 23.

It also says that extravagant marriage ceremonies should be avoided and bans bridesmaids and flower girls.

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Two eyes for a tooth

KARACHI (AsiaNews): The government in Pakistan set about taking two eyes for a tooth when it launched a bloody crackdown on Islamist terror groups in retaliation for the February 16 attack on a Sufi temple in the Sindh, which left 80 people dead.

Police have been rampaging around Karachi and other major cities in the country, reporting that they have flushed out and killed over 100 people suspected of terrorist activities. Islamabad is also pressuring Kabul to return 76 more that are in hiding in Afghanistan.

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Manila walks for life

MANILA (SE): Before the sun peeped over the horizon on February 18, waves of white were rolling into the Quirino Grandstand in Manila to join a Walk for Life and send a message to the congress that if Filipinos want their nation to free from violence, no one can be a perpetrator of violence, irrespective of the legal or judicial trappings that may accompany it.

The president of the Council of the Laity, Zenaida Capistrano, told the rally, “Life is just borrowed from God, it must be cared for.”

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Japan invites the pope to pray at Hiroshima

HIROSHIMA (SE): “One of the things that I have learned since I arrived here in Japan and during my visit to Hiroshima is that Japan has a very particular and understandable take on the whole nuclear question,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the secretary for Relations with States for the Vatican, told a press conference in Hiroshima on February 2.

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Kidnapped to North Korea

SEOUL (UCAN): An American student, David Sneddon, who went missing while hiking in China is believed to still be in North Korea and still alive by Choi Sung-ryong, a Seoul-based representative of the families of people abducted to North Korea.

Choi said he has information on the Sneddon’s whereabouts.

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Beware martial law

MANILA (SE): “Let us continue to maintain safeguards against dictatorial martial law that our present constitution contains,” the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said at the completion of the bishops’ plenary meeting in January.

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Samurai takes first step to sainthood

OSAKA (SE): What is a statue of a 16th century Japanese samurai doing in Plaza Dilao in downtown Manila in The Philippines?

And what is more, why is the Japanese fighting man beatified as an honorary Filipino also being beatified as a hero of the Church and a role model for Christians in his native Japan?

The Samurai of Christ, Justo Takayama Ukon (1552 to 1615), was beatified in Osaka, Japan, on February 7.

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