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Churches in Pakistan reopened after outcry

ISLAMABAD (UCAN): Six Christian churches in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have been allowed to reopen some two weeks after their forced closure over alleged security threats, minority representatives said.
 
The house churches are located in the city of Abbottabad, where Al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, was found and killed in a raid by United States (US) Navy SEAL commandos in 2011.
 

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Respected former editor of UCAN dead at 85

COLOMBO (UCAN): Hector Welgampola, executive editor of UCAN from 1987 until he retired in December 2001, died on January 6 in Brisbane, Australia. He was 85-years-old.
 
The Sri-Lankan journalist was editor of the country’s two Colombo-based Catholic weeklies, the English-language Messenger and Sinhalese-language Gnanartha Pradeepaya (Lamp of Wisdom). He was also a senior columnist for the Daily Mirror and Sunday Times.
 

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Fury over mass killing of Rohingya by Myanmar military

DHAKA (UCAN): The military of the Union of Myanmar admitted for the first time that its soldiers, along with Buddhist villagers were responsible for the murder of 10 alleged Muslim terrorists at Inn Din village in Rakhine last September during a counter-insurgency operation.
 
A statement issued on January 10 said, “Villagers and members of the security forces have confessed that they committed murder.”
 

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Philippine police re-launch drug war

Manila (UCAN): Church leaders in the Philippines warned of more killings after the national police announced the re-launching the government’s controversial anti-narcotics war.
 
Human rights groups say that the deadly drug war of the president, Rodrigo Duterte, has claimed the lives of at least 13,000 people since it began in 2016.
 

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Illegal logging and dams as Laos grapples with its own green monsters

Vientiane (UCAN): Attapeu, a province in the southeast of Laos, is not a place that draws much attention. But a recent illegal logging incident in which a convoy of 27 trucks tried to cross into Vietnam, shone a light on the problem.
 
Illegal logging has been a major problem in the country for years so the scheme itself was far from unexpected. But the consequences were. 
 

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Timor-Leste’s government teeters on the edge

DILI (UCAN): Timor-Leste lurched into a constitutional crisis after the minority government of prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, failed to pass key legislation, including a fresh budget, in the week before Christmas.
 
Asia’s most Catholic nation and youngest democracy now faces the prospect of a new government, or a second election inside nine months, as the country’s parliament has been in gridlock since the 22 July 2017 election failed to deliver a workable majority (Sunday Examiner, 24 September 2017).
 

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A protected Christmas in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AsiaNews): Christmas celebrations went off without a hitch in Pakistan as people in the cities of Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta marked the birth of Jesus under military protection.
 
Following the December 17 attack on a Methodist church in Quetta, authorities beefed up security around all Christian places of worship to prevent other terrorist attacks and allow Christian celebrations to go ahead without any problems.
 

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Top prize to Philippine movie

MANILA (SE): Ignacio de Loyola has become the first Philippine-produced movie to receive the Best Film Award at the Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival in the Vatican.
 

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Cost of trauma delayed

HONG KONG (SE): A gunfight resulting in three brutal deaths took place in the Barangay Mansangaban Playground of Bais City, Negros Occidental, on 25 April 1993, in full view of around 100 people, including the children and families of the dead and the daughter of a barangay captain, who was later to be found guilty of the multiple murder.
 

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