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Manila’s nuclear about face

HONG KONG (SE): The on-again off-again president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, was given big cookie points on November 8 when he scotched the idea of powering up the mothballed nuclear power plant in Bataan and assured the nation that during his term of office nuclear power plants would not operate.

The local bishop in the area, Bishop Rupert Santos, said that he welcomed the decision, describing it as an expression of Duterte’s concern and care for the people and the environment.

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Call for a Church school comeback in Myanmar

YANGON (UCAN): Saying that in the heyday of the Christian school system during the 1950s, Burma had the best educated children in Asia, Charles Cardinal Maung Bo, from Yangon, intends to make an appeal to the government to allow Churches to contribute once again to the revitalisation of the nation.

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Religious persecution happens online

MANILA (UCAN): Despite the popular claim that The Philippines is a Catholic country, Archbishop Socrates Villegas insists that religious persecution is very much alive and well, even within the Church.

In a statement on November 14, the president of the bishops’ conference says, “Bashing in social media where truth is made to appear a lie and a lie the truth is another form of persecution.”

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Scoundrel above ground but hero under the dirt

MANILA (UCAN): Former Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos, received a hero’s burial on November 18, digging deeper division in society.

The eight members of the senate who had voted against the controversial burial did not muster sufficient numbers to get a resolution filed by Risa Hontiveros on August 9 carried.

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Cuba responds to pope’s jubilee request

HAVANA (SE): The government of Raul Castro in Cuba has announced the release of 787 prisoners on November 16 as a response to a request issued by Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year.

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Enriching Christian-Daoist dialogue

TAIPEI (SE): “Encouraged by the success of this encounter, we commit ourselves to share the fruit of our dialogue (in) expressing deepest respect for one another’s tradition and agreeing to engage in sincere dialogue at local, national and international levels,” a statement released by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the conclusion of a symposium at the Daoist Baoan Temple in Taipei on October 16 says.

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Murder of faceless barangay captain

MIDSALIP (SE): “He was one of our best barangay captains and a great servant of the people,” Father Sean Martin said from his parish in Midsalip in Misamis Occidental of Jovani Romo, who was shot 14 times by unknown assailants and died on the road just 30 metres from his home in Barangay Kanokano on July 29.

Romo is one of the faceless deaths in a Philippines swamped in a frenzied daily attack on the poor being carried out by the state under the guise of a war on drugs.

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Earthquakes are God’s punishment

ROME (SE): Father Giovanni Cavalcoli earned himself a rap over the knuckles from the Vatican when he told La Zanzara talk-back radio on November 4 that he believes two devastating earthquakes in central Italy that claimed almost 300 lives were the result of human sins, such as civil unions between gays.

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A hero to the court a villain to others

MANILA (SE): A vote of nine to five, with one abstention, saw the Supreme Court of The Philippines rule on November 8 that the body of the former president, Ferdinand Marcos, can be buried in the Heroes Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani) in accordance with the wishes of the powerful Marcos family and as ordered by the incumbent president, Rodrigo Duterte.

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Guidelines on cremation off kilter in Asia

TAIPEI (UCAN): New guidelines published by the Vatican on October 25 concerning the resting places of the dead are causing some unease and even dilemmas in and around Asia, as the guidelines, To Rise with Christ (Ad resurgendum cum Christo), advocate that the deceased should be treated with respect and laid to rest in consecrated ground.

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