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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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India’s bishops call for new laws to ensure safety of women

 

THRISSUR (Agencies): In the wake of the national outcry over the gang rape and death of a medical student and reports of rapes from across the country, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India called for “comprehensive laws and effective measures to ensure the security and safety of women,” according to Catholic News Service. 

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Taiwan’s bishops take practical lessons in media communications

 

Taipei (AsiaNews): The bishops of Taiwan and the spokespersons of each diocese recently concluded a January 14 to 16 workshop on how to respond during interviews and how to better communicate through mass media.

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No support for families headed by women in Sri Lanka

 

TRINCOMALEE (AsiaNews): The Women’s Desk of the National Fisheries Solidarity Organisation in Sri Lanka has released a report on households headed by women.

Titled, Empower women-headed families, ensure right to life, the report says that in some eastern villages, there are families are without shelter.

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Mission from France to Japan and back

YOKOHAMA (UCAN): Bishop Yoshinao Otsuka paid a visit to the town of Digna in the French diocese of Saint-Claude during August last year to visit the grave a long-forgotten supporter of the Japanese Church, Father Leon Robin of Saint-Claude (1802 to 1882).

The connecting link between the current bishop of Kyoto and the long-departed parish priest is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that St. Francis Xavier is said to have smuggled into Japan in 1549.

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More dispute over Christian use of Allah

KUALA LUMPUR (Agencies): The Christian Federation of Malaysia, an umbrella body representing 90 per cent of Christian Churches across the country, is insisting that Christians have a constitutional right to describe its god as Allah, as the word has been in Malay-language bibles for more than 400 years, despite a Selangor decree that threatens to limit the use of the word to Muslim groups only.

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Church leaders in Myanmar call for peace as fighting continues

Mandalay (Agencies): Artillery shelling and fighting continued between troops of the government of the Union of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Hka Ya, near La Ja Yang, Kachin State, despite a January 19 ceasefire order from the country’s president, Thein Sein. 

According to UCA News, the spokesperson for the KIA, La Nan, said, “The … announcement has yet to reach to the military troops. They are still attacking…”

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India’s caste system cast in stone

NEW DELHI (UCAN): A bill introduced into the parliament in India aimed at boosting the social status of dalits (formerly known as untouchables) and tribal people was blocked by the lower house of the parliament in New Delhi on December 20.

If passed into law, the Constitutional Amendment Bill would have introduced legislation giving the nation’s lowest castes a guaranteed quota in government job promotions.

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