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Orissa court reopens murder case previously dismissed by police

MUMBAI (AsiaNews): Following the killing of a Protestant minister, Michael Nayak, on 20 July 2011, in Kandhamal, India, by a group of extremists professing to be Hindu, police dismissed the case as accidental death.

However, it was reported on August 8, just one year on, that a court reopened the case and issued orders for the suspects in the killing to be apprehended.

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Papal greetings to interreligious meeting in Japan

VATICAN CITY (Agencies): “The commitment to the cause of peace by religious leaders is of the greatest importance and I am happy to learn that, thanks to your efforts, the Summit on Mount Hiei has become a major annual event that contributes effectively to dialogue between people of different beliefs,” Pope Benedict XVI said in an August 3 message to the Venerable Kojun Handa, supreme priest of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, on the occasion the 25th annual interreligious gathering at Mt. Hiei in Japan.

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President wants action on Soeharto massacre

JAKARTA (UCAN): The president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has ordered the attorney general to follow up on the findings of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), which has determined that the crackdown on the communist presence 45 years ago was a gross violation of human rights.

“We must be clear, honest and objective about what happened in the past. We’re not going to distort the history and facts,” the president said on July 25.

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The cloud over Hiroshima today foreshadows hope not destruction

HIROSHIMA (SE): “On this day in 1945, someone climbed not to a holy mountain, but to the cockpit of a plane… On August 6 an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Here we have a new voice booming from heaven. Here too there was brightness… Here too is cloud… Truly under this new cloud we are right to be afraid,” reads an ecumenical liturgy developed in New Zealand commemorating the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945.

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Indian police name bishop in murder case

KERELA (UCAN): Kottayam archdiocese announced on July 24 that it is to take legal action against India’s top law enforcement agency after it implicated a retired archbishop in the murder of a religious sister 20 years ago.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese said it would file a criminal case against the Central Bureau of Investigation and the media for defaming “our most respected leader and the religious.”

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Korean rights advocate says he was abused in China

SEOUL (UCAN): Kim Young-hwan, a campaigner for human rights in The Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea, said on July 25 that he was physically abused by state security agents during almost four months of detention in China.

Speaking publicly for the first time about his ordeal following his arrest on March 29 in northeastern China, Kim told a press conference in Seoul that his captors tried to force him to admit that he violated China state security laws.

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Catholic lay group invited to North Korea

ROME (UCAN): The Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay organisation devoted to promoting peace in the world, was invited to visit Pyongyang in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to deliver 25 tonnes of food aid.

Mauro Garofalo, who made the trip on behalf of the community between May 24 and 30 to oversee the distribution of the food, described it as rare for the reclusive government of North Korea to approach a Catholic group for assistance.

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Japanese police on notice to respect religious freedom

Osaka (UCAN): Japanese police came under fire for making an arrest on church grounds when, on May 27, Pentecost Sunday, they entered Kaizuka Catholic Church in Kawasaki City, Kanazawa Prefecture, without a warrant to investigate and arrest a man on immigration charges. The incident sparked protests both in Yokohama diocese and at the national level.

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Site of Kublai Khan’s capital makes UNESCO list

Bangkok (UCAN): The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) named Kublai Khan’s ancient capital, Xanadu (Shangdu), to the World Heritage List during its 36th World Heritage Conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 29.

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ASEAN’s vague approach to human rights puts more pressure on Church

HONG KONG (SE): While the drafting of a Human Rights Declaration by the nations of ASEAN is seen as an important initiative, the Church-affiliated Asian Centre for the Progress for Peoples says it hopes the declaration will not result in a lowering of the standards set by international human rights norms.

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