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Mob acquitted of attack on Christian village

LAHORE (UCAN): An anti-terrorism court acquitted 106 people accused of being involved in a 2013 arson attack on the Christian village of Joseph Colony, Lahore, Pakistan.

On 9 March 2013, thousands of people armed with sticks and stones stormed Joseph Colony and set about 150 houses ablaze over allegations of blasphemy against Sawan Masih, a Christian.

Hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and three churches were torched by the raging mob.

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Mob acquitted of attack on Christian village

LAHORE (UCAN): An anti-terrorism court acquitted 106 people accused of being involved in a 2013 arson attack on the Christian village of Joseph Colony, Lahore, Pakistan.

On 9 March 2013, thousands of people armed with sticks and stones stormed Joseph Colony and set about 150 houses ablaze over allegations of blasphemy against Sawan Masih, a Christian.

Hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and three churches were torched by the raging mob.

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Bishops talk peace with Suu Kyi

MANDALAY (UCAN): Ethnic minority groups in the Union of Myanmar have always regarded Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counsellor of the nation, as having little interest in their fate, so they believe the challenge of bringing peace to their country necessitates she develop a new concern.

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Congress of Mercy hears plea from streets

MANILA (SE): The Catholic Church in The Philippines was weighed but found wanting in responding to the issues that confronted the people, especially the poor, over the past year.

During national elections in May last year, the Church-based Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting tried to give expression to a Church committed to making a difference in the political arena.

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Peace and war are not happy bedfellows

ROME (SE): The populist Rodrigo Duterte rode to victory in the May 2016 Philippine presidential polls on the back of two big issues, drugs and the peace process in Mindanao, promising to fix up both in a period of about 100 days.

However, as after six months he is no closer to denting the drug trade or rescuing the peace process, which is stumbling towards disaster, it is emerging that the two campaigns may be destroying each other.

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Interreligious dialogue more than timely for Asia

HONG KONG (UCAN): While interreligious dialogue may be a more urgent need in Asia than ecumenical relations, Bonifacio Tago, from the Good Samaritan Colleges in The Philippines, believes that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can serve as an impetus to rekindle appreciation of its value, as it is an appropriate time to pursue both avenues.

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Taiwan president makes pledge to the pope

TAIPEI (SE): “As Your Holiness states in the Message for World Day of Peace, women are often leaders in nonviolent action,” the first female head of state in the ethnic Chinese world, Tsai Ing-wen, from Taiwan, says in a letter to Pope Francis dated January 5.

Tsai tells the pope that she is devoted to enhancing the wellbeing of the people of her domain and, significantly, creating a new era for cross-strait peace between Taiwan and mainland China.

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Muslims support blasphemy case against fellow Muslim

JAKARTA (UCAN): Muslim human rights advocates in Jakarta, Indonesia, have joined growing calls to have hardline Muslim cleric, Rizieq Syihab, charged with blasphemy for insulting Christianity.

Rizieq is the leader of the Islamic Defenders Front and is being accused of mocking Christians during a sermon on Christmas Day in which he is reported to have said, “If God gave birth, then who would be the midwife?”

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Fast and pray for peace

YANGON (SE): “Sincerely there is no happiness in many parts of this country,” the archbishop of Yangon, Charles Cardinal Bo, said of his land of the Union of Myanmar in his message for the beginning of 2017.

“War goes on in many parts. For more than 200,000 internally displaced people in the camps, there is NO Happy New Year,” he stated in a sad reflection on the state of the nation.

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Duterte’s politics of shame

MANILA (SE): The same man who said, “I wanted to call out, ‘Pope, you (expletive deleted) go home. Don’t come here anymore’,” on 30 November 2015 has now penned a letter to Pope Francis expressing the profound depth of his respect for the bishop of Rome.

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