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Myanmar’s forgotten civil war goes on

MANDALAY (UCAN): A largely forgotten civil war has been raging in Kachin State, Myamar, while the world’s focus has been on 700,000 Muslim Rohingya who have been fleeing a military crackdown in western Rakhine State since August 2017.
 
One of the longest-running civil wars in the world intensified dramatically in April when Myanmar’s military stepped up dry-season offensives using helicopter gunships and heavy artillery against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which is yet to sign a national peace agreement with the government.

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Sister Fox defies order to leave

MANILA (UCAN): Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox, who was ordered by the Philippine authorities to leave the country by May 25, was given a 10-day extension by the country’s Justice Department on May 28.
 
However, Sister Fox said it was a “temporary victory.” 
 
Menardo Guevarra, the secretary for justice ordered the immigration bureau to comment on Sister Fox’s petition for review within the 10 day period.
 

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Malaysian bishops hail election results

PENANG (UCAN): Malaysia’s bishops have broken their collective silence following the May 9 election win by the Mahathir Mohamad-led opposition alliance, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), over the corruption-tainted government of Najib Razak, calling it a golden opportunity to set the nation on a new course.
 
The ousting of Najib spelled the end of a six-decade ruling coalition dominated by the United National Malays Organisation (UMNO).
 

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Authorities bar priest and rights advocate from leaving Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY (UCAN): On May 14, Redemptorist Father Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai was stopped by army officers at a land border with Laos when he intended to travel onward to the United States to visit relatives and friends.
 
In an audio recording posted on Facebook, Father Dinh asked officers to explain why he was banned from leaving. Officials maintained that they were acting under orders from their superiors.
 

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Pope Francis invited to visit Taiwan

VATICAN (Agencies): Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan (洪山川) of Taipei, invited Pope Francis to visit Taiwan, possibly during the national Eucharistic Congress to be held on the island next March, AsiaNews and Reuters reported on May 11.
 
Reuters reported that the archbishop, who is in Rome for an ad limina visit together with six other Taiwanese bishops, said at a reception at Taiwan’s embassy to the Holy See, “No pope has ever landed in Taiwan.” 
 

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Disease a concern for Rohingya refugees as monsoon arrives

DHAKA (UCAN): Aid groups have launched the second phase of a cholera vaccination campaign for the up to one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh amid warnings of diseases and natural calamities with the coming of the monsoon season.
 
The week-long oral vaccination of refugees and host communities started on May 6. This follows up on a similar campaign in October to November 2017, which saw about 900,000 refugees innoculated in up to 12 settlements in Cox’s Bazar.
 

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St. Paul Sisters attacked in Hanoi land dispute

HANOI (UCAN): Around a dozen Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres were attacked by gangsters in Hanoi, Vietnam, while protesting the illegal construction of a house on land adjoining their convent.
 
Witnesses said gangsters employed to guard the site “insulted and attacked the sisters with batons and one was beaten to unconsciousness.” They said many policemen were present but did nothing to stop the brutal attack.
 

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Christian leaders call for unity following bombings in Surabaya

JAKARTA (UCAN): Christian leaders called for unity following a spate of suicide bombings that targeted three churches, an apartment building and the police headquarters in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second city, that left dozens dead and many more injured in the deadliest attacks in more than a decade.
 
Father Agustinus Ulahayanan, the executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, denounced the bombings and called on Catholics and other Christians to unite and be vigilant.
 

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Cardinal Tagle ramps up protest against Philippine killings

MANILA (UCAN): Church bells in the Archdiocese of Manila will toll at eight o’clock every evening to protest the continuing spate of killings in the Philippines.
 
Luis Cardinal Tagle, archbishop of Manila ramped up his condemnation of the killings following the shooting of Father Mark Ventura in the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao on April 29, and a broadcast journalist, Edmund Sestoso, in Dumaguete, in the province of Negros Oriental, only a day later.
 

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Rohingya in Bangladesh brace for devastating monsoon floods

DHAKA (UCAN): The government and aid groups in Bangladesh are preparing for disastrous flooding in the upcoming monsoon season which weather forecasters have warned will arrive early at the end of May. It usually starts in June and lasts until August.
 
Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, minister of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, told journalists that disaster preparations are in place.
 

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