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Respect separation of state and religion Japanese bishops urge government

TOKYO (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan has written to the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, demanding strict observance of the constitutional separation of state-sponsored ceremonies and the imperial family’s private religious ones when the change of emperors takes place in 2019.
 

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Rohingya face oppostion to resettlement plans

MANDALY (UCAN): Plans by Myanmar’s government to resettle Muslim Rohingya refugees in southern Maungdaw in the restive Rakhine State are meeting up with opposition from other ethnic groups from the area.
 
Some 80 people from civil society groups across Rakhine held a meeting in the state capital, Sittwe, on February 24 to discuss the resettlement of Rohingya returning from Bangladesh.
 

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Philippines struggles against human trafficking

MANILA (UCAN): Michelle thought her prayers had been answered when she finally left her home in the Philippines for Saudi Arabia last year to work as a domestic helper. She thought the employment contract she had signed was her ticket out of poverty.
 
Sadly, she was gravely mistaken. In fact, she had joined a throng of her compatriots who have become inadvertent victims of human trafficking.
 

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South Korean Church campaigns against legalising abortion

Seoul (UCAN): As South Korea continues to modernise and with the number of single mothers on the rise, calls to decriminalise abortion have increased from sectors of society. In response, the Catholic Church launched a signature campaign on 3 December 2017 to keep the country’s anti-abortion law in place and has gathered over a million names to date. 
 

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Intimidation and killing will not stop drug problem bishop says

Manila (UCAN): Speaking during a 25th anniversary Mass for the group, Singles for Christ, on February 18, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, of Kalookan, the Philippines, lamented that many people agree that drug “addicts are not human.”
 
He told the gathering of around 7,000 young people, “My heart bleeds when there are Catholics who agree that criminals cannot be reformed, that they deserve to die and be exterminated if we are to have a peaceful Philippine society.” 
 

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Create jobs so Filipinos don’t have to work abroad bishop says

MANILA (UCAN): As many as 250,000 Filipinos will be affected by a total ban on the deployment of workers to Kuwait, according to a Philippine government estimate.
 
The ban, ordered by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, came following the discovery of the body of 29-year-old Joanna Daniella Demafelis in a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait. Her remains had reportedly been stored there for a year and authorities said marks on her body indicated she was strangled.
 

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Walk for the life of every person

MANILA (Agencies): Catholic bishops of the Philippines will lead this year’s Walk for Life, scheduled for February 24, to protest the spate of drug-related killings in the country, UCAN reported.
 
Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila said the protest walk will also highlight other anti-life issues such as the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
 

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Relics of St. Therese welcomed in the Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): The relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus arrived in Manila, the Philippines, on February 18 to a shower of white and red rose petals.
 
Devotees waved yellow flags as the reliquary containing the saint’s relics entered Manila’s San Fernando de Dilao parish church.
 
Father Rolando dela Cruz said that the people in his parish were honoured to have been chosen as one of the places to receive the relics.
 

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International criminal court opens probe into Philippine drug killings

MANILA (Agencies): “I welcome you and if you want to find me guilty, so be it. Find a country where they kill people with a firing squad. And I’m ready,” said the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, reacting to the announcement on February 1 that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will conduct a “preliminary examination” into killings in the Philippines linked to the government’s war on drugs.
 

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Church joins calls for Mindanao flood probe

BUTUAN CITY (UCAN): Church leaders in Mindanao have joined calls for an investigation into what caused the devastating floods that displaced thousands of families and killed at least 16 people on February 12.
 
Landslides and floods triggered by heavy rain dumped by tropical depression Sanba (Basyang) displaced at least 37,370 individuals in the southern Philippine region of Caraga.
 
The scale and speed of the flooding took many by surprise.
 

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