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Hope fades for freedom of expression in Myanmar

While the world hailed Myanmar for granting a presidential pardon on May 7 to two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, after they spent 500 days behind bars for exposing a massacre of Rohingya Muslims, other human rights abuses continue unabated in the country.
 
On April 22, seven people from a satirical performance troupe called Peacock Generation were charged with criminal defamation for lambasting the military during their Lunar New Year celebrations in April.








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The curse of sex tourism - part 2

Hundreds of thousands of young girls and boys are lured, forced or trafficked into the sex industry every day worldwide. Human traffickers are the curse of the nation but they operate with relative impunity and sell the youth into the sex bars and clubs that are given government permits and operating licenses. This makes the state part of the corrupt industry where drugs and sex dominate, and young people are sold as commodities in a slave market for the wealthy sex tourists.
 








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The best resources poor people have are other poor people

Father Michael Kelly SJ
 
Email is a wonderful means of communication. Though not as good as meeting someone face to face, it still allows immediate and at times quite intimate contact between people living on opposite sides of the planet. It can also connect you to someone you don’t know who just lives around the corner.
 








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Beijing’s big bucks muffle religious protest in Southeast Asia

Simon Roughneen 
 
A year ago the United States moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, sparking protests in Muslim-majority countries and drawing official condemnation at the United Nations (UN).
 
An estimated 30,000 people demonstrated in Jakarta, Indonesia, as the president, Joko Widodo, said his country “rejects” the American move as it “may disrupt the peace process in Israel and Palestine.”

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Be wary of the temptation of functionalism

Robert Mickens, Rome
 
Most people who follow the happenings of the Catholic Church will vividly remember this date: 13 March 2013.
 
It was on that evening in Rome that a Jesuit cardinal from Argentina named Jorge Mario Bergoglio appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica dressed in white. He was the newly elected pope and had taken the name Francis.
 








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The real culture war just down the road

Father Michael Kelly SJ
 
The only upside of the outrageous and appalling destruction of the Sri Lankan bombings of innocent Christians celebrating Easter is that it draws a line in the sand about religious abuse.
 








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Courage born out of injustice and grief

Edita T. Burgos


Even in the most excruciating and treacherous situations, people do selflessly give of themselves. Isn’t this the most concrete proof that God is within us?
 
We will never be short of living heroes from whom we can draw inspiration especially from this kind of vocation to which we have dedicated our lives, fighting for a world without enforced disappearances.
 








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The culture of fear and silence

Twenty young girls, some of them only 14 years of age, were finally rescued from the Victory Hotel that caters to foreign sex tourists in Mabacalat, Pampanga, a few kilometres north of Angeles City by the anti-trafficking police unit in Camp Crame, Quezon City. It was an open fact that child prostitution was the daily routine there. 
 








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ASEAN leaders stumble over humanitarian crises

Luke Hunt
 
Five great refugee floods have blighted Southeast Asia over the last half-century—sparked by conflicts in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, East Timor (also known as Timor Leste) and Myanmar—in tragedies with far-reaching consequences that should have been averted.
 








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Wolves prowl while the muted shepherds cower

Inday Espina-Varona
 
The arrest of Father Kenneth Hendricks, an American priest who allegedly abused minors gave Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, a weapon against clergy who dare to criticise his bloody war against narcotics.
 
Police served five more arrest warrants on the priest, who was nabbed in December by a joint team of Philippine and American law enforcers in the central Philippines (Sunday Examiner, 16 December 2018).