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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).








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Children are the victims of a globalised world economy

The Philippines is a country with some of the greatest inequity in the world. Sixteen million Filipinos suffer serious poverty out of a population of 107 million. Six million live in extreme poverty. 
 








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Catholics in China looking for new light

Look to shepherds for guidance on the agreement of the Holy See
 
When the Holy See signed its agreement with Beijing last September, Pope Francis said in his letter to the Catholic faithful in China that he understood their disappointment. Indeed, since then the Chinese faithful have been looking to their shepherds—the bishops and priests—for guidance. 
 








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Obedience shows the true nature of loyalty

Father Paul Han Qingping of China, offers his inside perspective on
the recent handover of episcopal authority in Mindong province, China,
which was published by Vatican News on December 17
 
 

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The colour of Christmas

Christmas is white. I know that from the songs of the season that blared dreams of a c from our radio during those hot days leading up to the feast of the birth of the Christ all those years ago.
 
But my Christmases were never white. They were green cricket fields, amber sunsets transfixing silhouettes of sleeping trees to the horizon; blue waters of the southern ocean washing over our bodies, yellow sand sticking to our feet and the smoky aroma of barbecues in the lush oasis of the small garden at the back of our childhood home.








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China leads the way in religious persecution

Michael Sainsbury
 
 
In 2018, the Vatican finally signed its long desired deal with China’s ruling Communist Party on the appointment of bishops, yet it did so in a year when Beijing significantly escalated its religious persecution.
 
The deal appears to have emboldened Beijing in its desire to crush all of its enemies, both real and imagined, including non-compliant religious groups.
 








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Ending violence against women and girls

She was only a seven-years-old, call her Angelica. She never knew or imagined the sexual violence that was to be done to her by her stepfather, Apolonio Valdez. He took her from the small, two-roomed house to the nearby forest and assaulted and sexually abused her.
 








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No pity from China as Tibetans burn

On November 4, in the Ngaka Tibetan and Qian Autonomous Prefecture, a 23-year-old Tibetan man named, Dorbe, set himself alight in protest against the Chinese government while also calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist leader-in-exile.
 
According to Tibetan human rights groups, this took the number of known cases of self-immolation in Tibet to 153, with 133 of the protesters dying in the process.
 








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Voters may remind Aung San Suu Kyi of her failure

Michael Sainsbury
 
In the latest blow for the persecuted Rohingya people of Myanmar, it took just three days for a half-baked plan to repatriate the Muslim group from refugee camps in Bangladesh to their homeland across the Naf River in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine State, to collapse.