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Land grab scourge in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO (UCAN): Punchirala Somasiri was a successful farmer in Sri Lanka until a group of men forced him and his family off their land in the Ampara district in the country’s southeast in 2010.

“The men wore masks and they set fire to our houses and the paddy field,” Somasiri, who is now the secretary of Panam Paththuwa Protecting Organisation, a local land advocacy group, said. He believes the men were working for corrupt officials.

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Mourning an indigenous leader

NEW YORK (SE): The worldwide Church has been asked to pray for the martyrs for the environment and on March 3, Berta Cáceres, from Honduras, was added to the ever-growing list of those who have lost their lives for their work in the defence of nature and the life-giving energy of God’s creation.

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A tear in Sri Lanka’s impunity curtain

KANDY (SE): A ceremony of felicitation was held in the northern city of Kandy in Sri Lanka on February 20 to mark what the director of the Human Rights Office Kandy, Father Nandana Manatunga, called a landmark decision by the Nuwara-Eliya High Court in returning a guilty verdict against the perpetrators of one case of rape and one of torture dating back to 2001 and 1995.

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Women are being murdered for their land

MANILA (UCAN): A growing number of Filipino women, especially in rural areas, have been abused and even killed for the crime of defending their land against powerful interests that seek to steal it.

The human rights group, Karapatan, says that at least 153 women have been assassinated for defending their land since 2001.

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Discarded soldiers get raw deal

BEIJING (SE): A large group of retired and disabled veterans from the People’s Liberation Army have been joining thousands of people invading Beijing in the run up to the gatherings around this year’s National People’s Congress, a traditional time to present petitions and grievances against local governments and administrators.

However, of recent years, they have increasingly been met by the police with violence and even arrested.

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Taking the journal out of journalism

BEIJING (SE): The president of China, Xi Jinping, seemed to be intent on taking the journal out of journalism, when he addressed a symposium after a visit to the nation’s three leading news providers, the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television (CCTV), on February 19.

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Shaking the ground against violence

HONG KONG (SE): More than 1,000 people from migrant rights and student groups called for an end to all forms of violence against women at the One Billion Rising campaign held at Edinburgh Place, Central, on February 21.

The campaign aims to have one billion women worldwide dancing in the street on or around Valentine’s Day in a call for fair and just treatment of women.

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The road to justice and equality

In late January, Luis Cardinal Tagle raised a few eyebrows in Cebu during the Eucharistic Congress when he spoke directly about the greed and corruption of Philippine politicians, who are so much a part of the throwaway society of greed, corruption, materialism and waste.








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Cardinal’s questions for Duterte

DAVAO CITY (SE): Presidential hopeful, Rodrigo Duterte, was sent a please explain message from Orlando Cardinal Quevedo on February 12 after he failed to show up to explain his position to the Friends of Peace on the Bangsamoro Peace Process.

The administrator of Davao City, Jaime Quitain, tendered his apologies due to a migraine headache and Cardinal Quevedo sent him a message asking him to answer two questions during his presidential campaign, MindaNews reported.

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We have one dream but a clash of values

An anti- death penalty advocate, street children, petty criminals and drug dealers have been liquidated in Davao City, but still students, vendors, taxi drivers, professional people and low class workers alike get on with their lives.

This is Davao City. Whether it is peaceful, liveable and economically stable or not depends on who you ask.