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Vietnam upholds Catholic lawyer’s conviction

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An appeals court in Hanoi today upheld the sentence given to a jailed Catholic lawyer, who is on hunger strike, while international human rights groups called on Vietnam to release him.

The People’s Supreme Court upheld the jail term of 30 months for lawyer and dissident Joseph Le Quoc Quan for charges of tax evasion. His firm was also fined 1.29 billion dong (approximately US $61,000), local sources said.

Attorney Ha Huy Son, who supported Quan in court, told the BBC’s Vietnamese section that he “is disappointed by the appeal court’s decision that has been approved.”

HIV no longer means death in Peru, but U.S. priest says more needs done

For days, the desperate mother had hovered around the ward called Santa Rosa, the infectious disease wing at the huge, teeming Dos de Mayo public hospital in downtown Lima.

Finally, she saw her chance.

"A patient had just died. The woman ran through the ward, jumped on the bed and said, 'This is for my son, Sandro,' " Maryknoll Fr. Joe Fedora recalled. "She had been waiting for days."

Belgium passes law to allow euthanasia for small children

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Belgian legislators voted to make their country the world's first to allow euthanasia for small children, despite vigorous opposition from the Catholic church and all main religious groups.

"We are saddened and fearful for the future after this vote to extend euthanasia to children without any age limit," said the Catholic bishops' conference.

In Pakistan, valentines are exchanged in secret

Outside the gates of the women-only Kinnaird College in this central Pakistani city, boys shyly approach, bearing roses and small tokens of affection.

The girls, clad in a spectrum of reds, happily accept, even as they peer around nervously to see who is watching.

"Feb. 14 is a very special day for me to celebrate love because it was on this day last year that I met my boyfriend," said Sania Ehsan, 21, holding a basket full of chocolates and heart-shaped cookies to exchange with her Valentine.

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