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Thailand’s Catholic aid agency was refused access to more than 4,000 ethnic Hmong asylum seekers in the northern part of the country as Thai soldiers arrived to deport them to Laos on Dec. 27. • Catholic aid officials from the Diocese of Gizo joined relief efforts on Jan. 4 in the Solomon Islands after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake and a resulting tsunami left at least 1,000 people homeless. • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given a five-year, $5.9 million grant to the New York-based Catholic Medical Mission Board to fight the spread of H.I.V. and AIDS in southern Sudan. • Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be among the subjects depicted on U.S. stamps debuting in 2010. • The Malaysian High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled on Dec. 31 that a national Catholic weekly could use the word Allah to refer to God and that the Home Ministry’s order banning certain uses of Allah was illegal. • The veteran astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J., was honored on Jan. 4 by the American Astronomical Society for his work in building up a Vatican-sponsored summer school for young astronomers and promoting discussions on the intersection of religion and science.

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