Pope Francis waves to people waiting on the road standing to welcome him on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
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Pope Francis urged respect for human rights as he began a two-nation Asia tour in a windswept Sri Lanka Tuesday, bearing a message of peace and reconciliation after a decadeslong civil war.The Argentine pope's second visit to Asia will also take in the Philippines, a bastion of Christianity in the region, where he is set to attract one of the biggest-ever gatherings for a head of the Catholic Church.The pope held a meeting with the president before addressing Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim leaders, urging them to work together for reconciliation.The pope earlier canceled a meeting with Sri Lankan bishops after spending nearly two hours in an open-top car on the road from the airport, which was thronged with thousands of well-wishers.Pope Francis has shunned the pomp of his predecessors, and said he prefers not to use the bulletproof "popemobile" favored by previous pontiffs.Thousands of devotees from across the country began gathering there late Tuesday, hoping for a good spot to see the first pope to visit the island in two decades.
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