Pope Francis is received by colorful Sri Lankan dancers upon arrival at Colombo's International airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (AP/Alessandra Tarantino)
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Pope Francis urged respect for human rights in Sri Lanka as he began a two-nation Asia tour on the island Tuesday, bearing a message of peace and reconciliation after a decades-long 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 region holds a special interest for Pope Francis, who as a young priest considered becoming a missionary in Japan.The pope will celebrate mass with tens of thousands of survivors at the airport in Tacloban, one of the worst-hit cities.Pope Francis has shunned the pomp of his predecessors, and said earlier this year he prefers not to use the bulletproof "popemobile" favoured by previous pontiffs.Francis is the first pope to visit Sri Lanka since John Paul II two decades ago.
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