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Peace keepers with blind eyes
BANGUI (SE): The leading Muslim cleric in the Central African Republic has backed up a  charge by Bishop Juan-José Aguirre Muñoz that United Nations (UN) peacekeeping troops turned a blind eye to the massacre of civilians by Islamist Séléka militants.
The bishop claims that Séléka forces massacred 50 civilians in the village of Gambo on August 4 and 5, because UN troops chose not to disarm them.
Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, who has worked with the nation’s Catholic hierarchy to promote peace, called for the removal of complicit UN peacekeepers.
Childcare home closed
HONG KONG (SE): A home for abandoned babies and women in crisis pregnancies run by a Buddhist monk has been closed down in China.
Master Daolu, a successful business executive who became a monk, used his home in Nantong as a refuge for pregnant women who cannot provide for their babies, as well as for abandoned children.
He offered to care for the children until they are adults with frequent visits from their mothers. As an alternative to government-run foster homes LifeSiteNews reported that they are seen as a challenge to the government’s strict family-planning policies.
Bishops welcome election challenge
NAIROBI (SE): The bishops of Kenya have welcomed a decision by defeated presidential candidate, Raila Odigna, to challenge the results of the vote.
Odigna lost the election to the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta. He has charged that the election was manipulated by the government and promised to produce evidence of cheating in an appeal to the High Court.
The bishops praised Odinga for choosing a legal avenue for his protest, rather than inciting violence in the wake of the elections. They said, “Our stand as your shepherds has been very clear: all the aggrieved parties should use the legal means as provided by the constitution to seek redress.”
Lay leader murdered in Mindanao
DAVAO (UCAN): Domingo Edo, a coordinator from the Social Action Centre in Marbel, has been shot dead and his companion, 18-year-old Ramil Piang, wounded while travelling to lead a bible reflection session near the mining town of Bong Mal in South Cotabato in the southern Philippines.
Piang died in hospital on August 22 only hours after being wounded.
Father Ariel Destura said he believes that Edo was killed because of his long association with the anti-mining protests in the area.
Pope greets Methodist Synod
VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis has sent a greeting to leaders of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches that were holding a synod in Turin during August.
The pope promised to pray for the participants, saying he hopes that “these days of sharing and reflection, which take place during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, will be inspired by the joy of placing oneself before the countenance of Christ.”
“Walk always toward full unity,” the pope exhorts the Protestant leaders.
Priests should look after their children
DUBLIN (SE): The Catholic bishops of Ireland are calling upon priests who have fathered children to accept their parental responsibilities.
The Irish Times claimed on August 21 that in the new guidelines the bishops say that a priest who fathers a child must provide for that child, with the welfare of the child taking precedence over all else.
The guidelines have yet to be promulgated.
10,000 refugees in South Sudan cathedral
JUBA (SE): Ten thousand people fleeing the violence of the South Sudanese civil war have taken refuge in and near the nation’s largest church, St. Mary’s Cathedral, in Wau.
“Space is at such a premium that some people even sleep next to the church’s altar,” Integrated Regional Information Networks reported on August 22.
A priest said, “Those who flee believe that even rebels still fear God and would not slaughter civilians in the backyard of a church. Many other churches have also taken in hundreds of people.”
No right to same-sex marriage
BELFAST (SE): The Supreme Court in Northern Ireland dismissed an argument on August 22 claiming that European law requires legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The court in Belfast rejected same-sex unions as a fundamental human right, saying the legislature has the power, but not the obligation to change the marriage law to include recognition of same-sex couples.

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