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Appeal to Catholics to protect Indonesian diversity

JAKARTA (UCAN): Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, paid his first visit as head-of-state to the headquarters of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia in Jakarta, on August 24, to improve ties and to stress the need for religious institutions to preserve and maintain diversity within the nation.
 
The conference’s chairperson, Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, and its secretary-general, Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Bandung in West Java, as well as eight other bishops, welcomed the president.

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Calls for accountability over Myanmar atrocities

MANDALAY (UCAN): “Accountability is essential for genuine reconciliation between all ethnic groups and is a prerequisite for regional security and stability,” United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, said, as he called for accountability over the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar which he described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian and human rights crises.
 

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Myanmar accused of blocking humanitarian aid

MANDALAY (UCAN): “Depriving civilians of aid in an attempt to overcome an ethnic army is a perverse, unlawful and ineffective strategy,” Matthew Smith, chief executive of Fortify Rights, said on August 30. 
 
“All parties to this war have a duty to protect civilians and that includes by ensuring access to adequate aid,” he said.
 

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Korean peace-sharing forum

SEOUL (SE): The Third Korean Peninsula Peace-sharing Forum was held at the Catholic University of Seoul on September 1 under the topic, Human Dignity and Peace, Paving the Way for the Korean Peninsula
 

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Hardline beef with assisting flood victims

New Delhi (UCAN): Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, leader of the All India Hindu Assembly, a hardline Hindu organisation, said it would be a “major sin to give any relief and support to those flood sufferers in Kerala who are beef eaters.” He appealed to the Indian government and Hindus in general not to provide relief to flood-hit victims in Kerala who eat beef, as the cow is a revered animal in Hinduism.
 

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Floods of biblical proportions inundate Kerala

The monsoon rains… they write prose and poetry through the vast agricultural land of Kerala.  For over 15 per cent of the over 34 million population living outside their homeland, the monsoon evokes the most nostalgic ruminations. 
 
A little more than Taiwan in geographical area, the land is garlanded with 44 rivers and the uplands beaded with 42 dams. This wealth of resources were the very ones that threatened to wipe the whole province away from the map of India in mid-August.

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Gearing up for the Asian Games in Indonesia

JAKARTA (UCAN): Priest and laypeople in the archdioceses of Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia, are gearing up to help athletes and officials during the upcoming Asian Games, the second time the country has hosted the sporting event. The last time was in 1962.
 
More than 11,000 athletes from at least 45 countries will participate in the event to be held in Jakarta and Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra, from August 18 to September 2.
 

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Bangladesh urged to end clampdown on protesters

DHAKA (UCAN): Rights groups and Church officials in Bangladesh have joined growing calls to end a government crackdown on peaceful dissent and for the release people arrested under the repressive.
 
In recent weeks, police arrested dozens of students, activists and journalists for their alleged part in recent student demonstrations calling for road safety and reform of the government’s job quota system.
 

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Condemnation of India lynchings too late say critics

NEW DEHLI (UCAN): “I want to make it clear that mob lynching is a crime, no matter the motive. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into his or her own hands and commit violence,” said India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, In an August 11 interview with Times of India, just four days ahead of the country’s Independence Day.
 

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Sleepless in flooded Manila

Light rain in the early morning is a welcome treat for Carmelite Father Gilbert Billena every time he goes home to the southern Philippines. However, perfect mornings in his parish in Manila are rare, especially during the rainy season in this tropical country.
 
Monsoon rains are terrifying during the rainy season, said the priest, especially with the seemingly endless downpours causing widespread flooding in the country’s capital.
 

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