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Pope open to visiting North Korea

VATICAN (CNS): “Welcome! It is nice to see you,” Pope Francis said, greeting visisting South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, at the entrance to the library of the Apostolic Palace on October 18. 
 
“I come here as the (South) Korean head of state but I am also Catholic and my baptismal name is Timothy. And for me it is an honour to meet you,” Moon replied.
 

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Leadership training for Myanmar’s young people

MANDALAY (UCAN): The Jesuits in Myanmar have opened the Myanmar Leadership Institute (MLI), a youth leadership training institute with the enthusiastic encouragement of Charles Cardinal Maung Bo of Yangon.
 
With the motto, Learn to Lead, Lead to Serve, the institute aims to help develop a more just society for the poor with professional leaders inspired by a commitment to peace and human rights, concentrating on the preparation of leaders in the fields of education, business and civil society.
 

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Appeals for help in education of Marawi’s children

COTABATO (UCAN): A year after the end of the conflict in Marawi, in Mindanao, the southern Philippines, over 100,000 children have yet to return to school, according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Almost half a million people were affected by the five-months of fighting that ensued after extremist gunmen from the Maute Group attacked the city in May last year.
 

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Arrests in Instagram baby-selling ring case

JAKARTA (UCAN): Police in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, have made four arrests after breaking up an alleged baby-selling ring run from an Instagram account.
The account claimed to be linked to the Family Welfare Institute and a Facebook group called the Child Care Foundation, according to local media reports.
 
The account holder identified himself as “AP” and said he was a 29-year-old man helping find solutions to family problems.
 

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Helping hands extended to Sulawesi after quake

JAKARTA (CNS/SE): Catholic aid agencies were among those working to assess the needs and get relief to the island of Sulawesi after an earthquake and tsunami left more than 1,400 people dead.
 
Among those killed were 34 Christian students trapped while attending a Bible class. Fifty-two other students remained missing in Jono Oge village, according to a report of the ucanews.com.
 

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United Nations initiative on Myanmar atrocities an important step

Mandalay (UCAN): The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution on September 27 that creates an independent, international body to help prepare case files for future criminal proceedings against perpetrators of atrocities committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
 
The UNHRC’s 47 members voted in favour of the resolution, 37 to 3 with seven abstentions. China, the Philippines and Burundi voted against the resolution, which was drafted by the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
 

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Anger over maids for sale ads in Singapore

JAKARTA (UCAN): Advocates campaigning for migrant worker rights have voiced outrage after an advert was recently posted on Carousell, a Singapore-based online marketplace showing the profiles of several female domestic workers believed to be Indonesian. Some profiles were even marked “sold.”
 
Nusron Wahid, head of an Indonesian government agency dealing with the placement and protection of migrant workers, told reporters on September 18 that an official letter had been sent to the Singaporean government demanding thorough investigation.

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Japan-Korea anti-nuclear pilgrimage

SEOUL (UCAN): Bishops and activists from Japan and South Korea took part the Japan-Korea Anti-Nuclear Peace Pilgrimage, calling for an end to nuclear energy.
 
The pilgrimage, which began 2012, was held in Korea from September 13 to 16 and organised by the Korean bishops’ committee for ecology and environment.
 

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New law puts squeeze on Christians in Nepal

KATHMANDU (UCAN): The enactment of new legislation criminalising religious conversion in Nepal has sparked a heightened sense of fear and insecurity among Christian minorities.
The Civil and Criminal Codes, which came into effect on August 17 to replace the General Code that was in place for 165 years, comprise a set of laws guiding civil and legal proceedings, including restrictions on religious conversion, in the Hindu-majority nation.
 

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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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