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Catholic schools given mentoring role in Indonesia

JAKARTA (CAN): Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta, and the Catholic University of Soegijapranata in Semarang, Central Java, are among 29 leading Indonesian educational institutions picked by the government of Indonesia to help underdeveloped universities improve education quality.
 
The move is part of government efforts to raise the standard of higher education in the country and improve the workforce.
 

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United Nations appeals for humanitarian access to Myanmar’s restive areas

MANDALAY (UCAN): Ursula Mueller, the United Nations (UN) assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator, has called for unfettered humanitarian access to several crisis-hit states of Myanmar including the restive Rakhine state where large numbers of the Rohingya Muslim minority have fled security forces for Bangladesh since August 2017.
 

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Rohingya remaining in Rakhine face uncertain future

YANGON and DHAKA (UCAN): Mohammad Salim and his family were packing their belongings and getting ready to flee when the violence erupted on 25 August 2017 in the north of Rakhine State, Myanmar, as the military sought to target Rohingya Muslim militants.
 
However, unlike hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have left the strife-torn state to live in camps in neighboring Bangladesh for fear of ethnic persecution at the hands of the army, Salim decided to stay put.
 

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Young people of Timor-Leste are keepers of peace

DILI (UCAN): Bishop Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili, reminded young people of their special role in maintaining peace in Timor-Leste, particularly as the country prepares for polls in May.
 
During a special Passion Sunday Mass to mark the annual passing round of the so-called university cross Bishop Da Silva said young people should look up to Jesus’ cross as a source of inspiration in daily life.
 

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No Holy Week for Marawi

MANILA (UCAN): There will be no Holy Week observance this year in Marawi, Mindanao, almost a year after Islamic State-inspired gunmen occupied the southern Philippine city on May 23 last year.
 
St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was desecrated and burned at the height of the five-month conflict that ended in October, remains closed.
 
This will be the first time that Holy Week has not been celebrated in the predominantly Muslim city, where more than 300,000 people remain in temporary shelters.
 

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Indonesian students go to court over criticism law

Jakarta (UCAN):  The Indonesian Catholic Student Association has joined rights groups in filing for a judicial review with the Constitutional Court of a newly introduced law criminalising criticism of Indonesia’s parliament and its members on March 21.
 
The association questioned a provision in the law—which came into effect on March 15—that says parliament’s ethics council can take legal action against those who “disrespect the dignity” of lawmakers and parliament as an institution.
 

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Indonesia to improve education in Christian-majority regions

Jakarta (UCAN): Indonesia will focus on improving the quality of education provided in the Christian-led provinces of Papua, West Papua and East Nusa Tenggara, in cooperation with local Churches, minister of Education and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, said on March 21.
 
The three provinces consistently rank at the bottom of the table in terms of education among the country’s 34 provinces.
 

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Makati parish in hot water for high wedding rates

MANILA (UCAN): A barrage of social media posts has condemned Santuario de San Antonio parish in the exclusive Forbes Park village in the Makati business district, in Metro Manila, for raising its rates for weddings from around $6,000 to $9,800. The new rates were presented at the parish’s first wedding congress on March 15.
 

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Filipino archbishop honoured for environmental advocacy

MANILA (UCAN): Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao, the Philippines, has been given the Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan (hero for the environment) award for his “exemplary deeds and initiatives” to advance environmental protection and his strong advocacy against mining, especially in the northern part of the country.
 
The award is given to those who “serve as an example” in protecting the environment by advocacy groups led by the Centre for Environmental Concerns.
 

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Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City mourned

HO CHI MINH CITY (UCAN): Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc of Ho Chi Minh City died of a stroke on March 6 in Rome while he and 32 other Vietnamese bishops were on their ad limina visit to the Vatican. He was 73-years-old.
 
Church sources said the archbishop suffered the stroke as he was celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside The Wall.
 

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