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Pope renews membership of child protection commission

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis has named nine new members to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and reappointed seven, including abuse survivors or the parents of survivors, the Vatican announced on February 17.
 
However, in respecting “the right of each person to disclose their experiences of abuse publicly or not to do so the members appointed today have chosen not do so publicly, but solely within the commission.” the commission said.
 

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New book on Jesuits in China

SYDNEY (UCAN): A first in publishing on China, the two-volume A Call to Mission: A History of the Jesuits in China 1842-1954 was launched in Sydney, Australia, on February 19.
 
Jesuit Father David Strong, the author, spent 15 years writing and researching material covering three continents in this work which covers the second phase of the Jesuit engagement with China. 
 

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Philippine democracy under threat

The young man, Jake, 22-year-old and single laughed when I asked him whom he voted for in the local elections for mayor. He said he abstained, but he went to the house of the mayor and received a payment all the same. “Why not?”, he reasoned, “It was for free everyone was going there.” 
 

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Women’s conference moves after cardinal bars speaker

Hong Kong (SE): An International Women’s Day conference, scheduled to be held on March 8 has been shifted to the headquarters of the Society of Jesus after former Irish president, Mary McAleese, was barred from attending the event which was to be held at the Vatican, La Croix reported on February 2.
 
The talk, Why Women Matter, is being organised by the Voices of Faith group which is seeking to show the Vatican that women “have the expertise and skills to play a full leadership role in the Church.”

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Pope sets day of prayer for peace in Africa

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis marked Italy’s Pro-Life Sunday during his Sunday Angelus on February 4, and also called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Africa.
Some 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square with many carrying the pro-life movement’s green balloons with the message, Yes to life.
 
Thanking all the “different Church realities that promote and support life in many ways,” Pope Francis said he was surprised there were not more people involved.
 

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Pleas to end slaughter of civilians in northern Syria

AMMAN (CNS): Churches in Afrin, Syria, are calling on the world to stop the slaughter of civilians resulting from assaults by the Turkish military on Kurdish areas.
 
“We ask you to pray for us and for our city which, before a couple of days ago, was full of life, but today is not,” Reverend Saeed Daoud (a pseudonym) pleaded. 
 

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Illegal logging and dams as Laos grapples with its own green monsters

Vientiane (UCAN): Attapeu, a province in the southeast of Laos, is not a place that draws much attention. But a recent illegal logging incident in which a convoy of 27 trucks tried to cross into Vietnam, shone a light on the problem.
 
Illegal logging has been a major problem in the country for years so the scheme itself was far from unexpected. But the consequences were. 
 

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Timor-Leste’s government teeters on the edge

DILI (UCAN): Timor-Leste lurched into a constitutional crisis after the minority government of prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, failed to pass key legislation, including a fresh budget, in the week before Christmas.
 
Asia’s most Catholic nation and youngest democracy now faces the prospect of a new government, or a second election inside nine months, as the country’s parliament has been in gridlock since the 22 July 2017 election failed to deliver a workable majority (Sunday Examiner, 24 September 2017).
 

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United Nations won’t endorse abortion as humanitarian response

NEW YORK (SE): The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has declined to endorse abortion as being an essential part of emergency humanitarian response.
 
C-Fam reported that access to safe abortion to the full extent of the law was included for the first time in the sexual and reproductive health Minimum Initial Services Package designed by UN agencies and abortion groups to place the sexual and reproductive health agenda, and specifically abortion, into the humanitarian responses programme.
 

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