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Myanmar farmland grabs condemned

MANDALY (UCAN): Myanmar must provide redress for illegally confiscating land and enact laws and regulations “to safeguard the rights of farmers” and other small landholders, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a July 17 report.
 
The report said that over the last 30 years the government as well as military officials have seized hundreds of thousands of acres from farmers while providing little or no compensation and that this has jeopardised their livelihoods and eroded their access to basic services.
 

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Syriac Catholic young people celebrate their faith

BEIRUT (CNS): Driven by zeal and strong ties to the roots of their faith, 450 young people from all over the world gathered in Lebanon for the first Syriac Youth International Convention, open to people between 18 and 35 years of age.
 

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Rescue shines harsh light on Italy’s migrant policy

ROME (CNS): Tweeting with hashtags that translate as “Closed ports” and “Open hearts,” Matteo Salvini, the interior minister of Italy, disputed claims that the Italian government was complicit in leaving a migrant to die in the Mediterranean Sea as she clung to a board from a destroyed fishing boat.
 
Salvini strongly supported Italy’s policy of having the Libyan coast guard patrol its own shores, pushing back refugee boats or taking the migrants and refugees back to camps in Libya.
 

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Buddhist group banned again in Myanmar

MANDALAY (UCAN): On July 20, Myanmar’s Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (Ma Ha Na), the government-appointed body that regulates Buddhist clergy, ordered the Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, formerly known as Ma Ba Tha, to end its activities and remove its signboards within 45 days.

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Our commitment is stronger in critical times

I am writing this as a Christian missionary who came to the Philippines 49 years ago. It was a critical time then as it is now and we have many challenges to our commitment to serve humanity, preserve life, love and protect the stranger.
 








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First Genfest in Asia calls on love and sharing

MANILA (Agencies): Some 6,000 young people from over 100 nations participated in a three-day youth festival of sharing, music, art and concrete actions from July 6 to July 8 in Manila. 
 
The 11th edition of Genfest, the international youth festival of the worldwide Focolare Movement is the first such rally held in Asia and outside Europe. 
 

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Credible leadership serves others pope tells cardinals at consistory

VATICAN CITY (CNS): “None of us must feel ‘superior’ to anyone. None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up,” Pope Francis told new and old cardinals during a ceremony in which he elevated 14 bishops and archbishops from 11 different nations to the College of Cardinals on June 28.
 

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German bishops resume inter-Communion debate

WASHINGTON (CNS): The German Bishops’ Conference published the Orientation Guide in the Responsibility of Individual Bishops on June 27 despite Pope Francis asking them this past May not to publish, deeming that the document “has not matured enough to be published (Sunday Examiner, June 10).
 
According to DomRadio, the official news site of the Diocese of Cologne, the guide is the same handout that the bishops’ conference developed in February, but with a different title.
 

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Students kick off anti-gun tour

CHICAGO (CNS): “Something is happening across this country. Young people are rising up, from the north to the south to the east and to the west, and they are taking control,” Father Michael Pfleger, parish priest of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, said at June 15 rally kicking off a series of weekly marches for peace
 

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French Church groups fight anti-migrant attitudes

PARIS (CNS): The Church in France has launched a programme to combat anti-migrant and anti-Muslim attitudes amid reports of tensions among Catholics.
 
“It is to resist the rise of tensions and hostilities within the Christian community that our movements have decided to work” with the French Bishops’ Conference to find ways to “help Christians rise above these fears and face the migrant question calm and dispassionately,” said a June 7 statement on the conference’s website. 
 

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