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Indonesia takes softer approach with drug users

JAKARTA (UCAN): Church leaders and activists in Indonesia welcomed what they think is a possible softening in the government’s hardline drug policy after the anti-narcotics agency said it would push for drug users to be rehabilitated rather than imprisoned.
 
The move was announced on June 26 when the Indonesia National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) agreed on June 26, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, to boost cooperation in rehabilitation efforts for drug addicts.

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Death sentence for Indonesian terrorist mastermind

JAKARTA (UCAN): The South Jakarta District Court in Indonesia sentenced Aman Abdurrahman, a Muslim cleric, to death for a series planning a deadly series of attacks in Indonesia, including a bomb attack and shootout in Jakarta in January 2016 that killed eight people and an attack against the Batak Society Christian Church of Oikumene in Samarinda, East Kalimantan in November 2017 that killed four people.
 
Abdurrahman is the founder of a local terror group called Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

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Indonesian Churches help ferry tragedy victims

JAKARTA (UCAN): Catholic and Protestant Churches in Indonesia have rushed to provide assistance and counselling for survivors and families of those killed or presumed dead after an overloaded ferry capsized in Lake Toba, North Sumatra, on June 18.
 

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Environmental concerns centre stage in elections

JAKARTA (UCAN): “People should vote for candidates who care for the environment and are serious about tackling ecological problems,” said Kisworo Dwi Cahyono, executive director of the provincial branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), as environmental concerns took centre stage in regional elections in South Kalimantan, Indonesia, when it emerged that the vast majority of mining and palm oil businesses in the province flout environmental laws.
 

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Jakarta seeks Catholic allies against radicalism

JAKARTA (UCAN): “What is happening scares me. I have just read (an) article about a young girl who became radicalised by learning about extreme Islamic teachings from the Internet,” Indonesia’s presidential chief of staff, Moeldoko, told the Association of Indonesian Catholic Intellectuals (ISKA) during a gathering to mark of its 60th anniversary on May 30 in Jakarta.
 

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Surabaya churches pick up the pieces as security upped for Ramadan

SURABAYA (UCAN): Rebuilding work has begun on two of the three churches attacked by suicide bombers in Surabaya, Indonesia, on May 13, and efforts to help those who survived the atrocities to deal with the trauma have been stepped up.
 
The third church was still cordoned off on May 16 as police forensic teams were still examining the scene.
 

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Christian leaders call for unity following bombings in Surabaya

JAKARTA (UCAN): Christian leaders called for unity following a spate of suicide bombings that targeted three churches, an apartment building and the police headquarters in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second city, that left dozens dead and many more injured in the deadliest attacks in more than a decade.
 
Father Agustinus Ulahayanan, the executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, denounced the bombings and called on Catholics and other Christians to unite and be vigilant.
 

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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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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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