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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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Indonesian women march for legal protection

JAKARTA (UCAN): An estimated 1,200 women as well as children, students and women’s rights advocates took part in the second Women’s March in Indonesia on March 3, to push for new regulations to protect women from violence.
 

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Indonesia to host Asian ecumenical youth assembly

MANADO (Agencies): The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) will be hosting the Asian Ecumenical Youth Assembly (AEYA) in Manado, North Sulewesi, Indonesia, from April 6 to 13, with the theme, Lord, Send Your Light and Truth to Lead Us.
 

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Southern Asia’s year of worshipping dangerously

Of course, it is almost impossible to get past the ongoing visceral horror of the plight of Myanmar’s ethnic Muslim Rohingya people; over 650,000 of them brutally forced from their homes onto the margins of existence into crowded, inadequate, life-threatening refugee camps.