National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Oct 26-Nov 8, 2012

Bhutan bans religious activities ahead of election

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Political leaders in the small Buddhist nation of Bhutan have announced a nearly six-month ban on all public religious activities ahead of its upcoming elections, citing the Himalayan nation’s constitution, which says that “religion shall remain above politics.”

A notification by the Election Commission of Bhutan asks people’s “prayers and blessings” for the second parliamentary election, expected in June 2013. But it also states that religious institutions and clergy “shall not hold, conduct, organize or host” any public activity from Jan. 1 until the election.

Philippine government and rebels sign peace agreement

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The government of President Benigno Aquino and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a landmark peace agreement Oct. 16 aimed at ending four decades of conflict on the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict as the mainly Muslim south has sought greater autonomy within the Christian majority country.

Negotiators from both sides signed the “framework agreement” at the presidential palace in Manila, with Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.

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