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French Catholic Church to sell assets to settle sex abuse claims******
Catholic bishops in France agreed on Monday to sell part of the Church's extensive real estate holdings to compensate thousands of victims of child sex abuse at the hands of clergy.。
Church officials have been under intense pressure to recognize and indemnify victims after a landmark French inquiry confirmed extensive sexual abuse of minors by priests dating from the 1950s.。
An independent commission will evaluate the claims, "and we are going to provide the means to accomplish this mission ... of individual indemnities for the victims," said Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, head of the Bishops' Conference of France, or CEF.。
He did not detail the amounts that could be paid out in response to the damaging inquiry into the "massive phenomenon" of child sexual assault that was often covered in a "veil of secrecy."
The inquiry report, released last month, had urged the Church to pay victims with its own assets, instead of asking parishioners to contribute for crimes committed by the clergy.。
The Church had already promised to set up a fund to start making payouts next year, and it will now be bolstered "by selling real estate assets owned by the Bishops' Conference of France and by dioceses," Moulins-Beaufort said after days of meetings at the Catholic shrine of Lourdes.。
He added that a loan would be sought from banks if needed, and that the Vatican would be asked to send an observer to help examine the Church's response.。
"Our Church cannot be an institution entrenched in its own self-glory," he said.。
The 2,500-page report detailed abuse of 216,000 minors by clergy over the period, a number that climbs to 330,000 when claims against lay members of the Church are included, such as teachers at Catholic schools.。
The commission's president denounced the "systemic character" of efforts to shield clergy from prosecution and issued 45 recommendations of corrective measures.。
After the meetings of the 120 CEF members in Lourdes, bishops backed most of the recommendations, including systematic police background checks for any church associate working with minors.。
Nine working groups involving clergy, lay people and even some victims will be set up to implement the measures.。
But victims' associations have said words are far from enough, and are demanding compensation that would cost the Church tens of millions of euros.。
Hugues de Woillemont, a CEF spokesman, said all compensation claims would be examined by the new commission, including those dating back decades that are usually beyond statutes of limitation for prosecution.。
It will be presided over by Marie Derain de Vaucresson, a senior civil servant and legal expert specializing in child welfare.。
Widespread cases of sexual abuse in the Church have become one of the biggest challenges for Pope Francis, who expressed his "shame" after the French inquiry.。
Questions of changing doctrine still appeared to be a problem last month, however. Moulins-Beaufort drew fire after saying priests were not obliged to report sexual abuse if they heard about it during an act of confession. He was later forced to walk back his comments.。
Protecting children from sexual abuse is an "absolute priority" for the Church, the archbishop said after being called to a meeting with Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin – at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.。
Feature: Young Indonesians eager to pursue career as badminton player******
by Dames Alexander Sinaga, Wang Aona
JAKARTA, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Thirteen-year-old Muhammad Zylan Febrian is fighting tooth and nail to realize his dream of playing badminton for Indonesia in world arena in the future.
For more than four years, Febrian has been playing badminton routinely with a lot of trainings and intra-and-inter-regional matches, in the hope that he would enter Indonesia's national badminton team.
Badminton is a sport widely favored in Indonesia. Clubs and academies for badminton fans can be found in all regions of the Southeast Asian country, and matches are also held routinely in the world's fourth-most populous country.
Febrian has planned to become a badminton player after joining a club located in the eastern part of the national capital Jakarta in 2018, when Indonesia hosted the 18th Asian Games, in which Febrian's favorite national athlete Anthony Sinisuka Ginting helped the Indonesian team win the silver medal in the men's team event.
"My father enthusiastically watched the games on TV, and he soon registered me for a club afterwards so that I could get trained to become an athlete," he told Xinhua during a recent evening training in Jakarta.
Febrian is currently being trained three days a week at PB Raya badminton club, which was jointly founded by Achmad Rivai, a former national shuttler, and his two friends in 2013. He also conducts routine self-trainings at home in the southern part of Jakarta.
"The sports center is about 30 minutes away from home. My parents always take me here and watch me practicing," he said. "Managing my own time is a challenge," said Febrian, who is also a junior high school student.
Despite no wins for him in all formal matches he has gone through so far, Febrian always tells himself to keep up his strength training. He was once down in the mouth when he lost in his first inter-regional tournament in West Java province in 2019.
"It was intense and I was really nervous at that time. But I won't give up," he said. "Wish me going international and playing in matches in China someday," said Febrian, who idolizes China's retired badminton player Lin Dan.
Another junior badminton player at PB Raya, Cheisha Regustine Irmawati, also hopes to become a national athlete although she is aware she does not have a good chance of success.
The 16-year-old had been in some clubs for more than two years before joining PB Raya in February.
Her coach Ndaru Abrianto, a co-founder of the club, explained that big clubs in Indonesia tend to recruit players in their middle childhood.
"The competition within the circle of professional badminton players in Indonesia is getting much tighter now. Some even start playing at as early as six years old," Abrianto said, adding that some young players choose to take homeschool education in a bid to have more time for practices and trainings.
"Now, I just want to improve my techniques," said Irmawati, who idolizes Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, an Indonesian badminton player currently ranked world No. 1 in the men's doubles by the Badminton World Federation.
The PB Raya club has seen an increase in its membership after Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu won their first ever Olympic gold in badminton women's doubles in Tokyo this summer.
"The number of members in our club, which was previously about 20, has increased to 60 within one month," said Abrianto.
"Parents registered their kids here, because their kids want to be like their idols," he added.
Rivai explained that the enthusiasm for badminton in Indonesia, home to some 270 million people, is huge as more people are getting aware that Indonesia has made achievements in prestigious badminton competitions, such as Thomas Cup and Uber Cup, and world championships.
"These have made kids nowadays motivated to become athletes," he said.
Rivai mentioned that PB Raya, as a medium-sized club, is aiming to deliver more and more qualified players to be recruited by the national team or big clubs.
He is grateful to the Indonesian government, the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) and major badminton clubs, like PB Djarum, who have provided support to smaller clubs and have been actively seeking new talented players nationwide through competitions they organize.
"It is important to keep preparing potential successors of the senior and junior athletes so that we can keep team Indonesia at the highest podium," he said. Enditem
Lawmaker calls for block on Instagram after Meta allows hate speech against Russians******
Russia on Friday condemned Meta Platforms' move to temporarily lift a ban on calls for violence against the Russian military and leadership, and an influential parliamentarian called for Instagram to be blocked in Russia.
In a temporary change to its hate speech policy, Meta Platforms will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine conflict, according to internal e-mails seen by Reuters.
"Meta's aggressive and criminal policy leading to incitement of hatred and hostility toward Russians is outrageous," the Russian embassy in Washington said in a statement on Friday.
"The company's actions are yet another evidence of the information war without rules declared on our country," it said.
A Meta spokesperson confirmed it had temporarily eased its rules for political speech, allowing posts such as "death to the Russian invaders," although it would not allow calls for violence against Russian civilians.
Internal e-mails seen by Reuters showed it had also temporarily allowed posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Alexander Khinshtein, the head of the information policy and IT committee at the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, said the Duma would appeal to the Russian prosecutor general's office and Investigative Committee over the move. It was not clear what action it expected those bodies to take.
"If this is true, then of course Instagram should be blocked in Russia after Facebook," he said.
Facebook and Instagram are both owned by Meta. Last week, Russia said it was banning Facebook in the country in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on the platform.
"They should think about how they are using these platforms. They incite hatred, and even more, they call for the murder of Russian citizens," Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said in a post on VKontakte, Russia's answer to Facebook.