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  • ROME, August 12, 2009-- The president of Etica Bank in Italy, Fabio Salviato, said this week that the new encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI, "Caritas in Veritate," is a guide for redefining the world economic system.

    In an interview with Vatican Radio, the 51 year-old executive and author said the encyclical is a "guide that can enlighten us in this phase of individualization of a new economic and financial system."

    He noted that the new encyclical calls for "a cultural change founded upon the centrality of the person."

  • SEOUL, June 19 -- South and North Korea failed to reach an agreement at Friday's talks over Pyongyang's demands for wage and rent hikes at a joint industrial venture, but agreed to meet again next month, a Seoul official said.

    The two sides will hold a follow-up meeting on July 2, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said in a briefing.

  • VATICAN, June 24, 2009-- The Vatican confirmed today Benedict XVI will receive in audience U.S. President Barack Obama next month.

    The meeting, set for the afternoon of July 10, will be the first between the Pontiff and the new president.

    Obama's Vatican visit will take place within the context of his participation in the Group of Eight summit, which will be held July 8-10 in L'Aquila, Italy.

  • ROME, May 7, 2009-- The newly premiered movie "Angels and Demons" is little more than "harmless entertainment," with many factual errors and little cultural value, according to the Vatican newspaper.

    Two dispassionate articles in L'Osservatore Romano May 7 may disappoint the film's promoters, who had sought a conflict with the Vatican of the type that surrounded "The Da Vinci Code" in 2006. Both films are based on books by author Dan Brown.

  • SEOUL, May 19 (PNA/Yonhap) -- Leaders of the world's 80 largest cities that produce a majority of the earth's harmful greenhouse gases opened an international forum in Seoul Tuesday, calling on governments to swiftly chart strategies to fight global warming.

    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who gave the keynote speech during the opening ceremony of the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in Seoul, warned of fatal consequences unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by up to 80 percent by 2050.

  • BRUSSELS, Aug. 14 -- The European Union (EU) on Thursday stepped up sanctions against Myanmar by adding members of the judiciary responsible for the verdict of Aung San Suu Kyi to the existing list of officials subject to a travel ban and to an assets freeze.

    Moreover, the blacklist is extended to cover the assets freeze to enterprises that are owned and controlled by these officials or by persons associated with them, said a statement of the council of the EU, which represents the 27 EU member states.

  • WASHINGTON, June 19 -- The United States will, in accordance with its agreement with Iraq, withdraw combat troops from all Iraqi urban areas, U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Christopher Hill said here on Thursday.

    "We signed that (security) agreement and we will absolutely comply fully with it. And that means pulling all combat forces out of the ... cities," Hill told reporters.

  • VATICAN CITY, April 6, 2009 -Residents of L'Aquila, Italy are working to recover from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that has left 92 dead and some 1,500 people injured. Upon hearing of the disaster, Pope Benedict sent a telegram to the local archbishop offering his prayers for the victims and expressing his solidarity.

  • UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called on Member States to uphold press freedoms and support the work of independent media.

    Speaking at a United Nations Headquarters event in observance of World Press Freedom Day, marked annually on May 3, Ban said a free press contributed to democracy and stability.

    "At a time of economic crisis and other serious threats, it is crucial to support a free and independent media so that people can better understand the events that shape their lives," he said.

  • NEW DELHI, May 15 (PNA/Bernama) -- India has revealed that it has destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile, keeping its promise to the international community to completely eliminate its weapons by March this year.

    The IANS (Indo-Asian News Service) reported that India informed the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that it had destroyed its stockpile on March 26, fulfilling its obligation to the arms control agreement.