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Manoj Pradhan, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and leader of anti-Christian violence that rocked India’s eastern Orissa state in 2008--more than 90 Christians were killed and more than 5,000 Christian houses and 300 churches and Christian institutions were looted and torched--was convicted of murder in the killing Christian Porikit Digal June 29. He received a seven-year prison sentence. ♦ Father Peter Phan, professor of Catholic social thought at Georgetown University, received the John Courtney Murray Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America during the organization’s annual convention in Cleveland June 12. ♦ New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond has applauded Louisiana legislators for declaring a day of prayer for recovery from the oil spillJune 20. ♦ The Diocese of Wilmington, Del., plans to appeal a federal bankruptcy judge's ruling that the funds deposited by parishes, schools and other Catholic entities into its investment fund are property of the diocese and subject to distribution to victims of clergy sexual abuse. Judge Christopher Sontchi said in his June 28 decision that the entire $120 million pooled investment account held in the name of the diocese should be considered diocesan assets, even though the diocese said it has only $45 million of its own money in the account. ♦ Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Swiss Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel to be the new president of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, succeeding German Cardinal Walter Kasper, 77, who has been at the council for 11 years—first as secretary, then as president since 2001.

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