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On Sept. 3 Sheila Gilbert became the first woman president of the National Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. • Havana’s Ladies in White asked the Catholic Church on Aug. 31 to mediate on their behalf with Cuba’s President Raul Castro to counter rising political harassment of their movement to free political prisoners. • About 1.4 million people showed up for World Youth Day’s overnight vigil and closing Mass on Aug. 20-21 at Cuatro Vientos Airport in Madrid; but organizers had planned for only about a million, and more than 250,000 pilgrims were turned away. • Australian bishops welcomed a High Court decision on Aug. 31 that granted a permanent injunction against the deportation of 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia. • The Catholic Conference of Ohio declared itself “neutral” on a November referendum on a new state law that seeks to diminish union collective bargaining rights. • The California Catholic Conference has asked Californians to call Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. to urge his veto of a bill that would allow children 12 and older to be vaccinated against sexually transmitted disease without parental consent or knowledge.