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Papal surprise: Laos gets its first cardinal

Bishop Ling, 73, is an ethnic Khamu, a hill tribe from northern Laos and southern China.  In 2000, Pope John Paul made him apostolic vicar of Pakse in southern Laos. Catholics in Laos told that Bishop Ling is both diligent and kind to the local community. As head of Pakse Vicariate, Bishop Ling has taken a keen interest in environmental issues, opposing the rapid deforestation by well-connected companies that pushed villagers from their land and created a spiral of social problems.