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Australian PM expresses sympathy for victims after cardinal's sex abuse appeal dismissed

BANGKOK - Thai Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan said on Wednesday that the latest spate of explosions in Thailand's deep southern province of Yala were unrelated with the Bangkok explosions earlier this month.

At least eight civilians were injured in a spate of explosions targeting power poles and an ATM in several districts on Tuesday.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the violent incidents, but security officials believed they were perpetrated by separatist insurgents to create unrest and undermine the provincial economy.

The explosion at a power pole on a local road in Yala Province caused a widespread blackout for several hours.

Two passers-by were injured and rushed to the provincial hospital for treatment.

Police also said that several car tyres were set alight in Penang district of Yala Province.

In Tharn To district of Yala, an ATM and a convenience store were hit by explosions, causing injuries to six civilians.

Gen Prawit who takes charge of national security in Thailand said he received intelligence report regarding the Yala explosion, but declined to give further details to the local media.

The insurgency in predominantly Buddhist Thailand's restive South has claimed the lives of nearly 7,000 people since 2004 and peace talks have largely stalled.

On Aug 2, six small bombs exploded at three locations in Bangkok, injuring four people and rattling the Thai capital as it hosted a Southeast Asian foreign ministers' meeting.

CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed sympathy for victims of child sexual abuse after Cardinal George Pell lost his appeal against sex abuse convictions.

Victoria's Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning upheld Pell's conviction on five charges.

Speaking shortly after the verdict was delivered, Morrison told reporters in Canberra that Pell will be stripped of his Order of Australia honor, which he was awarded in 2005 for "service to the Catholic church in Australia."

"My sympathies are with the victims of child sexual abuse not just on this day, but on every single day," Morrison said.

"I would urge Australians who find themselves reliving these experiences to reach out to those around them, to reach out to services that are there for them.

"The courts have done their job, they have rendered their verdict. That's the system of justice in this country and that must be respected."

Catherine King, the federal Member of Parliament (MP) for Ballarat, the town where Pell committed his offences in the 1990s, welcomed Wednesday's decision on social media.

"My thoughts today are with the so many survivors of abuse across Australia and in my community of Ballarat. Justice has been served by your courage," she wrote.

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