Fides News - Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aASIA/PHILIPPINES - The poor, teachers of hopehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59346-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_poor_teachers_of_hopehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59346-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_poor_teachers_of_hopeCebu – We learn and understand what hope and mercy are from the poor: is what Redemptorist Karl Gaspar says, Headmaster at St. Alphonsus Theology and Mission Institute in Davao City, and committed with his community in a mission among the indigenous communities in Western Davao. In a testimony sent to Fides and pronounced during the recent International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Fr. Gaspar said: "Those Indigenous are the poorest among the poor, who live in the most suburb area in our country. Abandoned by state agencies, they have no infrastructures for education or for healthcare in their villages. According to the Department of Health there is a very high rate of malnutrition among children in that area. They live on subsistence agriculture. They face hunger. Their last two harvest seasons were virtually destroyed by an infestation of rats. Now they cannot plant because of El Nino and drought which could last until the middle of this year".<br />The priest continued: "For 50 years of my life, I have traveled across Mindanao meeting the terrifying face of war, displacement, massive poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, disasters of all kinds. In many areas people are tempted to completely lose hope in the face of a truly heartbreaking reality".<br />But these poor are teachers of hope: "They have total trust in God. For them God hears their cries and nourishes their resilience. They not only pray on their knees, but they get up, sing and dance. Due to the fact that they are not infected by the disease of cultural alienation because of their indigenous roots, they enrich the liturgy with creative gestures, so full of hope". These poor people are example of life he concludes. <br />Sat, 06 Feb 2016 10:00:48 +0100ASIA/SYRIA - Three Christian villages in Khabur turned into training camps of Kurdish militiashttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59348-ASIA_SYRIA_Three_Christian_villages_in_Khabur_turned_into_training_camps_of_Kurdish_militiashttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59348-ASIA_SYRIA_Three_Christian_villages_in_Khabur_turned_into_training_camps_of_Kurdish_militiasHassake - The militias of the Kurdish People's Protection Units have set up three training camps in as many villages of the Khabur valley, previously inhabited by Assyrian Christians, fled en masse from their homes last February, before the offensive of the jihadists of the Islamic State . According to sources belonging to the Assyrian community, the largest training camp was placed in the village of Tel Nasri. The Kurdish militia, trained by Russian military personnel, occupied the houses abandoned by Christians. Only 4 or 5 of the 180 Christian families in Tel Nasri had returned to their homes after the jihadists of Daesh had withdrawn from the Khabur valley.<br />The YPG militias represent the military arm of the Kurdish Democratic Union , the Kurdish party that represents the Syrian branch of the PKK. YPG leaders have assured that the villages will be occupied only for the time needed for training, but what prevails in the local Assyrian community is the impression that this promise will not be fulfilled in a short period of time. <br />Sat, 06 Feb 2016 10:07:58 +0100AMERICA/MEXICO - Children missing in Veracruz: people do not report them for fear of organized crimehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59349-AMERICA_MEXICO_Children_missing_in_Veracruz_people_do_not_report_them_for_fear_of_organized_crimehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59349-AMERICA_MEXICO_Children_missing_in_Veracruz_people_do_not_report_them_for_fear_of_organized_crimeVeracruz - "There are many cases of kidnapping. First there was talk of 50 but it seems that at least 400 have disappeared: But most of their families have not reported the kidnappings for fear", said the father of one of the missing children, victims of drug trafficking and organized crime, who was present yesterday at the Tierra Blanca celebration. Relatives of victims of the missing children gathered at the Virgen del Carmen Parish and then took part in the Mass celebrated by the Bishop of Veracruz, His Exc. Mgr. Luis Felipe Gallardo Martín del Campo, S.D.B.. The Church has become the only point of reference for many families in search of faith and hope.<br /><br />Mgr. Gallardo Martín del Campo read the list of the 23 missing persons in Tierra Blanca in recent weeks. "Some time ago it was known that the armed gang of guerrillas in Sierra Guerrero enlisted people by force. Now the fact that drug trafficking and organized crime have entered in our society there is no control, the justice system has been destroyed, there is violence everywhere. And now the authorities do not know how to stop the problem", reported the Bishop. "Not even the Church is free of this violence" continued the Bishop. "We have had more than 5 cases of abductions: priests kidnapped and then released in the middle of the fields, simply to steal their car. Two seminarians were kidnapped but luckily found: our parishes have to deal with robberies and extortions on a daily basis". <br />Sat, 06 Feb 2016 12:01:16 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Blasphemy: issue for the judiciary and the governmenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59351-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Blasphemy_issue_for_the_judiciary_and_the_governmenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59351-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Blasphemy_issue_for_the_judiciary_and_the_governmentLahore - "The issue of the blasphemy law has become a legal issue, rather than religious. Parliament must take this issue seriously. The fight against hate speech becomes impossible to win if there exists a blasphemy law which is technically defective. It is the responsibility of the government to implement appropriate measures to tackle abuse. The government will do a great service to this country if it commissions an objective study on the abuse of the blasphemy laws, and makes it public as soon as possible": this is what is said in a note sent to Fides by the Catholic Peter Jacob, Director of the Centre for Social Justice in Pakistan in a period in which there is a heated debate on blasphemy laws in the country, the three articles of the criminal Code that punish with life imprisonment or death penalty, the vilification of Islam.<br />Jacob recalls the ruling of the Supreme Court that in November 2015 excluded that "criticising or challenging blasphemy laws is also an act of blasphemy against Islam ", a legal position which allowed in society, religious communities, the media and in politics to reopen the debate over the so-called "black law".<br />The Catholic scholar highlights significant data: a recent research carried out by the "Legal Aid Society" in Karachi showed that the majority of reported cases of blasphemy were based on false charges arising from ownership issues or other personal vendettas. Another search of the "International Commission of Jurists" said that in 15 cases out of 25 acquittals by the High Court, blasphemy trials, were "fabricated", while the acquittal in 9 cases was reached due to defects in the investigation and in 2 cases for reasons of insanity. <br />Sat, 06 Feb 2016 12:46:13 +0100AFRICA/EGYPT - The Diocese of Samalot is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of the martyrdom of 21 Copts in Libyahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59350-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Diocese_of_Samalot_is_preparing_to_celebrate_the_first_anniversary_of_the_martyrdom_of_21_Copts_in_Libyahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59350-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Diocese_of_Samalot_is_preparing_to_celebrate_the_first_anniversary_of_the_martyrdom_of_21_Copts_in_LibyaSamalot - The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Samalot is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of the martyrdom of 21 Copts killed in Libya by jihadists of the Islamic State . Celebrations - refer Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides - will culminate in the solemn liturgy on Tuesday 16 February. In the days preceding and those following, Bishops and priests will celebrate Masses and hold prayer meetings and reflection in the diocese, which most of the Coptic victims of the massacre perpetrated in a Libyan coastal town belonged to, whose video was posted on jihadist websites.<br />The 21 Coptic Egyptians were kidnapped in Libya in early January 2015. The video of their beheading was put online by jihadists sites on February 15.<br />That video - remarked on that occasion Anba Antonios Aziz Mina Coptic Catholic Bishop of Guizeh - "was a dreadful cinematic staging, with the intention of spreading terror. During their barbaric execution, the matyrs repeated their last words: 'Lord Jesus Christ'. They entrusted themselves to Him". <br />Sat, 06 Feb 2016 12:52:05 +0100EUROPE/POLAND - Holy Childhood "Star Singers" are received by President Dudahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59339-EUROPE_POLAND_Holy_Childhood_Star_Singers_are_received_by_President_Dudahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59339-EUROPE_POLAND_Holy_Childhood_Star_Singers_are_received_by_President_DudaWarsaw - The President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda and his wife received the Holy Childhood "Star Singers", from the parish of Santa Barbara and John Paul II primary school in Leczna, of the archdiocese of Lublin. The singers were accompanied by their animators and representatives of the National Directorate of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Poland, led by the National Director, Mgr. Tomasz Atlas. Fr. Wojciech Rebeta, diocesan director of the PMS of the Archdiocese of Lublin was also present.<br />During the meeting, which according to information sent to Agenzia Fides was held on February 1, at the presidential palace, President Duda thanked the children for the opportunity given to listen to their songs and enjoy their beautiful representation. He, therefore, appreciated the efforts of the young missionaries and their willingness to bring help to those in need. "It is a gift of strength and also a great, magnificent gift of the heart", he stressed, thanking the Holy Childhood coordinators for their support to the missions. The help brought by the Star Singers often saves lives, noted President Duda, who also recalled the importance of the commitment of Holy Childhood in the Year of Mercy, "and mercy means paying attention to other peoples needs and doing good to others - said the President -. That is why what you do every year is wonderful and we thank you very much". <br />Fri, 05 Feb 2016 09:54:13 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - The Bishops: "Do not create panic, together we will be able to defeat the disease"http://www.fides.org/en/news/59340-AMERICA_BRAZIL_The_Bishops_Do_not_create_panic_together_we_will_be_able_to_defeat_the_diseasehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59340-AMERICA_BRAZIL_The_Bishops_Do_not_create_panic_together_we_will_be_able_to_defeat_the_diseaseBrasilia - "With great collective effort, involving all sectors of society, we will be able to defeat these diseases that affect, without distinction, the entire Brazilian population": reads the message of the Pastoral Council of the National Episcopal Conference of Bishops of Brazil , published by the Presidency yesterday, February 4. In the message, sent to Fides, the CNBB invites the whole Church in Brazil to continue and intensify the fight against the mosquito aedes aegyti, which transmits dengue, the zika virus and chikungunya.<br />Although a probable connection with cases of microcephaly has been confirmed, the CNBB warns that this disease "should not lead to panic". <br />It also stresses that such a situation "does not justify support for abortion in cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups propose and are organizing themselves to bringing the matter to the Federal Supreme Court".<br />The World Health Organization launched a global alarm about the spread of zika . Brazil is the country that has so far the largest number of cases. The government has mobilized the army and, according to the latest news, the Ministry of Health announced that 404 cases of children born with microcephaly have been recorded. <br />Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:36:21 +0100AFRICA/DR CONGO - "National dialogue" promoted by Kabila struggles to kick offhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59342-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_National_dialogue_promoted_by_Kabila_struggles_to_kick_offhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59342-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_National_dialogue_promoted_by_Kabila_struggles_to_kick_offKinshasa - On January 16, the President of the African Union Commission of the, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, appointed Edem Kojo, former Prime Minister of Togo, as envoy of the AU to conduct the necessary consultations to start "national political dialogue" announced by President Joseph Kabila in order to find solutions on how to solve certain financial, political, logistical problems in view of the organization in the upcoming elections.<br />The opposition party members of the Opposition Dynamics, the G7 and the Citizen Front 2016 have agreed to meet Edem Kodjo, even to inform him of the reasons for their refusal to participate in the dialogue.<br />"Their position is clear: respect for the Constitution passes through the organization of presidential and national legislative elections within the time limits provided for by the Constitution, ie by the end of November 2016. This implies the postponement of local elections after 2016", explains a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Peace Network for Congo.<br />Their main objective is to ensure democratic alternation to state leaders, in accordance with the articles of the Constitution according to which the President of the Republic is elected for a term of five years, renewable once.<br />They fear that the conclusions and recommendations of the dialogue sanctions the indefinite postponement of the elections and, therefore, the extension of the mandate of the current President of the Republic or even the legitimacy of a possible third term, in violation of the Constitution. <br />Their strategy is the refusal of dialogue proposed by President Kabila. Such a refusal would be for them the only way to avoid falling into the trap of having to endorse conclusions and recommendations which are not shared. They are waiting for the end of the current and last constitutional mandate of President Joseph Kabila to enact his final illegality and illegitimacy as Head of State.<br />This contrasts with the strategy of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress of Etienne Tshisekedi, who following the numerous irregularities and electoral fraud of 2011, has never recognized the results of those elections. The UDPS believes that dialogue should not be convened and moderated by Joseph Kabila, but by the United Nations. It is not at all clear how the UDPS intends to solve the famous "election dispute of 2011"; some members of the party are in favor of a transition period with new leaders.<br />"The Congolese are confused. The only thing that is known is his will to enforce the constitution, to change the current leaders of the institutions, to move from a façade of democracy to genuine democracy based on justice and not impunity, honesty and not on corruption, an economy which puts social issues at the center of its concerns and not on an economy centered on the looting of the Country's natural resources by multinationals, with internal complicity of certain political, military and Congolese entrepreneurial figures" concludes the note. <br />Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:02:02 +0100AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - Bishops' Message before the violence that affects the countryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59343-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Bishops_Message_before_the_violence_that_affects_the_countryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59343-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Bishops_Message_before_the_violence_that_affects_the_countrySan Salvador - At the conclusion of the Ordinary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador, which took place from January 25 to 27, a "Message of the Bishops before the violence that the country is suffering" has just been published, in which the Bishops express their deep concern about the current situation that El Salvador is going through. <br />"As Pastors we feel powerless, but we cannot remain silent. A person’s life is sacred ... Often criminal weapons exceed those of the forces responsible for public safety and, often, these groups operate with impunity ... we condemn the arms trade that feeds crime", denounce the Bishops in the text sent to Fides.<br />"It is absolutely unacceptable that criminals continue to enrich themselves at the cost of sacrifice and suffering of honest, hard-working people, through theft and extortion. It hurts the soul that every year thousands of Salvadorans have to escape from violence in order to safeguard their life, migrating to other areas or countries. Abandonment of their properties, disintegration of the family and the deterioration of their identity are among the most serious consequences", reads the message.<br />"Faced with this difficult situation - the Bishops conclude - we want to encourage everyone to put our full trust in God and to work for peace, according to the call of Pope Francis for World Day of Peace this year: 'Overcome indifference and win peace'." <br />Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:23:22 +0100AFRICA/MALI - The attack against the UN is part of the jihadist strategy to destabilize the entire regionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59344-AFRICA_MALI_The_attack_against_the_UN_is_part_of_the_jihadist_strategy_to_destabilize_the_entire_regionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59344-AFRICA_MALI_The_attack_against_the_UN_is_part_of_the_jihadist_strategy_to_destabilize_the_entire_regionBamako - "The UN Timbuktu base was almost certainly attacked by an Islamist group, because the Tuareg rebel group are committed to respecting the peace agreements signed with the government", says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Edmond Dembele, Secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Mali, where there is an ongoing attack against the UN Mission base in Timbuktu.<br />"At the moment there is no fighting between the Tuareg groups and the Malian army or MINUSMA, so this attack is certainly the work of armed Islamist groups" says Fr. Dembele. "It is probably the same group that attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, capital of Mali in November, and the Splendid hotel and restaurant "Le Cappuccino" in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso on January 15". "Their goal is to destabilize not only Mali but the entire sub-region. It is no coincidence that they attack MINUSMA in Mali which is a stabilizing force".<br />"The threat has now reached Senegal, whose government these days has tightened security measures after the Senegalese police arrested several people a few weeks ago accused of being linked to jihadist" says the priest. "The sensitive points of the capital, Dakar, and of the rest of the country are under the strict control of the security forces".<br />"We are therefore able to counteract a project of destabilization of the entire sub-region, in front of which our countries are organizing themselves. We have the hope to make it fall through", said Fr. Dembele. <br />Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:36:15 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - Lebanese Churches concerned about religious discrimination with regards to access to functions and public resourceshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59345-ASIA_LEBANON_Lebanese_Churches_concerned_about_religious_discrimination_with_regards_to_access_to_functions_and_public_resourceshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59345-ASIA_LEBANON_Lebanese_Churches_concerned_about_religious_discrimination_with_regards_to_access_to_functions_and_public_resourcesBeirut - The Maronite Bishops express their concern over the imbalance that is being produced regarding access to public offices and state financial resources, with silent discrimination that see Christians penalized. The concern emerged during the last monthly meeting of the Assembly of Maronite Bishops, who met on Wednesday, February 3 at the patriarchal see in Bkerke, under the presidency of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai.<br />For years - denounce the Bishops - a silent erosion of the Christian presence in state roles is being produced, to the benefit of Shiite and Sunni components. Recently, obvious manifestations of this phenomenon took place in the hierarchy of the Ministry of Finance. At the same time, as documented by recent journalistic investigations, only 27 percent of projects recently implemented by the Ministry for public works have affected areas inhabited by the Christian population.<br />The Maronite Bishops see a serious pitfall for national coexistence in this phenomenon and invite politicians and institutions to abide by Article 95 of the Constitution, where it is written that different religious communities must be "equally represented" in the public administration" . In recent days, similar concerns were expressed also by Greek-Melkite Church.<br />In the statement released at the end of the Maronite Synodal Assembly, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Maronite Bishops also see the rapprochement of Maronite political forces, such as the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement as a positive sign, expressing the hope that this process favors the end of the institutional paralysis in which the Country has been struggling since May 2014, and will eventually be able to elect a new President. <br />Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:53:21 +0100ASIA/HOLY LAND - Arab Christians mourn the death of Geries Khouryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59341-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Arab_Christians_mourn_the_death_of_Geries_Khouryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59341-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Arab_Christians_mourn_the_death_of_Geries_KhouryBethlehem - Arab Christians, as well as many friends from all over the world mourn the death of Geries Khoury, director of the al Liqa Centre for inter-religious dialogue, based in Bethlehem. Even the Assembly of Catholic ordinary Bishops in Holy Land expressed in a statement its condolences for the sudden death of the famous exponent of the Palestinian Catholic laity, who died on Wednesday, February 3 in Rome, where he was leading a delegation of al-Liqa to attend an audience with Pope Francis. For decades – says the statement of the Catholic Bishops of Holy Land, sent to Agenzia Fides - Catholic Melkite Geries Khoury, an Arab Christian and Israeli citizen, was involved in the Muslim-Christian dialogue in the ecumenical dialogue and in the promotion of friendship among Christians, Muslims and Jews. His speeches and his publications were focused on the events of the Arab Christians living in Holy Land, often marked by fatigue and suffering. He had also tried to outline a "contextual Palestinian theology" that would take charge of the Arab-Israeli conflict, seeking ways of peace and unmask "those who use religion and God to justify wars or violence or occupation".<br />Geries Koury was born 64 years ago in Fassuta, an Arab village in northern Israel, near the border with Lebanon, where he had also exercised the office of mayor from 1996 to 2001. In the seventies he studied in Rome, where he had arrived with the intention - later abandoned - to become a priest, and had also obtained the license in theology and philosophy at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. During that period, he also made friends with many young Catholics who bore witness to the Gospel in the State University of Rome. <br />Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:02:09 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Blasphemy law, the Church hopes for an imminent changehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59335-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Blasphemy_law_the_Church_hopes_for_an_imminent_changehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59335-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Blasphemy_law_the_Church_hopes_for_an_imminent_changeLahore - "We welcome the reflection and steps taken by the Council regarding the ideology and we hope that an amendment of the blasphemy law, to prevent further abuse, is imminent. Already the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, during the meeting with us Bishops and other religious leaders last year, informed us that he would try to do his best. The abuse of the law, used for other purposes, hurts many Muslim and Christian Pakistani citizens, and all religions, unjustly destroying the lives of many innocent people. We hope for a change for the better": This is what His Exc. Mgr. Sebastian Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore told Agenzia Fides, talking of possible changes to the blasphemy law, consisting of three articles of the criminal Code that punish with life sentence or death penalty, the contempt of the Islamic religion.<br />In recent days the President of the Islamic Ideology Council, Muhammad Khan Sherani, expressed a willingness to review the blasphemy law. In a country where criticism to Islam is a highly sensitive topic, this step was for years impossible, and even publicly discussing it was a taboo. Sherani could reopen the debate and give Parliament and the Government recommendations that propose changes considered necessary to prevent abuse of the law. According to Nasir Saeed, a Christian activist and director of the NGO CLAAS , committed to defending the rights of Christians in Pakistan, "President Sherani’s words are encouraging, given that until a few years ago one could not even discuss this law". <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:16:50 +0100AFRICA/KENYA - The Catholic Church welcomes the President's decision to reject the proposed Religious Societies Rules 2015, intended to regulate Churcheshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59334-AFRICA_KENYA_The_Catholic_Church_welcomes_the_President_s_decision_to_reject_the_proposed_Religious_Societies_Rules_2015_intended_to_regulate_Churcheshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59334-AFRICA_KENYA_The_Catholic_Church_welcomes_the_President_s_decision_to_reject_the_proposed_Religious_Societies_Rules_2015_intended_to_regulate_ChurchesNairobi - The Catholic Church in Kenya welcomes the decision of President Uhuru Kenyatta to reject the proposed Religious Societies Rules 2015, that had sparked protests by Catholic Bishops and leaders of other confessions .<br />In an interview with Waumini News Today, Fr. Daniel Rono, Secretary General of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, said that President Kenyatta’s decision to withdraw the proposed rules was reached after a successful consultative deliberation between religious leaders and the government.<br />While acknowledging the government’s concern about misuse of the freedom to worship by fraudulent religious leaders who extort money from worshipers and radicalize the youth, Father Rono said religious leaders were keen to adopt self-regulation<br />The religious leaders drawn from Muslim, Hindu, National Council of Churches of Kenya and evangelical Churches resolved to convene series of meetings to discuss the matter further and give the way forward to government Muslim, Hindu, Catholic and Protestant religious leaders and evangelical churches, have agreed to meet to discuss the issue. <br />President Kenyatta said he expects the outcome to be a development of firm and fair regulations that uphold the sacrosanct principles of religious freedom that underpin the democratic ideals as guaranteed by the Kenyan constitution <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:17:55 +0100ASIA/SRI LANKA - Cardinal Ranjith: "Peace and unity, the most important values for the nation"http://www.fides.org/en/news/59331-ASIA_SRI_LANKA_Cardinal_Ranjith_Peace_and_unity_the_most_important_values_for_the_nationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59331-ASIA_SRI_LANKA_Cardinal_Ranjith_Peace_and_unity_the_most_important_values_for_the_nationColombo - "Peace, unity, harmonious coexistence among all communities present in society": these are the most important values to be remembered on Independence Day in Sri Lanka, which is celebrated on February 4. This is what Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo underlines in a message sent to Agenzia Fides, in which he exhorts the nation to look to the future, after overcoming the traumas of a long war.<br />Cardinal Ranjith recalled: "It is well known that we could have reached independence by defeating the British colonialism thanks to the efforts of people, united by a single goal. We did not manage to achieve it because our country was divided on the basis of ethnicity and political views".<br />"The priority need right now - he continued - is that all political and religious leaders work together to develop the country and to protect the rights, national culture, freedoms, to build justice, equality, the truth and coexistence. It is everyone’s duty, politicians and ordinary citizens, to carry out their responsibilities and their duties with maximum commitment to achieve that noble goal".<br />"Let us pray to our Almighty God - concludes the message – so that he gives us the strength and the privilege to carryout the task of further strengthening the independence that our country has gained". <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:27:26 +0100AMERICA/HAITI - Political crisis: the Church urges to find an agreement in conformity with the Constitutionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59332-AMERICA_HAITI_Political_crisis_the_Church_urges_to_find_an_agreement_in_conformity_with_the_Constitutionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59332-AMERICA_HAITI_Political_crisis_the_Church_urges_to_find_an_agreement_in_conformity_with_the_ConstitutionPort au Prince - The Bishops of Haiti say they are concerned about the situation in the country and have asked politicians and the authorities to reach an agreement as soon as possible to avoid the deterioration of the crisis.<br /><br />"All political and state actors have to work to find a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution to the crisis with wisdom, insight, moderation and patriotism", says the statement of the Haitian Bishops, published yesterday and sent to Fides.<br /><br />"The Haitian Episcopal Conference strongly encourages all the country's forces to come together in order to reach an agreement based on the Constitution and the wisdom of Haiti in order to ensure the continuity of the State and the political stability of the country in respect of life, property and fundamental rights of the human person", the statement said.<br /><br />Faced with the failure of the agreement for the conduct of the ballot , the Catholic Church invites everyone, authorities and population, to collaborate in the solution of the crisis and not to incite violence in order not to aggravate the already fragile situation in Country. "CEH strongly encourages all to the consolidation of national unity, the promotion of democratic culture and the pursuit of greater well-being of the nation", the document concludes.<br /><br />There is an uncontrollable situation after the main opposition candidate Jude Celestin withdrew from the election race leaving only the candidate in office, Jovenel Moise and after violent protests to demand the government to postpone the runoff scheduled for 24 January. The main political forces, according to the local press, want an agreement before February 6, the establishment of a government of national unity and the holding of presidential elections on April 24. <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:37:10 +0100AFRICA/EGYPT - Coptic Patriarch Tawadros begins his visit to the dioceses: let us say no to domestic violencehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59336-AFRICA_EGYPT_Coptic_Patriarch_Tawadros_begins_his_visit_to_the_dioceses_let_us_say_no_to_domestic_violencehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59336-AFRICA_EGYPT_Coptic_Patriarch_Tawadros_begins_his_visit_to_the_dioceses_let_us_say_no_to_domestic_violenceCairo - Domestic violence, whose victims are mainly women and children, represent a devastating social phenomenon that has severe effects on people's lives and also on civil society. This is what Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II said during his catechesis and prayer meeting on Wednesday, at the church of St. George, in the suburb of Guizeh, attended by thousands of faithful. In his catechesis, citing the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount , the Primate of the Orthodox Coptic Church stressed that marital and family problems "are to be solved with gentleness", following the evangelical teaching of meekness, essential characteristic of the way of life of those who follow Jesus. During his catechesis, Patriarch Tawadros announced that, from now on, he will visit a different diocese every week, to meet faithful and pastors, and know the needs and initiatives of the various local communities. <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:13:24 +0100AMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Mgr. De la Rosa "We complain about corruption, but we forget about work and honesty"http://www.fides.org/en/news/59338-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Mgr_De_la_Rosa_We_complain_about_corruption_but_we_forget_about_work_and_honestyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59338-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Mgr_De_la_Rosa_We_complain_about_corruption_but_we_forget_about_work_and_honestySanto Domingo - The Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros , His Exc. Mgr. Ramón Benito de la Rosa y Carpio, criticized those who have acquired wealth illegally and quickly, and at the same time want to belittle serious and honest work. The Archbishop commented about the situation in the country.<br />"We all complain about corruption, but people forget work and honesty", said Mgr. De la Rosa, stressing that it is very sad to know that there are people who today do not want to work honestly. The Archbishop insisted that it is very unpleasant to see change of values in the Dominican Republic, where many people want to get rich with minimal effort and very quickly.<br />According to data collected by Fides, the Dominican society is becoming a negative social model, characterized by violence and organized crime, there is also an increase in crime in neighborhoods and even in schools. Young people prefer the easy way of organized crime to study and honest work. <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:14:18 +0100AFRICA/BURUNDI - UN report: Rwanda trains Burundian refugees in order to overthrow President Nkurunzizahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59337-AFRICA_BURUNDI_UN_report_Rwanda_trains_Burundian_refugees_in_order_to_overthrow_President_Nkurunzizahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59337-AFRICA_BURUNDI_UN_report_Rwanda_trains_Burundian_refugees_in_order_to_overthrow_President_NkurunzizaBujumbura - A report by UN experts accuses Rwanda of training and arming Burundian refugees welcomed in its territory in order to overthrow the President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza.<br />The group of UN experts who are investigating the violations of sanctions on armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has collected the testimonies of 18 Burundian rebels based in South Kivu, in eastern DRC to the border with Burundi, who claim of having been recruited in the refuge camp in Mahama in eastern Rwanda. The rebels say that they received arms and military training for two months by the Rwandan army instructors and to have seen at least four military units of 100 men each in training during their training in a Rwandan forest.<br />After the initial training, the rebels were taken to South Kivu Congolese with false documents obtained by Rwandan authorities. The government in Kigali has denied the charges saying that this report undermines the credibility of the UN Expert Group.<br />According to Agenzia Fides sources at least three groups of guerrillas who oppose the third term of President Nkurunziza have appeared in Burundi. <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:14:52 +0100ASIA/TURKEY - Christian Associations react to false rumors about the discovery of weapons in a church in Diyarbakirhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59333-ASIA_TURKEY_Christian_Associations_react_to_false_rumors_about_the_discovery_of_weapons_in_a_church_in_Diyarbakirhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/59333-ASIA_TURKEY_Christian_Associations_react_to_false_rumors_about_the_discovery_of_weapons_in_a_church_in_DiyarbakirDiyarbakir - The Federation of Assyrian associations have reacted harshly to the rumors - circulated in recent days on the Turkish media - that a cache of weapons and ammunition belonging to Kurdish armed groups was discovered by the army in Ankara at the Syrian Orthodox church of Santa Maria, in Diyarbakir. "More lies, another disgrace, still an operation aimed to hit a target", wrote the international network of associations linked to the sire and Assyrian Christian communities scattered throughout the world in a statement. "We" says the statement sent to Agenzia Fides, "condemn this hostile attitude, which affects all Syrians and which was intended to indicate a target. We invite all members of the government, especially the Minister of the Interior and the governor of Diyarbakir, to take the necessary steps and to punish those responsible". At the moment, there are no official statements that reflect the media rumors about the alleged discovery of weapons in the Syrian Orthodox church in Diyarbakir.<br />In late January , the church was damaged during the Turkish military offensive against the positions of the Kurdish Workers' Party . The damage was caused by the bombings carried out by the Turkish army. <br />Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:21:02 +0100