Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usAMERICA/BOLIVIA - "Bolivia is not out of the global crisis"; Bishops fear repercussions on the poor and excludedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37654-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Bolivia_is_not_out_of_the_global_crisis_Bishops_fear_repercussions_on_the_poor_and_excludedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37654-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Bolivia_is_not_out_of_the_global_crisis_Bishops_fear_repercussions_on_the_poor_and_excludedLa Paz - The President of the Episcopal Conference of Bolivia , His Exc. Mgr. Oscar Aparicio, Archbishop of Cochabamba, has warned about the possible effects of the global economic crisis in the country, and expressed concern about corruption and the failure of justice, which he accused of being "highly politicized". Before the slowdown in global economic growth, "Bolivia is without exception , and this causes a certain fear", said Mgr. Aparicio in a note sent to Fides.<br />Opening the annual meeting of the Bishops of Bolivia, on April 15, the Archbishop of Cochabamba expressed the concern of Bishops regarding the possible consequences of the economic slowdown, and the consequences it could have "especially on those who are always punished in every crisis, namely the poorest and excluded from the development".<br />Mgr. Aparicio asked the Bishops not to pander to the attempts of politicians to justify corruption and contribute to its eradication, because this is expanding strongly, both in Latin America and in Bolivia. According to the local press, Bolivia expects to maintain an economic growth of 5%, one of the strongest in Latin America this year, according to forecasts of the Ministry of Economy.<br />The 99th Assembly of Bishops concludes today, Friday 17, with a Mass at the Cathedral. The main themes of the meeting were the Pope's visit and the situation of the Church in the country. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Shots fired against a Catholic school in Lahore, three injuredhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37653-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Shots_fired_against_a_Catholic_school_in_Lahore_three_injuredhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37653-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Shots_fired_against_a_Catholic_school_in_Lahore_three_injuredLahore - This morning, gunmen opened fire on a school in Lahore, the "St Francis High School", a Catholic high school located in the district of Bahar, in the Anarkali area. This was reported by sources in the local Church to Agenzia Fides. <br />A student and two security guards were injured and were taken to hospital. The reasons of the attack have not yet been established, and investigations are being carried out. The authorities closed both the "St. Francis High School", and the "St Mary High School".<br />"The new attack witnesses the deterioration of the situation of Christians in Pakistan and spreads even more fear" says Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill to Fides.<br />The "St Francis High School" was founded by the Catholic Church in 1842 and was the first Catholic school in Lahore. The Pakistani government nationalized the institute in 1972. The school is considered one of the best high schools in the city.<br />Of the 17 Catholic schools existing in Lahore, in 2004, with the leadership of Pervez Musharraf, 16 were returned to the Church, except the St Francis institute, due to a dispute over ownership of the land, because the Church was not able to demonstrate possession. The institute has been at the center of a legal controversy. In November 2014, the government returned it to the diocese of Lahore . Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/MIDDLE EAST - Christian Cemeteries vandalized in Mosul and in Galileehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37652-ASIA_MIDDLE_EAST_Christian_Cemeteries_vandalized_in_Mosul_and_in_Galileehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37652-ASIA_MIDDLE_EAST_Christian_Cemeteries_vandalized_in_Mosul_and_in_GalileeMosul - The militiamen of the Islamic State , who since last June have been controlling Mosul, have ravaged the oldest Christian cemetery of the city, publishing pictures of the destruction of the tombstones and crosses on the internet as documentary evidence of the campaign to "eradicate pagan symbols".<br />The pictures of desecrated graves were published on several jihadist websites. The cemetery is located at the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral, dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle, and also housed many tombs of Christian soldiers who died during the Iraq-Iran war in the eighties.<br />On Wednesday, April 15, in Galilee, the tombs of the cemetery in the village of Kufr Maronite Bir'im, not far from the border between Israel and Lebanon had been vandalized. Kufr Bir'im has been an abandoned village since 1948, when the Arab population was expelled by the offensive of the Israeli army. Last year, during his visit to Galilee, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai also visited the ghost village, promising to commit himself to encouraging the return of Christians expelled in 1948 and their descendants.<br />The Council of the Catholic Churches of the Holy Land condemned the devastation of the Christian cemetery in a statement, demanding that investigations are conducted seriously aiming to identify the perpetrators. Israeli police have opened an investigation against unknown persons on the desecration of the graves in the Maronite cemetery. In Israel, a long series of desecration and intimidation against monasteries, churches and Christian cemeteries have been carried out by groups of extremist Jewish settlers since February 2012. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/CHINA - Catholic communities towards the Jubilee of Mercyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37651-ASIA_CHINA_Catholic_communities_towards_the_Jubilee_of_Mercyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37651-ASIA_CHINA_Catholic_communities_towards_the_Jubilee_of_MercyShi Jia Zhuang - Chinese Catholic communities have welcomed the publication of the "Misericordiae vultus" Bull that proclaims the special Jubilee of Mercy, and are already intensely living the preparation for this initiative of the Pope with great participation and being in communion with the universal Church.<br />According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, a parish of the Diocese of Bao Ding, in He Bei province, launched the initiative "invite Jesus at home for 24 hours", proposing from April 12, the Sunday of Divine Mercy, a pilgrimage of the image of the Merciful Jesus in families. <br />"Invite the image of the Merciful Jesus at home, to live with him for 24 hours, giving him one’s heart and life" is the reason for the initiative, which, at the same time, proposes to spend "a day without watching television, using the Internet, mobile phone, without argueing... ". According to the pastor, "starting from the little things in our daily life we can begin to feel the joy of being touched by the Lord and transformed by His mercy, in order to become witnesses of mercy". Even other parishes in the diocese are organizing to promote the same initiative.<br />The community reading of some passages of the "Misericordiae vultus" Bull took place on April 12, in the community of Bao Tou, Inner Mongolia. During the meeting, the priests also explained the meaning of the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the special Jubilee. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - The Bishops condemn the outburst of xenophobic violence: "we are a nation of peace who conquered apartheid"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37650-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_The_Bishops_condemn_the_outburst_of_xenophobic_violence_we_are_a_nation_of_peace_who_conquered_apartheidhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37650-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_The_Bishops_condemn_the_outburst_of_xenophobic_violence_we_are_a_nation_of_peace_who_conquered_apartheidJohannesburg - The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has observed with sadness the outburst of xenophobic violence in Durban which the Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has already condemned", said a statement signed by His Exc. Mgr. William Slattery, Archbishop of Pretoria and spokesman of the SACBC.<br />Violence took place after the local press had reported some statements of the king of the Zulus, Goodwill Zwelithini, according to whom foreigners had to leave South Africa. The traditional leader of the Zulu had stated that his words had been misinterpreted.<br />"While we acknowledge that the utterances by His Majesty, the king of the Zulu nation, never meant nor intended this violence, we believe that he should categorically condemn this violence and publicly propagate the value of hospitality entrenched in the Zulu culture", says the message.<br />At the origin of violence there is a war among the poor: out of 50 million inhabitants, South Africa has 5 million immigrants from Countries in difficulty such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and even from China and Pakistan. Due to a high unemployment rate, there are tensions between natives and immigrants, many of whom are committed to crime. "We understand the anger that the people may be feeling towards the foreigners for various legitimate reasons", write the Bishops. "But we are a nation of peace; we are a rainbow nation. We conquered apartheid with very little use of violence and a settlement was reached peacefully".<br />The message invites foreigners not to commit crimes and warns everyone to the responsible use of social media in order to avoid spreading hate messages. The Bishops conclude by asking the government to intervene to identify those who incite clashes and to address problems that generate a "context for this horrible violence". Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/ECUADOR - Floods favor the spread of the chikungunya virushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37649-AMERICA_ECUADOR_Floods_favor_the_spread_of_the_chikungunya_virushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37649-AMERICA_ECUADOR_Floods_favor_the_spread_of_the_chikungunya_virusPortoviejo - Ecuador declares chikungunya ‘state of emergency’, an infectious disease transmitted by the insect vector of dengue hemorrhagic fever. According to the latest data released by the local Ministry of Health, 711 cases were registered in the province of Manabi; including 475 in the city of Manta, 168 in Portoviejo and the remaining in Montecristi, Santa Ana, Paján, Sucre, 24 de Mayo and Pichincha. Manta is particularly affected because of the lack of basic health services, while Portoviejo for high temperature climates. Due to the recent rains, the situation is getting worse. <br />According to other data released by the health authorities, until last March 30 the province of Esmeraldas registered the highest number of cases, with over 500 indigenous cases and 15 cases in other provinces. In Los Ríos, until 8 April, there were 56 cases. Meanwhile there is alert in the parish of Barreiro, in the canton of Babahoyo, province of Los Ríos, where the streets have been flooded for a week. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - The Syrian government dedicates a garden to the Martyrs of the Assyrian Genocide in the center of Damascushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37648-ASIA_SYRIA_The_Syrian_government_dedicates_a_garden_to_the_Martyrs_of_the_Assyrian_Genocide_in_the_center_of_Damascushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37648-ASIA_SYRIA_The_Syrian_government_dedicates_a_garden_to_the_Martyrs_of_the_Assyrian_Genocide_in_the_center_of_DamascusDamascus - The Syrian government has offcially titled as "Garden of the Syrian martyrs" Qishleh garden, in the center of Damascus, to coincide with the centenary of the massacres of Christian Syrians, Assyrians and Chaldeans carried out in Anatolia at the instigation of the government of Young Turks, and known with the expression of Assyrian Genocide. This was reported by local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides. The garden is located not far from the headquarters of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, in the district of the old city known as Bab Touma, where many Christian churches are concentrated. In coming days, the new name of the garden will be celebrated with a ceremony, which will also see the participation of Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. A few days ago, Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem had participated in the laying of the foundation stone of a monument to the Syrian Martyrs in the city of Qamishli, in the northeastern province of Sirana in Jazira, in dispute between the army government, jihadi militias and Kurdish military formations. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Vandalizing acts against a Catholic church in Uttar Pradeshhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37647-ASIA_INDIA_Vandalizing_acts_against_a_Catholic_church_in_Uttar_Pradeshhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37647-ASIA_INDIA_Vandalizing_acts_against_a_Catholic_church_in_Uttar_PradeshAgra - A Catholic church in the city of Agra, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, has been the object of vandalizing acts. As reported to Fides, Fr. Eugene Lazarus, the pastor of the church of Santa Maria in Agra, heard the anti-theft alarm of his car, parked in the courtyard of the Church on the morning of April 16 . <br />When he arrived on the spot he saw the broken windows of the aisles, and saw some people who were fleeing.<br />"We shouted and the vandals escaped. With other priests we noted that the interior furniture of the church was damaged. Four statues of the Madonna were destroyed. Even the shrine of the statue of the Child Jesus was broken and placed in the hands of the statue of the Virgin. There was a dog leash on the neck of one of the statues of Mary. The attackers not only broke the statues and damaged the church, but they also hurt the sentiments of the Christian community", explained Fr. Lazarus, who has filed a complaint to the police for vandalism.<br />According to observers, there have been numerous incidents in Uttar Pradesh for months, which have affected Christian minorities and are generating a climate of fear and insecurity. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - The Assembly of Bishops: "Without trust and participation we cannot go forth!"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37646-AMERICA_MEXICO_The_Assembly_of_Bishops_Without_trust_and_participation_we_cannot_go_forthhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37646-AMERICA_MEXICO_The_Assembly_of_Bishops_Without_trust_and_participation_we_cannot_go_forthMexico City - The Mexican Bishops are preparing a message, in view of the elections to be held on 7 June, which will stress that society must actively participate in the democratic process in order to meet the challenges in the social and institutional field. This was announced during a press conference on the occasion of 99th Plenary Assembly of the Mexican Episcopal Conference , by the Secretary-General, His Exc. Mgr. Eugenio Lira Rugarcía, Auxiliary Bishop of Puebla.<br />"The idea is to invite all to understand that we have to face challenges with courage, without escaping, but by participating, and doing it in a very concrete way: we need to know the candidates, parties, what they propose, in order to reflect and communicate well with the community, and then give a free and responsible vote", said Mgr. Lira Rugarcía.<br />The Secretary General of CEM then read the document prepared by the Bishops on the occasion of the Assembly of the Episcopate, entitled "Without trust and participation we cannot go forth!" The brief text invites everyone to reflect on the confidence to solve all the problems together.<br />"A people without confidence generates indifference, discouragement or aggressivity - is what is written in the document sent to Fides. <br />Everyone must do their duty with responsibility, in a legal and honest manner. We cannot get used to what destroys human dignity and the value of life: injustice, corruption, violence, impunity ... All this causes mistrust and discourages participation. The Mexicans cannot tolerate those who seek power only for their own interests".<br />The 99th Plenary Assembly of CEM, started on 14 April on the theme "Young recipients and protagonists of the New Evangelization in the social post-modern context", concludes its works today. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/GABON - "The decline in oil revenues is causing negative effects on social life", says President of the Episcopal Conferencehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37645-AFRICA_GABON_The_decline_in_oil_revenues_is_causing_negative_effects_on_social_life_says_President_of_the_Episcopal_Conferencehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37645-AFRICA_GABON_The_decline_in_oil_revenues_is_causing_negative_effects_on_social_life_says_President_of_the_Episcopal_ConferenceRome - The drop in oil prices is having a negative impact on social life in Gabon, one of the largest producers of crude oil in Africa. This is what His Exc. Mgr. Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan, Bishop of Mouila, in Rome for the ad limina visit, said to Fides during a brief interview.<br />What impact does the reduction in oil revenues, caused by the downturn of international crude oil prices, have in Gabon?<br />"The decline in oil revenues is having a negative impact in the Country and the socio-economic situation is affected heavily, as demonstrated by the numerous strikes in recent months. <br />We had strikes in almost all sectors: from health care to public administration, from customs to schools up to private companies. We have seen a staff reduction in various oil companies and this arouses strong concern in the Country".<br />Recently there have been riots over the death of André Mba Obame, one of the leading opponents of the Country, who died after a long illness, attributed to a "curse" carried out by the Presidency . How strong are these beliefs at a popular level?<br />"You have to know the social and anthropological substratum of the Country. The people are very religious, and the phenomena can have three matrices: they are either divine, or derive from witchcraft or are scientifically proven. In the face of a certain fact, at a popular level, if they cannot say that something has a divine origin and if you do not have scientific evidence to explain it, then it is said that it was a sorcery. Of course the Church does not encourage these beliefs and seeks to promote a Christian vision of life".<br />Today, what are the hopes and challenges of the Church in Gabon?<br />"The challenge for the Church in Gabon is the need to entrench even more our faith in Christ, in order to avoid mixing with both secularism and relativism, both beliefs that distance us from the Christian faith. Our hope comes from the many priestly and religious vocations as well as by many religious marriages".<br />How are the ecumenical and interreligious relations in Gabon?<br />"At an interreligious level with Islam we have no problems. With imams and other Muslim religious leaders we dialogue through formal and informal meetings. At an ecumenical dialogue level we have excellent relations with other churches that are manifested publicly, especially during the week of prayer for Christian unity, where we assist the celebrations of our Protestant brothers and vice versa. But with the so-called sects, some of Christian origin, there are difficulties, because they do not want dialogue, we are considered 'demons', and one knows that there is no dialogue with demons". Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA - Bishops Emeritus continue to give their contributionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37644-AMERICA_Bishops_Emeritus_continue_to_give_their_contributionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37644-AMERICA_Bishops_Emeritus_continue_to_give_their_contributionBogota - After the first meeting of the Bishops Emeritus of Latin America, held in Bogota in March , Father José Gregorio Melo Sánchez, Secretary of the Ecclesial Communion and Dialogue Department of CELAM, coordinator of this event, sent Fides his interview to the Catholic media in which he presents an evaluation of the initiative.<br />"The conclusions of this meeting can be identified in 3 elements that will serve as a guide for the future: permanent formation, health care, spiritual and pastoral commitment that the Bishops Emeritus may continue to offer the continent" said Fr. Melo Sánchez .<br />Of the 30 participants in this first meeting, a group has already collaborated and worked with the Commissions of the Episcopal Conferences and another group continues to offer a pastoral service in his particular Church. The final proposal was to establish a center, commission or council, where the Bishops Emeritus may merge to continue to give their contribution, through tips and advice, to the pastoral work in the different realities of the continent. Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/TURKEY – Even the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople will commemorate the victims of the Genocidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37643-ASIA_TURKEY_Even_the_Armenian_Patriarchate_of_Constantinople_will_commemorate_the_victims_of_the_Genocidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37643-ASIA_TURKEY_Even_the_Armenian_Patriarchate_of_Constantinople_will_commemorate_the_victims_of_the_GenocideIstanbul – Even the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, based in Istanbul, will commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the systematic massacres against the Armenian people which began on April 24, 1915 with the roundup and killing of hundreds of intellectuals of the Armenian community that resided in the metropolis on the Bosporus. A Mass presided by the Patriarchal Vicar Aram Ateshian, will be celebrated in the church of the patriarchal Seat to commemorate the victims of mass murder, which on this occasion will be commemorated as saints. The Turkish press emphasizes that the celebrant will not use the definition of Genocide to remember the suffering experienced "from all sides" in the tragic events of a hundred years ago. <br />In the meantime, journalist and Turkish Armenian writer Etyen Mahcupyan, current first counselor of Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoglu, acknowledged that the massacres of Armenians perpetrated in Anatolia in 1915 under the direction of ideological Young Turks may legitimately be defined as genocide. "If one recognizes that those that occurred in Bosnia and Africa were Genocide - Mahcupyan said in an interview for an online site - it is impossible not to call genocide also what happened to the Armenians in 1915", adding that the use of such term for the Armenians has a "more psychological than political" meaning.<br />Prime Minister Davutoglu, said that with his citation of the Armenian Genocide, the Pope has sided with the "face of evil" hostile to Turkey. While President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in statements relaunched by Turkish media said that Turkey "acts generously" by not expelling 100 thousand Armenian immigrants working in the country without being Turkish citizens, even if he "could do it". Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - The lawyers: "Justice after the death of Nauman Masih, killed because a Christian"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37642-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_lawyers_Justice_after_the_death_of_Nauman_Masih_killed_because_a_Christianhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37642-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_lawyers_Justice_after_the_death_of_Nauman_Masih_killed_because_a_ChristianLahore - "We are shocked. The death of Nauman Masih, the 14-year-old Christian burnt alive by a group of Muslims, is surprising. Two days ago the doctors said that despite the severe burns, the boy would survive, because no internal organs were damaged. <br />The boy unfortunately died after plastic surgery". This is what is said to Agenzia Fides by Christian lawyer Aneeqa Maria Anthony, coordinator of the NGO "The Voice Society", which brings together a pool of lawyers committed to the defense of human rights. <br />The organization followed the case right from the beginning, collecting Nauman Nasih’s statements and presenting a formal complaint to the police. <br />Yesterday some sources tried to make excuses that the aggression was not for religious reasons: according to some Pakistani media the attack against Nauman was carried out because of the result of a dispute within the family. Lawyer Anthony denies categorically: "Nauman gave his explanation of the fact. His was attacked by two strangers when he said he was a Christian. The rest are rumors and false leads". <br />The circumstances of the death remain to be clarified. "We are waiting for the coroner's report and the autopsy. His sudden death is not convincing. A thorough investigation is needed. Nauman said he was able to recognize his attackers, who now go unpunished", he says.<br />The lawyer promises that the NGO "The Voice Society" will continue to follow the case "as a matter of justice". "We will follow the work of the police and civil authorities. We reiterate the request to the institutions to put every effort to shed light on this sad affair that sees an innocent boy succumb unjustly, only because of his faith". Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200OCEANIA/VANUATU - Church's response plan helps residents in aftermath of cyclone Pamhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37641-OCEANIA_VANUATU_Church_s_response_plan_helps_residents_in_aftermath_of_cyclone_Pamhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37641-OCEANIA_VANUATU_Church_s_response_plan_helps_residents_in_aftermath_of_cyclone_PamPort Vila - The Catholic Church in Vanuatu, supported by Caritas Oceania agencies, including Caritas Australia and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, have been distributing tarpaulins and other emergency aid as part of recovery efforts in Vanuatu following Cyclone Pam. Many in the population are still without shelter, food, medical supplies and water, as the residents struggle to come to grips with one of the largest disasters in Vanuatu’s history.<br />With support from the Caritas network, the Diocese of Port Vila is leading the Church’s disaster response efforts. Up to 70 percent of the population may have been displaced. An estimated 15,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged with 75,000 people still in need of emergency shelter. In partnership with Oxfam New Zealand, the Diocese of Port Vila is also delivering a Cash for Work scheme for affected families. The Cash for Work scheme is a really important program in encouraging recovery of communities and households whilst promoting the dignity of affected communities to actively respond.<br />The Diocese of Port Vila is currently finalising the Church network recovery plan which will have a focus on helping communities in Port Vila and outer islands re-establish shelter and livelihoods, while also continuing to improve preparedness in communities to future disasters. Caritas runs programs in Vanuatu and other Pacific Countries to help communities identify those most at risk during disasters, as well as techniques to reduce vulnerabilities and prepare for disasters such as how to secure their homes, store food and emergency supplies and to develop evacuation plans. Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Eleven soldiers killed, the Church asks for a definitive cease-firehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37640-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Eleven_soldiers_killed_the_Church_asks_for_a_definitive_cease_firehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37640-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Eleven_soldiers_killed_the_Church_asks_for_a_definitive_cease_fireBogota - The Military Bishop of Colombia, His Exc. Mgr. Fabio Suescun Mutis, has strongly condemned the events in the municipality of Buenos Aires, in the north of Cauca , where 11 soldiers were killed in an attack presumably carried out by FARC guerrillas.<br />"This day is a very sad day for all of us. What really hurts is to know that our soldiers have lost their lives, that there is still war and we hope that this becomes an invitation to continue on a path of lasting peace", said the Archbishop .<br />On Tuesday evening, April 14, the FARC killed 11 soldiers and wounded 20 others in a village of about 300 inhabitants paradoxically named Esperanza. According to preliminary information, it appears that the guerrilla group wanted to defend its position of dominance in the area. After the events, the army started bombing. Meanwhile FARC representatives have asked the government to ponder military actions in order not to rekindle other outbreaks of war.<br />Mgr. Suescun Mutis stressed the need for a serious commitment on behalf of all Colombians, so as to reach the end of this conflict that has caused the death of many innocent victims.<br />Finally, he outlined that "the military forces must safeguard the life and the democratic order in the country". Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA - Almost 4 million children in Latin America do not have access to primary schoolhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37639-AMERICA_Almost_4_million_children_in_Latin_America_do_not_have_access_to_primary_schoolhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37639-AMERICA_Almost_4_million_children_in_Latin_America_do_not_have_access_to_primary_schoolSantiago de Chile - More than 50% of the Latin American Countries and the Caribbean have managed to have access to primary education, although unfortunately there are still nearly 4 million children who do not attend school, especially in Paraguay and Guyana. This is what a recent study released by UNESCO reports. Furthermore, with the exception of Brazil and Guatemala, over 20% of those who start studying then drop out of school. In Latin American Countries illiteracy is still a social problem, with 33 million people in these conditions, of whom 55% are women. Bolivia, Peru and Suriname are the Countries that in recent years have made most progress. Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Patriarch will participate in the commemorations of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, to be held in Yerevanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37638-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Patriarch_will_participate_in_the_commemorations_of_the_centenary_of_the_Armenian_Genocide_to_be_held_in_Yerevanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37638-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Patriarch_will_participate_in_the_commemorations_of_the_centenary_of_the_Armenian_Genocide_to_be_held_in_YerevanCairo - Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, will travel to Yerevan on April 20 to take part in the most significant events planned to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. Pope Tawadros’ visit to Armenia will last about a week. <br />Sources of the Coptic Patriarchate consulted by Agenzia Fides report that it will be the first participation of a Coptic Orthodox Patriarch in official commemorations of the Armenian Genocide.<br />The Armenian Apostolic Church and the Coptic Church belong to the group of Oriental Orthodox Churches, also referred to as "pre-chaldedonian", because they had refused some Christological formulations defined at the Council of Chalcedon .<br />The commemoration of the centenary of the "Big Evil" will culminate in the liturgy for the canonization of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, scheduled for April 23 in Yerevan, at the Patriarchal See of Echmiadzin Catholicosate, governed by Patriarch Karekin II. About forty Churches, ecclesial communities and ecumenical bodies, have already confirmed the presence of a delegation to the rite of canonization. On that same day, at 19.15 - hour chosen to symbolically recall the year 1915 - all Armenian churches in the world, except those scattered on Turkish territory, will ring bells. Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/KENYA - "Moving Dadaab Refugee Camp back to Somalia must go hand in hand with allocating more resources to Northern Kenya for it to succeed", says the Bishop of Garissahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37637-AFRICA_KENYA_Moving_Dadaab_Refugee_Camp_back_to_Somalia_must_go_hand_in_hand_with_allocating_more_resources_to_Northern_Kenya_for_it_to_succeed_says_the_Bishop_of_Garissahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37637-AFRICA_KENYA_Moving_Dadaab_Refugee_Camp_back_to_Somalia_must_go_hand_in_hand_with_allocating_more_resources_to_Northern_Kenya_for_it_to_succeed_says_the_Bishop_of_GarissaNairobi - "Now that there is a government in Somalia, it is good if the camp is closed and the people are allowed to return back home", said His Exc. Mgr. Paul Darmanin, Bishop of Garissa, commenting on the announcement, by the Government of Kenya, of the upcoming closure of the camps of Somali refugees in Dadaab.<br />The Diocese of Darissa, whose jurisdiction covers Dadaab, is still shaken by April 2 2015 terror attack on Garissa University College that left 148 people dead.<br />Among the measures taken by the government in Nairobi after the massacre, is the closure within three months of the five camps in Dadaab, opened in 1991 to accommodate 90,000 people and has now become the largest refugee camp in the world, where today there are about 400,000 Somalis who fled the civil war that disrupts their Country.<br />According to the government of Nairobi the structure contributes to insecurity in Kenya because inside there are hidden supporters of Shabaab. "The nature of our society is to protect family and friend. The people in the camps cannot report dangerous criminals among them because they are family. While the closure of the camp may not end terror attacks, it will see a reduction in the channels for recruitments and planning of attacks", said the Bishop to Kenyan Waumini Agency.<br />For Mgr. Darmanin, the security situation in Somalia, although "not very good", would allow a return of refugees because the recent attacks of the Shabaab on Somali territory have targeted "government officials and institutions and not civilians", so, said the Bishop of Garissa, "it is better if these people return home and get assistance from there".<br />Mgr. Darmanin concludes with an appeal to the Kenyan government to bring development to the region of Garissa, inhabited by poor Somalis to the point that many of them have passed themselves off as refugees in order to be able to obtain assistance from organizations that assist the Dadaab camps. "Many Kenyan Somalis have registered in the refugee camp and go there regularly to get food rations and other disbursements, this is dangerous", concluded the Bishop. Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/SUDAN - 70 thousand bags of Carcinogenic Sugar distributed in South Darfurhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37636-AFRICA_SUDAN_70_thousand_bags_of_Carcinogenic_Sugar_distributed_in_South_Darfurhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37636-AFRICA_SUDAN_70_thousand_bags_of_Carcinogenic_Sugar_distributed_in_South_DarfurNyala - The total load of contaminated sugar recently distributed in South Darfur reportedly consists of 70,000 sacks of 50kg. <br />A source revealed to Radio Dabanga that prominent South Darfuri members of the ruling National Congress Party , in agreement with market traders, transported the contaminated sugar to Nyala, and stored it in the Kenana Sugar Company stores in the city. Each of the 21 localities in the state has received 100 sacks, while the rest has been distributed at the markets. The expired sugar is currently sold at a lower price than the real market price. However, the the people have been warned. South Darfur authorities sent samples of the sugar, they seized two months ago, to Khartoum to be tested. The tests showed that the expired sugar contained carcinogens. The consumption of a small amount of 5 to 7 grams can already lead to cancer. Wed, 15 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/ISRAEL - Israeli President visits the heads of Christian churches for Easterhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37635-ASIA_ISRAEL_Israeli_President_visits_the_heads_of_Christian_churches_for_Easterhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37635-ASIA_ISRAEL_Israeli_President_visits_the_heads_of_Christian_churches_for_EasterJerusalem - President Reuven Rivlin yesterday April 14 2015, visited the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem in the Old City, for a meeting with the heads of Christian Churches in Israel for Easter. This was reported by official Israeli sources in a statement sent to Fides. <br />The President was received warmly by Greek Patriarch Theophilos III, who presented the President to the assembled Church leaders. This is the first visit of an Israeli president to the site since the visit of President Navon over 30 years ago.<br />In his welcoming speech, the Patriarch thanked the Israeli president for the convictions expressed by him against the attacks on religious places even Christian places perpetrated in Israel in recent months. "These crimes - said the Israeli President - should not take place either on Mount Zion, the Mount of Olives, or in synagogues, mosques or churches".<br />President Reuven Rivlin has already announced plans to attend the liturgy commemorating the centenary of the Armenian Genocide to be held in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Wed, 15 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0200