Fides News - Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAMERICA/BRAZIL - Executive regional secretaries of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference visit indigenous communities in Terenahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60499-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Executive_regional_secretaries_of_the_Brazilian_Bishops_Conference_visit_indigenous_communities_in_Terenahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60499-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Executive_regional_secretaries_of_the_Brazilian_Bishops_Conference_visit_indigenous_communities_in_Terena<br />Campo Grande – As part of the busy agenda of their meeting in Campo Grande held 18 to 22 July, the Executive secretaries of the 18 regions which comprise Brazil’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference , visited an indigenous community in the area of Miranda, diocese of Jardim. According to a CNBB report sent to Fides, on 20 July the Executive secretaries went to Miranda, diocese of Jardim to visit villages of indigenous people in Terena, who in the diocese of Jardim alone, number 10,000 , and many more in Mato Grosso do Sul. Accompanied by Fr Antonio Ferreira Catelan and the bishop of Jardim, Mons. João Gilberto Moura, the secretaries were welcomed by the people of Babaçu – at the Community of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, by Caciques , Shamans and the chiefs of twelve different villages, about sixty people in all. Three of them presented points of great importance for the present moment: efforts in villages to protect and preserve indigenous culture; consolidation of indigenous identity with the promotion of native languages, dances and rituals; initiatives to guarantee respect for institutional laws regarding land demarcation. Regarding the local Catholic Church, highly appreciated , the indigenous leaders requested a greater presence. As far as possible, they would like priests to visit families to be more familiar with their situation and with the indigenous culture. Difficulties identified included poor and scarce health care; abuse of alcohol and drugs. In view of the information shared, the secretaries launched dialogue to promote greater reciprocal understanding between the local Church and indigenous communities. At the end of the meeting Bishop João Gilberto Moura said it had been a history-making day. "Our Church is alive, we are a Church of communion. Much of what has been said this afternoon will serve to improve our work in the diocese of Jardim and in the local Churches in the rest of Brazil”. The Bishop said the meeting had been the most important ever organised between the local Catholic Church and the people of Terena. <br /><br />Sat, 23 Jul 2016 17:20:20 +0200AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Restrictions to the use of the Internet endanger the health of many little patientshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60498-AFRICA_ETHIOPIA_Restrictions_to_the_use_of_the_Internet_endanger_the_health_of_many_little_patientshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60498-AFRICA_ETHIOPIA_Restrictions_to_the_use_of_the_Internet_endanger_the_health_of_many_little_patients<br />Meki – “Since the Ethiopian government restricted access to the Internet it has become impossible for us to obtain scientific information on the web or discuss cases of serious illnesses which we are unable to manage”. This testimony, coming through VPN , since access to the Internet is still closed, comes from a Spanish paediatrician coordinator of a hospital for children in Meki, Oromia, Ethiopia. <br />“Usually when we are in difficulty we use email or telephone to contact international specialists for an exchange of opinions. Thanks to new telemedicine techniques we are able to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment and this improves the quality of life for many little patients. But the situation has changed. The Ethiopian government censure of the Internet and social networks is causing considerable damage of various nature”. <br />So many Ethiopian boys and girls await diagnosis and treatment at the paediatric centre in Meki, and other centres, including Gambo, where young patients in serious conditions wait for care and treatment. <br /><br /><br />Sat, 23 Jul 2016 16:30:42 +0200ASIA/LEBANON - An estimated 250,000 Syrian children refugees in Lebanon are unable to attend schoolhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60497-ASIA_LEBANON_An_estimated_250_000_Syrian_children_refugees_in_Lebanon_are_unable_to_attend_schoolhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60497-ASIA_LEBANON_An_estimated_250_000_Syrian_children_refugees_in_Lebanon_are_unable_to_attend_school<br />Beirut – More than half the 500,000 school-age refugee children from Syria, registered in Lebanon cannot attend school because of limited availabilityof resources and strict Lebanese government residence policies. This was reported by Human Rights Watch in a recent survey. The same report also highlighted positive steps towards giving access to free schooling for Syrian children refugees. In a report sent to Fides, the NGO underlines that education is crucial for helping children overcome the trauma of war and homelessness besides having a positive role in the future rebuilding Syria. <br />Lebanon organised a series of evening classes in 238 schools to meet the needs growing numbers of school age children for the school year 2015-2016. Syrian schools are offering more places for Syrian refugees despite scarce economic resources . A reported 70% of Syrian families are unable to pay for school material and fees. <br />Besides the question of limited funds other elements which impede school attendance include abuse and maltreatment, little knowledge of the local language and norms for requesting places at school. Middle school-age children and those over 15 have difficulty regarding residence permits. Lebanon last year opened 200,000 spaces for Syrian refugees in public schools, but only 158,000 children enrolled, and 10,000 fewer actually attended. In Lebanon at present there are 1.1 million legally registered Syrians half of them minors, although the authorities claim the numbers are higher. <br /><br />Sat, 23 Jul 2016 15:24:41 +0200ASIA/CHINA - “The wedding couple in Cana”: some non-Christian couples at Spiritual Camp on Marriagehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60495-ASIA_CHINA_The_wedding_couple_in_Cana_some_non_Christian_couples_at_Spiritual_Camp_on_Marriagehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60495-ASIA_CHINA_The_wedding_couple_in_Cana_some_non_Christian_couples_at_Spiritual_Camp_on_Marriage Xian Xian – To feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a married couple and experience the beauty and happiness of Christian marriage: these were the intentions of some 35 married couples, Christian and non-Christian from the diocese of Xian Xian, He Bei Province in mainland China , who recently attended a Spiritual Camp on Marriage titled “The wedding couple in Cana”, organised by the diocesan Commission for pastoral care of marriage and the family, held 12 to 18 July. <br />According to a report sent to Fides, diocesan Vicar don Zhou, presided the opening Mass. In his homily the priest underlined the importance of marriage for the Church and for society, encouraging married couples to consolidate their faith, the basis for healthy and lasting marriage and family : “when we distance ourselves from the Lord, the love which unites us weakens, the family breaks and the couple falls apart”. Speaking about situations which may lead to divorce the don Zhou said: “the couple must face these difficulties together , drawing strength from their faith and from the spirituality of marriage, turning also to others for help - priests, sisters, catechists – seeing the numerous challenges posed by society today”. The participants found the experience very helpful, and especially the non-Christian couples were visibly touched. <br />Sat, 23 Jul 2016 14:37:10 +0200AFRICA/ANGOLA - SECAM Assembly : too little investment in media programmes for evangelization in Africa.http://www.fides.org/en/news/60496-AFRICA_ANGOLA_SECAM_Assembly_too_little_investment_in_media_programmes_for_evangelization_in_Africahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60496-AFRICA_ANGOLA_SECAM_Assembly_too_little_investment_in_media_programmes_for_evangelization_in_Africa<br />Luanda - "“The Church must absolutely be more present on the digital media in a deliberate and informed manner,” said the Nigerian Bishop Badejo, of Oyo, who was facilitating a workshop titled “The Influence of modern media and new ideologies on the family in Africa today”", as part of the 17th Plenary Assembly of SECAM/SCEAM, being held in Luanda .<br />The Bishop stressed the need to reflect on the fact that “billions of people today turn to the social media for their source of information yet there is too little investment in media programmes for evangelization in Africa.” According to information sent to Fides by the African News Service Canaa, the Bishop of Oyo went on to urge the Bishops of the Church in Africa to “create new apostles, make allies of young people themselves who are natives of the digital world and entrust them with the gospel values.”<br />Referring in particular to the theme of the Assembly, “The Family in Africa, yesterday, today and tomorrow: in the light of the Gospel”, the Bishop of Oyo highlighted the necessity to educate families to use the media, and especially to inform them of the “benefits and also the dangers of the new media", because “Parents who are not familiar with how the Internet works are more likely to ignore the dangers,” he noted and added, “This is truer in Africa.”<br />He encouraged the organization of diocesan and parish seminars that target parents and children, seminars which need to be facilitated by experts in the modern media field. He also challenged “Church leaders ” to become familiar “with the knowledge of current social, moral and religious issues in order to provide informed answers to people's questions.” <br />Acknowledging the negative use of modern digital media in some situations, Bishop Badejo , chairman of the Pan African Committee of Bishops for Social Communications , emphasized that the Church must “keep believing that the benefits of the new media far outweigh their demerits even with respect to pastoral possibilities and spiritual engagement.” <br />Sat, 23 Jul 2016 12:53:42 +0200AMERICA/CHILE - Table for Dialogue to discuss Mapuche areas: indigenous representatives invitedihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60491-AMERICA_CHILE_Table_for_Dialogue_to_discuss_Mapuche_areas_indigenous_representatives_invitedihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60491-AMERICA_CHILE_Table_for_Dialogue_to_discuss_Mapuche_areas_indigenous_representatives_invitediTemuco – On Wednesday 20 July, Temuco hosted the second session of a Table for Dialogue for Araucania at which Bishop Hector Vargas took part as dialogue facilitator. At the end of the meeting Bishop Vargas informed the local press about the participation of the representatives of CAM , the main Mapuche representative group.<br />According to information sent to Fides, the prelate, who is Bishop of Temuco, illustrated his conversation with Héctor Llaitul, a leading member of CAM: "I explained to him the importance and aim of this table of dialogue and suggested they prepare and present their own interesting and reasonable proposal, in view of gradually overcoming conflicting opinions as has been obtained with the other institutions ". Llaitul replied that these matters must be tackled with calm and the involvement of all the other leading CAM members.<br />The participants at the Table of Dialogue met again yesterday 21 July to discuss difficulties regarding the indigenous peoples and the Mapuche areas. The meeting took place at the Universidad de la Frontera de Temuco, 16 of the 21 members were present.<br />In Chile’s Araucanía area what is known as the “Mapuche conflict” is a 90 year long dispute between the largest and most important ethnic group and farmers and entrepreneurs concerning areas of land which the Mapuche regard as their own ancestral heritage. In recent months several episodes of violent clashes between the indigenous Mapuche people and members of certain local farming communities were reported , involving the torching of church buildings to give voice in a violent manner to the “Mapuche cause”, now the table of dialogue appears to be a means for the parties to tackle the situation together. .<br /> <br /><br />Fri, 22 Jul 2016 18:59:49 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - In sight possible agreement to end 45 day truck driver strikehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60492-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_In_sight_possible_agreement_to_end_45_day_truck_driver_strikehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60492-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_In_sight_possible_agreement_to_end_45_day_truck_driver_strikeAMERICA/COLOMBIA – In sight possible agreement to end 45 day truck driver strike <br /><br />Duitama – An appeal to the government and to transporters to come to an agreement and end a month and a half long strike which has caused serious difficulties for the whole country, has been launched by Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez, of the diocese of Duitama-Sogamoso. The Bishop urges the parties to "put aside radicalism and come to a solution which is just and which is urgent ", because the situation has led to a scarcity of prime necessities triggering public disorder in certain regions of Colombia. Bishop Vacca, in a report sent to Fides, denounces “radicalism which prevents dialogue, necessary for the good of Colombia", and he deplores episodes of violence which happened in the department of Boyaca a few days ago.<br />The Bishop’s appeal comes at the same time as reports of a possible final agreement between the parties involved. The strike was launched by the Truck Drivers General Union to demand better working conditions on the trucks, lower fuel prices and less taxes on the truck owners . The 45 day strike has caused serious losses for private companies as well as government distributors, some areas are without fuel, a prime necessity for factories, and building activity has also stopped for lack of material. All this in addition to clashes between police and demonstrators who arrived in Bogotà to stage a protest without the necessary permission. <br /><br />Fri, 22 Jul 2016 18:12:46 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - "We long for your peace ". Almost 700 young people from the Holy Land in Krakow for World Youth Dayhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60494-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_We_long_for_your_peace_Almost_700_young_people_from_the_Holy_Land_in_Krakow_for_World_Youth_Dayhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60494-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_We_long_for_your_peace_Almost_700_young_people_from_the_Holy_Land_in_Krakow_for_World_Youth_DayJerusalem – Over the past few days some 700 young people from the Holy Land have been making their way to Poland to take part in World Youth Day WYD 2016, the culminating events of which will take place in Krakow from 27 to 31 July . At the previous edition of WYD held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 2013 only 30 young people from Israel, Palestine and Jordan were able to attend. This time the group includes 100 Jordanians, almost 200 Palestinians, .<br />Fri, 22 Jul 2016 17:10:52 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - President al Sisi says about sectarian clashes: anyone attempting to put a wedge between Christians and Muslims will be brought before the lawhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60493-AFRICA_EGYPT_President_al_Sisi_says_about_sectarian_clashes_anyone_attempting_to_put_a_wedge_between_Christians_and_Muslims_will_be_brought_before_the_lawhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60493-AFRICA_EGYPT_President_al_Sisi_says_about_sectarian_clashes_anyone_attempting_to_put_a_wedge_between_Christians_and_Muslims_will_be_brought_before_the_lawCairo – The law in Egypt guarantees equal rights and duties for its Muslim and Christian citizens and the government should be on the lookout for “any attempt to insert a wedge between the two communities”. It follows that all perpetrators of sectarian violence or attacks will be prosecuted and punished according to the law because “Egypt has a rule of law ”. This is how Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, voiced his position concerning recent sectarian clashes especially in the territory of Minya, where during a brawl last Sunday a Coptic Christian was killed by Muslim assailants. Speaking during a military certificate awarding ceremony, the President, a former general, appealed for religious harmony and reaffirmed his intention to prosecute anyone involved in sectarian violence.<br />In his address during the ceremony Al-Sisi urged all Egyptians to practice and to promote national unity, reaffirming that Egyptian law recognises Christian and Muslim citizens as equal. Following this intervention, Copt Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, after a brief meeting with President al Sisi, addressed the national press urging all citizens not to offer pretexts to persons aiming to take advantage of similar events to the detriment of a nation with a population of 90 million serious economic difficulties and scarcity of financial resources, “because their intention is to destroy our country”. <br />These statements by President al Sisi and Patriarch Tawadros follow similar words by Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyib, al Azhar Grande Imam, who issued a public statement calling all the populations of the region to opt for the path of reason in order to stem the spread of sectarian sedition . The organisation ‘Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights’ has identified at least 77 episodes more and less serious of sectarian violence in the region di Minya since the so-called ‘revolution’ on 26 January 2011. At present, on many occasions penal measures to identify and punish those responsible for violence, have been replaced with what are termed “reconciliation meetings”, organised by the local authorities to bring together members of the different religious communities following clashes and convince them to make public acts of peace building. A practice considered by many ineffective which very often results in guaranteeing immunity for intimidators and perpetrators of violence . .<br /><br />Fri, 22 Jul 2016 13:19:04 +0200AFRICA/SUDAN - Floods cause casualties and destructionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60490-AFRICA_SUDAN_Floods_cause_casualties_and_destructionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60490-AFRICA_SUDAN_Floods_cause_casualties_and_destruction<br />Khartoum – In recent weeks several lives were lost in severe flooding following widespread heavy rainfall . Moreover some 2200 dwellings in Naivasha camp for displaced persons, Shangil Tobaya, northern Darfur, were destroyed leaving dozens of displaced families without shelter. Overflowing rivers during the annual rain season in Sudan is the principal cause of such floods. Areas most affected include El Fasher and Karary in Omdurman, the village of El Laota, in the state of El Gezira, where several casualties were reported, and Khartoum where homes were destroyed. The Famine Early Warning Systems FEWS network , says that while increased rainfall could mean better harvests, it could also lead to local flooding in areas at risk.<br /> <br /><br />Fri, 22 Jul 2016 11:53:27 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - New sectarian clashes in Minya. The Grand Imam of al Azhar: Let us all return to reasonhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60489-AFRICA_EGYPT_New_sectarian_clashes_in_Minya_The_Grand_Imam_of_al_Azhar_Let_us_all_return_to_reasonhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60489-AFRICA_EGYPT_New_sectarian_clashes_in_Minya_The_Grand_Imam_of_al_Azhar_Let_us_all_return_to_reasonMinya - Four Christian Copts and five Muslims were injured in sectarian clashes which broke out in recent days in the village of Edmo, located in the governorate of Minya in Upper Egypt. After the clashes, the police have increased the level of control in the village, with the intent to prevent new clashes.<br />That of the village of Edmo is the latest episode of the escalation of sectarian conflict that is affecting in particular the governorate of Minya. The same Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyib, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, intervened with a public announcement, calling on people in the region to choose the path of reason, to prevent the spread of sectarian sedition. The "Egyptian Initiative" Organization has counted more or less 77 episodes of sectarian violence which occurred in the region of Minya after the so-called revolution of 26 January 2011. The governing bodies of the Egyptian Family House have decided to send some operators in some of the villages in the area where there have been more recent incidents, to contribute to social peace. But some organizations - including "Egyptian Initiative" - challenge the effectiveness of the so-called "reconciliation meetings", because they guarantee impunity to those responsible for violent and intimidating acts. <br />Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:11:12 +0200EUROPE/ITALY - Comboni Missionaries: 2017 dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the foundationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60488-EUROPE_ITALY_Comboni_Missionaries_2017_dedicated_to_the_150th_anniversary_of_the_foundationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60488-EUROPE_ITALY_Comboni_Missionaries_2017_dedicated_to_the_150th_anniversary_of_the_foundationRome - Daniele Comboni founded the Institute for the Missions of Nigrizia in 1867, which then became "Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus". After a first unforgettable missionary experience in Africa, which led him to develop, in 1864, his famous "Plan for the Regeneration of Africa", he planned a missionary project in the motto "Save Africa with Africa". <br />According to information gathered by Fides, the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Institute, which was founded on 1 June 1867, will cover the entire year of 2017. The celebrations will begin with a letter from the General Council, while the main event will be a Symposium on the mission to be held from May 25 to June 2, addressed to the whole Comboni family spread in the world, and a closing celebration in Rome. Even the districts in which they are present will program the Comboni celebrations and local events throughout the year. The Comboni missionaries, religious institution exclusively dedicated to the mission ad gentes, are now about 1,700 in 300 communities in thirty countries on four continents. <br />Thu, 21 Jul 2016 12:11:22 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - The creation of a new educational model cannot only be left only to specialistshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60485-AMERICA_MEXICO_The_creation_of_a_new_educational_model_cannot_only_be_left_only_to_specialistshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60485-AMERICA_MEXICO_The_creation_of_a_new_educational_model_cannot_only_be_left_only_to_specialistsChiapas - "We are convinced that an integral educational reform is necessary" reiterated the Bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, His Exc. Mgr. Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, highlighting that this involves, among other aspects, "analyzing the content of text books; enhancing those matters that have been underestimated, such as civic education that leads to forming good citizens; revising sex education, so that it is not only genital information and incitement to debauchery; reviewing the responsibilities of parents, teachers and other social protagonists; taking into account the different cultures that make up the country, in particular the indigenous ways of educating. Within this revision, it is necessary to take into account the pedagogy, methodology, school infrastructure, the rights and duties of workers, etc".<br />Intervening in tortuous negotiations on Educational Reform approved by the Federal Congress , the Bishop recalls the Mexican Episcopate document of the year 2012, entitled "To educate for a New Society" where a serious analysis of education in Mexico and the criteria to improve it was presented. It cites, among other parts of the document, num. 18: "If education does not form honest people, who love the good, beauty, truth and justice, everything else is based on fragile ground".<br />The Bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas concluded his speech, sent to Fides, with an invitation to parents, teachers, civil society, to do their best to reach a new educational model: "Let us not leave this task only to specialists convened by the authorities, some of whom have an ideology contrary to our culture. Our country depends on education. We have to make proposals". <br />Thu, 21 Jul 2016 11:49:10 +0200AFRICA/RWANDA - A new intervention in favor of women and children against malnutritionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60487-AFRICA_RWANDA_A_new_intervention_in_favor_of_women_and_children_against_malnutritionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60487-AFRICA_RWANDA_A_new_intervention_in_favor_of_women_and_children_against_malnutritionMuyanza - A multisectoral project to support maternity and childhood started on July 1. It is a new intervention of the Fighting World Hunger Movement in the medical-health and nutrition field, to support women and newborns of Buyoga, Northern Rwanda. In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, the NGO confirms its support of wanting to improve the maternal and child nutritional situation and the neonatal and pediatric care of 1,500 vulnerable families in the area.<br />The first phase is to raise awareness addressed to pregnant women and young mothers, both during pregnancy and in the first years of life. Secondly Muyanza Health Center will be equipped with specific medical equipment so as to ensure better care for pregnant women and be able to recognize in advance high-risk pregnancies and to provide the right care and assistance, both before and during the time of delivery. In parallel, specific training courses for the medical staff of the Health Center will be held, who will be able to provide timely care to newborns and their mothers and raise awareness of citizenship. The household food security will also be enhanced through the improvement and diversification of agricultural and livestock production.<br />The third phase of the project includes training for farmers, with the teaching of new farming techniques and creation of kitchen garden and activities aimed at the development of small cattle breeding and veterinary courses. <br />"In a single intervention, declare those responsible for MLFM in Rwanda, we are committed to providing nutritional maternal support up to 6 years of age, health and micro-credit training for the cultivation and distribution of small animals". <br />Thu, 21 Jul 2016 11:48:40 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Arrest warrants for three suspects for the kidnapping of the Syrian nuns in Maalulahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60486-ASIA_SYRIA_Arrest_warrants_for_three_suspects_for_the_kidnapping_of_the_Syrian_nuns_in_Maalulahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60486-ASIA_SYRIA_Arrest_warrants_for_three_suspects_for_the_kidnapping_of_the_Syrian_nuns_in_MaalulaBeirut - The Lebanese military prosecutor, Fadi Sawan, on Wednesday, July 20 issued an arrest warrant against three Syrians suspected of having participated in the kidnapping of the Sisters of the Syrian monastery of St. Tekla, in the village of Maalula. Saer e Aman Skaf and Mustafa Ezzedin, have already been arrested as defendants for arms trafficking and involvement in terrorist actions.<br />The story of the thirteen Greek Orthodox nuns of the monastery of Santa Tekla had for months captured the attention of international media, starting in December 2013 . The sisters were kidnapped from their monastery on December 2, together with three collaborators, by militiamen of one of the anti-Assad factions who had conquered the town, inhabited mostly by Christians, and known throughout the world for being one of the places where they still speak Aramaic, Jesus’ language. The release of the kidnapped occurred on March 9, 2014 in the Lebanese town of northeastern Arsal, thanks to the mediation of the Lebanese intelligence apparatus and Qatar, and in exchange 153 women detained in Syrian prisons were also released. <br />Thu, 21 Jul 2016 11:48:11 +0200AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Child victims of abuse caused by the growing insecurity of families are increasinghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60484-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Child_victims_of_abuse_caused_by_the_growing_insecurity_of_families_are_increasinghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60484-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Child_victims_of_abuse_caused_by_the_growing_insecurity_of_families_are_increasingAustin - According to experts, poverty is a major factor for the increase in cases of child abuse that continue to be registered in Travis County, Texas. Doctors at the Dell Children's Medical Center said that every day they see an increase in the number of child victims of abuse. A group of researchers of this pediatric hospital, together with Ascension Health Centre, have come together to identify the areas with the largest number of victims and, at the same time, seek solutions or prevent the phenomenon. According to the Child Protective Center data , between 2009 and 2012, after the economic downturn, there was an increase of victims among children.<br />Because of the development of the city and the rise in house prices, the population in the most precarious economic situation moved to the outskirts of the Trevis County, in areas where there are no services for the population in addition to a high rate of unemployment. In order for a change to take place, say local sources, the Community infrastructure must be strengthened for families, such as affordable housing, decent wages, easy access to health services, efficient public transport and, above all, the quality of schools have to be improved. According to statistics of 2012, one out of 100 children suffered abuse in the United States; while in Travis County, in the same year, the figure was 1 out of 85. <br />Thu, 21 Jul 2016 11:47:39 +0200ASIA/YEMEN - A photo of the Salesian kidnapped in Aden "posted" on his Facebook account. Bishop Hinder: I think he is still alivehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60483-ASIA_YEMEN_A_photo_of_the_Salesian_kidnapped_in_Aden_posted_on_his_Facebook_account_Bishop_Hinder_I_think_he_is_still_alivehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60483-ASIA_YEMEN_A_photo_of_the_Salesian_kidnapped_in_Aden_posted_on_his_Facebook_account_Bishop_Hinder_I_think_he_is_still_aliveAden - "We have no further news, and today, with technical means available, everything is possible in this field. But the photo may be authentic. There are those who, however believe that father Tom is still alive. And I also think he is alive". This is how Bishop Paul Hinder OFMCap, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, comments the publication of the photo which appeared on Father Tom Uzhunnalil’s facebook account, the Indian priest who was kidnapped on March 4 in Aden by terrorist commandos who stormed in a nursing home, slaughtering four Missionaries of Charity, along with 12 other people.<br />The photo, which appeared on father Tom’s facebook account yesterday, portrays a painful-looking man, with longish hair, a beard and his hands on his chest. The English message accompanying the photo announces the imminent publication of a "plea" of the kidnapped priest. There is no indication who "posted" the photo and message. <br />Many of Father Tom’s family members, have, under the unkempt beard and unusual long hair, recognized in the man in the photo the physical features of the priest. "For now" reports Bishop Hinder to Agenzia Fides "there are no further elements to decipher the meaning and origin of that photo".<br />On March 4, the terrorists kidnapped father Tom Uzhunnalil after carrying out the massacre in the residence for the elderly and disabled. Almost a month after the massacre and kidnapping, rumors on the web started circulating that the Salesian priest of Indian nationality had been killed on Good Friday . Days after, Bishop Hinder spoke of "strong indications" that made one believe that the priest was still alive and in the hands of his kidnappers. <br />Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:50:17 +0200AMERICA/HONDURAS - Educating children to moral values through musichttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60479-AMERICA_HONDURAS_Educating_children_to_moral_values_through_musichttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60479-AMERICA_HONDURAS_Educating_children_to_moral_values_through_musicEl Progreso - With the aim of bringing music to children and educating them on humanitarian values such as respect, tolerance and peace, the project "Discovering my artistic abilities" has just been launched in El Progreso, Honduran Department in Yoro. The initiative was carried out through the Municipal Program for Childhood, Adolescence and Youth , and consists of an intensive course of music which includes piano, guitar and flute lessons, as well as talks on strengthening leadership. The lectures are free and currently 420 children from different official schools take advantage of the programme. Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:25:51 +0200AFRICA/ANGOLA - The family in Africa today and tomorrow, in the light of the Gospelhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60482-AFRICA_ANGOLA_The_family_in_Africa_today_and_tomorrow_in_the_light_of_the_Gospelhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60482-AFRICA_ANGOLA_The_family_in_Africa_today_and_tomorrow_in_the_light_of_the_GospelAFRICA/ANGOLA – The family in Africa today and tomorrow, in the light of the Gospel <br /><br /><br />Luanda – A solemn celebration of the Eucharist in the parish dedicated to the Holy Family in Luanda, capital of Angola, marked the official opening of the 17th Plenary Assembly of SECAM/SCEAM on the theme “The family in Africa today and tomorrow, in the light of the Gospel”. The Mass, attended by some 150 Assembly participants, including Cardinals, Bishops, secretaries of regional and national African Bishops’ Conferences, was presided by the Bishop of Lubango, Bishop Gabriel Mblingue, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Angola and Sao Tomé: for the first time since it was established, in 1969, SECAM is holding its assembly in Angola.<br />During the meeting, which will conclude with Mass on Sunday 24 July, the participants, with seminars and discussion groups, will focus on a series of issues connected with the situation at present and the future of the African family , taking into consideration the two recent Synod’s on the Family and the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia”. The participants will then reflect on the challenges facing the family in Africa today, the evangelization of the family and how the impact of the new media and new ideologies is changing family life on the continent. The reflection will aim to identify pastoral solutions most suited to meeting the challenges facing the family, the fundamental nucleus of society. <br /><br />Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:21:02 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Acute malnutrition for 240,000 children for the humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haramhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60480-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Acute_malnutrition_for_240_000_children_for_the_humanitarian_crisis_caused_by_Boko_Haramhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60480-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Acute_malnutrition_for_240_000_children_for_the_humanitarian_crisis_caused_by_Boko_HaramAbuja - Because of the worsening of the humanitarian situation, due to the conflict with Boko Haram, over 240,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition in addition to a high risk of death in Borno State, northeast of Nigeria. According to estimates of the United Nations Children's Agency, out of 244,000 affected children, almost 50 thousand could die if they do not receive timely assistance. "On average, 134 children die a day from causes related with acute malnutrition" said the UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa in a press release sent to Fides.<br />The food crisis in the region becomes more and more evident as troops of the multinational force are regaining control of territories held by Boko Haram and become more accessible to humanitarian aid. Places that are now possible to enter have a bleak picture: completely destroyed cities which host displaced people with no adequate sanitation, water or food. Humanitarian organizations unfortunately do not have access to almost two million people living in unsafe areas. In the seven years of the conflict, Boko Haram has killed more than 12,000 people, according to government estimates, although other sources believe the figure is more than double, and has forced over 2.5 million people to flee their homes. <br />Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:05:33 +0200