Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usAFRICA/IVORY COAST - In view of the elections there is growing concern for children abducted for macabre ritualshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37181-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_In_view_of_the_elections_there_is_growing_concern_for_children_abducted_for_macabre_ritualshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37181-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_In_view_of_the_elections_there_is_growing_concern_for_children_abducted_for_macabre_ritualsAbidjan - In view of the upcoming presidential elections to be held in the Ivory Coast in October, there is a growing concern for the kidnapping and murder of children for ritual purposes. According to information gathered by Fides, a previous wave of kidnappings took place even before the 2010 elections. <br />The fear of the population and the security forces is based on the fact that in the Country, leading producer of cocoa in West Africa, some businessmen and corrupt politicians rely on macabre rituals that they believe give them supernatural powers to win the elections. Since December more than twenty children have been kidnapped, and most have been found dead and mutilated. According to the locals we are talking about black magic, occult and mystical practices, carried out during ceremonies to receive the "energy" of the young victims, in order to obtain money and power. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/SRI LANKA - Cardinal Ranjith: for peace and religious harmony, the government "is on the right path"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37180-ASIA_SRI_LANKA_Cardinal_Ranjith_for_peace_and_religious_harmony_the_government_is_on_the_right_pathhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37180-ASIA_SRI_LANKA_Cardinal_Ranjith_for_peace_and_religious_harmony_the_government_is_on_the_right_pathColombo - "The new government of President Mahinda Sirisena has undertaken the important task of ensuring the rule of law in the country and promote peace and harmony among different communities": this is what the Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said, commenting on the first appointments of ministers of the new government.<br />As Fides learns, the Archbishop said that in recent months a situation had been created in which, in particular, religious minority communities felt "a little uncomfortable because of the activities of some extremist groups in the country". "It is therefore nice to see various ministries assigned to people of different faiths, who believe in their religion", said the Cardinal, who appreciated that the government has assigned the protection of Buddhist religious affairs to a Buddhist, of Hindu Religious Affairs to a Hindu, those related to Christian affairs to a Catholic.<br />Recalling that religion is a fundamental element for each person, the Archbishop of Colombo noted that "one cannot have harmony among different communities excluding religion from the inside of the person". The Cardinal concluded: "We live on this earth for a short period of time. We need to live in peace and together with others, trusting each other. To lead a country on the path of development, there must be peace and harmony, there must be an understanding among the different types of people belonging to different religions, with different ideas and social classes. This is how Sri Lanka can become a nation with one heart and one soul". Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/EGYPT - The Egyptian government allocates land for the construction of new churches in the capitalhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37179-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Egyptian_government_allocates_land_for_the_construction_of_new_churches_in_the_capitalhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37179-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Egyptian_government_allocates_land_for_the_construction_of_new_churches_in_the_capitalCairo - A plot of 30 hectares has been made available to the Coptic Patriarchate to build structures and offices connected to the Cathedral of San Marco in Cairo, and three other smaller plots of land to be allocated for the construction of three new churches in three different areas of Cairo: These provisions ratified recently by the Egyptian Ministry for construction, services and urban communities, was made known by the minister Mostafa Madbouly. In statements released by the Minister and sent to Agenzia Fides, Madbouly highlights that concessions meet real pastoral needs, properly documented by the various ecclesial communities, and were placed in full compliance with the legislation that currently governs the construction of buildings of worship.<br />At the end of last October, representatives of the main Churches and Christian communities in Egypt had sent a draft bill on the construction of churches to the government , prepared with the intent to outline legal and clear procedures, that shun the construction of churches in every kind of arbitrariness. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/LIBYA - Assault on Tripoli: the shadow of the Islamic State on the shores of the Mediterraneanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37178-AFRICA_LIBYA_Assault_on_Tripoli_the_shadow_of_the_Islamic_State_on_the_shores_of_the_Mediterraneanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37178-AFRICA_LIBYA_Assault_on_Tripoli_the_shadow_of_the_Islamic_State_on_the_shores_of_the_MediterraneanTripoli - At least 10 people died in the attack on Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, committed by two gunmen, yesterday, January 27th.<br />After setting off a car bomb in the parking lot of the hotel, where diplomats and foreign businessmen have met local dignitaries in the past, the militants rushed inside the hotel and opened fire killing security guards and some foreigners. After being surrounded by security forces, at least two militants detonated explosive belts they were wearing.<br />The attack was claimed by a group which is said to be affiliated to the "Islamic State", active between Syria and Iraq, the "Islamic State in the Province of Tripoli". In a statement, the group said the attack was in honour of Abu Anas al-Libi, an Al-Qaeda suspect who died in the United States earlier this month, days before facing a trial for bombing US embassies in 1998. Al-Libi, who was captured in Libya in October 2013 by US special forces, died of cancer in January in a US prison while he was awaiting trial.<br />Omar Khadrawi, head of the Central Security Directorate , has instead accused a group that remained loyal to the deposed leader Gaddafi of being responsible for the assault on the Corinthia, denying the presence in Tripoli of groups loyal to the Islamic State. According to the Libyan press, at the time of the attack the Prime Minister of the government in Tripoli, Omar Al-Hassi was present in the hotel, who was unhurt. In Libya there are two governments which are competing for power: in Tripoli and in Tobruk . The UN has initiated talks to form a government of national unity . Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - The Patriarchs of Antioch: in order to stop the conflict, arms trafficking must be stoppedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37177-ASIA_LEBANON_The_Patriarchs_of_Antioch_in_order_to_stop_the_conflict_arms_trafficking_must_be_stoppedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37177-ASIA_LEBANON_The_Patriarchs_of_Antioch_in_order_to_stop_the_conflict_arms_trafficking_must_be_stoppedBkerké - The wars that devastate the Middle East, starting from Syria and Iraq will end only when the flow of arms and money destined to armed factions and terrorist groups by allies and sponsors regional and International will stop. This is how the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches of the East expressed themselves during a meeting on Tuesday, January 27th in Bkerké, at the headquarters of the Maronite Patriarchate, and once again highlighted that the arms trade and the current financial resources made available to the jihadi groups are the key factors in the conflicts that disrupt the lives of entire peoples, destabilizing the geopolitical framework in the Middle East.<br />The meeting, hosted by the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, was also attended by all the other Bishops who carry the patriarchal title of Antioch: Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Yohanna X, Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III, the Syrian-Orthodox Patriarch Aphrem II and the Syrian Catholic Youssef III.<br />In the meeting - which was attended by the Armenian Catholic Bishop of Damascus Joseph Arnaouti and Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon – what emerged was the common judgment and shared pastoral concern which unites the Heads of Churches of the East before the emergencies that afflict the peoples of the area and, in some cases, threaten the very survival of the indigenous Christian communities.<br />"Even in Lebanon - refers to Agenzia Fides Father Paul Karam, President of Caritas Lebanon, who attended the meeting - the general impoverishment, political paralysis and the growing danger of an offensive by the jihadi militias are destabilizing society and push the youth to flee, especially young Christians, who go abroad to find work. <br />The efforts of the Churches and ecclesial institutions, even though have doubled, cannot make up for the inaction of civil institutions. There is also a decline in international aid to the benefit of refugees, while humanitarian emergencies and the number of refugees continue to rise".<br />In the document, published at the end of the meeting, the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches insist on the need to end conflicts with "peaceful means" and "through political negotiations" involving all the contending parties. Among other things, the text reaffirms support and solidarity with the Lebanese armed forces, who since last Friday, January 23, have been engaged in the area of Ras Baalbek, in operations against jihadi militias from Syria, "to foil a subversive plan of enormous gravity, with the help of God". Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Caritas: more funds needed for refugees from the Central African Republichttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37176-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Caritas_more_funds_needed_for_refugees_from_the_Central_African_Republichttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37176-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Caritas_more_funds_needed_for_refugees_from_the_Central_African_RepublicGeneva - More funds are needed to help refugees from the Central African Republic who have been welcomed in neighboring States, said Msgr. Robert J Vitillo, head of Caritas Internationalis’ delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, in a statement on the occasion of the launch of the Inter-Agency Central African Republic Regional refugee Response 2015, sponsored by the UNHCR .<br />Msgr. Vitillo recalls - in the text sent to Agenzia Fides - that the overall budget plan prepared by UN agencies for 2015 amounts to 331 million dollars, but NGOs will receive $ 14 million. According to the head of Caritas Internationalis, NGOs should receive an equitable share of funding made available by international donors.<br />Nearly 190,000 people have fled the Central African Republic since the anti-Balaka militias overran the capital Bangui in December 2013. Before that, more than 230,000 people already had fled, bringing the total number of refugees from the Central African Republic to some 425,000. Many are in Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In these Countries, Caritas has been providing training programs for refugees as well as education, sanitation, clean water and food assistance.<br />Msgr. Vitillo has finally launched an appeal to help the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons accommodated in makeshift camps in the same Central African Republic. The structures of the Catholic Church in Central Africa, said Msgr. Vitillo, welcome more than 80,000 internally displaced persons, to whom Caritas is providing assistance. However, he concluded, "the complex environment makes this emergency work very difficult". Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - "Yo soy uno de ellos": young children in parishes and schools in favor of the most vulnerablehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37175-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Yo_soy_uno_de_ellos_young_children_in_parishes_and_schools_in_favor_of_the_most_vulnerablehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37175-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Yo_soy_uno_de_ellos_young_children_in_parishes_and_schools_in_favor_of_the_most_vulnerableSan Salvador - The Episcopal Delegation of the Missions, together with the parishes and schools of the capital, has promoted the celebration of a Mass and a meeting for the children in a parish in El Salvador. "Yo soy uno de ellos" was the motto of the day, which saw all united in favor of solidarity towards the youngest who are the most vulnerable in developing Countries. The event was Presided by Spanish Bishop His Exc. Mgr. Gerardo Melgar. Sister María Lourdes del Pozo, episcopal delegate, said that the aim of this day was to involve parents and catechists in a common celebration, without losing sight of the fact that children are the protagonists. El Salvador is the smallest and most overpopulated country in the American continent, characterized by extreme poverty, in which about half of the population lives. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Taseer murder, justice to the testhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37174-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Taseer_murder_justice_to_the_testhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37174-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Taseer_murder_justice_to_the_testIslamabad - The High Court in Islamabad held its first hearing yesterday, January 27, in the appeal of Mumtaz Qadri, self-confessed killer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, which occurred on 4th January 2011. Qadri admitted his guilt and said he killed Taseer because of the governor's support for a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who had been charged with blaspheming against Prophet Mohammad. The hearing has been adjourned to February 3.<br />In the whole country, protesters from Sunni Tehrik chant slogans in favor of Mumtaz Qadri's release and warn the Government for dire consequences if Qadri is not released. He is considered "hero" of Islam by Sunni Tehrik. Reportedly, hundreds of Sunni Tehrik and Shabab-e-Milli Tehrik were present outside the court and chanted slogans in favors of Mumtaz Qadri. Reportedly strict security arrangements were made and the road to High court was blocked with barricades and a large number of police and special force personnel were deployed at buildings in the surrounding areas.<br />Christian Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill, Human Rights Defender and head of LEAD said that the human Rights Defenders had had great concern on this appeal case of Qadri because “if Qadri were be acquitted from Salman murder case then the fear of insecurity of life would be increased among them. The fueling to religious intolerance and violence will be stopped by condemning such elements of society who take law in their hands to harass peace workers".<br />Mumtaz Qadri, a constable in the Punjab Police and member of its elite force, had filed an appeal before the court on 6 October, 2011. The judge who sentenced him was later forced to flee the country after receiving death threats. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Tension on the border with Haiti: appeal to the authorities of both countrieshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37173-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Tension_on_the_border_with_Haiti_appeal_to_the_authorities_of_both_countrieshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37173-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC_Tension_on_the_border_with_Haiti_appeal_to_the_authorities_of_both_countriesSantiago de los Caballeros - The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros , His Exc. Mons. Valentin Reynoso Hidalgo, M.S.C., criticized the situation that prevails in the border area between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and has invited the authorities of both countries to work together to achieve harmony and peaceful coexistence. The note sent to Fides recalls that the Bishop refers to the tension created on the border because few people get revenue through their commercial activities, without any control, which causes even violent reactions on behalf of the population in the area.<br />"In order to achieve harmony, it is necessary that both Haitian and Dominican authorities function well" said Mgr. Valentin Reynoso Hidalgo, urging the two governments to intervene. <br />This is what the Bishop said during the recent celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Altagrazia, Patroness of the Dominican Republic, which were held for a week in Dominican dioceses and parishes.<br />According to data collected by Fides, since the beginning of the year, there have been several clashes between small traders on the border between the two countries, due to the lack of control of the authorities on sales and marketing. Haitians abducted several staff of the Dominican Consulate in the Haitian town of Anse-a-Pitre on January 2, as a protest because the Dominican government had imprisoned some Haitian fishermen found to be fishing in the waters of the border. The case was resolved in 48 hours, but the tension on the border continues. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - Missionaries study "concentration and manipulation of the media"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37172-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Missionaries_study_concentration_and_manipulation_of_the_mediahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37172-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Missionaries_study_concentration_and_manipulation_of_the_mediaBacabal - More than 50 leaders of dioceses in the Northeast Region of Brazil , which covers the state of Maranhão, are participating in the 23rd edition of the Missionary Training Course. The workshop is sponsored by the Regional Missionary Council , in collaboration with the Franciscan Center for Missionary Animation and has the support of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Brazil . The Course, held at CEFRAM in the city of Bacabal, started on 16 January and will end on 30 January.<br />According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, the central theme of the Course, led by Fr. Jaime Carlos Patias, IMC, National Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union, is "Communication and Mission". Besides analyzing concentration and manipulation of the media, the Course emphasized the importance of communication and its new tools for evangelization in the world today, and the organization of the missionary dimension of the Church in Brazil. The program also includes five workshops: communication and missionary animation; digital networks like environment; alternative communication; Pastoral Communications ; how to use the media. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/MEXICO - Cardinal Rivera: "To change our society personal conversion is needed"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37171-AMERICA_MEXICO_Cardinal_Rivera_To_change_our_society_personal_conversion_is_neededhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37171-AMERICA_MEXICO_Cardinal_Rivera_To_change_our_society_personal_conversion_is_neededMexico City - The campaign for the federal elections that will be held in Mexico on June 7 has started. The people will have to vote to elect 500 Members of the "Congreso de la Union". "The candidates are preparing to 'bomb' citizens with offers and promises, but many of them avoid talking about the duties related to elective office to which they aspire" warned Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico, during the Mass celebrated on Sunday, January 25 in the metropolitan Cathedral.<br />According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, the Cardinal explained that candidates avoid negative concepts, and promise social welfare, while there is the need of realistic messages. However, it is not only the task of legislators and rulers to do something for Mexico: to change our society personal conversion, repentance are needed.<br />"For a better world external changes are not enough - said Cardinal Norberto Rivera -. There is something that needs to be changed in depth, and Jesus taught us: change must come from the heart if one truly wants personal improvement and if one wants to change our society. So far, the changes announced often say they want to change everything, but nothing changes".<br />In recent months, the Church has clearly denounced many situations of violence and corruption, even after the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa , which motivated the Bishops' appeal for peace in Mexico . Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/INDIA - Church set on fire in the state of Telanganahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37170-ASIA_INDIA_Church_set_on_fire_in_the_state_of_Telanganahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37170-ASIA_INDIA_Church_set_on_fire_in_the_state_of_TelanganaNew Delhi - The new state of Telangana, officially created in the Indian Federation a few months ago, received the "baptism" of violence by Hindu extremists: the Protestant church of the village of Tadur in Mahabubnagar district, was given to flames and completely destroyed by unknown people. As Fides learns, according to local Christians, those who committed such act are members of radical Hindu groups. It was the only church in the village, built with bamboo and straw, that Christians used for prayer. The fire destroyed Bibles, books and the very little furniture. Police investigations are underway.<br />Pastor D. Srinivas, who regularly went to the village for mass, said: "Before this incident, on several occasions, Hindu extremists threatened me, warning me not to come to the village and not to build the church". In the district more than a dozen anti-Christian attacks have been recorded in recent months. According to rev. Ronald John, Chairman of the Joint Commission of the Christians in Telangana, "the attacks have increased since the Bharatiya Janata Party has been in power". Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/MEXICO - Child labor: 2 million and a half working childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37169-AMERICA_MEXICO_Child_labor_2_million_and_a_half_working_childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37169-AMERICA_MEXICO_Child_labor_2_million_and_a_half_working_childrenCiudad Victoria - In the Mexican state of Tamaulipas there are at least 71 000 boys, girls and young workers, who are to be added to the national data of the National Institute of Geography and Statistics , where nearly 30 million children in the age group between 5 and 17 years are registered, about a fourth of the total population. In Mexico, the Federal Labour Law authorizes to start working from 14-17 years of age. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Bishops: No to violence in Mindanao, support for the peace processhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37168-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_Bishops_No_to_violence_in_Mindanao_support_for_the_peace_processhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37168-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_Bishops_No_to_violence_in_Mindanao_support_for_the_peace_processDagupan City - The Bishops' Conference of the Philippines expressed its peremptory "no" to all forms of violence against human life, and publicly declared support for the peace process and the ongoing negotiations: as reported in a statement sent to Fides, signed by the President of the Conference, His Exc. Mgr. Socrates B. Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, the Bishops, "strongly condemn all acts of violence against human life, no matter what the stated purpose of such violence is", stressing for the southern Philippines" the necessity and urgency of reaching a peaceful solution that is inclusive, and appropriate for all".<br />The text comes after a serious incident of violence: 43 Filipino policemen were killed in a clash with militants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the more radical group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, in Maguindanao , which occurred on Sunday, January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in the area of Maguindanao. Among the victims there were also eight rebels.<br />"With deep sorrow, but with faith in the resurrection, the Episcopal Conference mourns with the families of the brave police officers, victims of an totally senseless act of violence in Mindanao", says Mgr. Villegas. The victims belonged to the Special Forces of the Philippine National Police . It is, according to observers, an episode that may jeopardize the peace talks underway. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/TURKEY – Other three people accused of the massacre of Christians in Malatya have been released from prisonhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37167-ASIA_TURKEY_Other_three_people_accused_of_the_massacre_of_Christians_in_Malatya_have_been_released_from_prisonhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37167-ASIA_TURKEY_Other_three_people_accused_of_the_massacre_of_Christians_in_Malatya_have_been_released_from_prisonMalatya - The first Criminal Court in Malatya has ordered the release of two former soldiers and a university researcher held for almost four years on suspicion of being involved in the murder of three Christians perpetrated in 2007 in the city located in south-east Turkey. On January 21, as reported by the Turkish media, the three men - Mehmet Ulger, Maj Haydar Yesil and Ruhi Abat - were released with the obligation not to leave the country and stay in Turkey for the final verdict of the trial.<br />It is believed that there are operations of political manipulation with regards to the case of the three Christians. Last June general Hursit Tolon, suspected of being the instigator of the murders, was already released while in recent months the three newly freed prisoners had begun to attribute the triple murder to members of the Hizmat movement of Fetullah Gulen, the Turkish preacher and political scientist who emigrated to the US and presented by the Turkish pro-government circles as the architect of international conspiracies aimed at hitting the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.<br />With the release of the three detainees on January 21, only one of the 20 men arrested in March 2011 remains in jail, on charges of being involved at various levels in the triple murder of Malatya. All the others have been able to make use of forms of probation. Life imprisonment was requested for the five men accused as perpetrators of the massacre. But, since March 2014, they have been under house arrest.<br />On 18 April 2007, three evangelical Christians - the Turkish Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and the German Tilmann Geske - were bound and their throats slit in the headquarters of the Zirve publishing house. With regards to the murders, investigation discovered a wide network of complicity that also involved military and security apparatus. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/NIGER - Anti-Christian violence: the Bishops reaffirm their friendship with the Muslim communityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37166-AFRICA_NIGER_Anti_Christian_violence_the_Bishops_reaffirm_their_friendship_with_the_Muslim_communityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37166-AFRICA_NIGER_Anti_Christian_violence_the_Bishops_reaffirm_their_friendship_with_the_Muslim_communityNiamey - "We want to renew our friendship and brotherhood to the entire Muslim community in our Country", write the Bishops of Niger in a message to the Muslim community, sent to Agenzia Fides, after the anti-Christian violence that have heavily affected the Church in recent days . The Bishops thank all Muslims "for the gestures and acts of solidarity" shown during the attacks against the Christian community.<br />"We are united in the pain that you share with us. Our places of worship, and most of our infrastructure have been destroyed but our faith is intact", write the Bishops. "We will build again what our common enemies have deliberately aimed to destroy".<br />The Catholic Church in Niger has suspended all its activities until further notice : "The activities of the Catholic Church, which have no other purpose than to serve the people, will resume gradually, where it is possible, depending on each individual situation", state the Bishops. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Catholic Diocese in Minya promotes religious reconciliation in the village of Delga with concrete projectshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37165-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Catholic_Diocese_in_Minya_promotes_religious_reconciliation_in_the_village_of_Delga_with_concrete_projectshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37165-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Catholic_Diocese_in_Minya_promotes_religious_reconciliation_in_the_village_of_Delga_with_concrete_projectsMinya - The village of Delga, in the Egyptian governorate of Minya, in the recent past has been the focus of clashes between family clans and violence carried out by fundamentalist Islamist groups, who have caused deaths and forced many Christian families to temporarily leave their homes. For this reason, the Coptic Catholic Diocese of Minya has chosen to promote a number of concrete projects in that area, aimed at promoting the gradual reshaping of the social fabric.<br />"The projects - explains to Agenzia Fides Anba Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Minya - seek to prepare the ground and favor a change of mentality that would eliminate prejudices and closures". A group of forty people, Christians and Muslims, half of them resident in Delga, have revitalized the local committee of the "House of the Egyptian family," the inter-religious liaison body created years ago by the Grand Imam Al Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch as a tool to prevent and mitigate sectarian conflicts, in a time when the upsurge of fundamentalist sectarianism seemed to endanger national unity.<br />At the moment, the flagship of the projects promoted in Delga is the health unit which opened with the support of Catholic Relief Service, where Christians and Muslims can benefit from medical care and specialist visits. <br />Besides the program of support for social and inter-religious reconciliation there is also the inauguration of a library open to all, the creation of a dispensary to guarantee the poorest families access to basic necessities and above all, seminar studies on the issues of coexistence, citizenship and peace, attended by young Christians and Muslims.<br />"On some occasions – says Bishop Botros Fahim to Fides – young Muslims and Christians involved in these initiatives wanted to publicly express the spirit of reconciliation that unites them". Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/IVORY COAST - The Bishops denounce: "Ivorian society is sick at a spiritual and moral level"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37164-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_The_Bishops_denounce_Ivorian_society_is_sick_at_a_spiritual_and_moral_levelhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37164-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_The_Bishops_denounce_Ivorian_society_is_sick_at_a_spiritual_and_moral_levelAbidjan - "The unbridled race to easy money and power threatens social cohesion and the stability of the Country", say the Bishops of the Ivory Coast in the message published at the end of their Plenary Assembly, held in Abengourou from 19 to January 25, sent to Agenzia Fides.<br />"After a decade of deep crisis that has painfully marked the history of the Ivory Coast, shaking social cohesion, we have reached the moment of reconciliation and reconstruction of our Country", said the message, referring to the crisis that broke out in September 2002 and ended only in 2011 with the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo and the assignment of the current Head of State, Alassane Ouattara.<br />Reconstruction and national reconciliation, however, are threatened, according to the Bishops, by the "unbridled race to easy money and power, which involve incalculable consequences". In particular the Bishops denounce the human sacrifices, especially regarding albinos and children. "It is not uncommon to see sad and horrible mutilated bodies of albinos massacred, of desecrated graves, skeletons".<br />"We cannot forget - continues the message - the sad fate of the children kidnapped, chained, imprisoned and kept in a state of extreme malnutrition, waiting to be made the subject of sacrificial rites by people in search of wealth and power".<br />Added to this are the many young victims of alcohol and drugs, or who end up joining gangs of street extortionists". Ivorian society is so sick at a spiritual and moral level" conclude the Bishops, who have launched an appeal to everyone, from politicians to religious leaders, from families to traditional leaders. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/PERU - The Bishop of Chimbote asks protection for judges: "We are living in fear"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37163-AMERICA_PERU_The_Bishop_of_Chimbote_asks_protection_for_judges_We_are_living_in_fearhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37163-AMERICA_PERU_The_Bishop_of_Chimbote_asks_protection_for_judges_We_are_living_in_fearChimbote - After the publication of the news regarding threats aimed at judges Susana Quispe and Sara Valdivieso, and three judicial officers of the Superior Court of the province of Santa , the President of the Association of judges of the Province of Santa, Raúl Rodríguez Soto, has rejected such harassment, inconceivable in a state of law.<br />"What happened is an attack, Ancash is a troubled region, we cannot allow this to happen, especially when it comes from criminals - said Raúl Rodríguez Soto -. We believe that magistrates, whether they are judges or prosecutors, must be protected, especially those who work on emblematic cases".<br />In the same letter sent to Fides, His Exc. Mgr. Ángel Francisco Simón Piorno, Bishop of Chimbote, also asked protection for magistrates: "Authorities and citizens cannot allow this, we are living in fear, and this should not happen. The authorities should clarify and look into these threats, to find and punish the criminals. Meanwhile they must provide security for judges and officials who are threatened", said Mgr. Angel Simón Piorno.<br />Chimbote is a city that has long lived situations of violence on behalf of criminal groups. A phenomenon that gradually came to light in these last two years . The Bishops of Peru denounced this situation so that it can be avoided in other areas of the country, where the presence of law enforcement is lacking or the authorities still do not intervene in a decisive manner . Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/MALAWI - Cholera, hunger, diseases: new threats for thousands of flood victims in Malawi and Mozambiquehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37162-AFRICA_MALAWI_Cholera_hunger_diseases_new_threats_for_thousands_of_flood_victims_in_Malawi_and_Mozambiquehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37162-AFRICA_MALAWI_Cholera_hunger_diseases_new_threats_for_thousands_of_flood_victims_in_Malawi_and_MozambiqueLilongwe - Roads, bridges, schools, infrastructure of all kinds, thousands of hectares of land have been destroyed, livestock drowned: this is the devasting situation caused by the torrential rains that have been hitting Malawi and Mozambique for over a month. In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides by the Spanish organization Ayuda en Acción, there are now over 300 000 people affected by floods in the two African Countries, and this figure is expected to further increase. To address this emergency, the NGO has launched the campaign 'Emergency in Malawi and Mozambique'. The NGO also noted that the number of people affected in Malawi is around 200 thousand units and Mozambique approximately 130 thousand units; while the displaced are respectively between 85/100 thousand and over 50 thousand. There are still several people missing in Malawi as well as hundreds of people continue to be isolated, without food, water, sanitation or electricity. In addition, mosquito breeding, disease vectors such as malaria, which have also contaminated water wells make the already precarious situation even more difficult to handle. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100