Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAFRICA/GHANA - The Archbishop of Kumasi: "Ghanaians involved in illegal mining are the wicked citizens who seek the fall of the country" - Ghanaians involved in illegal mining are the wicked citizens who seek the fall of the country over their personal interest, denounced His Esc. Mgr. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, Archbishop of Kumasi.<br />The phenomenon of the so-called "galamsey", illegal gold miners, is threatening the ecosystem of Ghana, in particular rivers and national water reserves, which are polluted due to the massive use of mercury used to extract gold from the gold rocks.<br />" Thinking about yourself and family without considering the nation means you are greedy and evil. Let’s think about the future of the country and the generations to come", admonished the Archbishop.<br />According to Mgr. Anokye, illegal miners are even more wicked and dangerous than murderers and went further to describe them as fools who do not think about their Country.<br />Although the government has launched a campaign to ban the "galamsey" activities, Mgr. Anokye denounces that there are still many places ‘galamsey’ activities are ongoing at night in various areas such as Timso, Modaso and Diaso.<br />Ghana is the second gold producer and the world's tenth. In addition to legal mines, there are countless illegal mines. The number of "galamsey" is difficult to estimate: probably between 30,000 to 200,000, some of which are foreign, even Chinese.<br />Kumasi is the capital of the region of Ashanti, in southern Ghana, where the country's gold reserves are concentrated. <br />Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:24:16 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - Opposition launches operation "Dead City" and civil disobedience to send Kabila away - Two days of "dead city" throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo to "send" President Joseph Kabila away have been announced by the opposition which recognizes itself in the "Rassemblement". The two days of protest will be held on August 8 and 9, which will be followed by other protests.<br />Kabila's mandate expired on 20 December 2016, the date by which general elections were to be held. According to the December 31 agreements, mediated by Catholic Bishops, Kabila remained in power to appoint a government of national unity in charge of holding elections by 2017. The government formed in May by Premier Bruno Tshibala does not include representatives of the Opposition gathered in the Rassemblement that disputes its legitimacy. It seems much more difficult to organize elections by the end of the year .<br />After the two days of "dead city", the Rassemblement have announced meetings to be held on 25 August in the capitals of the 25 provinces and four gatherings in 4 different parts of the capital, Kinshasa, which has 10 million inhabitants. "In the absence of the convocation of voters, by September 30, Joseph Kabila will not be recognized as president from 1 October", said a spokesman of the Rassemblement. As of 1 October, therefore, the Congolese are invited to civil disobedience by not paying taxes or electricity and water bills to the two state-owned companies that have the monopoly of supplying these services. <br />Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:07:04 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - After tensions on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Al Azhar convenes an "International Conference" on Jerusalem - The University of Al Azhar, the most prominent academic-theological center of Sunni Islam, announced the decision to convene an International Conference on Jerusalem by September next year to discuss "with important institutions and bodies", the present and the future of the Holy City, starting with the latest tensions that have developed around the al-Aqsa mosquee compound and the Muslim Holy Sites. In a statement relaunched by Egyptian national media, al Azhar defines the recent measures taken by the Israeli authorities as "not based on any humanitarian or civilian principle". Already last week, the Sunni University had appealed to the international community to remain indifferent to what it defined as "aggressive actions" put in place by Israeli authorities.<br />The new escalation of tension around the Mosque compound began with the armed attack on that site last July 14, where three Palestinian bombers - then all killed - caused the death of two Israeli soldiers. In particular what triggered the reaction was the installation of metal detectors at the access doors to the mosque compound. Since that provision, there has been an increase of violence throughout the Holy Land, with a toll of at least six deaths in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The tensions surrounding the Holy Muslim Sites in Jerusalem are also linked to the attack against the Israeli embassy in Amman where two Jordanians were killed and an Israeli was seriously injured.<br />The last major international conference organized by al Azhar was the "International Conference on Peace", which ended on April 28, with Pope Francis’ speech. <br />Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:18:59 +0200AMERICA/CHILE - A church burned in Mapuches conflict area in Chile – An evangelical church has been burned to the ground along the road from Cajon to Vilcun. <br />According to a note by Radio Bio Bio, sent to Fides, the arson attack happened late Tuesday, July 25. There was a canvas on the site with the inscription "Freedom for mapuches political prisoners ".<br />Just a few days ago the Bishop of Temuco, Mgr. Hector Vargas, told the press that about 40% is still to be done to complete the "Araucania Plan ".<br />The Araucania Plan was delivered to the Chilean people in June last year and envisages the development of the area and the definitive end to any form of absurd violence against the institutions. The expected "Araucanía Plan" aims to put an end to the historical conflict, over 150 years, between the State and the Mapuche people. <br />Thu, 27 Jul 2017 11:46:56 +0200AMERICA/PERU - Hundreds of children wear fancy-dresses for the Santiago Wanka feast – The schoolchildren of seven school institutes gave life to the start of the traditional Santiago Wanka feast in Huancayo province. With great enthusiasm, hundreds of children represented the symbolism of men working in the fields to celebrate Santiago or Tayta Shanti, patron of animals and in general of the fruits of the earth. At the rhythm of the Shakatán, the little ones carried out choreographies such as the Pagapu , the Qochaupiay , lucy-lucy, shakatán, scenes of matrimonial life and the livestock market with the aim of winning the Trophy of the "Santiaguito Huanca 2017 Competition". The organization of Santiaguito Huanca is part of the tradition of the Provincial Township of Huancayo and of the Institute of Youth and Culture, so that huanca tradition can be appreciated and enhanced from early infancy. <br />Thu, 27 Jul 2017 11:12:47 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Dialogue on illegal mining, a first positive approach – The meeting between Colombian Minister for Mining and Energy Carlos Andrés Cante and the Catholic Bishops held on 24 July in order to clarify the main points of this activity in different parts of the country led to a first positive approach. While the Bishops expressed great concern for the human, environmental and social corruption and deterioration associated with illegal mining, the Vice minister emphasized the strong contribution to community development and the benefit in the field of work that a proper and controlled mining activity can give to the country.<br />"We have a common enemy and it is called illegal mining and must be stopped by everyone. The Catholic Church has fought on many fronts to help the community, to defend the integrity of people, and we also agree, because Colombia is a country with a mining tradition and this extraction, if done well, fights poverty and creates well-being for families", said the representative of the Colombian government.<br />The meeting was attended by officials from the Ministry of Mining and Energy, the Secretariat for Mining Activities in Antioquia, the Archbishop of Medellin, the Archbishop of Santa Fe de Antioquia, the Bishops of Jerico, Caldas, Apartadó, Sonsón, Santa Rosa de Osos and the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Medellin.<br />The Church has always had a prominent role in defending territory and population in this economic sector of the country, protecting water sources, as in the case of the diocese of Jericho , or against the exploitation of natural resources without control in Medellin and Santa Fe di Antioquia , and also in other cases. <br />Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:57:14 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Pressure continues to involve Christians in the referendum on independence in Kurdistan - Political leaders of the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan continue to manifest in various ways the intention to involve Christians in support of the referendum convened for next September 25 in order to proclaim full independence from Baghdad. On Tuesday, 25 July, Fuad Hussein, head of the presidential staff of the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, wanted to meet some representatives of political organizations promoted by activists and Christian leaders in the region to discuss their level of involvement and representation in the committee that is preparing the referendum in September. The meeting - according to local sources - was summoned after some political group leaders promoted by Christians had publicly expressed dissatisfaction regarding the co-opting within the pro-referendum committee of Wahid Hurmuz, a person who in their opinion, was presented as “representative” of the Christian component. The proposal made by Fuad Hussein to his interlocutors was to indicate two people within two days who could be involved in the referendum committee as representatives of local groups of Christian origin.<br />The episode confirmed indirectly that the Kurdish leadership of the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan pursues the plan to involve Christian components in the independent cause. At the same time, it has once again shown that Christian policy-makers cannot present themselves as a unitary component and pursue different interests and objectives: in fact, during the meeting with Hussein, Romeo Hakkari, president of the Bethnahrein party was present, but representatives of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and the Abnaa al Nahrein Party did not attend the meeting. There is a tendency not to take into account the many appeals - also from Chaldean Patriarch Louis Rahael Sako - to unite the forces of Christians even in politics, acting as a unitary Christian component. "Now", said the Primate of the Chaldean Church in an interview with Agenzia Fides in early May, "the priority is to support the return of refugees, the reconstruction of cities and villages devastated by the war. We must not think about major projects, which, however, appear to have little realism, in an uncertain phase, also marked by the will of an autonomous state pursued by the Kurds". <br />Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:12:19 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Justice and Peace: "No to the law that permits open grazing" - "The recent activities of herdsmen in our country causing violence and destruction of farm lands and properties have become an issue that we must not neglect, especially in the Middle Belt", says a statement of the Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission of the Ecclesiastical Province of Benin, in southern Nigeria, sent to Agenzia Fides.<br />The Catholic Church has been denouncing the violence and damage caused by the Fulani herdsmen for a long time, who in their migrations from north to south invade farmlands. An ancient conflict but likely to assume a religious connotation, given that the Fulani are Muslims and farmers, are generally Christians.<br />Justice and Peace are aware and concerned of the recent Law on “Open Grazing Reserve” by the Federal Government, but believe that "individual States should have the prerogative to prohibit open grazing most especially in the southern states of the federation where grazing is not the usual business of the day".<br />"We therefore recommend all the states in Southern Nigeria to enact an Open Grazing Prohibition Establishment Law ", continues the document. "We strongly condemn the violent killings and attacks of these herdsmen on people and farmlands and call on the Federal Government to address the issue accordingly and arrest perpetrators as deterrent measures".<br />Justice and Peace says it is worried about "the rising trend of human trafficking" and calls for exemplary sentences for those who carry out "this dehumanizing trade" so as to serve as a deterrent to other traffickers or would be traffickers. <br />Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:46:45 +0200AFRICA/SENEGAL - Start-ups against counterfeit medicines - It is estimated that about 10% of the medicines in the world are counterfeit, a figure equivalent to 85 billion euros, according to the Institute for Research Against Counterfeit Medicines in Paris. We are talking about 30% in sub-Saharan Africa, according to researchers. India is the first country where illegal drugs, smuggling, badly packaged or expired drugs come from, according to the World Customs Organization. Faced with this phenomenon, some start-ups have proposed practical solutions. One of these, Senegalese JokkoSanté, launched the concept of "virtual pharmacy", still in the pilot phase. The start-up also provides an "adoption" system through which large companies offer free drugs to those who can not pay them, in a Country where over 50% of the population is without health insurance.<br />Another start-up, Sproxil, set up in 2009, allows users to verify the authenticity of a drug, thanks to mobile phones, through an identification code. In six years, Sproxil has registered over 50 million SMS exchanges in Africa and India.<br />At a summit in Liberia last April, the Economic Community of West African States announced the launch of an expired or falsified drug traffic research as well as an awareness campaign. The problem of access to medicines affects the most vulnerable sectors of the population who have no resources to buy them and must adapt to products of dubious origin. In 2013, due to two anti-malaria drugs, one fake and the other ineffective, over 122,000 African children died. <br />Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:12:16 +0200AMERICA/CHILE - Mgr. Goic Karmelic's reflection: For a democracy based on values - "The debate in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies last week, on the abolition of abortion, saddened me with regards to democracy based on values which since my childhood I was taught to nurture" . This is what His Exc. Mgr. Alejandro Goic Karmelic, Bishop of Rancagua, writes in a letter published by today's newspaper "El Mercurio" sent to Fides, entitled "Democracy based on values".<br />The Bishop, who stresses that he writes "as a simple citizen of my nation", notes that "the urgency of the times and the debate have brought the subject to very extreme levels. A lawmaker treats another as an MP and at the same time a fundamentalist assassin or fanatic. One claims credit for the virtue of 'progressism' and accuses of 'conservatism' those who proclaim that human beings deserve an opportunity. Some invoke human rights by thinking only of women, others only for the child conceived... And when an indication or an abstention surprise, when the calculation of the votes does not work, one repremands MP’s as if they were nursery children... How can one contribute to restoring credit for the noble political activity".<br />Archbishop Goic Karmelic points out that these "are the risks of forcing electoral calculation to national projects", furthermore "extreme anger is a sign that we cannot let go unnoticed".<br />In the final part, the Bishop of Rancagua recalls that "40 years ago the Church became a protection and refuge for those who under the dictatorship were considered 'waste' . We welcomed them and filed an appeal to ensure their lives and rights. We did not ask whether they were baptized, or whether they were conservatives or progressives. Now we will do our best to help those who choose their lives and those who make a different choice. A Church that does not discriminate, faithful to Jesus, the Lord, to be faithful to his mission, it must protect today's waste: the elderly, immigrants, abused women, abused minors, expropriated indigenous peoples, people with chronic illnesses, all the vulnerable...". <br />Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:55:37 +0200AMERICA/DOMINICAN REP. - In debt with childhood: Dominican children are deprived of their rights Domingo - Nearly 13% of minors in the Dominican Republic are forced to work, about 15% do not go to school and 28% are married or cohabit. These alarming data have been reported by the "In Debt with Childhood" Report, presented these days in the Country by Save the Children organization. It is a study of 172 countries ranked from the worst to the best, based on the various obstacles that prevent young children from enjoying their childhood. Among the various factors there are infant death, early marriage, child labor, teenage pregnancy, malnutrition, violence and education.<br />The Dominican Republic is ranked 120th, and is therefore one of the worst Countries. The document also points out that in the Caribbean Country, there is the highest birthrate among adolescents in addition to being among the ten Countries with the highest index of child murders in the region. All these elements have a very profound impact on the lives of children who, apart from being deprived of their rights, and have no way of fighting poverty in view of a better future. <br />Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:10:56 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Church launches an awareness campaign against female genital mutilation - The Orthodox Coptic Church is about to launch an intense awareness campaign among its faithful against the practice of female genital mutilation, which continues to be widespread among Coptic Christians in different areas of Upper Egypt. The urge to launch awareness campaigns among the Coptic communities also regarding the dangers and the serious physical and psychological consequences of this practice – report the media which closely follow the ecclesial events in Egypt more closely - comes directly from Patriarch Tawadros II. The campaign will use a variety of awareness raising tools, including warning signs against infibulation that will be located near the church premises in which baptism is administered. But the Patriarch and the Bishops of Bethlehem are primarily concerned with raising awareness of the practice among the faithful through marriage preparation courses and some awareness raising meetings aimed at couples.<br />The historical origins of the practice of infibulation are related to widespread practices in ancient Egypt. That is why its Arabic name corresponds to the "pharaonic infibulation" expression . Infibulation and female circumcision are not mentioned in the Qur'an, and Islam as such does not require any female genital mutilation. The practice of infibulation, although prohibited by the Coptic Church, still exists in Christian communities in Upper Egypt and in the Horn of Africa, in Eritrea and Ethiopia as a legacy of tribal customs prior to the beginning of apostolic preaching. <br /><br />Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:59:06 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - A bomb explodes at the entrance of the Episcopal Conference, appeal for calm City - On July 25, a bomb exploded at the main entrance of the Mexican Episcopal Conference headquarters in Mexico City around 1.50 am, causing some damage but no one was injured.<br />"We appreciate the support and solidarity shown by our Bishops, faithful, priests, institutions and many people of good will. <br />Even the federal and local authorities have also shown their support and collaboration to clarify this incident", is what is written in the statement by the Secretary General and Spokesperson of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, His Exc. Mgr, Alfonso G. Miranda Guardiola.<br />"As a collegial organ of the Bishops of Mexico – continues the statement sent to Agenzia Fides, "we want to appeal to calm, carefulness and respect for human life and its institutions. This fact invites us to think intensely about the need to rebuild the social fabric, to promote a safe environment for all citizens".<br />Lastly, Bishop Guardiola renews the call for "a social conversion in order to look at each other as brothers and so that every citizen is a peace builder in our country, entrusting Christ, Prince of Peace, and Santa Maria of Guadalupe our mission of creating a "more just and supportive" humanity. <br />Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:31:02 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Amnesty International: "Thousands of women, girls and men victims of war rapes" - Large-scale sexual violence were carried out against thousands of women, girls and men, with victims selected on the basis of their ethnicity. This is what Amnesty International denounces in a report on sexual violence in South Sudan, based on interviews with 168 victims of rapes in South Sudan and in refugee camps in Uganda. South Sudan has been in a civil war since December 2013 which sees pro-government forces of President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, against opposition forces of former First Vice-President, Riek Machar, a Nuer, and their respective allied armed groups. According to Amnesty International's report entitled "Do not remain silent", all parties resort to rape as a weapon to physically and psychologically destroy the "rival" ethnicity.<br />Rapes occur not only during the fighting, but also in the camps where millions of refugees flee from war zones. The report interviews 16 men who claimed they had been castrated or were pierced with needles.<br />"Some of the attacks appear designed to terrorise, degrade and shame the victims, and in some cases to stop men from rival political groups from procreating", reports Amnesty International.<br />According to a report released last year, 70 percent of women in U.N. camps in the capital, Juba, having reportedly been raped since the start of the civil war. <br />Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:59:04 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - Appeal of the secular clergy of Butembo-Béni: "Release our confreres without condition" - "We are deeply appalled by the abduction of our confreres and demand their release without conditions". This is how the secular priests of the diocese of Butembo-Béni addressed the kidnappers of the two priests, Fr. Charles Kipasa and Fr. Jean Pierre Akilimali, abducted on Sunday, July 16 by armed men in in the parish of Mary Queen of the Angels of Bunyuka, on the outskirts of Butembo . The appeal to the kidnappers is written in a letter released at the end of the annual spiritual retreat of the secular clergy of the diocese and its Bishop His Exc. Mgr. Melchisédech Sikuli Paluku.<br />The priests denounce the insecurity of the area "for night incursions, aggression, murders, robberies and rapes, the resurgence of armed groups that, without counting the number of people killed, provoke the displacement of populations. These acts minimize human life and desecrate both the people, the places and the consecrated riches. This is a sacrilege and a profanation".<br />The letter reminds us of the blood price paid by the Church for the murderous action of the various armed groups that are perpetuating the diocese. In particular, the murders of Fr. Romain Kahindo Kyavuyirwe and Fr. Christian Mbusa Bakulene , the kidnapping of the Assumptionist fathers, Jean-Pierre Ndulani, Anselme Wasikundi and Edmond Bamutute, kidnapped In their parish in Notre-Dame des Pauvres of Mbau, 22 km from Beni and the assassination of another Assumptionist, Fr. Vincent Machozi who for years had denounced the illegal exploitation of Coltan .<br />In the face of this new act of violence against priests, the clergy of Butembo-Béni addresses the kidnappers by saying that "too much is too much" and after having put them "in the face of their responsibility" appeals to their conscience "so that Fr. Charles Kipasa and Fr. Jean-Pierre Akilimali are released alive and can continue their pastoral mission". <br />Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:37:02 +0200AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Detroit judge blocks deportation of Iraqi immigrants for 90 days – A judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit has temporarily halted the deportations of Chaldean Christians and other Iraqi immigrants ordered last June by virtue of the new immigration rules implemented by the Trump Administration. The measure had already been temporarily blocked by the same judge for shorter periods, and all the suspensions ended yesterday, Monday 24 July. Yesterday’s new ruling by Judge Goldsmith also took note of Iraqi citizens who referred of the risk of being subjected to violence and persecution once back in the country of origin. Goldsmith also pointed out that the criminal and judicial cases weighing on many of the Iraqis threatened with deportation were actually "dormant" cases. The judge declared that the constitutional rights of Iraqi immigrants, many of whom have long been resident in the United States, have been violated, and that guarantees for the protection of fundamental freedoms can be suspended only in rare cases of foreign invasion or internal insurgence.<br />The Iraqis already arrested on June 12 at the disposition of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement were 114, but potential expulsion measures threatened about 1,400 immigrants from Iraq. Most of the Iraqis already arrested lived in the area of Detroit and belonged to Chaldean Christian families. The operation was implemented after the agreement between the United States and Iraq with which the government of Baghdad had agreed to host a number of Iraqi citizens subjected to the expulsion order, while being removed from the black list of affected nations from the so-called "Muslim ban", wanted by President Donald Trump to prevent access to the United States for citizens from six Muslim majority countries considered as potential "exporters" of terrorists. Even some of the arrested Christians had in the past had problems with justice.<br />Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako also intervened on the case: in a letter to Chaldean Bishop Frank Kalabat, at the head of the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle in Detroit, the Primate of the Chaldean Church expressed solidarity and closeness to Iraqi families affected by the provisions of expulsion, and hoped for an adequate solution to the humanitarian emergency caused by the expulsion measures, also directed against family men with small children.<br />Now Iraqi immigrants, at risk of deportation, have three months to arrange their legal strategy with their lawyers to render ineffective the expulsion orders issued by the ICE. <br />Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:08:15 +0200EUROPE/FRANCE - First Anniversary of Fr. Hamel’s death – Fr. Jacques Hamel, 84, had his throat cut while he was celebrating mass in Saint Etienne du Rouvray church, Normandy on the morning of July 26, 2016. Two men entered the church during the celebration, killed the priest at the altar and wounded three of the faithful present and two religious Sisters were taken hostage while a third managed to escape and call the police. The murderers were killed by the police .<br />On the first anniversary of the tragic event, tomorrow, in the same church and at the same time Fr. Hamel was celebrating Mass, at 9 o'clock, the Archbishop of Rouen, His Exc. Mgr. Dominique Lebrun, will celebrate Holy Mass in front of a packed church and television cameras. According to information released by the Archdiocese, during the rite, four floral compositions will be placed in front of the cross, the Paschal candle, the altar, and the image of the Virgin Mary. A monument in honour of murdered French priest will be unveiled by the local authority of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. In the afternoon, at 6pm, in the Notre-Dame de Bonsecours basilica vespers will be celebrated followed by a moment of prayer on Fr. Hamel’s tomb. Other initiatives in memory of Fr. Hamel and for peace have been organized in several communities.<br />The Archbishop of Marseilles, His Exc. Mgr. Georges Pontier, President of the French Bishops' Conference, in his message for the anniversary stresses that "it was a horrendous incident, we were speechless". Quoting the words of Fr. Jacques’ sister, according to whom the brother priest was first of all "a man among men," the message continues: "It is this man among men who was killed. It is this man among men, this priest, who has become the symbol of a life lived with others, for others, a life of daily fidelity, a life rooted in the love of He who made himself One of us for love, Christ. Such a life becomes a model and encouragement for everyone".<br />Pope Francis granted a dispensation to open, a few months after his death on April 13, 2017, the diocesan phase of the Beatification process of Fr. Hamel. <br />Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:28:20 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - Still tensions at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Fr.Neuhaus: when sacred things are touched, rage always explodes - The Israeli government has ordered the removal of installed metal detectors to control the entry at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. But it is still early to understand whether this measure will have an impact on the tension and violence unleashed around the Holy City where the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are situated. "In Jerusalem", reports to Agenzia Fides, Fr. David Neuhaus SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for Jewish Catholics in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, "there is great bitterness, anger, frustration, which is repeated over and over again. There is no need to be prophets to know in advance that when sacred and religious things are touched, unforeseen consequences arise".<br />On Monday, July 24, the Jordanian media reports that King Abdallah II of Jordan, in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had asked for the cancellation of all new security measures - including metal detectors - by the Israeli government to control and restrict entry to al-Aqsa mosque after the armed attack on on July 14, in which three Palestinian bombers had killed two Israeli soldiers. <br />"We can only hope that King Abdallah II of Jordan can play an important role, since the Hashemi Monarchy is traditionally responsible of the protection of the holy Muslim places in Jerusalem," reports to Fides Fr. Neuhaus. "As for the rest", the Jesuit priest added, "we are called to be witnesses of the Resurrection in this situation, praying and trusting in the Lord". .<br /><br />Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:46:32 +0200AMERICA/CHILE - The Bishops on the decriminalization of abortion: With more force than before, we promote the value of life - Following the approval of the draft law by the Chilean Senate that decriminalizes the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in three particular cases, "there will be laws on euthanasia and so on". These laws which are contrary to human life, to the natural order desired by God and the same Catholic faith" were approved with the vote of the left parties, including Christian democracy, emphasizes His Exc. Mgr. Francisco Javier Stegmeier Schmidlin, Bishop of Villarrica, who wonders what "those who are for life and family and against the culture of death" have to do now.<br />In the statement issued by the Chilean Bishops' Conference, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishop lists seven actions. First of all, pray to the Lord for the conversion of those who are in favor of abortion and for this law to be repealed. Supporting women who are at risk of pregnancy and participate in institutions dedicated to this end. "Studying the basics of the reasons why each child has the right to be born and the effects of abortion on the mother, family and society. Be always and everywhere militant for life and for the family". Participate in the activities of the movements for life. Use proper language, for example, not "embryo, fetus" but "child, person". Vote only candidates who are for life.<br />Also the Permanent Committee of the Chilean Bishops' Conference, in a statement dated July 21, states that "the draft bill seems to be a return to the past that establishes and legitimizes an unfair discrimination against defenceless human beings in Chilean society, and the State is called to guarantee and protect this life". For the Bishops this is not the right answer to the drama of women: now in Chile there will be children considered 'waste' as Pope Francis called all humans that society marginalizes and considers 'uncomfortable' or because they are not considered worthy of living".<br />The Bishops are saddened by the vote in favor of parliamentarians who say they are Christians, and recall what they said in their message on 25 March 2015 entitled "Human Right to Life, a life worthy of every person".<br />"When we need to regain confidence, political authorities are the first called to witness the coherence between the ethical convictions they proclaim and the public office they cover", is what is written in the message, which concludes with these words: "As a Church we are respectful of the powers of the State in the context of democracy. With transparency we offered our opinion to all the competent bodies, through people and institutions that will continue to work in favor of life. In the face of every human drama, Catholics will continue to proclaim the infinite love of God, who in the resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ offers us the source for the promotion of every human life and his dignity". <br />Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:07:36 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - One of the Countries with the greatest income and rights inequality - In Nigeria, income inequality is one of the most serious and often less discussed issues. A recent study by Oxfam and the Development Finance International group, puts Nigeria outright last in a list of 152 Countries ranked by their "commitment to reducing inequality". Nigeria's social spending for health, education and social protection is, according to the study, "shamefully low" and "reflects a very poor social protection for citizens". According to information sent to Fides, the number of people living in poverty in Nigeria has increased from 69 million in 2004 to 112 million in 2010, despite the country has recorded a growth of 7%. In the same period, the number of millionaires in Nigeria increased by 44%.<br />Also, about 86 million people live in extreme poverty. It is said that the richest man in the country, earns 8,000 times more every day than a poor compatriot would spend on their basic needs in a year. According to the United Nations, more than 4.7 million people are facing food insecurity in the region, according to the UN, while 49% of young people are either unemployed or under-employed in insufficient or part-time work.<br />Last year, Nigeria ranked 118th out of 144 Countries in the Global Gender Gap report. Economic and educational challenges for poor Nigerians are almost all worse for women: in the poorest section of society, 75% of women do not attend school, and in urban areas 51% do not enrol in education – almost twice the share of men. <br />Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:33:08 +0200