Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usAMERICA/EL SALVADOR - Violence increases more and more and families are the most affectedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36579-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Violence_increases_more_and_more_and_families_are_the_most_affectedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36579-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Violence_increases_more_and_more_and_families_are_the_most_affectedSan Salvador - "We see that the violence increases more and more , the violence we are currently experiencing is even more brutal between security forces and organized crime": these are the worrying words expressed by the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. Gregorio Rosa Chavez in the usual press conference on Sunday, after yesterday’s Mass celebrated in the capital’s Cathedral. <br />According to the note sent to Fides Agency, among the most particular issues highlighted by the Bishop, was his denunciation of the murder of the agent of the Policía Nacional Civil , which took place on Saturday, October 18 during a football match, only because he tried to defend a boy who had refused to become part of a criminal gang. <br />The Archbishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, in Rome to attend the Synod of Bishops, in a message to his Auxiliary Bishop denounces the brutal increase of violence in the country: "Violence has gained so much power in El Salvador, that the gangs outnumber the members of the Police". Mgr. Escobar Alas also states that Salvadoran families are severely affected by the situation of crime, because they are victims of extortion, murder and kidnapping. <br />Mgr. Rosa Chavez, expressed his concern because seven police officers have been killed in the last two weeks by criminal gangs, a sign that the country is entering a period of "violence which is even more brutal" and the police pay the price. <br />According to the statistics of the National Civil Police, criminal gangs have killed 32 officers in 2014. Up to October 16, there were 3,064 violent deaths, while the average daily murders rose to 12. "This situation cannot be taken lightly. The answers have to be intelligent and be part of a well thought out strategy. The upsurge in violence is a provocation of the gangs, a direct challenge, that must be analyzed as such", concluded Mgr. Rosa Chavez. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/VIETNAM - The Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh city: prayer and hope for the Vatican-Vietnam diplomatic tieshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36578-ASIA_VIETNAM_The_Archbishop_of_Ho_Chi_Minh_city_prayer_and_hope_for_the_Vatican_Vietnam_diplomatic_tieshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36578-ASIA_VIETNAM_The_Archbishop_of_Ho_Chi_Minh_city_prayer_and_hope_for_the_Vatican_Vietnam_diplomatic_tiesVatican City - "The meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, strengthens our hopes in the future to see full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Vietnam": says to Fides Agency the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, His Exc. Mgr. Paul Bui Van Doc, who participated in the Synod of Bishops. "We do not know what the future holds, but we pray and hope to overcome difficulties and to restore diplomatic ties" said the Archbishop, recalling, among the good signs and good prospects the fact that "the Church has taken the initiative to establish a theological Institute in Vietnam, at university level, and has found open doors among governmental authorities". <br />During his stay for the session of the Synod, which has just ended, the Archbishop said: "It was a wonderful experience, we experienced the true freedom of the children of God. I bring to Vietnam the experience of the Church as a mother who welcomes her children with mercy; and as a teacher, who listens, prays, accompanies her children in search of the truth". Above all, he concludes, "the Pope teaches us, with his example and his moving testimony, to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit that brings news and opens our hearts". Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/SIERRA LEONE - A cassava field transformed into an ebola treatment centerhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36577-AFRICA_SIERRA_LEONE_A_cassava_field_transformed_into_an_ebola_treatment_centerhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36577-AFRICA_SIERRA_LEONE_A_cassava_field_transformed_into_an_ebola_treatment_centerBo - A few weeks ago it was a cassava field. Today it is a gleaming tented city made up of four huge tents surrounded by smaller tents and brick-built buildings, intersected by orange fences and dotted with purple chairs. This is MSF’s newest Ebola treatment centre, near Sierra Leone’s second city of Bo. Built in just five weeks by shifts of labourers working around the clock, it opened its gates on September 19, and despite the construction work that still continues, the first of its 34-bed-wards is full. The first patients were shuttled by ambulance from a nearby Ebola transit center, set up by MSF when the deadly disease first erupted in Bo. So far, 16 patients have been discharged. Each time it is a huge boost to the morale of the other patients as well as the 280 staff who work here. <br />The majority - 260 - are Sierra Leonean. Many of them previously worked at the MSF’s mother’s and children’s hospital nearby. Others come from different backgrounds, but most share the enthusiasm to join the fight against the disease. Among the local operators there are nine women involved in preparing patients’ lunch in a freshly tiled kitchen, a philosophy teacher, filling in the logbooks in the supply tent and the former pastor who now works as a mental health counsellor. The new centre is spacious and meticulously organized, with smooth cement flooring underfoot, rather than gravel, and heavy-duty tents to withstand Sierra Leone’s seven-month rainy season. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/BURUNDI - Appointment of the Rector of the "John Paul II" Major Seminary, in the diocese of Gitegahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36576-AFRICA_BURUNDI_Appointment_of_the_Rector_of_the_John_Paul_II_Major_Seminary_in_the_diocese_of_Gitegahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36576-AFRICA_BURUNDI_Appointment_of_the_Rector_of_the_John_Paul_II_Major_Seminary_in_the_diocese_of_GitegaVatican City - On 17 February 2014, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev. Martin Sinumvayaha of the clergy of the Diocese of Ngozi as Rector of the "Blessed John Paul II" Major Seminary in the diocese of Gitega . <br />The new Rector was born on 11 November 1970 in Muhanga. After his civil studies, in 1993 he entered the Seminary in Burasira. He studied philosophy at the Major Seminary of Bujumbura and theology at the "John Paul II" Major Seminary in Gitega. He was ordained a priest in Ngozi on July 7, 2001, he was later Assistant Pastor and Pastor and therefore Treasurer and Vice-Rector of the Diocesan Minor Seminary. He then continued his studies at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, from 2005 to 2011, and obtained his PhD in Civil and Canon Law. Since 2011 he has been professor at the major Seminary in Gitega and member of several Commissions of the Episcopal Conference. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200VATICAN - Pope Paul VI, "a staunch supporter of the mission ad gentes"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36575-VATICAN_Pope_Paul_VI_a_staunch_supporter_of_the_mission_ad_genteshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36575-VATICAN_Pope_Paul_VI_a_staunch_supporter_of_the_mission_ad_gentesVatican City - At the end of the solemn celebration in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday 19 October for the closure of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis recited the Angelus prayer in the presence of faithful and pilgrims who came from various countries for the beatification of Pope Paul VI and during the prayer Popo Francis invited "to faithfully follow the teachings and example of the new Blessed". "He - said Pope Francis - was a staunch supporter of the mission ad gentes; it is the witness above all of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi with which he intended to reawaken the enthusiasm and the commitment of the Church for the mission. And this Exhortation is still relevant, it has great relevance. It is significant to consider this aspect of the Pontificate of Paul VI, especially today, which is celebrated as World Missionary Day". Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200VATICAN – Blessed Pope Paul VI: "The love for Missions is love for the Church, love for Christ!"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36574-VATICAN_Blessed_Pope_Paul_VI_The_love_for_Missions_is_love_for_the_Church_love_for_Christhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36574-VATICAN_Blessed_Pope_Paul_VI_The_love_for_Missions_is_love_for_the_Church_love_for_ChristVatican City - "Love for Missions is love for the Church, love for Christ! A Christian must be open to the spiritual needs of those who do not know Christ, and there are hundreds of millions": these are the words Blessed Paul VI addressed to the diocesan directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Italy, received in audience on June 28, 1978, a few weeks before his death. <br />On World Mission Day, 2014, at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, Pope Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Montini, was proclaimed Blessed. In his fifteen years of Pontificate Paul VI gave a strong impetus to the missionary conscience of the Church, missionary animation and cooperation, continuing an effort that he had already manifested as Archbishop of Milan. <br />During the missionary Magisterium of Paul VI, the conciliar decree "Ad Gentes" on the Missionary Activity of the Church emerges, completed by the Motu proprio "Ecclesiae Sanctae", with the rules for the application of certain Decrees of the Second Vatican Council; the Message "Africae terrarum" in defense of the African identity and its traditional values; the Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi" on the commitment to proclaim the Gospel to the people of our time. <br />Along with these documents we cannot overlook the wealth of letters, messages and speeches, at all levels and on the most varied occasions, on the missionary responsibility of the whole Church. With the Apostolic Letters "Benegnissimus Deus" and "Graves et Increscentes" he stressed the importance and relevance of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter Apostle and the Pontifical Missionary Union. In his Letter to the International Missionary Conference in Lyon , commemorating the anniversary of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, he asked for a growing awareness of the modern problem of evangelization in order to renew the impetus to missionary activity. In his message to the Missionary Congress in Mexico and Latin America he called on all the local Churches "to make all of the Latin American Church a missionary Church". <br />Throughout his Pontificate, with the exception in 1964, Pope Paul VI always sent a message on the occasion of World Mission Day in October. The latter, which he had already prepared when he died, still insists on the responsibility of the people of God for missionary work. <br />Paul VI always put emphasis on the missionary character of the great liturgical solemnities of Easter, Pentecost and Epiphany, with the consecration of priests and bishops in missionary countries, the delivery of the crucifix to the departing missionaries, the beatification of representatives of the missionary Church or martyrs for faith ... in this context, we must remember even four ordinations of Bishops and priests, entirely or in part of mission territories, and the administration of the sacrament of Baptism and first Communion to the catechumens in Africa and Asia. <br />Paul VI visited the Urban College several times, he also presided the ordination of some priests , and on the day of Pentecost in 1972 he celebrated the "Mass of the Nations" at St. Peter the Apostle College. <br />According to the data of Fides Agency, during Paul VI’s pontificate the ecclesiastical territories entrusted to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples went from 759 to 863. <br />He appointed 604 Bishops in mission territories, mainly indigenous. He created 27 Cardinals belonging to the mission territories, and 18 of them were the first Cardinals in the history of their country. During his pontificate the national Bishops' Conferences increased from 11 to 48. By establishing the Synod of Bishops he called the representatives of the Episcopate of the entire world, thus including Churches in mission territories, to assist the Pope in the governing of the universal Church. He also pursued the internationalization of the Roman Curia, by calling in positions of responsibility priests and bishops from other continents besides Europe. <br />Paul VI was the first pope to visit all the continents and mission lands : Holy Land and India in 1964, Europe in 1967, America in 1968, Africa in 1969, the Far East and Oceania in 1970. In his meeting with the young Churches, he always invited them to become aware of their missionary responsibility, both in their territories and throughout the world. Sat, 18 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Torrential rains on refugees, the state of emergency worsenshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36573-ASIA_IRAQ_Torrential_rains_on_refugees_the_state_of_emergency_worsenshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36573-ASIA_IRAQ_Torrential_rains_on_refugees_the_state_of_emergency_worsensErbil - On Wednesday afternoon, October 16 rains intensified in Erbil. Thunderstorms also hit Ankawa, the predominantly Christian suburb of the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where thousands of refugees who fled from Mosul and the Nineveh Plain due to the offensive of the jihadist militants of the Islamic State have found refuge. The weather forecast for the next few days says that the situation will worsen and citizen committees, in coordination with the Chaldean archdiocese together with humanitarian agencies involved in the rescue of refugees, have launched an appeal to the local authorities and the international community to help those in critical conditions. There are at least a thousand tents scattered in Ankawa. <br />The government in Baghdad has announced the launch of a project for the construction of thousands of prefabricated housing units intended for refugees, both in Erbil and in Dohuk . "But so far – says to Fides the Chaldean priest Paolo Thabit Mekko, who was also a refugee in Ankawa after escaping from Mosul – nothing has been done. The only concrete initiatives come from international organizations and especially from the Church, which is launching a program to rent homes and buy containers that can provide a less precarious shelter compared to tents".<br />Meanwhile, Bishop Nuncio Galantino, Secretary General of the Italian Episcopal Conference , together with the Director of Caritas Italy, Don Francesco Soddu has just concluded a visit among Iraqi refugees. Caritas Iraq, supported by Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Italy, has recently launched a new appeal for 2,422,914 Euros to assist 12,350 families displaced with new food kits and other basic necessities. Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/KENYA - The Bishops: "What does the tetanus campaign hide?"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36572-AFRICA_KENYA_The_Bishops_What_does_the_tetanus_campaign_hidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36572-AFRICA_KENYA_The_Bishops_What_does_the_tetanus_campaign_hideNairobi - "We want the government to come clean on the ongoing tetanus vaccine campaign" ask the Bishops of Kenya who fear that the prophylaxis hides a campaign of forced sterilization concerning women in childbearing age. <br />According to reports from CISA agency in Nairobi, during a press conference in Nairobi, His Exc. Mgr. Paul Kariuki Njiru, Bishop of Embu and Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, questioned why the national tetanus campaign is aimed at girls and women aged between 14 to 49, excluding girls under the age of 13, in addition to the male population. <br />Mgr. Kariuki Njiru reported the church had conducted laboratory tests on the vaccine used in the Tetanus campaign of March 2014 and found out that it contained the Beta HCG sub unit. HCG according to the findings is necessary for pregnancy. This substance, combined with the tetanus vaccine, actually becomes a vaccine against pregnancy. A similar methodology was used in previous tetanus campaigns in the Philippines, Nicaragua and Mexico. <br />The Bishop says the measure was "a permanent population control tool" and urged the ministry of health to come clean on the matter and said there was "lack of stakeholder, engagement and consultation" since the church was not involved in the campaign at any one point despite being key stakeholder in the health sector. "The ministry of Health has not involved us during conceptualization; preparation and participation in the Tetanus Vaccination campaign. We contribute a substantial amount of health services in this country. We have been involved previously and continue to support all ‘clean’ and well – intended vaccination programmes. What is the ministry hiding this time round?" asked Bishop Kariuki. The Catholic Church in Kenya own 58 hospitals, 83 health centres, 311 dispensaries and 17 medical training institutions. Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Church: "Asia Bibi sentenced, but hope is alive"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36571-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_Church_Asia_Bibi_sentenced_but_hope_is_alivehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36571-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_Church_Asia_Bibi_sentenced_but_hope_is_aliveLahore - "We must continue to pray and hope for Asia Bibi", after the Lahore High Court upheld the death penalty for the Christian woman convicted of blasphemy in 2010. This was reported to Fides Agency by Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf, Director of the "National Commission for Justice and Peace" of the Pakistani Bishops and parish priest in Lahore. <br />"The confirmation of the conviction is bad news for all of us. The lawyers did their best and the whole Christian community was waiting with confidence. On Sunday we will pray in our churches for the life of this innocent woman", says Fr. Emmanuel in an interview with Fides. <br />"In any case - he adds – hope remains alive: we will appeal to the Supreme Court, and I want to remember the cases in which the Court overturned the sentences handed down in the previous degrees of judgment. I remember a story we followed closely with the Justice and Peace Commission: the case of Ayub Masih, a Christian, also sentenced to death for blasphemy and saved thanks to the acquittal verdict of the Supreme Court".<br />Fr. Emmanuel ensures the closeness, solidarity and prayer of the Catholic Church of Pakistan "to Asia, her family and all those who suffer injustice and are innocent and find themselves in prison: they are the image of the suffering Christ". With regards to any changes to the blasphemy law, the Director notes, "Changes are not on the political agenda. Islamabad is shaken by turmoil and street protests and the government and Parliament have other matters to deal with". Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/TANZANIA - Activities and programs for children and adolescents infected with HIVhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36570-AFRICA_TANZANIA_Activities_and_programs_for_children_and_adolescents_infected_with_HIVhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36570-AFRICA_TANZANIA_Activities_and_programs_for_children_and_adolescents_infected_with_HIVDodoma - According to the 2011-12 Report on indicators of HIV and Malaria in Tanzania, the prevalence of the AIDS/HIV virus in the African country went from 5.7% in 2007 to 5.1% in 2012. Women contract AIDS more than men, and every year about 80 thousand Tanzanians are infected. Twenty thousand new infections occur among young people in the age group ranging from 15 to 24, two-thirds of these are girls. Less than 50% of the boys are aware of the virus. The project "Mabinti Tushike Hatimu", currently underway in four districts of the regions where there is the highest rate of HIV cases in Tanzania , groups of girls in 27 villages are being taken care of by the NGO Restless Development. In March 2014 over 3,300 members and about 250 community leaders were trained on the rights of girls. Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/CONGO DR - At least 30 people have died in the guerrilla assault in the town of Benihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36569-AFRICA_CONGO_DR_At_least_30_people_have_died_in_the_guerrilla_assault_in_the_town_of_Benihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36569-AFRICA_CONGO_DR_At_least_30_people_have_died_in_the_guerrilla_assault_in_the_town_of_BeniKinshasa - 30 people have died and 9 injured in the massacre perpetrated in the night between 15 and 16 October by the Ugandan rebels of the ADF-NALU in a neighborhood of the city of Beni, North Kivu . This was denounced in a statement sent to Fides Agency by Civil Society of North Kivu, according to which this latest massacre leads to a toll of 57 victims and 31 injured in the violence committed by the group in the last two weeks in the towns along the road Beni-Eringeti. <br />"Civil Society of North Kivu denounces the genocide by the ADF-NALU and draws the attention of the International Criminal Court on the savage massacres committed against the people of Beni", said the statement, which concludes launching an appeal to the armed forces and Congolese security and the UN Mission in the DRC to intensify efforts to protect the civilian population. <br />The ADF-Nalu is a guerrilla group born from the union of the two previous movements fighting against the Ugandan government, the Allied Democratic Forces and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda. The group has been responsible for several crimes against civilians, in particular the abduction of about 600 people in North Kivu, including 3 Assumptionist father of Congolese nationality, Jean-Pierre Ndulani, Anselme Wasikundi and Edmond Bamutute, who disappeared on the evening of October 19, 2012 in their parish of Notre-Dame des Pauvres in Mbau, 22 km from Beni . Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The murder of the missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio remains unsolvedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36568-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_murder_of_the_missionary_Fr_Fausto_Tentorio_remains_unsolvedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36568-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_murder_of_the_missionary_Fr_Fausto_Tentorio_remains_unsolvedCotabato – After three years since the killing of the Italian priest Fausto Tentorio, a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions , killed by a gunman on October 17, 2011, on the island of Mindanao, "we are still here seeking justice for his death, we still do not know the reasons of the murder and there is no trial in court. The case remains unsolved". This is what is said, in a note sent to Fides Agency, by Fr. Peter Geremia, PIME, a confrere of the murdered missionary and leader of a movement formed spontaneously in the aftermath of the murder, called "Justice for Fr. Pops ". <br />In the note sent to Fides, the members of the movement expressed deep disappointment at the slow pace of investigations that have been entrusted to a special team, in charge of "unsolved cases", which deals with numerous extrajudicial killings which have occurred in the country. <br />The investigations have not yet produced results. The Movement has reported to the police a number of people to be investigated, such as the leader of the "Bagani" paramilitary group who operated in the area of Arakan where the missionary was killed, and Captain Mark Espiritu, commander of the special Forces of the Philippines, who might be involved. Even the families of the witnesses involved in the investigation - now under surveillance - are exasperated, reports the Movement, and would like to return to a normal life. Investigators, however, have promised to give details of the results by the end of 2014 that may lead to the start of a trial. Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200EUROPE/SPAIN - While 805 million people suffer from hunger, 30% of food is wastedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36567-EUROPE_SPAIN_While_805_million_people_suffer_from_hunger_30_of_food_is_wastedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36567-EUROPE_SPAIN_While_805_million_people_suffer_from_hunger_30_of_food_is_wastedMadrid – On October 17, Spain celebrates International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Within the campaign "One Family, food for everyone", Caritas and the NGO Manos Unidas have organized a series of activities in the province of Soria to raise awareness on the problem of hunger in the world which affects 805 million people: one every nine suffer from chronic malnutrition, while 30% of all food produced is wasted. The aim of the campaign is to claim the right of every human being to have sufficient, healthy and adequate food in order to live a dignified life, as well as the responsible use of natural resources. Caritas and Manos Unidas direct their appeal to the people, the institutions and the public and private bodies so that they commit themselves towards a concrete realization of the right to food and sustainable development for everyone. Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - "We hope peace is near" says Cardinal Salazar Gómezhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36566-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_We_hope_peace_is_near_says_Cardinal_Salazar_Gomezhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36566-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_We_hope_peace_is_near_says_Cardinal_Salazar_GomezPereira - During his visit to the city of Pereira, the Colombian Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez, Archbishop of Bogota, spoke of the seriousness of the peace process, hoping that the ELN is able to enter into peace talks. In a note sent to Fides by the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, the Cardinal reaffirms the commitment of all Colombians to achieve complete and lasting peace. <br />The Cardinal reiterated: "It is very difficult to judge from the outside how the peace process is being handled. <br />I can say that I have confidence in the seriousness of the government, which is doing everything possible to bring forward the peace process, with all the seriousness of the case. At the same time I also trust in the seriousness of the FARC". For these reasons, the Cardinal said: "We hope peace is near". <br />Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez, visited the city of Pereira, where he gave a lecture at the Catholic University and presided over a Mass in the Cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of Poverty and met the entire population. <br />The next round of peace talks, scheduled for October 20, has been postponed, as mutually agreed to October 24, due to the lack of time needed for the preparation of the session, which continues to develop the fourth point of the dialogue: "Recognition and compensation of victims of the conflict". Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Egyptian Family House grows, liaison body between Muslims and Christianshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36565-AFRICA_EGYPT_Egyptian_Family_House_grows_liaison_body_between_Muslims_and_Christianshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36565-AFRICA_EGYPT_Egyptian_Family_House_grows_liaison_body_between_Muslims_and_ChristiansCairo - The Egyptian Family House, liaison body which unites the University of Al Azhar - the highest seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world - and the Christian churches in Egypt, has decided to inaugurate a website as an operational tool to coordinate the growing amount of initiatives put in place by the body throughout Egypt. The news was released by local sources consulted by Fides Agency. The website will relaunch press releases and newsletters of local committees of the Egyptian Family House. Even TV channels directly connected to Al Azhar and the various Christian churches have been urged to publicize the initiatives put in place by the liaison body. In the meantime the preparation of a national meeting regarding those responsible of the body, which should be held soon at Al Azhar University, has entered its operational phase. <br />The liaison body - which is guided in alternation by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch was established initially as a tool to prevent and mitigate sectarian conflicts, in a time when the upsurge of fundamentalist sectarianism seemed to endanger national unity. "The initiative - explains to Fides Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Guizeh - did not stop at the level of good intentions, and is developing a network of local committees throughout the Country. Activities are concrete and effective. There are also meeting sessions between priests and imams, that are proving to be very useful to promote collaboration between the different communities of believers in different places". Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/CONGO DR - Bishops' strong condemnation regarding the attack against priests and religious women in Lodjahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36564-AFRICA_CONGO_DR_Bishops_strong_condemnation_regarding_the_attack_against_priests_and_religious_women_in_Lodjahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36564-AFRICA_CONGO_DR_Bishops_strong_condemnation_regarding_the_attack_against_priests_and_religious_women_in_LodjaKinshasa - "It is unacceptable to blame the church personnel who, faithful to the hierarchy, exercise their pastoral ministry", said a statement from the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo condemning the attack suffered by two pastors on Sunday October 12 in Lodja, 750 km north of Mbuji-Mayi capital of Kasai oriental. On the same day, a convent was devastated . The two priests were attacked by some young people after reading the Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops' Conference during Sunday Mass which criticizes the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow incumbent President, Joseph Kabila, to stand for election for a third term . <br />In the message published on 14 October, the Bishops argue that the pastoral Letter "sparked a lively debate". CENCO also states that "there is no rebellion of the Catholic faithful against the hierarchy of the Church, but a manipulation of some non-Catholic youth". <br />The Bishops urged the authorities to ensure the safety of priests, religious men and women and pastoral workers, as well as places of worship. Finally, the faithful are invited to pray for the good of the nation. The Bishops have organized three days of prayer, from October 17 to 19, all over the Country, "so that God may enlighten the future of the nation". Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Asia Bibi’s death sentence confirmed by the Court of Appealhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36563-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Asia_Bibi_s_death_sentence_confirmed_by_the_Court_of_Appealhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36563-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Asia_Bibi_s_death_sentence_confirmed_by_the_Court_of_AppealLahore - This morning the Lahore High Court, the court of second instance, confirmed Asia Bibi's Death sentence, a Pakistani Christian woman accused of blasphemy and sentenced in 2010. This is confirmed to Fides Agency by one of the woman’s defense lawyers, the Christian Naeem Shakir, informing that the appeal filed by the defense was rejected. <br />During the hearing which was held this morning, from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm, before a panel chaired by Judge Anwar ul Haq, the defense submitted its written arguments that demolish the prosecution framework, exposing the witnesses lack of credibility and the obvious false accusations. "The judge held the allegations of the two Muslim women , who witnessed the alleged blasphemy committed by Asia, valid and credible. Shakir expressed his bitterness and disappointment. "Justice is increasingly in the hands of the extremists", he added, announcing that, in agreement with Asia’s husband, we will resort to the Supreme Court, the third and final level of justice in Pakistan. Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - A church in Qaraqosh bombed by the anti-Caliphate coalitionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36562-ASIA_IRAQ_A_church_in_Qaraqosh_bombed_by_the_anti_Caliphate_coalitionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36562-ASIA_IRAQ_A_church_in_Qaraqosh_bombed_by_the_anti_Caliphate_coalitionQaraqosh - The bombings carried out in the Nineveh Plain by the US-led coalition against posts of the Islamic State have hit and devastated the church of the Resurrection, near the town of Qaraqosh, inhabited mainly by Christian Syriac Catholics before falling under the control of the jihadists of the IS. The news, relaunched by Arab sites such as ankawa.com, has been confirmed by local sources to Fides Agency. The church, located in the area of the cemetery, was consecrated in 2009 and belonged to the Syrian Catholic Church, but was also used by other Churches and Christian communities, especially for funerals. The place of worship has been identified and hit as a logistics base of the jihadists, who, after having occupied the church had also removed the cross from the roof. The inhabitants of Qaraqosh had fled from their homes in the night between 6 and 7 August, before the advance of the militia of the IS and after the Kurdish Peshmerga militia, deployed in defense of the city, had received the order to retreat . Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/LIBYA - "Bombing continues, with less intensity", says the Apostolic Vicar of Benghazihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36561-AFRICA_LIBYA_Bombing_continues_with_less_intensity_says_the_Apostolic_Vicar_of_Benghazihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36561-AFRICA_LIBYA_Bombing_continues_with_less_intensity_says_the_Apostolic_Vicar_of_BenghaziBenghazi - "Bombings continue, although with less intensity compared to yesterday" says His Exc. Mgr. Sylvester Carmel Magro, Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi to Fides Agency, where the forces of General Khalifa Haftar have launched an offensive to wrest control of the city from Islamist groups . <br />"We know little of what is happening because we are imprisoned in the house and the area of the fighting is relatively far away from where we are", says Mgr. Magro. "We live as hermits locked in the house or in hospitals. We hear the roar of the bombing but we do not know exactly where they are concentrated", says the Apostolic Vicar who concludes renewing the call to pray for Libya. Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/HAITI - Haiti will ask for an extension to the Dominican Republic to regulate the "sans papiers"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36560-AMERICA_HAITI_Haiti_will_ask_for_an_extension_to_the_Dominican_Republic_to_regulate_the_sans_papiershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36560-AMERICA_HAITI_Haiti_will_ask_for_an_extension_to_the_Dominican_Republic_to_regulate_the_sans_papiersSanto Domingo - The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Haiti, Pierre Duly Brutus, said yesterday in Santo Domingo that his country will ask the Dominican Republic to extend the deadline fixed by the latter so that the children of foreigners born before 2007 are able to enter the national Plan for the regularization of migration. <br />The Haitian official, says the note sent to Fides by a local source said that the request will be presented in the coming days, before October 28, when the expiry date provided by the National Plan for the regularization of foreigners expires, within which citizens born in the Dominican Republic before April 18, 2007, may register in the "Book of foreigners". <br />Until last September, the Dominican government received more than 54,000 requests for foreigners seeking to regularize their immigration status. The "Plan Nacional de Regularización de Extranjeros" , began on June 2 and will end May 31, 2015. <br />According to Fides sources, it is expected that thousands of Haitians will not be able to be part of the "Plan" only for bureaucratic reasons, such as lack of necessary documents. Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0200