Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usAFRICA/EGYPT - Condolences of the Council of Christian Churches for the assassination of Attorney Generalhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38092-AFRICA_EGYPT_Condolences_of_the_Council_of_Christian_Churches_for_the_assassination_of_Attorney_Generalhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38092-AFRICA_EGYPT_Condolences_of_the_Council_of_Christian_Churches_for_the_assassination_of_Attorney_GeneralCairo - The Council of Churches in Egypt expressed the unanimous sympathy of all Christian communities in Egypt for the assassination of Attorney General Hisham Barakat, who on Monday, June 29 was the victim of a terrorist attack. In a statement released by the Coptic Orthodox priest Bishoy Elmy, head of the Secretariat General of the Council, Barakat is defined as a "brave man" and his tenacity in defending justice and law, without being intimidated by the dangers is highlighted. <br />The text also expresses condolences to the victim's family and to all the Egyptian judiciary.<br />Coptic sources report that when Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros heard the news of the murder, he immediately interrupted his visit to the monastery of the Virgin Mary in Wadi Natrun and returned to Cairo. In another statement, the Coptic Orthodox Church launched an appeal to all national forces to remain steadfast and united before the attack of extremism and terrorism, asking God to preserve the Egyptian nation from harm.<br />65-year old Hisham Barakat was a key figure in the trials against the Muslim Brotherhood after the deposition of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, in July 2013. The attack that killed him was claimed by the Islamist group al-Moqawma al-Shabia, considered close to the Muslim Brotherhood. The funeral, scheduled for today in a mosque in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, will be attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, while the Coptic Orthodox Church will be represented by Anba Theodosius, Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Giza. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:16:47 +0200AMERICA/PANAMA - Cardinal Lacunza: "despite scandals and corruption, we have to believe in justice"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38091-AMERICA_PANAMA_Cardinal_Lacunza_despite_scandals_and_corruption_we_have_to_believe_in_justicehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38091-AMERICA_PANAMA_Cardinal_Lacunza_despite_scandals_and_corruption_we_have_to_believe_in_justicePanama - "They are afraid", this is how Cardinal José Luis Lacunza described the reaction of people with regards to the cases of corruption in the Latin American country. The Cardinal, Bishop of the Diocese of David, spoke on June 28 during a popular television program in Panama, "Cara a Cara", where he spoke of the difficult situation that the country is experiencing, describing it as "serious".<br />"I am afraid of revenge, but I believe in justice - said the Cardinal - because there is already evidence to prosecute those responsible ... If we capture the corrupt and the people who corrupt are let loose, then the situation will continue".<br />According to data collected by the local press, corruption scandals of the previous government surprised the Panamanians. It all started in November 2014, with the arrest of former director of the National Assistance Program , Rafael Jaen Guardia. Since then real estate, bank accounts, yachts, other assets and about $ 140 million have been seized. Slightly more than half of the ministers of the government of Ricardo Martinelli were investigated and three former ministers are in prison. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:06:23 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - A thousand victims in five days due to heatwavehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38090-ASIA_PAKISTAN_A_thousand_victims_in_five_days_due_to_heatwavehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38090-ASIA_PAKISTAN_A_thousand_victims_in_five_days_due_to_heatwaveKarachi - Following the wave of scorching heat that is hitting Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan where there are 23 million people, 950 people have died in just five days. The morgues are not enough to accommodate all the bodies that keep coming and hospitals are completely full. The phenomenon is the worst in the last 50 years. Although the heat covers the entire southern province of Sindh, where 1,100 people have been killed, the capital remains the most affected, and the majority of deaths are recorded among the poor.<br />According to the Country's main humanitarian organization, the Edhi Foundation, 50% of the dead were gathered in the street and they are highly likely to be beggars, drug addicts and young workers. Hospitals are under pressure for having to accommodate about 40,000 people across the province hit by sunstroke and dehydration. According to the health authorities of the main Civil Hospital in Karachi, the center is working only in cases of emergency. The NGOs argue that there are tens of thousands of people who live and work in the street among beggars, street vendors and manual workers. Over 62% of the population in Karachi lives in informal settlements with a density of nearly 6,000 people per square kilometer.<br />Many are deprived of basic services such as water and electricity. Richer households may resort to generators, but about 91 million people live on less than $ 2 a day. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:43:43 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - Bishops denounce insecurity and threats to familyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38089-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Bishops_denounce_insecurity_and_threats_to_familyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38089-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Bishops_denounce_insecurity_and_threats_to_familyKinshasa - The Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo denounce the insecurity in the north, east and south of the Country, in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides at the end of their 52nd Plenary Assembly, which was held in Kinshasa from 22 to 26 June.<br />"The Bishops - says the statement - have heard the cry of alarm of the population of the Territory of Bondo, following the massacres and kidnappings perpetrated by the LRA , as well as the poignant message of the Episcopal Provincial Assembly of Bukavu , which denounces the silence in the face of three major dangers in Kivu: a climate of genocide; a breeding ground of jihadist fundamentalism and a process of Balkanization".<br />The document reiterates the position of the Episcopal Conference on national dialogue promoted by President Joseph Kabila, which "must take place in strict compliance with the constitutional and institutional framework in force". To be more precise without reaching a constitutional change to allow outgoing President to stand for election for a third term.<br />At a pastoral level the Bishops point out the dangers the family faces, the victim of "different forces that seek to distort and even destroy it". This is why, after the Synod in October dedicated to the family, the Congolese Bishops have called a national Conference on the family for the month of February 2016. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:31:37 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - A Christian accused of blasphemy mocked by his lawyershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38088-ASIA_PAKISTAN_A_Christian_accused_of_blasphemy_mocked_by_his_lawyershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38088-ASIA_PAKISTAN_A_Christian_accused_of_blasphemy_mocked_by_his_lawyersLahore - The Christian Humayun Faisal, mentally disabled accused of blasphemy in Lahore, will remain in prison as his lawyers have withdrawn their request for bail. As reported to Fides by the pool of Christian attorneys of the NGO "Lead", the new young lawyers, during the hearing on June 27 before the Lahore High Court, officially canceled the request for bail, previously submitted by other lawyers. According to the NGO "Lead" there are lawyers who "intervene in cases in which Christians are accused of blasphemy or other crimes and, instead of obtaining justice, do not operate in the interests of the accused, their clients, but act for others purposes". The NGO "Lead" denounces this practice to Fides which represents a betrayal of the professional mandate of a lawyer.<br />Faisal was reported on May 24, 2015 and following the accusation, a mob of Islamic radicals had tried to attack the district of Sanda, an entirely Christian suburb, in Lahore. On that occasion, a massacre was avoided only thanks to the timely intervention of the police. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:53:55 +0200AFRICA/TUNISIA - "Do not abandon Tunisia, otherwise you will find the extremists at home", says the pastor of Soussehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38087-AFRICA_TUNISIA_Do_not_abandon_Tunisia_otherwise_you_will_find_the_extremists_at_home_says_the_pastor_of_Soussehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38087-AFRICA_TUNISIA_Do_not_abandon_Tunisia_otherwise_you_will_find_the_extremists_at_home_says_the_pastor_of_SousseTunis - "They want to punish Tunisia for its democratic progress. This is why it must not be left alone" says Fr. Jawad Alamat, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Tunisia, who is also the pastor of Sousse, where on June 26 at least 38 people were killed and about forty were injured in an attack on a tourist resort.<br />"I was in Tunis on the day of the attack, when I heard the news I rushed to Sousse to give comfort to those in need", says Fr. Jawad. "We mourn the victims of this terrible attack, but we live in solidarity with all Tunisians, who are themselves victims of this violence, which is not what Tunisia really is" the priest said.<br />Fr. Jawad pointed out that "Tunisia needs your help, your visit. We must fight the isolation that terrorists want to impose on Tunisia by increasing solidarity, we have to fight those who want to take away the joy of living and being together. Security measures have been strengthened, this is how we must fight, because if we are afraid of terrorists it means they have won".<br />"If the new course Tunisia started with the revolution of 2011 is successful, it will bring benefit to the whole area", warns Fr. Jawad. "Otherwise, the Islamist danger will knock on the doors of Europe. Just look at what has happened in Libya. A solution was not found for this Country and now its problems have become common to other Mediterranean Countries", the priest concludes. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:45:42 +0200VATICAN – Ceremonial gift of the pallium to 46 Metropolitan Archbishops, 13 belong to the territories of Propaganda Fidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38086-VATICAN_Ceremonial_gift_of_the_pallium_to_46_Metropolitan_Archbishops_13_belong_to_the_territories_of_Propaganda_Fidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38086-VATICAN_Ceremonial_gift_of_the_pallium_to_46_Metropolitan_Archbishops_13_belong_to_the_territories_of_Propaganda_FideVatican City - On the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, June 29, according to custom, the Holy Father blessed and delivered the pallium to 46 Metropolitan Archbishops appointed during the year, during the solemn Eucharist Concelebration he presided in the Vatican Basilica. 13 of the Archbishops who received the pallium belong to the territories entrusted to Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: 7 from Africa, 5 from Asia, 1 from Central America.<br />These are their names: Mgr. Julian Leow Beng Kim, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur ; Mgr. Anthony Pappusamy, Archbishop of Madurai ; Mgr. Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda, Archbishop of Osaka ; Mgr. Djalwana Laurent Lompo, Archbishop of Niamey ; Mgr. Jean Mbarga, Archbishop of Yaounde ; Mgr. Beatus Kin Yaiya, O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop of Dodoma ; Mgr. Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, Archbishop of Luanda ; Mgr. Martin Musonde Kivuva, Archbishop of Mombasa ; Mgr. Benjamin Ndiaye, Archbishop of Dakar ; Mgr. Juan Edjang Mayè Nsue, Archbishop of Malabo ; Mgr. Yustinus Harjosusanto, M.S.F., Archbishop of Samarinda ; Mgr. David Macaire, O.P., Archbishop of Fort-De-France ; Mgr. Thomas Ignatius Macwan, Archbishop of Gandhinagar .<br />The pallium, a symbol of the bond of communion between the Pope and the See of Rome with the Churches in the world, which was blessed and delivered by the Pope, will be imposed by the Papal Representative to every Archbishop during a celebration to be held in the respective particular Churches. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:31:28 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Thousands of Christian families fleeing Hassakè. Archbishop Hindo: jihadists have found support in the local populationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38085-ASIA_SYRIA_Thousands_of_Christian_families_fleeing_Hassake_Archbishop_Hindo_jihadists_have_found_support_in_the_local_populationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38085-ASIA_SYRIA_Thousands_of_Christian_families_fleeing_Hassake_Archbishop_Hindo_jihadists_have_found_support_in_the_local_populationQamishli – Fighting takes place in the Syrian city of Hassakè, the largest town in the northeastern province of Jazira, after the jihadist militants of the Islamic State managed last Thursday, June 25, to enter some neighborhoods, causing the mass exodus of at least 120 thousand people. Nearly 4 thousand Christian families belonging to various Churches were among the first to flee, and have largely taken refuge in the nearby urban area of Qamishli.<br />Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, head of the Syrian Catholic Archieparchy in Hassakè Nisibi, has abandoned Hassakè along with his faithful and has also found shelter in Qamishli. He reports the many factors involved in the Syrian conflict: "The government army - refers Archbishop Hindo to Agenzia Fides - is currently gaining ground, with much difficulty, as fighting takes place in an urban environment. On the other hand, the Kurdish militias in the region have responded to the raids of Daesh only when the jihadists tried to attack the Kurdish districts, concentrated in the eastern part of the city. Until that moment the government had not provided support to the army. One must also point out that a part of the local population is on the militants' side: when these arrived in the south-eastern district of al-Nachwa, women and children were asked to leave the city. But young boys and adults remained, and have sided with Daesh. And now that very large neighborhood is at the center of the most violent clashes between government forces and those of the so-called Islamic State".<br />Meanwhile for the new mass of refugees concentrated mainly in Qamishli, humanitarian emergency has already begun, "Caritas Syria has sent its aid" refers Archbishop Hindo, "but the needs increase day by day. There are no wounded among Christians, but many of them, like everyone else, are concentrated in makeshift camps. Many sleep in the open, and the situation gets more and more complicated by the day, due to the unbearable heat". Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:14:00 +0200AMERICA/NICARAGUA - "We are losing the values and respect for life", warns Cardinal Breneshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38084-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_We_are_losing_the_values_and_respect_for_life_warns_Cardinal_Breneshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38084-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_We_are_losing_the_values_and_respect_for_life_warns_Cardinal_BrenesManagua - Cardinal Archbishop of Managua Leopoldo Brenes has warned that society is losing respect for life and moral values, referring to violent crimes that have occurred in various parts of the country in recent weeks, motivated by greed, family disputes due to inheritance or conflicts among relatives. "We are losing values and respect for life, we have also lost respect, love and affection towards society and family", the Cardinal said after yesterday's Sunday Mass, celebrated in the Cathedral of Managua.<br />According to the note sent to Fides from a local source, the Cardinal pointed out that family, school and the Church must promote respect for people and prevent further incidents of violence. "People are looking for inheritance that they will never enjoy, because dirty money never produces progress, these crimes are reprehensible", said Cardinal Brenes, urging the media to highlight the positive values and not to constantly show scenes of violence, because this helps to create a violent society.<br />"Society must work together with churches and the media, in order to make children and young people aware of the good values, in order to avoid the culture of death, destruction and hatred that exists in the country", he concluded.<br />In Nicaragua there have been many incidents of family violence in recent weeks, widely reported in the media. Among them, the young Nahum Bravo was sentenced for having killed his father, his sister and stepmother because he wanted his father’s money and property. Another murder was perpetrated in the region of Waslala, where a man was killed by his brother and his brother’s son because they wanted to take possession of a farm. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:54:10 +0200ASIA/NEPAL - The aid of Caritas after the earthquake has begun to bear fruithttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38083-ASIA_NEPAL_The_aid_of_Caritas_after_the_earthquake_has_begun_to_bear_fruithttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38083-ASIA_NEPAL_The_aid_of_Caritas_after_the_earthquake_has_begun_to_bear_fruitKathmandu - In the two months following the earthquake on 25 April, Caritas Nepal has reached over 269,000 people in need of assistance and provided accommodation to 54 thousand families. People have received food, materials to build temporary shelters, hygiene kits. As a note sent to Fides by Caritas Nepal reports, Caritas has reached the marginalized communities such as those of Chepang and Tamang, and also remote villages. Even the socially excluded and poor communities like Dalits and Muslims have been helped.<br />In recent days Caritas Nepal has organized two days of training and reflection for all those involved, with the participation of the Bishop, His Exc. Mgr. Paul Simick, Apostolic Vicar of Nepal, in which the fruits of work of assistance were highlighted, carried out thanks to the aid of Caritas Internationalis.<br />As the note reports, the organization is planning to reach other 11,000 families, and are also planning to serve local communities with microcredit initiatives, formation training programs, especially in agriculture and rural businesses, launching the phase of recovery and the reconstruction of the social and economic fabric. Caritas Nepal will also offer some grants and small loans for the construction of houses, intended for those who have seen their homes completely destroyed, and intends to contribute to the reconstruction of schools and hospitals damaged. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:20:44 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - "New" jihadist acronym threatens Christians in Jerusalemhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38082-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_New_jihadist_acronym_threatens_Christians_in_Jerusalemhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38082-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_New_jihadist_acronym_threatens_Christians_in_JerusalemJerusalem - Some leaflets containing threats to Christians in Jerusalem and signed by an unknown organization calling itself "Islamic state in Palestine" - with the clear intention of showing their affiliation or proximity to the Islamic State - were found on Thursday evening, June 25 in some Arab neighborhoods in the eastern part of the Holy City. According to reports by the Israeli media, in the leaflets the Christians in Jerusalem are threatened with death if they do not leave the city before 18 July, the day in which the feast of Eid al Fitr falls this year, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In the message - that also contains threats against Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas - Christians are called "agents of Israel".<br />The message of intimidation contained in the leaflets caused immediate reactions by Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins, and Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia, of the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. "No one knows who distributed the leaflets", says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Raed Abusahliah, Director General of Caritas Jerusalem. "Of course the episode has spread concern among some Christians. Some of them ask themselves: how can these fools have come this far?". Father Raed points out that "Muslims reacted before Christians: many Muslim leaders have condemned the threats contained in the leaflets and said they will be the first to defend their Christian brothers, if something happens. <br />While many faithful Christians have said they will never leave the land of Christ, where they were born, before any threat". The Director of Caritas Jerusalem also notes that "these acronyms and such groups are most probably supported and infiltrated by forces acting in the shadows. Maybe now some want to show that Christians are fragile and need some kind of 'protection' ". Sat, 27 Jun 2015 11:05:02 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Anti-Christian Violence in Keralahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38081-ASIA_INDIA_Anti_Christian_Violence_in_Keralahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38081-ASIA_INDIA_Anti_Christian_Violence_in_KeralaNew Delhi - Christians in India continue to face attacks by Hindu extremist groups. As reported to Fides by the Evangelical Fellowship of India , a new episode of anti-Christian violence took place on Sunday, June 14 in Kerala: A group of worshipers was attacked during a celebration in a Protestant church in the town of Attingal. As reported to Fides, over 200 militants of radical Hindu organizations entered the hall of worship shouting slogans like 'Bharat Mathaki Jai" . The attackers started to beat up the Pastor and the faithful who fled in terror. Several were beaten and suffered injuries. The militants devastated the church, breaking the altar and liturgical furniture. The police arrived after half an hour.<br />In the following days, the interior minister of Kerala visited the affected community, condemning the violence and promising to bring the attackers to justice. Christians in Attingal staged a peaceful protest march in the city, calling for harmony and religious freedom. On the other hand, in a counter-public demonstration, Hindu radicals recited chanted anti-Christian slogans and threats.<br />In Kerala, one of the southern states of India, Christians account for more than 40% of the total population of the state. Sat, 27 Jun 2015 10:50:45 +0200ASIA/NEPAL - Debt relief for Nepal: the IMF says "no"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38080-ASIA_NEPAL_Debt_relief_for_Nepal_the_IMF_says_nohttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38080-ASIA_NEPAL_Debt_relief_for_Nepal_the_IMF_says_noKathmandu - The "Jubilee Network" campaign which unites 75 organizations and 400 religious communities around the world, has asked the International Monetary Fund advocated for debt relief for Nepal, affected by the terrible earthquake in April. As Fides learns, the IMF has officially given a negative response.<br />The proposal was to use the special "trust fund" trust fund that helps poor countries when they face natural disasters. <br />The IMF ’s Relief Trust cancelled nearly $100 million in debt owed by Ebola-impacted West African nations.<br />"The refusal of the IMF is troubling news for the country", said to Agenzia Fides Eric LeCompte, an executive director of "Jubilee Network". Nepal is one of 38 low-income countries eligible for relief from the new fund. To qualify for that relief after a natural disaster, an eligible country must meet certain criteria: the disaster must impact at least one-third of the country’s population and either destroy 25 percent of the nation’s productive capacity or cause damage equal to the size of the country’s economy. According to IMF, Nepal met the first condition but the earthquake did not cause enough total economic damage. Nepal’s earthquake and its aftershocks caused $5-10 billion in damage, about one-third of the country’s total economy. <br />Eric LeCompte emphasizes that the special fund "was created for situations just like this", recalling that the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank who hold about $3 billion of Nepal’s debt have unfortunately not announced any debt relief plans yet.<br />"Jubilee USA Network" is an alliance of over 75 organizations and 400 religious communities working with 50 partners in the world, committed to building an economy that protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Sat, 27 Jun 2015 10:45:22 +0200AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - Mgr. Romero Romero is recognized as "Son Meritísimo of El Salvador"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38079-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Mgr_Romero_Romero_is_recognized_as_Son_Meritisimo_of_El_Salvadorhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38079-AMERICA_EL_SALVADOR_Mgr_Romero_Romero_is_recognized_as_Son_Meritisimo_of_El_SalvadorSan Salvador - The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, acknowledged Blessed Son Oscar Arnulfo Romero as Meritísimo of that country, for his work in defense of human rights and their pastoral work.<br />The ceremony was attended by the brothers of the Blessed, Gaspar and Tiberius, who received the recognition, and the representatives of the Catholic Church, including the auxiliary Bishop of the capital, His Exc. Mgr. Gregorio Rosa Chavez and Mgr. Ricardo Urioste who presides the Romero Foundation.<br />The Bishop martyr, known as the "voice of the voiceless", was killed by a sniper on March 24, 1980 while celebrating Mass in the chapel of a small hospital for terminally ill cancer patients. After 35 years his martyrdom was recognized because killed in odium fidei. Romero was beatified on May 23 in a crowded ceremony in the Salvadoran capital. Sat, 27 Jun 2015 10:07:02 +0200AMERICA/HONDURAS - The Church: "politics without corruption"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38078-AMERICA_HONDURAS_The_Church_politics_without_corruptionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38078-AMERICA_HONDURAS_The_Church_politics_without_corruptionTegucigalpa - The national community has to solve major social problems that plague this country, relaunching dialogue in politics: it what the editorial of the weekly "Fides" of the capital of Honduras, the main organ of the Catholic press in the country reports.<br />"The main objective of politics is to promote the dignity and fundamental rights of the human person. Political commitment is to take specific decisions, plan programs, participate in campaigns, exercise power at the service of citizens. Therefore political activity, in short, has to be directed to the practice of charity, namely the love of one’s neighbor". The text of the weekly invites everyone to reflect on how to stop corruption and violence that seem to grow each day in the country.<br />"The history of Honduras, in the last century was characterized by hatred, resentment, revenge and divisions that led to the fratricidal armed struggle", the text continues, noting "the huge disparity among Hondurans": "In the abysmal inequality regarding income distribution, 20% of the population, the richest, takes almost 60% of revenues, while 24% of the poorest population has access to only 3% of the revenue of the country".<br />"Corruption means stealing the opportunity for the poor to have food, health, education, housing and employment", concludes the text. Sat, 27 Jun 2015 09:58:37 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Christians organize the "banquet of unity" for Muslims on the occasion of Ramadanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38077-AFRICA_EGYPT_Christians_organize_the_banquet_of_unity_for_Muslims_on_the_occasion_of_Ramadanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38077-AFRICA_EGYPT_Christians_organize_the_banquet_of_unity_for_Muslims_on_the_occasion_of_RamadanCairo - Once again this year, according to custom, parishes and Christian families in Egypt organize spontaneously at the end of the day the so-called "banquet of unity", social occasions in particular offered to neighbors and fellow Muslims who in these weeks observe, from dawn to dusk, the fast prescribed in the holy month of Ramadan.<br />In recent weeks, some representatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church had given the general guideline to use the resources allocated to banquets to finance social projects and assistance, beginning with those of the Fund "Long live Egypt", launched by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after his election. It does not seem, however, that the official solicitation was followed at a capillary level. The sites related to the Coptic community describe the special initiatives taken such as scout groups that distribute food and drinks to their Muslim neighbors.<br />"The practice of organizing banquets and distributing snacks - explains to Agenzia Fides Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Guizeh - is just one of the ways of how Christians show their participation during Ramadan. At work, Christians too fast, abstaining from food and water for respect and solidarity towards fellow Muslims". Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:10:58 +0200ASIA - Education is the driving force of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacifichttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38076-ASIA_Education_is_the_driving_force_of_the_Jesuit_Conference_of_Asia_Pacifichttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38076-ASIA_Education_is_the_driving_force_of_the_Jesuit_Conference_of_Asia_PacificMacao - The Jesuits of Asia will continue to have service education as a main focus of their activities and presence: is what emerged from a recent meeting of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific held in Macao, which was attended by representatives of Hong Kong, the Philippines, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia, East Timor and Australia.<br />As Fides learns, the meeting highlighted the service promoted by the Jesuits proceeds with significant results in all countries. As Don Roberto Boholst SJ said, the College named after St. Ignatius of Loyola in East Timor is now able to accommodate 105 students in each of the three annual study periods. Even the construction of the Xavier Jesuit Community School in Cambodia is doing well, and its director, Don Ashley Evans SJ, provided details on the new school.<br />If in Indonesia a program based on the "Ignatian pedagogical model" is being completed, a significant development in the Province of China is that the next school year, all schools will have lay headmasters. More good news come from Japan and the Philippines.<br />Fr. Mark Raper SJ, President of the Conference, reiterated in his message that "Education is the driving force of the Conference, offering the group three points to consider: careful planning; the urgency to focus on the poor and marginalized; the indispensable value of collaboration across the region. Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:00:59 +0200ASIA/SYRIA – Mass escape from Hassaké, attacked by the jihadists of Daesh. Bishop Audo: "the agenda" of the forces is not clearhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38075-ASIA_SYRIA_Mass_escape_from_Hassake_attacked_by_the_jihadists_of_Daesh_Bishop_Audo_the_agenda_of_the_forces_is_not_clearhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38075-ASIA_SYRIA_Mass_escape_from_Hassake_attacked_by_the_jihadists_of_Daesh_Bishop_Audo_the_agenda_of_the_forces_is_not_clearHassaké - The last attack on the city of Hassake in the night between Wednesday 24 and Thursday, June 25 by militants of the jihadists of Daesh is triggering a new humanitarian emergency in the Syrian province in northeastern Jazeera. Hundreds of families forced to leave their homes increase the mass of internal refugees already present in the Syrian region. "The militiamen of Daesh - refers to Agenzia Fides Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo SJ, president of Caritas Syria - bombed in the night between Wednesday and Thursday all areas of the city. Then, in the early morning of Thursday, 25, the mass exodus began, which also involved hundreds of Christian families. Only among the Chaldeans, at least sixty families have moved to Qamishli along with pastor Nidal, while ten other families reached the parish of al-Malikiyah. And now everyone is waiting to see how things evolve".<br />Hassaké in previous weeks had been the subject of attacks by the militia of Daesh, so far always rejected by the government army and the Kurdish militia. Now also Bishop Audo sees in the last jihad offensive an attempt to put pressure on the Kurdish armed forces, that in recent days seemed to gain ground in the province of Raqqa, where there is always the stronghold of Daesh in Syria.<br />"The situation – adds Mgr. Audo - appears confusing". Caritas Syria has already taken steps to send food, medicines and basic necessities to help the new refugees. "Every day - explains the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo – there are new emergencies, even in areas hitherto spared by the conflict. People are tired and afraid. There are many weapons. A small incident can provoke tensions and provoke violence, even within single villages. Our duty is to stay, and try to move forward in this situation. But it is not easy". Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:49:59 +0200AFRICA/BURUNDI - Opposition announces the boycott of electionshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38074-AFRICA_BURUNDI_Opposition_announces_the_boycott_of_electionshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38074-AFRICA_BURUNDI_Opposition_announces_the_boycott_of_electionsBujumbura - The opposition in Burundi announced that it will boycott the elections which will begin on June 29, with the vote for the renewal of the municipalities and parliament. On July 15, the disputed presidential election should be held, where incumbent President, Pierre Nkurunziza, hopes to get a third term, although the Constitution provides for only two.<br />The opposition’s decision was in the air, since only the parties close to President Pierre Nkurunziza has launched the election campaign . In a letter to the Independent Electoral Commission , the representatives of the opposition denounced the electoral calendar established unilaterally, despite the recommendations of the international community calling for a shared decision between all political and social components of the Country.<br />It also criticizes the fact that the elections will certainly not be "peaceful, transparent and inclusive" due to the presence of the Imbonerakure militia linked to the President’s party, the closure of independent media and the unsuccessful return to the places of origin of displaced persons and refugees. Moreover, CENI is now composed only of representatives close to the President, because the majority of its other components have fled abroad.<br />The second Vice President, Gervais Rufyikiri, applied for asylum abroad because "he is no longer able to support the President’s behaviour, his desire to lead the people of Burundi on the path of lawlessness". Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:22:10 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Visas denied to missionary nuns: the Church of Islamabad files lawsuithttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38073-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Visas_denied_to_missionary_nuns_the_Church_of_Islamabad_files_lawsuithttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38073-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Visas_denied_to_missionary_nuns_the_Church_of_Islamabad_files_lawsuitIslamabad - "We do not know why we were denied the renewal of our visas. Our work is always the same, that of education, for the benefit of the youth in Pakistan, of all religions. But we cannot stay in a country if we are considered illegal". This is what Philippine Sister Delia Coyoca Rubio, headteacher of the "Convent School" in Islamabad says to Agenzia Fides with regards to the situation she is going through. Sister Delia together with Sister Miraflor Aclan Bahan and Sister Elizabeth Umali Sequenza, sisters of the congregation of the "Religious of the Virgin Mary", founded by Philippine Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, received a "negative response" from the Interior Ministry, after presenting the usual request for renewal of visas to live and work in Pakistan.<br />The reasons for the refusal seem to be a "change of work" compared to the initial request made. Sister Delia says: "Our educational institution has been opened since 1992. I have been here since 2006 and our work has always been the same: to organize the school and teach. We have 2,300 young people in a campus, and 1,000 in the second school: children and young people of all religions and social classes. Ours is a service to education, for the common good of Pakistan".<br />The sisters apply for visa renewal every two years in April. They were waiting for a reply in June. The Ministry of Interior has made inquiries and sent inspectors. A few days ago they received a letter informing about the negative response of the request.<br />The Church in Islamabad is close to the religious nuns. Bishop Rufin Anthony sent a letter to the Interior Ministry asking for an explanation. The issue will be examined by the High Court in Islamabad. If the nuns have to leave Pakistan, the Convent School in Islamabad, center of excellence of educational institutions of the city, everything will have to be reorganized, even if class teachers are almost all Pakistanis. Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:12:12 +0200