Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usAMERICA/MEXICO - The Bishops: "Family Reunification for immigrant children"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36181-AMERICA_MEXICO_The_Bishops_Family_Reunification_for_immigrant_childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36181-AMERICA_MEXICO_The_Bishops_Family_Reunification_for_immigrant_childrenMexico City - It is urgent to consider a legal institute that deals with "family reunification" for immigrant children who, from Central and South America, cross the borders of the United States in search of a better life and have parents already residing in the United U.S.: this is what the Bishops of Mexico asked for during the visit of the Governor of California , Edmund G. Brown, for four days in Mexico. <br />As reported in a note sent to Fides by the Mexican Episcopal Conference , Governor Brown spent the second day of his visit with the Mexican Bishops and other Bishops from the United States, El Salvador in order to deal with the problem of children stopped at the border. The phenomenon is now considered a humanitarian emergency in the region . "One of the main reasons – and this is the reason why since October more than 57 thousand undocumented Central American children have migrated to the United States – is the false information on an upcoming immigration reform", explains the Bishops' note, stating that this topic is used by human traffickers to bring and abandon hundreds of children at the border. Mexican Bishop Mgr. Guillermo Rodrigo Teodoro Ortiz Mondragón, of the diocese of Cuautitlan and head of the Commission for Human Mobility of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, has provided additional information to Fides Agency: the Governor of California complained about the stalemate in which the U.S. Congress finds itself with regards to the immigration reform, which could pave the way to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who live, study and work in that country. <br />The Bishops, along with the governor, have agreed to launch and support information campaigns on the real immigration laws in force in the United States, and at the same time to consider the possibility of legalizing "family reunification" for the children stopped at the border who have parents in the United States. <br />California shares a border with Mexico of 225 km, which is crossed legally every day by thousands of people and goods, especially from the passage between Tijuana and San Diego . In this same area several underground tunnels have been discovered for the passage of illegal immigrants and drug trafficking. Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Aleppo, missile at the Armenian Catholic Church. Three deadhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36180-ASIA_SYRIA_Aleppo_missile_at_the_Armenian_Catholic_Church_Three_deadhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36180-ASIA_SYRIA_Aleppo_missile_at_the_Armenian_Catholic_Church_Three_deadAleppo - Yesterday afternoon a missile launched from the areas of Aleppo controlled by the rebels fell in the area of the Armenian Catholic parish of the Holy Trinity, in the district of al-Meydan, causing the death of three Armenian adults, two sisters and a man. The missile damaged the wall, a terrace of the rectory and broke the windows of the church also causing damage to an altar where there is a statue of the Virgin Mary from Marash, symbol city of the Armenian Genocide. "It was around 6.15pm and in that moment" refers to Fides Agency Fr. Joseph Bezouzou "we were in church to celebrate daily Mass. If the missile had fallen at the exit of the Mass, it would have been a massacre. We thank the Lord". The parish had organized for next weekend a gathering of young people, in order to ease the tremendous tension that has accompanied their everyday life for years. "We have decided to postpone everything", says Fr. Bezouzou "because after what happened you cannot expose young people to new risks. But on Sunday, after Mass, we will plant an olive tree in the place where the missile fell. This is our only response to the bombs and violence that for years have tried to devastate our lives". Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/INDIA - August 25 - Day of Remembrance for the victims of anti-Christian massacres in Orissahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36179-ASIA_INDIA_August_25_Day_of_Remembrance_for_the_victims_of_anti_Christian_massacres_in_Orissahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36179-ASIA_INDIA_August_25_Day_of_Remembrance_for_the_victims_of_anti_Christian_massacres_in_OrissaNew Delhi - A special "Day of Remembrance" to commemorate the victims of anti-Christian massacres that occurred in 2007 and 2008 will be celebrated in Orissa on 25 August. The day will see the organization of various initiatives, prayer vigils, public events, and aims to raise awareness about the lack of justice that still exists. <br />The "National Solidarity Forum", a coalition of various organizations, artists, intellectuals, lawyers and human rights activists have announced that various actions and initiatives on the theme of justice are scheduled for that day. The Forum has issued an appeal, sent to Fides, which invites civil society in India and abroad to join in the day when we remember the victims of the pogrom launched by Hindu extremists in Kandhamal district. "The adivasis and Dalit Christian survivors are still waiting for justice, while the perpetrators are on the loose", and "it is increasingly clear that the violence was completely planned and was not the result of a spontaneous action on the basis of religious identity".<br />The Forum recalls the violation, at the time and now, regarding "the rights of women, children, religious rights, of the indigenous people and Dalits, human rights in general", raising questions "about the role of the police, the judiciary, government, the media" and how "the attempt of genocide calls into question the very foundations of Indian democracy".<br />"It is frustrating and painful to note that many people were killed, many churches were demolished, women were raped, religious minorities were forcibly converted, houses were burned, and even orphanages destroyed by the Hindu radical organization Sangh Parivar, while the government almost facilitated such violence", reads the text. Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Mosul, signs of revolt against the "Islamic Caliphate". Bishop Nona: So far no church has been destroyedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36178-ASIA_IRAQ_Mosul_signs_of_revolt_against_the_Islamic_Caliphate_Bishop_Nona_So_far_no_church_has_been_destroyedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36178-ASIA_IRAQ_Mosul_signs_of_revolt_against_the_Islamic_Caliphate_Bishop_Nona_So_far_no_church_has_been_destroyedMosul - After the destruction of historical monuments in the city of Mosul by militants of the Islamic State, the first local movement of armed resistance against the jihadists who have proclaimed the creation of an Islamic Caliphate in the region has taken form among the Inhabitants of Iraq's second city, on the border between Syria and Iraq. According to local witnesses, last weekend at least five Islamist militants were killed in targeted killings carried out by groups of young people who have organized themselves in armed resistance groups - the so-called "Mosul Brigades " - to counter the regime imposed on the city by the Islamists. The destruction, on July 24, at the hands of Sunni extremists of a revered shrine, which is believed to be the tomb of the biblical prophet Jonah, appeared to be the first sign of revolt against the Islamic State. The Islamists threaten to continue to raze the religious sites considered by them as an expression of idolatrous worship. <br />At present, the Chaldean Bishop of Mosul Amel Shimon Nona denies the rather alarmist news circulating on the Web about an alleged widespread destruction of churches and Christian places of worship: "Some churches and several buildings belonging to churches and Christian communities have been occupied" confirms the Chaldean Bishop to Fides Agency, "but so far there have been no destructions. What continues to upset me is the idea that the sufferings and problems of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East during this troubled period could become a pretext for alarmist operations and propaganda, evidently interested in achieving other ends". Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Major epidemiological control towards the chikungunya virushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36177-AMERICA_MEXICO_Major_epidemiological_control_towards_the_chikungunya_virushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36177-AMERICA_MEXICO_Major_epidemiological_control_towards_the_chikungunya_virusMexico City - Local health authorities have decided to strengthen epidemiological control for the early detection of chikungunya cases and the provision of a microsite on the Secretary of Health website with information in this regard, although in Mexico only one imported case of the virus has been recorded. Starting from August 1 the site will be available for the training of the medical staff of all the institutions of the public and private sectors on the immediate control of patients with a clinical picture associated with the disease and to ensure proper care. These initiatives were taken as a result of the agreements reached during the National Meeting on Chikungunya Virus carried out in Guadalajara, Jalisco, where the participants discussed on how to strengthen the capacity of operational staff, to harmonize the criteria and define the activities of health promotion, epidemiological control, laboratory diagnosis, medical care and control of the insect vector. Data from the Pan American Health Organization reported that on the American continent the chikungunya virus, until July 25, 2014: 5260 autochthonous cases in 29 countries, 643 imported cases and 26 deaths in 26 countries. The protective measures and personal self-medication in homes to prevent chikungunya are the same as dengue. It is very important to use physical barriers such as mosquito nets on doors and windows. Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Pax Christi International: the arms trade fuels the Syrian conflicthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36175-ASIA_SYRIA_Pax_Christi_International_the_arms_trade_fuels_the_Syrian_conflicthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36175-ASIA_SYRIA_Pax_Christi_International_the_arms_trade_fuels_the_Syrian_conflictDamascus - The bloody conflict in Syria will continue until international actors continue to feed it with the sale of arms. And any serious attempt to put a stop to the mindless violence that has been ravaging the Country for more than three years has to start from the promotion of serious political negotiations and the interruption of the flow of weapons from various sources that continue to supply opposing fronts. These are clear considerations contained in a widespread appeal by Pax Christi International to bring the community and international bodies to implement measures and initiatives to combat those who continue to bankroll the conflict in Syria with instruments of death. "International actors, including governments", reads the text sent to Fides Agency "are fueling the armed conflict by supplying or financing weapons and ammunition, training combatants and even sending military contingents to one or more sides. Some think-tanks have made efforts to document arms transfers but, in general, there is a serious lack of accountability in this regard". Accordng to Pax Christi, arms transfers have continued throughout the war with levels of international involvement that suggest a "proxy war" fought in Syria by external, regional and global powers. To increase the chances of putting an end to the Syrian conflict - said Pax Christi International in its appeal - the first step to be taken is to impose, through the Security Council or the UN General Assembly, a global embargo on arms flows towards Syria. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/NICARAGUA - The country awaits a word of encouragement from the Bishopshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36174-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_The_country_awaits_a_word_of_encouragement_from_the_Bishopshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36174-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_The_country_awaits_a_word_of_encouragement_from_the_BishopsJuigalpa - The meeting of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua began yesterday, July 29, in the city of Juigalpa, capital of the department of Chontales. As sources of Fides in the country note, "all citizens of Nicaragua await a word of encouragement from the leaders of the Catholic Church". <br />Although this is an ordinary meeting of the Bishops' Conference , in which the bishops address the problems of ecclesiastical interest, it is almost certain that they will offer a reflection on the situation that the country is experiencing. <br />The confirmation came from the president of the episcopate, the bishop of the diocese of Juigalpa , Mgr. René Sócrates Sándigo Jirón, who announced that the bishops will analyze the situation, propose paths and offer Christian-oriented solutions. <br />In fact, the national community still feels the tension caused by the criminal attack carried out on July 19, , and the interventions of the police in cities across the country, to look for the perpetrators of this crime. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The entire Catholic population celebrates the 100 millionth baby born in the Countryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36173-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_entire_Catholic_population_celebrates_the_100_millionth_baby_born_in_the_Countryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36173-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_entire_Catholic_population_celebrates_the_100_millionth_baby_born_in_the_CountryManila - Poverty has always been a serious problem in the country, but too often governments and institutions promote sterilization or other preventive measures as a means to eradicate it. In response to these, the Population Research Institute has just celebrated the birth of the 100 millionth baby in the Country. The Catholic island has reached this milestone despite intense pressure to legalize abortion, and apply the coercive control of the population. We are talking about a little girl, nicknamed and celebrated as "Baby 100 Million." The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic Countries in the world and the population gives enormous value to children. There are many who argue that every new birth penalizes the economic growth of the Country, but many are those that argue the opposite, that the increase of the population does not constitute a burden for the Country or for the whole world. In fact, their qualified and exemplary labor is one of the most sought after. The typical Filipino does not associate a child with 'cost', but rather 'blessing' and 'gift'. They recognize that true happiness is not the accumulation of material wealth or prestige, but rather, from authentic, genuine and strong relationships with other people. Life has value, not because the Church says so, but because it is so. Last July 8, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines published the Pastoral Guide on the implementation of the law on reproductive health, in which the Bishops indicate a description of the main points of the judgment of the Supreme Court that believe it will be useful for pastoral ministry and discernment. <br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://cbcpforlife.com/?p=12347">The Pastoral Guide in English</a>Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Thousands of children at risk for an outbreak of cholerahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36172-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_Thousands_of_children_at_risk_for_an_outbreak_of_cholerahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36172-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_Thousands_of_children_at_risk_for_an_outbreak_of_choleraJuba - South Sudan is going through one of the worst humanitarian crises. What is making the situation worse is the rapid spread of an outbreak of cholera that is threatening thousands of children and has affected over 2,600 people and has cost the lives of over 60 people in Juba. Cholera causes vomiting and diarrhea among children and adults, bringing severe dehydration and, without proper and immediate care, leads to death. Unfortunately it is spreading in many areas of the Country, with outbreaks in nine of the ten States. The most likely to die are the smallest due to their age and physical development. Moreover, they are even more vulnerable after seven months of violence that has forced 1.5 million people to flee their homes and leave the youngest Country in the world to the brink of starvation. According to the Director of Save the Children in South Sudan, the spread of the disease is worrying as it is added to the food crisis at a time when hundreds of thousands of people live in crowded camps in totally inadequate sanitary conditions. Moreover, with the anticipation of the rains in the coming weeks and months, the situation could worsen. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Prisons become "universities of crime": the Church insists on re-educationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36171-AMERICA_MEXICO_Prisons_become_universities_of_crime_the_Church_insists_on_re_educationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36171-AMERICA_MEXICO_Prisons_become_universities_of_crime_the_Church_insists_on_re_educationVeracruz - "Family, school and civil authorities have the responsibility to stop the growth in the number of adolescents and young people who end up in organized crime groups": said the Bishop of the Diocese of Veracruz , Mgr. Luis Felipe Gallardo Martin del Campo, SDB. According to a note sent to Fides, the opening of the XXXVI National Conference for Pastoral prison held in Veracruz, in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Mgr. Gallardo Martin del Campo said that "parents have neglected the education and care of children because of work and personal interests, and this can be seen in the statistics on crime today".<br />"We must insist in family pastoral - he continued - because today we see criminal gangs everywhere, and while parents are away because many times they work, children are left alone". Then he added, "It is sad to see that in the network of drug trade there are so many young people aged between 20 and 25". The Bishop turned not only to families but also to the authorities: "Even the authorities are responsible for this situation because prisons are becoming universities of crime", he remarked. <br />"The Church - he said - works in prisons for the regeneration of many of these young people, offers a program of rehabilitation and social re-integration to make sure that many are able to return to their families". <br />The major problems of prisons in Mexico regard the lives of inmates and overcrowding. The Church in Mexico, in its 92 dioceses, is engaged in prison pastoral with priests, religious and laity. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/MYANMAR - Archbishop Bo: "Unity and peace for the family of Myanmar"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36170-ASIA_MYANMAR_Archbishop_Bo_Unity_and_peace_for_the_family_of_Myanmarhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36170-ASIA_MYANMAR_Archbishop_Bo_Unity_and_peace_for_the_family_of_MyanmarYangon - "Unity and peace of the family is vital for Myanmar": says Charles Bo, Salesian Archbishop of Yangon, in a speech on the theme of family. The Archbishop recalled that the Buddhist and Christian culture have in common the great respect towards their parents. "We call God our father Abba and we consider him a loving and lovable father, who also makes us children and brothers and sisters in the Lord". "As Christians, we are called to celebrate life, to say thank you to our parents and our families", he continues. <br />Archbishop Bo reminds the Burmese faithful that Pope Francis has convened the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in the Vatican, from 5 to 19 October 2014 on the theme "The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization". "Many of the rich countries have given up on having families and the gift of life is rejected", notes the message. <br />The Archbishop then refers to Myanmar as a big family: "I would like to draw attention to the urgent need for unity in the family of Myanmar. We are a diverse nation, a family with 'seven children', which are the seven major ethnic groups. We are all sons and daughters of a great nation. God has blessed us with abundant gifts, with natural and human resources. But today the nation is bleeding, stabbed repeatedly by hatred. Unity is the strength of a family, not hate".<br />The Archbishop noted that the nation is "at a crucial point". "What will we do today and in the next five years will determine our destiny and our history. Prosperity or poverty? Peace or chronic war? Development or displacement? Unity in diversity or interminable conflicts? The fate of Myanmar is in the hands of all of us", he says solemnly. The text condemns hatred and violence that occur in the country - especially against Burmese Muslims - and all those who "are destroying the family spirit of this country", he notes. <br />Archbishop Bo recalls that "people of all religious communities have worked and given their lives for this nation. In the list of martyrs killed with General Aung San , there were two Muslims, U Abdul Razak, the minister for education, and his bodyguard Maung Htwe". Men who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Burma. <br />The Archbishop concludes: "Any nation that refuses to accept peace that passes through justice does it at his own risk. <br />Pope Paul VI urged the world: real peace is born out of justice. Our nation is conceived as a single family, knowing that our unity is in diversity and not in uniformity. Our diversity is our wealth". Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/BANGLADESH - A new Youth Centre of the Salesians of Don Bosco has been inauguratedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36169-ASIA_BANGLADESH_A_new_Youth_Centre_of_the_Salesians_of_Don_Bosco_has_been_inauguratedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36169-ASIA_BANGLADESH_A_new_Youth_Centre_of_the_Salesians_of_Don_Bosco_has_been_inauguratedDhaka - The Salesians of Don Bosco have opened a new Center for youth pastoral in Bangladesh, Dhaka. The "Don Bosco Youth Centre" was inaugurated in the presence of religious and the laity and Fr. Guillermo Basañes SDB, General Councillor for the Missions, arrived in Bangladesh to encourage the missionary activity of the Salesians in the country. <br />The new Center, situated in Utrail area in the capital, intends to promote the development and human growth of young Bangladeshis through various programs in the field of education and professional training, conducted on-site or off-site, in the suburbs and in the villages where young people live. There are already about 100 young people who use the services offered, the number will grow substantially. About 300 children attend the Sunday oratory in the adjacent communities of the religious of Don Bosco. <br />At the inauguration, Fr. Basañes said: "Today something new is born. The school and the parish already existed here before our arrival. But today we have added our original contribution to the Church in Bangladesh. We need to grow and care for this youth center as a newborn baby". Recalling that the commitment to the school, university and professional training are an integral part of the Salesian charism, Fr. Basañes urged local confreres to ensure that "the Youth Center is always fully committed to the education of young people" and that "knows how to reach the existential outskirts of the territory". Wed, 30 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - Bombing near the Catholic parish in Gaza. School devastatedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36168-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Bombing_near_the_Catholic_parish_in_Gaza_School_devastatedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36168-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Bombing_near_the_Catholic_parish_in_Gaza_School_devastatedGaza - A bombing carried out by the Israeli army this morning near the Catholic parish in Gaza, dedicated to the Holy Family, has partially destroyed the adjacent parish school, the pastor’s office and some rooms used by the parish. This was reported to Fides Agency by Fr. Jorge Hernandez. The main target of the bombing was a home that is situated a few meters from the parish and was completely destroyed by the raid. <br />Yesterday afternoon, the Israeli army had begun to send SMS messages to residents of al-Zeitun - the eastern area of Gaza City which houses the Catholic and Orthodox parish - and ordered to leave the homes that would have been bombed. Many people ran away, but the evacuation was not possible for those who currently live in the church: in addition to the Argentine Jorge Hernandez, a priest of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, there are even three nuns of Mother Teresa along with 29 disabled children and 9 elderly women in their care at the parish of the Holy Family. "We had a tough night, but we are here. This war is absurd", says Fr. Hernandez. "After destroying the neighborhood of Shujayeh, now Zeitun is being targeted. Everything happens around us. The Hamas militants continue to fire rockets and then hide in the alleys. And we cannot do anything. We cannot evacuate, it is impossible with children. Their families live here. It is more dangerous to go out than stay here. We try to stay in safer places, always on the ground floor. "<br />"It is an absurd spiral: both sides", says Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins to Fides Agency "must listen to the voice of reason, stop the bloodshed and begin negotiations in order to address and solve problems. Otherwise all this violence will continue to repeat itself cyclically, the same causes will continue to produce the same effects". Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - It is necessary to vaccinate children against measleshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36167-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_It_is_necessary_to_vaccinate_children_against_measleshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36167-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_It_is_necessary_to_vaccinate_children_against_measlesKinshasa - The immunization campaign against measles has just concluded in four health areas: Lumbishi, Numbi, Tushunguti and Shanje in the hilly surroundings of the town of Minova, the so called Hauts Plateaux, areas to the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo . The campaign, carried out by the NGO Doctors Without Borders in the province of South Kivu, has reached nearly 38 000 children between 6 months to 15 years. The emergency team has now moved on to the nearby area Kalonge. Moving in this environment is often very complicated as some areas can only be reached on foot or at most on motorcycle, and that makes it difficult to keep the necessary cold chain and to preserve the vaccines to be administered. In addition, various armed groups are active in the area and armed clashed make access to some remote spots even more complicated. Almost two thirds of those vaccinated, 23,257 of a total of 37,852 people, were children under five. More than half of the smaller children, almost 15,000, passed a basic test of malnutrition, known as MUAC, which measures the circumference of the arm, and nearly 500 of them had some degree of malnutrition. In Kalonge, always the province of South Kivu, MSF hopes to immunize at least another 65 thousand people in the next two weeks. At the end of 2012, an epidemic of measles had infected more than 700 children in the district of Bunyakiri, near Minova. The disease, especially in children, can be lethal if not treated immediately. It is very contagious and can cause complications such as pneumonia, malnutrition, severe dehydration, ear infections and eye infections that can even lead to blindness. A study conducted by Epicentre, the epidemiological MSF research center, indicates that between 2010 and 2013 almost 300 000 measles cases were registered in the DRC, of which two thirds were children under 5 years of age, and over 5000 patients died. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - "Terrorism and intolerance are the wounds of Pakistan"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36166-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Terrorism_and_intolerance_are_the_wounds_of_Pakistanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36166-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Terrorism_and_intolerance_are_the_wounds_of_PakistanLahore - "Terrorism and religious intolerance are the worst plagues that afflict Pakistan" says to Fides Agency Fr. Inayat Bernard, rector of Santa Maria Seminary in Lahore. "The Church in Pakistan is responding to these challenges: through Caritas in Islamabad-Rawlpindi, in the North, affected by the flow of IDPs from North Waziristan, caused by the anti-terrorist offensive of the army. We want peace and even Islam is a religion of peace. The whole country is supporting the military effort to eradicate terrorism. We continue to pray so that harmony and peace triumph in the nation".<br />On the other hand, the priest says, "there is a Taliban mentality in society, made of intolerance and prejudice, which must be changed. Many madrasas and mosques teach that non-Muslims are infidels, "kafir", feeding intolerance and violence. In order to change this mentality, efforts of inter-religious dialogue are urgent. Thanks to the commitment of many Catholic leaders we have started a dialogue of life with Muslims. We organize meetings and events to show how much we have in common. These words and gestures have an impact on society. We will continue to build bridges and to sow seeds that can sprout to change this mentality. "Even schools are experiencing strong prejudice against minorities in school curricula and textbooks. We are working to change these schools texts: the important thing is to always be in dialogue with civil and religious leaders", he concludes. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Guerrilla groups become political parties: for the Church this is a positive stephttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36165-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Guerrilla_groups_become_political_parties_for_the_Church_this_is_a_positive_stephttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36165-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Guerrilla_groups_become_political_parties_for_the_Church_this_is_a_positive_stepCucuta - Several groups of former paramilitary guerillas are turning into political parties and intend to act as actors in a democratic future in Colombia. This is the case of the "Alianza de la unidad Colombiana" that announced its transformation into a political movement: Alianza Colombiana de la Unidad por la Paz". While public opinion in the country is still divided on the possibility to accept these changes, from the Diocese of Cucuta, Mgr. Julio César Vidal Ortiz expressed himself in a positive way: "If one gives them the opportunity to do so, then they have every right. If, the FARC did it, and even ELN , it is clear that others want to do it, because all are expressions of the same reality: they are born because of poverty in the country, injustice and corruption. These are the factors that have given rise to these groups", said the Bishop in a note sent to Fides. <br />The note refers to former members of the paramilitary group, claiming that the agreement between the government and the FARC on political participation should expand opportunities for those who belong to armed groups, although they were "outlaws". Mgr. Vidal Ortiz, in the period from 2002 until 2006, acted as an intermediary in the peace process between paramilitary groups and the government of Alvaro Uribe. His speech was of great weight to the rapprochement between the parties at that time. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Over five thousand people march for peace and for lifehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36164-AMERICA_MEXICO_Over_five_thousand_people_march_for_peace_and_for_lifehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36164-AMERICA_MEXICO_Over_five_thousand_people_march_for_peace_and_for_lifeNezahualcoyotl - More than 5000 people marched with the Bishop of the diocese of Nezahualcóyotl, Mgr. Héctor Luis Morales Sánchez in favor of peace, life and family. The massive event, held yesterday July 27, started from three points of the city of Nezahualcoyotl, towards the center, and ended in the cathedral with a prayer vigil. <br />The main reason, according to the note sent to Fides by the Diocese of Nezahualcoyotl, is the desire to publicly express the will and the commitment to promote and act effectively for life, for peace and for the family: "Considering that one cannot be insensitive or indifferent to the various situations that present themselves as serious problems in our diocese of Nezahualcoyotl and in society in general, we try to propose ways and solutions that are coherent with our principles, in the light of the Gospel", says the note. "We want to express together our right to demonstrate publicly that we are in favor of the values of life, of peace and of the family". <br />The city of Nezahualcóyotl, on the outskirts of the capital Mexico City, home to more than 1200.000 people, in recent months has had to endure situations of great violence on the streets and in families. <br />Since 2013, the city suffers kidnapping, extortion, extrajudicial executions, thefts, street violence, more than other cities in the country: all this before the authorities who, out of fear or corruption, are unable to stop social violence. The poorest people, note the local Church, are the first victims of this violence. According to data published by the newspaper "La Jornada" in Mexico, 62 people were killed every day in 2013. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200ASIA/LEBANON - Patriarch Rai: The new President should not be linked to the two "blocks"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36163-ASIA_LEBANON_Patriarch_Rai_The_new_President_should_not_be_linked_to_the_two_blockshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36163-ASIA_LEBANON_Patriarch_Rai_The_new_President_should_not_be_linked_to_the_two_blocksDiman - "The 'March 14 Coalition ' does not want a president aligned with the 'March 8 Coalition'. And the 'March 8 Coalition' does not want a President aligned with the 'March 14 Coalition'. Therefore one needs to look for a President who is not part of the blocks". This is according to the Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Bechara Boutros Rai the only way out of the political impasse that for months has been deteriorating the political and institutional framework of Lebanon, where the two dominant political blocks are unable to reach an agreement on the election of a new Head of State. The institutional Lebanese system reserves the office of the Head of State to a Maronite Christian. And according to Patriarch Rai "there are many Maronite figures who are worthy of becoming a Head of State". The patriarchal considerations on the political and institutional crisis which the Land of the Cedars is experiencing were expressed by Cardinal Rai during Sunday Mass celebrated yesterday at the patriarchal summer residence in Diman. <br />The Lebanese Constitution decrees that the new President is elected two months before the end of the term of his predecessor. The office of incumbent President Michel Sleiman came to an end at the end of May. Since then, all attempts to elect his successor have failed because of the contrast between the two blocks that dominate the political scene of the Country: the March 8 Coalition - which sees the Shiites of Hezbollah allied with the Free Patriotic Movement led by former Maronite General Michel Aoun - and the March 14 Coalition - where the Lebanese Forces led by Maronite Samir Geagea are allied with the Sunnis of the 'Future' Party of Saad Hariri. During his homily, Patriarch Rai proposed once again the coexistence between Christians and Muslims as a hallmark in the history of Lebanon and as an antidote to sectarian impulses that are shaking the Middle East scenario: "for two thousand years", said the Patriarch, "Christians have given rise to the culture of the region through the Gospel, and there were even 1400 years of Islamic culture, which interacted together with with the philosophy of coexistence". Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Thousands of children displaced due to the floodshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36162-AMERICA_PARAGUAY_Thousands_of_children_displaced_due_to_the_floodshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36162-AMERICA_PARAGUAY_Thousands_of_children_displaced_due_to_the_floodsAsunción - Sexual abuse, mistreatment and diseases are some of the many risks that 147,500 displaced children face due to the floods that are ravaging Paraguay. <br />Many live huddled together in more than 100 illegal camps set up in the squares and streets of the capital. According to the latest official report, the full history of the Paraguay River has forced about 245 000 people to move across the Country. In Asunción alone, the most populous city in a Country with 6.7 million inhabitants, about 85 thousand people have abandoned their homes due to the gradual increase of the water. About 50 thousand children in the capital have been forced to abandon everything, and some for more than two months, even school; the lucky ones live with relatives or in the two military barracks. Most of them, however, are dragged between 126 camps or very precarious temporary spaces, where there is lack of security, bathrooms, hygiene and drinking water. <br />According to some specialists, the children in the refugee camps are three times as likely to be raped or sexually abused. <br />The NGO Plan International has set up 18 "Anua" tents, which in the Guarani language means hug, in order to allow children and families to live in open spaces away from the stress and the crisis they are going through. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200AMERICA/UNITED STATES - "Looking for a lawyer to represent undocumented children"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36161-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Looking_for_a_lawyer_to_represent_undocumented_childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36161-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Looking_for_a_lawyer_to_represent_undocumented_childrenDallas - A campaign to recruit volunteers and lawyers ready to commit to help the children stopped at the border with Mexico has started in North Texas. <br />The Catholic Church in North Texas, in the person of the bishop of the Diocese of Dallas, Mgr. Kevin Joseph Farrell, launched an appeal to address the humanitarian emergency concerning the flow of children and young people who arrive at the border alone and without documents. "For a community of faith, at the moment" said Mgr. Farrell, as reported in a note sent to Fides by local sources "the issue is not limited simply on a political debate on immigration, but on the urgent help towards those most in need. "We, the Bishop added, referring to the United States "are the number 1 country in the world when it comes to helping people". <br />In front of reporters, the Bishop also responded to questions about the deployment of National Guard troops at the border announced by Governor Rick Perry. "I am sure that the governor has his own reasons for sending 1,000 troops to the border area", said Mgr. Farrell. "But this does not solve the problem at the moment", said the Bishop "but as a Church, we are now worried about the children ... This is a humanitarian crisis that will judge the character and moral level of our nation". <br />The flow of migrant children, coming mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who arrive at the border with the United States is reaching record levels. The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection reported that 57.525 children were arrested between October 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. This figure shows an increase of 106 percent compared to last year, when border authorities arrested 27,884 children. <br />The campaign started two days ago by charity groups , the association of the Hispanic Bar Association of Dallas and from the same diocese. Its aim is to recruit bilingual volunteer lawyers to assist the children cost-free whose cases are discussed at the immigration courts. About 160 lawyers have already voluntarily joined the initiative. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0200