Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usAFRICA/TOGO – Bishops’ appeal for peaceful and transparent electionshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37409-AFRICA_TOGO_Bishops_appeal_for_peaceful_and_transparent_electionshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37409-AFRICA_TOGO_Bishops_appeal_for_peaceful_and_transparent_electionsLome - "May the next elections be carried out in a calm, fair and transparent manner". This is what the Bishops of Togo in a message issued at the end of their ordinary meeting ask for, sent to Agenzia Fides.<br />The Episcopal Conference has announced three days of fasting and prayer, form March 12 to 14, to "implore the grace of peace in Togo."<br />The presidential elections in Togo, initially planned within the first days of March, will be held on April 15. Togo has been living social tension for a few years, linked to the economy and the demand from the opposition of constitutional reforms and policies. The Catholic Church is particularly involved in the efforts for peace and reconciliation . Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - The Maronite Church promotes the donation of organshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37408-ASIA_LEBANON_The_Maronite_Church_promotes_the_donation_of_organshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37408-ASIA_LEBANON_The_Maronite_Church_promotes_the_donation_of_organsBeirut - The Lebanese National Committee for the donation and transplantation of organs and tissues and the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Health Services of the Maronite Patriarchate, signed a cooperation Agreement on Wednesday March 4, aimed at promoting the practice of donation of organs in health institutions related to the Maronite Church. Bishop Maroun Ammar - as President of the Episcopal Commission for Health - and Dr. Antoine Stephan, National Secretary of the NOD Lebanon signed the agreement.<br />The agreement provides for the creation of a joint committee in charge of developing awareness programs at a national level and train in dioceses, parishes and hospitals people able to guide potential donors in a process of discernment that values the choice of donations of organs in the light of the teachings of the Church. The intent of the awareness campaign – explains Fr. Edgar Haïby, Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Health - is also to remove the prejudices of those who believe that Christianity is opposed to the donation of organs, showing how this choice is, on the contrary, an expression of generosity and solidarity towards others.<br />The scourge of human organ trafficking has been repeatedly denounced by Pope Francis as a form of "new slavery" condemned in the joint statement signed by religious leaders summoned in Rome by the Successor of Peter on December 7th. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/LAOS - Three new priests, hope for the little Church in Laoshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37407-ASIA_LAOS_Three_new_priests_hope_for_the_little_Church_in_Laoshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37407-ASIA_LAOS_Three_new_priests_hope_for_the_little_Church_in_LaosLuang Prabang - "2015 will be a year of blessing for the little Church in Laos. Three priests will be ordained in the Vicariate of Luang Prabang: a sign of great hope": says His Exc. Mgr. Tito Banchong Thopanhong, Apostolic Vicar of Luang Prabang to Agenzia Fides. Mgr. Tito, 67, has just another priest in the whole Vicariate, to assist 2,600 faithful in the six existing parishes. The three future priests are: Paolo Lattana Sunthon, Agostino Saegna Sii Bunti, Michele Kanthak Vilae Luong Di.<br />"It will be a historic moment for Laos", says Mgr. Tito. The four Catholic Apostolic Vicars of Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Savannakhet and Pakse will meet next week. The ordination is to be held in December 2015. "It is really a moment of grace for all", says Mgr. Tito.<br />Among other things, "we are blessed by other vocations: eight seminarians in Pakse, 5 in Savannakhet and 3 in Luang Prabang", reports the Vicar.<br />The three deacons who will be ordained have studied in the Seminary of Savannakhet and one of them spent a year of study in the Philippines. The four Apostolic Vicars of Laos will invite the Apostolic Nuncio, who is based in Bangkok, and other Asian Bishops. The Apostolic Vicar of Luang Prabang told Fides that in regard to relations with the civil authorities, "the situation is calm and peaceful, and there are no obstacles to the activities of worship and pastoral activities of the Church", a sign of a gradual, steady improvement of freedoms in the small country, still ruled by a communist party.<br />Of about 6 million people, mostly Buddhists, Christians in Laos are about 1% including about 45 thousand Catholics. Currently, in addition to the four Apostolic Vicars, Catholic priests in the country are, in total, 14. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100EUROPE/GERMANY - "Witnesses of Christ": new edition of the German martyrology of the twentieth century with 60 missionaries killedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37406-EUROPE_GERMANY_Witnesses_of_Christ_new_edition_of_the_German_martyrology_of_the_twentieth_century_with_60_missionaries_killedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37406-EUROPE_GERMANY_Witnesses_of_Christ_new_edition_of_the_German_martyrology_of_the_twentieth_century_with_60_missionaries_killedBonn - In memory of the martyrs of the 20th century, the German Bishops' Conference has recently published the sixth edition of the "German Martyrology" with the title "Witnesses of Christ". With this publication, the Bishops wanted to respond to the appeal launched by Pope John Paul II in view of the 2000 Great Jubilee Year, in order not to forget the testimony of "new martyrs".<br />Over the past few years Mgr. Helmut Moll, who sent to Agenzia Fides news of the publication, collected the testimony of more than a hundred new martyrs and victims of the violence related to the last century, completing the list published in the fifth edition which dates back to 2010. Among the biographies there are also 60 names of German missionaries killed in Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Central America. In different circumstances, such as during his recent trip to Korea, even Pope Francis stressed the significance and importance of the witness of the martyrs for the faith of our times.<br />The project to collect the history of the German martyrs of the twentieth century started in 1994. Since then, about 160 experts, in collaboration with the dioceses and religious orders, have collected 900 biographies of German martyrs, gathering them up in four categories: victims of Nazism; Victims of Communism; "Martyrium puritatis" of girls, women and religious women; missionaries killed. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - "National unity threatened by the selfishness of a corrupt minority" say Bishopshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37405-AFRICA_MOZAMBIQUE_National_unity_threatened_by_the_selfishness_of_a_corrupt_minority_say_Bishopshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37405-AFRICA_MOZAMBIQUE_National_unity_threatened_by_the_selfishness_of_a_corrupt_minority_say_BishopsMaputo - "National unity is threatened by selfishness and political divisions" denounce the Bishops of Mozambique in a message issued after the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique, sent to Agenzia Fides.<br />"The consolidation of national unity, which is a valuable asset for all, a wealth that we cannot give up, can never be regarded as the exclusive monopoly of some groups closed in on themselves and obsessed by the greed of political and economic power , all are called to this task", say the Bishops.<br />"Currently, due to the politicization of most State institutions, the number of people excluded from the decision-making process increases dramatically, and the current government appears to be less and less able to achieve the key objectives sanctioned in Article 11 of the Constitution" continue the Bishops, remembering that the article mentioned provides, among other things, the creation of a just society and the realization of the material and spiritual welfare of the nation, the defense and promotion of human rights and equality of citizens before the law.<br />"In fact - continues the document - we are witnessing the blatant injustice of the poor crushed by a minority enriched dishonestly, who lives in luxury; the lack of transparency in the exploitation of natural resources and the total disregard of the environment; farmers are deprived of their land for the national implementation of mega-projects that favor only foreign multinationals and an insignificant minority of Mozambican citizens; excessive ambition of public officials who make corruption, plundering and money laundering their modus vivendi; the use of force, arrogance and intolerance to impose their own ideas ".<br />The Bishops call for a decisive change of course, in order to include in the decision-making process as many citizens, especially the poorest sector of society. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA - Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network: For Mgr. Barreto the life of 30 million people is at stakehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37404-AMERICA_Pan_Amazon_Ecclesial_Network_For_Mgr_Barreto_the_life_of_30_million_people_is_at_stakehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37404-AMERICA_Pan_Amazon_Ecclesial_Network_For_Mgr_Barreto_the_life_of_30_million_people_is_at_stakeVatican City - "The Church is not in the Amazon like someone with their bags packed ready to leave after exploiting it, said Pope Francis. She has been there since the beginning with missionaries, religious congregations, priests, laity and bishops, and her presence is decisive for the region". This was stated by the Archbishop of Huancayo , His Exc. Mgr. Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, SJ, who is President of the Department of Justice and Solidarity of CELAM, in an interview with Agenzia Fides, during the presentation of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network , held in the Holy See Press Office.<br />Mgr. Barreto reminds Fides that "REPAM was established in 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil, during a meeting of bishops whose territories include Amazon regions, priests, missionaries of congregations who work in the Amazon jungle, national representatives of Caritas and laypeople belonging to various Church bodies" .<br />Illustrating the importance of REPAM, the Archbishop stresses: "The large number of Countries involved is due to the awareness that effective action to face challenges that cross the borders of a single State requires synergy between the living forces of all the nations involved. Moreover, REPAM as well as working transnationally, proposes the institution of harmonious collaboration between the various components of the Church: religious congregations, dioceses, Caritas, various Catholic associations and Foundations, and lay groups".<br />Mgr. Barreto Jimeno also highlights, that the "commitment to the defence of life is, for Cardinal Turkson, the third characteristic. REPAM was born in response to important challenges. It is engaged in defending the life of a number of communities who cumulatively comprise 30 million people". Regarding the current situation, he explains: "the Amazon is a territory that is devastated and threatened by the concessions made by States to transnational corporations. Large-scale mining projects, monoculture and climate change place its lands and natural environment at great risk, leading to the destruction of cultures, undermining the self-determination of peoples and above all affronting Christ incarnate in the people who live there. Today we are experiencing a high incidence of drought in the Amazon. The Amazon is a natural biome, that is to say, a living system that functions as a stabilizer of the regional and global climate for the production of one third of the rains that feed the earth, and yet it is threatened. Over 20% of its vegetation has been lost. However, Member States give priority to economic growth and social policies that encourage the exploitation of natural resources, as if it were a national emergency".<br />The Amazon territory is the largest tropical forest in the world. It covers six million square kilometres and includes the territories of Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana , Venezuela , Ecuador , Colombia , Bolivia , Peru and Brazil . It is home to 2,779,478 indigenous people, comprising 390 indigenous tribes and 137 isolated peoples with their valuable ancestral cultures, and 240 spoken languages belonging to 49 linguistic families. <br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://redamazonica.org/">REPAM website:</a>Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/NICARAGUA - "Facts have to be reported": creation of the Human Rights Commission in Pantasmahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37403-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_Facts_have_to_be_reported_creation_of_the_Human_Rights_Commission_in_Pantasmahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37403-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_Facts_have_to_be_reported_creation_of_the_Human_Rights_Commission_in_PantasmaJinotega - The Bishop of the diocese of Esteli , His Exc. Mgr. Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara, S.D.B., presided yesterday, March 5, the establishment of the Human Rights Commission in Pantasma, Jinotega, wanted by the population after the events of violence in the region. The most recent case happened in El Portal, where three people were killed by an explosion .<br />Jesus Montenegro was elected President of the new Human Rights Commission, dependent on the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights which is chaired by Mgr. Mata. <br />The Bishop urged the people of Pantasma to denounce all types of violation of their human rights: "You have to report the facts, because here many violations of the rights of the people are being committed" he stressed. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100EUROPE/UKRAINE - Fighting decreases but medical situation remains direhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37402-EUROPE_UKRAINE_Fighting_decreases_but_medical_situation_remains_direhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37402-EUROPE_UKRAINE_Fighting_decreases_but_medical_situation_remains_direKiev - Although fighting in eastern Ukraine has reduced since a ceasefire came into effect on 15 February, shelling continues in some areas and medical needs remain urgent on both sides of the frontline. In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides by the organization Doctors Without Borders says that residents and displaced people are living in extremely precarious conditions, many medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed and there are critical shortages of basic and specialised medicines and medical supplies. Consequently, MSF has rapidly expanded its medical activities on both sides of the frontline in the hardest-hit areas.<br />On 21 February an MSF team was able to reach the heavily affected city of Debaltseve, after weeks of intense fighting made it impossible to provide humanitarian assistance there. The city’s two hospitals have been damaged, with one unusable. Only three doctors remained for the entire city. Although many residents have fled or been evacuated, out of a population of 25,000 people before the fighting, at least 5000 people remained and many are in urgent need of medical care. Teams are currently assessing the situation around the city of Gorlovka. They have inaugurated mobile clinics and mental health activities, and this week will distribute essential relief items to 1000 families in the city and surrounding villages. MSF has started running mobile clinics in 19 locations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions to provide basic healthcare to people living in rural areas or displaced by the conflict.<br />The humanitarian situation is particularly alarming in Luhansk region as the shortage of medicines and essential supplies, including food, is even more acute. Most people who have remained in Luhansk are the most vulnerable members of the community – the elderly, disabled, and sick – who did not have the means to flee the conflict. As well as running mobile clinics in health centres in rural areas. MSF is running a mobile clinic in four sanatoriums in Svyatogorsk where more than 3000 people fleeing the conflict zone have taken refuge, many since the escalation in fighting in January. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/KENYA - The Church make uncultivated land available to produce foodhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37401-AFRICA_KENYA_The_Church_make_uncultivated_land_available_to_produce_foodhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37401-AFRICA_KENYA_The_Church_make_uncultivated_land_available_to_produce_foodNairobi - The uncultivated lands of dioceses, religious congregations and seminaries of Kenya will be used to produce food. This is what Fr. Celestino Bundi, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Kenya said during the meeting of the Directors of the African PMS, which was held in late February at the Pastoral Center Vincenzo Pallotti in Kigali, Rwanda.<br />According CISA agency in Nairobi, Fr. Bundi pointed out that in this way the Church in Kenya intends to respond to the appeal launched by Pope Francis in his speech to the participants at the 38th session of FAO, to find new ways of helping the poor and the hungry.<br />"It is a well-known fact - said Pope Francis - that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This, dear friends is truly scandalous. A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being".<br />The Church in Kenya, said the Director of the local PMS, aims to become self-sufficient, reduce malnutrition and create a reciprocal exchange between the "haves" and "have-nots". Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - Meeting between representatives of Hezbollah and the Maronite Church on the election of the Presidenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37400-ASIA_LEBANON_Meeting_between_representatives_of_Hezbollah_and_the_Maronite_Church_on_the_election_of_the_Presidenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37400-ASIA_LEBANON_Meeting_between_representatives_of_Hezbollah_and_the_Maronite_Church_on_the_election_of_the_PresidentBeirut - A meeting of dialogue to address the crux of the non-election of the President of the Lebanese Republic brought together on Tuesday, March 3 representatives of the Maronite Patriarchate and the Shiite party of Hezbollah. The meeting took place in the southern suburbs of Beirut, and involved Bishop Samir Mazloum and former leader of the Maronite League, Hareth Shehab, and Mahmoud al-Qmati and Mustafa al Hajj Ali.<br />During the talks - report Lebanese sources - the negative effects that the non-election of the President is having on all the institutional activity of the country were analyzed. Lebanon has formally been without a President since 25 May 2014. In the delicate Lebanese institutional system, the Head of State is reserved to a Maronite Christian, but the Maronite political leaders present in the two political blocks that dominate the Country's political life – starting from Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea – do not agree on a name.<br />The next parliamentary session is set for March 11. But all observers already foresee that that session will not take effect due to the lack of a quorum. Sources close to the Maronite Patriarchate, contacted by Agenzia Fides, trusts in the possibility that the issue of the Lebanese presidential election may reach a solution due to the "side effect" of the agreement on nuclear energy that Iran is preparing to sign with the group of "5 + 1" . Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/SYRIA - The Syrian Parliament commemorates the Armenian Genocidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37399-ASIA_SYRIA_The_Syrian_Parliament_commemorates_the_Armenian_Genocidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37399-ASIA_SYRIA_The_Syrian_Parliament_commemorates_the_Armenian_GenocideDamascus - On Wednesday 4 March, the Syrian People's Assembly dedicated a session commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The initiative, promoted in particular by the Syrian Christian Parliamentary Maria Saadeh, saw the involvement of members of the Parliamentary Committees on Foreign Relations. Before the parliamentary session, the President of Parliament, Mohammad Jihad al-Laham, received the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Syria, Arshak Poladyan, together with the Armenian Apostolic Bishop Armash Nalbandian, members of the Armenian Catholic community and representatives in charge of coordinating the events which in Syria will be dedicated to the centenary of the massacres of Armenians committed in the Anatolian peninsula 100 years ago.<br />The meeting – say official Armenian and Syrian sources - provided an opportunity to schedule inter-parliamentary cooperation initiatives between Armenia and the Arab Republic of Syria. In his speech during the commemorative session, Ambassador Poladyan recalled that a hundred years ago Armenians fleeing the massacres planned by the government of the Young Turks found refuge in Syria. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Bolivians are asked to reflect on the votehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37398-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Bolivians_are_asked_to_reflect_on_the_votehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37398-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Bolivians_are_asked_to_reflect_on_the_voteCochabamba - A few days ago Bolivian President Morales said that he will not work with the local authorities of the opposition during a speech in the city of El Alto, and urged Bolivians to reflect on the vote.<br />In a public message, His Exc. Mgr. Roberto Flock, Auxiliary Bishop of Cochabamba, asked people to vote and to think of the common good. "To better understand the President’s statements, let us listen to the words of the Gospel", wrote the Bishop, who then quoted the passage in which Jesus reminds the Twelve that "whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave" . Then he commented: "Jesus perfectly describes the authoritarian attitude of the current leaders of this nation, in contrast to the Kingdom of God and contrary to the common good. We ask for their conversion". Bolivia prepares itself for regional elections, set for March 29. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Archbishop Joseph Coutts: "God is close to us, in spite of evil"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37397-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Archbishop_Joseph_Coutts_God_is_close_to_us_in_spite_of_evilhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37397-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Archbishop_Joseph_Coutts_God_is_close_to_us_in_spite_of_evilKarachi - "Jesus Christ died for us so that we could live. Evil is defeated and God's love triumphs. Even today, here in Pakistan": This is what His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi said in a meeting on Lent held recently at the Catechetical Centre in Karachi, in St. Patrick's Cathedral. As Fides learns, the seminar organized by the Catechetical Centre, has become a fixed appointment and saw a large participation of the faithful.<br />Archbishop Coutts reiterated that "Lent is a favorable moment to examine our relationship with God, as we prepare ourselves for Easter", recalling that "even in culture and contemporary society, the love of God exists and is present, despite evil".<br />Archbishop Emeritus, Evarist Pinto, who attended the seminar, said that "the purpose of Lent is the renewal of the baptismal promises. All our Lenten activities should move us towards this goal: to prepare ourselves to reject Satan, all his works and all his empty promises; to carry out a profound act of faith in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit".<br />"Through this meeting, we are invited to recognize much more intensely God's great mercy and love", concluded Fr. Arthur Charles, Director of the Catechetical Centre. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/LIBYA - The Islamic State takes advantage of the power vacuumhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37396-AFRICA_LIBYA_The_Islamic_State_takes_advantage_of_the_power_vacuumhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37396-AFRICA_LIBYA_The_Islamic_State_takes_advantage_of_the_power_vacuumTripoli - "The Islamic State in Libya is showing a great ability to take advantage where there are power vacuums and conquer territories" say local sources to Agenzia Fides from Libya, where the men of the Islamic State have taken possession of some oil fields near al-Mabrouk. "The Islamic State in Libya is formed both by some local militias and by elements that come from outside", say sources of Fides. "At the moment they have managed to conquer Sirte, Derna and some areas near Benghazi. <br />"The population is hostage of the violence. Libyan people are peaceful. Moreover, the tribal structure of Libyan society does not facilitate the emergence of strong movements of citizens who can take charge of the situation".<br />Today, March 5, in Morocco the representatives of the two governments that are competing for the control of the legitimate power in the Country will meet: the National Congress and the House of Representatives.<br />The instability of Libya is finally fueled by weapons that continue to arrive in the Country, in addition to those raided by substantial arsenals of the old regime of Gaddafi.<br />A UN report recently published that despite the international embargo, new war supplies to the various parties in conflict were identified. Among the companies reported as involved in these trades are companies of Belarus, Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, Ukraine, Greece, Jordan, Sudan, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Qatar and Turkey. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/INDONESIA - Catholic Minister Jonan: in politics with faith, honesty, couragehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37395-ASIA_INDONESIA_Catholic_Minister_Jonan_in_politics_with_faith_honesty_couragehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37395-ASIA_INDONESIA_Catholic_Minister_Jonan_in_politics_with_faith_honesty_courageJakarta - "A Catholic politician is he who gives, first of all, a good example with life": says to Agenzia Fides Ignasius Jonan, Indonesian Transport Minister, the only Catholic in the government of new president Joko Widodo. In this short span of time, the minister has tried to bring in politics ethical values of transparency, honesty, fairness, cooperation, working for the common good of the country.<br />In his previous assignment Jonan, 51, led the railways of the state and he always tried to improve services for all users, with special attention to the poorest citizens. Today he is struggling with the reform of the sector and the aviation system. In the first months of government he had to deal with the critical case of the disappearance of the low cost airline AirAsia Indonesia, which crashed into the sea between Surabaya and Singapore, on December 28. The minister has introduced stricter controls. "As a member of a government that is an expression of pluralism and cultural and religious diversity in Indonesia, Jonan says: "We hope to build a peaceful and harmonious nation, in a peaceful world for all human beings". Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Threats and retaliation for health workers involved in vaccination against poliohttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37394-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Threats_and_retaliation_for_health_workers_involved_in_vaccination_against_poliohttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37394-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Threats_and_retaliation_for_health_workers_involved_in_vaccination_against_polioPeshawar - Health workers engaged throughout Pakistan in vaccinations against polio continue to find a lot of resistance and suffer threats from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Only last week, as part of a campaign aimed at 27 million and 700 thousand children in Pakistan, the authorities arrested 470 parents in the region of Peshawar. The number of confirmed cases increased from 58 in 2012 to 306 in 2014.<br />Since 2012, 79 health workers or security staff have been killed. Whole areas of the Country have been made off limits to medical personnel by militant groups that threatened them. Among these, the tribal territory of Waziristan, located along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In these two years a military operation against Taliban insurgents cut off these tribal areas where militants have imposed bans. <br />The attacks continue, despite the campaigns run by the government to convince people that polio vaccination is essential to keep their children safe. According to official data, since the beginning of 2015 six people have already been killed in four attacks. <br />The commitment of the government to expand the coverage of polio has been strengthened. During a meeting of experts held in February the need to increase coverage during the winter 'low season' when there is a decrease in the risk of virus transmission was highlighted. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - A march for Women's Day in Brasilia:"Religions for women's rights"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37393-AMERICA_BRAZIL_A_march_for_Women_s_Day_in_Brasilia_Religions_for_women_s_rightshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37393-AMERICA_BRAZIL_A_march_for_Women_s_Day_in_Brasilia_Religions_for_women_s_rightsBrasilia - "Religions for Women's rights" is the theme of the event which aims to bring together women of all religions in Brasilia today, March 5, on the occasion of International Women's Day to be celebrated on Sunday, 8 March. The initiative, which is organized by the National Council of Christian Churches and by other realities including FéBahai, the Conference of Religious of Brazil , Abriwica, the Ubanda Federation and Candomblé, will provide moments of reflection and a celebratory march.<br />"We want to reaffirm our commitment to dialogue, the promotion of a culture of peace and, above all, we want to draw attention to the high rates of violence against women that occur in our country", explains the Secretary General of CONIC in the note sent to Fides.<br />"Every year, many women are killed in our country. Many die because of their social commitment, we cite the example of Sister Dorothy and other women related to social movements, others are killed because of religious intolerance" reiterated the Secretary general.<br />"We must unite for women’s rights in order to obtain more and more places in our society" emphasizes the President of the Conference of Religious of Brazil , Sister Mariaines Vieira Ribeiro. According to the nun, women still face the problem of discrimination: "We are still far from a path of equality and respect for women".<br />Consecrated women, explains the President of the CRB, participate in this initiative as they are seen as protagonists of a new history, because they carry out demanding jobs without fear of going to the suburbs of human existence. "Regardless of support or recognition, consecrated women try to occupy their own space in the Church and in society. We must therefore support an event like this", concluded Sister Mariaines Vieira Ribeiro. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/MYANMAR - Cardinal Bo: "The seven swords that pierce Mary's heart in Myanmar"http://www.fides.org/en/news/37392-ASIA_MYANMAR_Cardinal_Bo_The_seven_swords_that_pierce_Mary_s_heart_in_Myanmarhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37392-ASIA_MYANMAR_Cardinal_Bo_The_seven_swords_that_pierce_Mary_s_heart_in_MyanmarYangon - There are "seven swords that pierce Mary's heart in Myanmar", said Cardinal Charles Maung Bo presiding over the Mass at the National Marian Shrine in Nyaung Lay Bin.<br />As reported to Fides, speaking to a crowd of about 100,000 pilgrims, Cardinal Bo said: "The seven swords of Our Lady of Sorrows in Myanmar are: crony capitalism, so few families have everything; the refusal to resolve conflicts through dialogue, but with the use of violence; unjust laws that continue to deprive the poor of their lands; the criminal economy of drugs and human trafficking; discrimination of ethnic minorities; the destruction and looting of natural resources; the lack of opportunities for education and employment for the poor.<br />Faced with these difficulties, continues the text sent to Fides, "the people ask the help of our merciful Mother who we can trust because she is our loving mother", who looks after her children with compassion.<br />The Cardinal recalled that "Christianity cannot be selfish", citing "millions of our young people living as refugees in neighboring countries; farmers who are losing their land: the thousands of people living in displaced communities". "In this time of Lent, we are called to look after each other. Just as our Mother Mary takes care of humanity". Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - The Bishops of Nigeria and Cameroon together in assisting refugees fleeing Boko Haramhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37391-AFRICA_NIGERIA_The_Bishops_of_Nigeria_and_Cameroon_together_in_assisting_refugees_fleeing_Boko_Haramhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37391-AFRICA_NIGERIA_The_Bishops_of_Nigeria_and_Cameroon_together_in_assisting_refugees_fleeing_Boko_HaramAbuja - The Episcopal Conferences of Nigeria and Cameroon work together to provide assistance to thousands of Nigerians who fled to Cameroon fleeing the violence of Boko Haram. This was revealed by His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, during the press conference held at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Nigeria, news of which was sent to Agenzia Fides.<br />Mgr. Kaigama added that the Federal Government of Nigeria has joined the efforts of the Catholic Church in assisting Nigerian refugees in Cameroon. In particular, the authorities in Abuja have donated 50 million Naira to the Nigerian Bishops' Conference, which will be used along with the Cameroonian counterpart to assist Nigerians welcomed in some refugee camps scattered throughout the Country. On its behalf, the body of the Nigerian Bishops has collected another 10 million Naira, bringing the total aid for refugees to 60 million .<br />Mgr. Kaigama added that on 3 May a delegation of Nigerian Bishops will travel to Cameroon to assess the needs of refugees. The Bishop of Maiduguri, His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, and the President of Caritas Nigeria, His Exc. Mgr. Lucius Ugorji, Bishop of Umuahia will be part of the delegation. Mgr. Kaigama expressed the hope that also government representatives will join the delegation and has invited the faithful not to forget the suffering of the displaced and refugees fleeing the violence of Islamist sect. Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Meeting of Bishops Emeritushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37390-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Meeting_of_Bishops_Emeritushttp://www.fides.org/en/news/37390-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Meeting_of_Bishops_EmeritusBogota - From March 23 to 27, the first Meeting of Bishops Emeritus of Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by the Department of Ecclesial Communion and Dialogue of the Episcopal Council Latin American Bishops will be held at the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, in Bogota. "The Church intends to offer special attention to those Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean who, after years of pastoral work and leadership of the diocese, have retired", explains the note sent to Fides by CELAM.<br />The purpose of the meeting is to promote a meeting and fraternal dialogue to deepen the themes of the Episcopate and formation, and share the experience of the pastoral reality in which they were and still are committed to. A group of Bishops Eneritus of Latin America in fact continue to be active in the Christian communities and serve as pastors, assistant pastors or are even missionaries. According to the Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2012, the Bishops of the Catholic Church are 5,133; Bishops Emeritus are 1,547. Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100