Fides News - Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAFRICA/EGYPT - Pope Francis tells the Egyptian people: I am honoured to visit the land visited by the Holy Familyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62161-AFRICA_EGYPT_Pope_Francis_tells_the_Egyptian_people_I_am_honoured_to_visit_the_land_visited_by_the_Holy_Familyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62161-AFRICA_EGYPT_Pope_Francis_tells_the_Egyptian_people_I_am_honoured_to_visit_the_land_visited_by_the_Holy_FamilyRome – Pope Francis is happy to visit “as a friend, as a messenger of peace, and a pilgrim to the country that, over two thousand years ago, gave refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family as they fled the threats of King Herod”. This he said in a video-message broadcast this morning to the Egyptian people on the eve of his brief but demanding visit to the north African country , adding that he is “honoured to visit the land visited by the Holy Family!”. <br />In the papal video-message, the Bishop of Rome speaks highly of Egypt “the cradle of civilization, the gift of the Nile, the land of sun and hospitality, the land where Patriarchs and Prophets lived, and where God, Benevolent and Merciful, the Almighty and One God, made his voice heard.” The Pope thanks the civil and religious authorities who invited him beginning with President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, and expresses his desire that this visit may bear “witness to my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East, a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world, in which Egypt holds so important a place”. Making implicit mention of the recent attacks on Palm Sunday , Pope Francis continues “our world is torn by blind violence, a violence that has also struck the heart of your beloved land…which needs peace, love and mercy” and therefore “needs people who can build bridges of peace, dialogue, fraternity, justice and humanity”.<br />Reference to the Holy Family’s flight and stay in Egypt constitutes another reflection of the communion between the Bishop of Rome and pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Church which Pope Francis, in his message addresses as “the venerable and beloved Copt Orthodox Church”. The spirituality of Egyptian Christians treasures the memory of the time spent by Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Egypt narrated in the Gospel of Matthew. On 27 March, Patriarch Tawadros, during a televised interview, offered consolation and encouragement to the Christians of Egypt after the wave of jihadist terrorist violence in northern Sinai, recalling that it was to Egypt that the Holy Family, fleeing from Herod, came to find refuge and protection . <br />As Fides reported last month , precisely a new launching of the Holy Family Way – as an itinerary for pilgrimages to places where, according to millenary local traditions, the Holy Family lived while in exile in Egypt – is central to discussion among political leaders and Egyptian tourist operators . At the beginning of this year, 2017, Al Abdel Aal, Speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives, during a visit to the Copt Patriarch offices, said the valorisation of the tourist project for an itinerary according to the path followed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, was of interest and importance for all Egyptians, not only Christians . On that occasion, the declaration of intent from the Speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives was swiftly answered by Moataz Sayed, vice-chairman of the Association of Tourist Guides in Egypt, who pointed out that so far promises voiced by politicians regarding the promotion of the “Holy Family Way” had produced nothing, despite commitments made in the past by minsters and premiers beginning with Ibrahim Mahalab, Egyptian Prime Minister between March 2014 to September 2015. <br />The first proposals to promote also in a touristic key a ‘Holy Family Way’, were made twenty years ago. At the end of 2016 – local sources told Fides – a Commission to promote the ‘Holy Family Way’ chaired by Hisham el Demeiri was constituted at Egypt’s Tourism Ministry. Two years earlier an itinerary had been identified in the footsteps of the Holy Family in Egypt which would start at Al-Arish – largest city of the Egyptian governorate of North Sinai and the scene of recent Jihadist violence against Copt Christians – continue on to the Wadi Natrun delta, and reach the Asyut Holy Mary Virgin Monastery, known as Deir Al-Muharraq. . <br /><br />Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:33:13 +0200AFRICA/ZAMBIA - Corrupt politics and tribalism undermine national unityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62159-AFRICA_ZAMBIA_Corrupt_politics_and_tribalism_undermine_national_unityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62159-AFRICA_ZAMBIA_Corrupt_politics_and_tribalism_undermine_national_unity<br />Lusaka - Tribalism, regionalism and degeneration of political activity threaten Zambia’s national unity. This is denounced by Rev. Cleophas Lungu, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Zambia and President of Oasis Forum, a body comprising besides the Bishops’ Conference, also the Law Association of Zambia , the Council of Churches in Zambia , the Non-Governmental Organizations' Coordinating Council and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia .<br />Rev. Lungu describes a situation in which the political class appears to live separately from the rest of the people. “We see no real, effective participation on the part of those elected for Parliament. We see the future of our country depending on arguments about which automobile cortege shall go first. We see our leaders claiming to be Christians, but taking a path which leads only to darkness, destruction and desperation. It is the people of Zambia who are suffering in a country of spreading poverty, illiteracy and poor health conditions , we Zambians deserve more than this”.<br />The loss of a sense of national unity is visible while tribalism and regionalism thrive, encouraged for political ends. “The seeds of division sown everywhere for political gains, will not help the growth of our nation. We need more than ever unity in this country and this can only come from a sense of a shared identity, a sense which leads us to a shared common future and shared love of our country ” concludes. <br /><br />Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:04:09 +0200EUROPE/SPAIN - Libropensadores: encouraging local children to read and collect funds to help other less fortunate school children in Cote d’Ivoirehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62156-EUROPE_SPAIN_Libropensadores_encouraging_local_children_to_read_and_collect_funds_to_help_other_less_fortunate_school_children_in_Cote_d_Ivoirehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62156-EUROPE_SPAIN_Libropensadores_encouraging_local_children_to_read_and_collect_funds_to_help_other_less_fortunate_school_children_in_Cote_d_Ivoire<br />Saragozza – Once again this year Fundación Canfranc and Fundación Caja Inmaculada are launching Libropensadores campaigns inviting young people of Aragon to read more while developing a project for the benefit of 120 children in one of the poorest districts of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. This year’s new edition of the programme includes an offering of one euro for each book borrowed by a child or adolescent from Libraries participating in the initiative. “The purpose is to increase the children’s awareness of the world in which we live and to understand that life is different in other parts of the world. We encourage them to collect funds for other children and at the same time improve their reading ”, say the heads of the Libraries taking part. This year, Libropensadores will cooperate with a school project in the Casa-Moscou district of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire assisting 120 pupils, aged 5 to 12 years, at the Le prophète primary school and also the mothers who will follow courses in disease prevention, nutrition, hygiene and healthcare. Indirectly the project will help improve the situation of the 371 pupils at this centre and their families focusing on two main goals: reduce early school leaving and improve healthcare and disease prevent.<br /> <br />Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:32:52 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Jesuit abducted on 18 April, releasedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62160-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Jesuit_abducted_on_18_April_releasedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62160-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Jesuit_abducted_on_18_April_releasedAbuja - The Jesuit priest, Fr. Samuel Okwuidegbe, aged 50, abducted by unidentified persons on 18 April on the road from Benin City to Onitsha, was released on Saturday 22 April. The details of his release remain unknown.<br />In recent years several priests and religious have been abducted in Nigeria for extortion, especially in the south of the country. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria has formally prohibited the payment of ransom in cases of abduction of Catholic clergy. <br /><br />Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:33:30 +0200AMERICA/ UNITED STATES - Like his recent predecessors President Trump avoids the term Armenian Genocidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62158-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Like_his_recent_predecessors_President_Trump_avoids_the_term_Armenian_Genocidehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62158-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Like_his_recent_predecessors_President_Trump_avoids_the_term_Armenian_GenocideWashington – – American President Donald Trump, on Monday 24 April, issued an official statement on the planned massacre 102 years ago of Armenians in the Anatolian Peninsula, but avoided referring to those systematic massacres as the Armenian Genocide, in keeping with the policy of his last 4 predecessors also to avoid any bitter reaction on the part of Turkey . <br />In the past Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan did use the expression “Armenian Genocide”, but then, from George H.W Bush to Barack Obama, the expression was dropped from White House statements. <br />The American President today, known for his uninhibited manner of speech, free of excessive diplomatic scruples even concerning delicate questions of international impact, has called the massacres of Armenians during the First World War “one of the worst masse atrocities of the 20th century", recalling that "beginning in 1915 , one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire". He then expressed his sympathy with the Armenian community all over the world “mourning the loss of innocent lives and the suffering endured by so many ", word similar to those used by the more recent Presidents of the United States. <br />The American press recalls that President Obama, also because of Turkey’s pressure on the US Congress, shelved the promise made in his electoral campaign to recognise as genocide the massacres suffered by the Armenian people more than a century ago. It also underlines that President Trump was the first head of state to congratulate the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the results of the referendum in Turkey on 16 April, which ensured that the strongman in Ankara may extend his power. <br />Whereas American presidents refrain from officially acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, in 2016 the Congress of the United States and US Secretary of State John Kerry used the word “Genocide” regarding violence suffered in the Middle East by Christians and other ethnic-religious minorities committed by so-called Islamic State militia. On the basis of these statements, as Fides Agency reported there was talk of providing possible American military supplies to the so-called “Christian militia” operative in the Nineveh Plain, justifying the operation as part of the war on DAESH jihadists. In that context, Fides Agency contacted Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo , head of the Syrian Catholic Arch Eparchy of Hassakè-Nisibi, who described the path which led the US Administration to define as “genocide” violence perpetrated by DAESH on Christians “a geopolitical operation to exploit the category Genocide for one’s own interest”. .Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:22:16 +0200EUROPE/ITALY - World Malaria Day: most at risk the weakest, children and pregnant womenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62157-EUROPE_ITALY_World_Malaria_Day_most_at_risk_the_weakest_children_and_pregnant_womenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62157-EUROPE_ITALY_World_Malaria_Day_most_at_risk_the_weakest_children_and_pregnant_women<br />Padova – On April 25 the World Health Organisation WHO marks World Malaria Day in order to increase awareness of the problem of Malaria in the world: a disease which in 2016 registered 212 million cases and 429,000 deaths. Africa is the continent most affected with 90% of the cases and 92% of the deaths. People most at risk are expectant mothers and children living in poor conditions with difficult access and use of services of prevention and treatment . “Children are most exposed to contagion, we read in a report sent to Fides by Giampietro Pellizzer, infectologist of Medici con Africa CUAMM, because they have not yet developed their immunity system, two thirds of fatalities registered due to Malaria concern children under 5: in 2015 a total 303,000 children died of Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. However, measures of prevention and control have reduced Malaria since 2010 to today by 29% generally and 35% among children under 5. In every hospital where CUAMM doctors work, caring for patients with Malaria is a priority”. In 2016, some 206,850 persons were treated by CUAMM for Malaria in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. And recently a new area of intervention was opened in Mozambique, with a project launched in the Cabo Delgado province in the north of the country, ”. Thanks to this project CUAMM will work in two districts of the Balama and Montepuez province, reaching a population of 170,000 with radio, spectacles, involving local people with door to door awareness activity, as well as formation courses for local healthcare workers. <br /> <br /><br />Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:58:56 +0200ASIA/TURKEY - Armenian Genocide commemorated also in Istanbul. Message from US President Trump announcedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62155-ASIA_TURKEY_Armenian_Genocide_commemorated_also_in_Istanbul_Message_from_US_President_Trump_announcedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62155-ASIA_TURKEY_Armenian_Genocide_commemorated_also_in_Istanbul_Message_from_US_President_Trump_announcedASIA/TURKEY – Armenian Genocide commemorated also in Istanbul. Message from US President Trump announced <br />Erevan – Events and ceremonies scheduled for April 24 all over the world to mark 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide will include commemoration events also in Istanbul. This is reported by local sources including Armenian-Turkish bilingual weekly Agos, published in Istanbul, according to which commemorations will take place in Sultanhamet Square and at the Armenian cemetery in the Sisli district. Evening commemorative events will be held in the urban district of Beyoglu. <br />In the meantime diplomat Rafik Mansour, Charge d’Affairs at the US embassy in Armenia, has announced that the American President Donald Trump will issue a message on the occasion of the anniversary of the massacre of the Armenian people in the Anatolia Peninsula 102 years ago. Asked whether the US President will use the definition “Armenian Genocide” the diplomat said he lacked sufficient information to reply to the question. .<br />Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:39:31 +0200VATICAN - Pope Francis: “The Church is Church if she is a Church of martyrs”http://www.fides.org/en/news/62154-VATICAN_Pope_Francis_The_Church_is_Church_if_she_is_a_Church_of_martyrshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62154-VATICAN_Pope_Francis_The_Church_is_Church_if_she_is_a_Church_of_martyrsRoma – “The memory of these heroic, early and recent witnesses confirms us in the awareness that the Church is a Church of martyrs… and martyrs are those who had the grace to confess Jesus until the end, until death. They suffered, they gave their lives, and we receive the blessing of God for their witness”. This was said by the Holy Father Francis during a Liturgy of the Word in memory of the New Martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries, which he presided in the afternoon of Saturday 22 April in the Basilica of St Bartholomew on the Tiber Island in Rome, looked after by the S. Egidio Community, and which has become a memorial to all New Martyrs, and has the custody of several relics. <br />The Pope continued: “there are also many hidden martyrs, those men and women who are faithful to the gentle strength of love, to the voice of the Holy Spirit, those who in their daily lives seek to help their brothers and sisters and to love God without reserve.” The cause of every persecution, he said, lies in “the hatred of the prince of this world toward those who have been saved and redeemed by Jesus through His death and resurrection. “ <br />Asking himself what is the most urgent need for the Church today, the Holy Father continued: “Martyrs, witnesses, that is, everyday saints of ordinary life, lives lived coherently; but we also need those who have the courage to accept the grace to be witnesses until the end, until death. All these are the living blood of the Church. They are the witnesses who carry forward the Church; those who witness to the fact that Jesus is risen, that Jesus is alive, who witness to Him with coherent lives and with the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received as a gift.”.<br />The Pope concluded “ Remembering these witnesses of the faith and praying in this place is a great gift. It is a gift for the Community of Sant'Egidio, for the Church in Rome, for all the Christian communities of this city, and for so many pilgrims. The living legacy of martyrs today gives us peace and unity. They teach us that with the strength of love, with gentleness, one can fight against arrogance, violence, and war - and that peace can be achieved with patience ”. <br /><br />Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:50:45 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - “Empathise more with the sufferings of the people”: local Bishops say political impasse must be overcomehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62153-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Empathise_more_with_the_sufferings_of_the_people_local_Bishops_say_political_impasse_must_be_overcomehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62153-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Empathise_more_with_the_sufferings_of_the_people_local_Bishops_say_political_impasse_must_be_overcome<br /><br />Kinshasa - The appointment of Bruno Tshibala as Premier of the Democratic Republic of Congo “is a distortion of the New Year’s Eve Agreements” the Catholic Bishops of DR Congo declare in a statement sent to Fides.<br />According to the Agreements the Premier was to be designated in a consensual way by the Opposition, but the latter became divided. President Joseph Kabila appointed as Prime Minister Tshibala, a member of only one part of the Opposition. The appointment the bishops say is “a distortion of the New Year’s Eve agreements and explains the persistence of the crisis”.<br />Political impasse threatens to prevent the enactment of one of the fundamental points of the agreements signed on 21 December 2016: the holding of presidential, legislative and provincial elections before December 2017.<br />The impasse is the result not only of the failure to appoint with the consensus of all sides the Premier of the national unity government, but also of the fact that the Opposition failed to agree on the name of the chairman of the Control Committee for the enactment of the New Year’s Eve Agreements. The latter, on the basis of the agreements signed on 31 December was to be the President of the Rassemblement, formation of the main Opposition parties. The death of Étienne Tshisekedi , leader of the Rassemblement, reopened the question of this important figure of guarantee. <br />President Kabila asked the political forces “to accelerate talks for the consensual designation of a person to preside the structure”, leaving the door open for the appointment of someone not from the Rassemblement. Whereas the Bishops insisted on an appointment with the consensus of all sides of a member of the Rassemblement, because in their view “exiting from the political compromise reached by the parties would represent a violation of the New Year Eve’s agreements”. <br />The message underlines lastly that political impasse is aggravating the already precarious economic and security conditions in RDC, lamenting in particular the situation in Kasai “where in the archdiocese of Kananga and in the dioceses of Mbujimayi, Luebo and Luiza cruel fighting is reported between police forces and militiamen of Kamuina Nsapu”.<br />In this situation “CENCO urges political and social leaders to empathise more with the suffering of the Congolese people”. <br />Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:10:36 +0200ASIA/NEPAL - Two years after earthquake child trafficking thriveshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62151-ASIA_NEPAL_Two_years_after_earthquake_child_trafficking_thriveshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62151-ASIA_NEPAL_Two_years_after_earthquake_child_trafficking_thrives<br /><br />Katmandu – April 25 marks the 2nd anniversary of the earthquake in Nepal which left 9,000 dead, more than 700,000 homes destroyed and at least three million people in dire need of assistance. “Two years have passed, the country is still on its knees but there is little or no information about the present situation” we read in a report to Fides by NGO WeWorld, for twenty years committed to defending the rights of the most vulnerable persons, women and children, in Italy and in the south of the world.<br />The NGO warns about a silent emergency involving children orphaned in the earthquake now living in dire poverty. “In this situation children in particular risk becoming victims of trafficking. According to official figures, each year 12 to 15 thousand children, boys and girls are trafficked from Nepal destined mainly for India to be sexually exploited. The tragedy of child trafficking especially in situations of emergency and not only in Nepal, is an evil for which we should all feel responsible. Countries most hit by this crime are those suffering because of situations of war, natural disasters, chronic poverty . The causes are equally poverty of families and criminal demand. Poor and unable to provide for or protect them, parents sell children to traffickers. Sex tourism, dangerous and badly paid child labour, and more recently organ trafficking are the main factors that feed child trafficking”. <br />“In the districts of Sindupalchock, Kavrepalanchok and Kathmandu where we have worked for several years providing basic education – says WeWorld -, following the earthquake disaster to provide protection, security, as well as schooling for the children, we built 63 Temporary Learning Centres TLC, in bamboo, where the children can live a normal life, with somewhere to learn, play and overcome trauma. It is important to rebuild schools in Nepal not only to provide safety and schooling but also to tackle the causes of widespread child trafficking in the country: we are watchful, we keep them away from the dangers of the streets and traffickers. Schools provide healthy food and medical care unaffordable for most of the families living even below the subsistence level”.<br /> <br /><br />Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:22:30 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Closeness and solidarity for Venezuela also from the Catholic Church in Colombiahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62152-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Closeness_and_solidarity_for_Venezuela_also_from_the_Catholic_Church_in_Colombiahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62152-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Closeness_and_solidarity_for_Venezuela_also_from_the_Catholic_Church_in_ColombiaBogotà – “Closeness and solidarity has been voiced by the Catholic Church in Colombia towards the people of Venezuela, and the present difficult situation in that country” as expressed already by the Catholic Church in Panama . A statement by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Colombia signed by its chairman, Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, of Tunja, underlines that “the Catholic Church, faithful to the Gospel of Our Lord will not cease to call for reconciliation and peace”. “With Pope Francis – says the text sent to Fides -, we urge everyone to avoid all forms of violence and seek instead political solutions to the serious problems afflicting Venezuela”.<br />Expressing his solidarity with the bishops, priests, religious men and women and lay people “who in situations of suffering and privation continue to announce the gospel and to work for the good of Venezuela and to defend human and Christian values ”, the Colombian bishops say they will continue to pray to the Lord “for reconciliation, unity and wellbeing among their Venezuelan brothers and sisters”. <br />Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:21:22 +0200AMERICA/BRAZIL - New window for the evangelising activity of the Catholic Church in Brazilhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62150-AMERICA_BRAZIL_New_window_for_the_evangelising_activity_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_Brazilhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62150-AMERICA_BRAZIL_New_window_for_the_evangelising_activity_of_the_Catholic_Church_in_BrazilBrasilia – On 26 April the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil will launch its new portal www.cnbb.org.br. <br />The aim, says Auxiliary Bishop of Brasilia and CNBB secretary, is to give new impulse to digital communication and the evangelising activity of the Church in Brazil and render more visible her identity and activity. <br />Fr. Rafael Vieira, CNBB press officer, told Fides about the portal designed to combine in one platform the latest modern technology to improve access to information and especially to increase synergy between the production of contents and the distribution of the same through the different CNBB communications channels.<br />The new platform will present articles by Brazil’s bishops, as well as information regarding CNBB commissions and bodies. It will have a banner space for church events, campaigns and other important activities and also make available sound, images, animation, video and texts for smartphone, tablet and computer. <br />Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:52:40 +0200AFRICA/KENYA - Resignation of the Archbishop of Nyeri, successor appointedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62149-AFRICA_KENYA_Resignation_of_the_Archbishop_of_Nyeri_successor_appointedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62149-AFRICA_KENYA_Resignation_of_the_Archbishop_of_Nyeri_successor_appointed<br />Città del Vaticano – The Holy Father Francis on 23 April 2017 accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the archdiocese of Nyeri , presented by Archbishop Peter J. Kairo. The Pope appointed as new Archbishop of Nyeri, Mons Anthony Muheria until now Bishop of Kitui and Apostolic Administrator of Machakos. . <br /><br />Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:23:36 +0200AFRICA/TANZANIA - The Bishop of Moshi: "The loss of moral values threatens our common existence"http://www.fides.org/en/news/62146-AFRICA_TANZANIA_The_Bishop_of_Moshi_The_loss_of_moral_values_threatens_our_common_existencehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62146-AFRICA_TANZANIA_The_Bishop_of_Moshi_The_loss_of_moral_values_threatens_our_common_existenceDar es Salaam - "The population lives in constant fear of kidnapping or sexual harassment, especially women who are afraid of being raped. Eight policemen were killed recently while they were returning from work. It is sad to note that some people rejoiced for the death of these people", denounced Mgr. Isaac Amani Massawe, Bishop of Moshi in his homily during Easter Mass.<br />"These are signs of lack of love among the people of the Country. In our thoughts there are things that threaten peace and unity", the Bishop warned. "Crimes are born in our minds and in the end are put into practice".<br />Mgr. Amani Massawe stressed the loss of moral values in society as a cause of this situation, recalling in particular superstitions, alcohol abuse and drugs, the loss of the sense of life that drives people to engage in futile activities. The most dangerous acts are human trafficking and sexual violence "that are pushing the nation into darkness. These are shameful acts that are associated with globalization, alcoholism and superstition", he concluded. <br />Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:11:13 +0200AMERICA/PANAMA - The Church in Panama is sympathetic with the people of Venezuelahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62147-AMERICA_PANAMA_The_Church_in_Panama_is_sympathetic_with_the_people_of_Venezuelahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62147-AMERICA_PANAMA_The_Church_in_Panama_is_sympathetic_with_the_people_of_VenezuelaPanama - "We are sympathetic with the request of the Bishops 'Conference of Venezuela, which calls for action on the basis of conscience and the exercise of the right to demonstrate", says a statement from the Bishops' Conference of Panama published on 21 April.<br />"We have seen levels of social explosion and political confrontation, which has led to mourning in Venezuelan society because of the country's difficult situation, which is becoming more and more unsustainable every day", the statement said.<br />"We ask society in Panama - concludes the statement - to call on prayer days for Venezuela, for the return of peace and for the reconstruction of the neighboring Country". <br />Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:10:36 +0200ASIA/SIRIA - Four years after the abduction of the two Metropolitans of Aleppohttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62145-ASIA_SIRIA_Four_years_after_the_abduction_of_the_two_Metropolitans_of_Aleppohttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62145-ASIA_SIRIA_Four_years_after_the_abduction_of_the_two_Metropolitans_of_AleppoAleppo - "Christ is risen and the destiny of our brother-archbishops Boulos and Yohanna is still unclear". Pascha fell this year close to the day of their abduction. "This fourth anniversary is perhaps the most appropriate time for us to raise our voice once more, and to put in the ears of our believers and of all the world the voice of our pain in the Church of Antioch, and the voice of all those who are afflicted in this East". With these words, in a joint message, the two Patriarchs of Antioch, Greek Orthodox Yohanna X and Siro Orthodox Mar Ignatios Aphrem II, remind everyone of the two Metropolitans of Aleppo - Syriac Orthodox Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Boulos Yazigi - abducted on April 22, 2013, on the fourth anniversary of their disappearance.<br />The two metropolitan Bishops of Aleppo were kidnapped in the area between the Syrian metropolis and the border with Turkey. The car on which the two Bishops were traveling was blocked by the kidnappers, and the driver was killed cold-bloodedly, after his escape attempt. We are talking about Fathallah, a Catholic, father of three children.<br />Since then, no group has claimed the kidnapping. Six months after the kidnapping General Abbas Ibrahim, head of the Lebanese General Security, revealed that the place where the two abducted Bishops were detained had been identified, and "Indirect contacts" with the kidnappers to obtain their release had begun. <br />"Christians of the Church of Antioch" reads the joint message sent to Agenzia Fides "always pledge to remember that the path of the resurrection began with the Cross, and was crowned with the light of the empty Tomb. As we imitate Christ, we do not fear death or adversity, but we pray in our weakness, as our Lord Jesus Christ Himself prayed, that the cup of suffering may pass". The message of the two Patriarchs also expresses the will and desire of the Eastern Christians to continue to live in the lands of their millennial rooting: "The power of this world", the two Patriarchs remark, "will not drive us out of our land, because we are the sons of the cross and the resurrection. We have been displaced throughout history, and we are still being displaced up to this day, but each of us is called to remember that the land of Christ will not be emptied of his beloved ones and of those who were named after him two thousand years ago. And if the act of kidnapping the two archbishops and priests aims at defying our Eastern Christian presence, and uprooting it from this land, our answer is clear: even though it has been four years since the two archbishops were kidnapped and this crisis has lasted six years, we are staying here next to the tombs of our fathers, and their hallowed ground. We are deeply rooted in the womb of this East".<br />In their message, the two Patriarchs, also have the opportunity to express critical considerations of the political and geopolitical lines followed on the Middle East scenarios by Western powers: "We are not in need of sympathy for us or denunciation of others" write Mar Ignatius Aphrem and Yohanna in their message "but we are in need of serious and sincere good will from all parties to foster peace in our land. .We do not leave this issue in the care of the civilized world, which has burdened us with its talk about democracies and reforms, while our eastern man is deprived of bread and of all means of livelihood. There is a war, unfortunately, imposed upon us as Syrians, and there are consequences that burden us as Lebanese. And there is a price which we pay as Easterners all over the Middle East stemming from the results of all wars, as though bets are waged on our land... Our summons today is a cry “enough!” in the face of those who finance the terrorist, but feign blindness of his existence, and later rush to fight him or to make a claim to fight him". <br /><br />Sat, 22 Apr 2017 12:30:38 +0200AMERICA/BRAZIL - 9 other peasants killed in an agrarian conflicthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62144-AMERICA_BRAZIL_9_other_peasants_killed_in_an_agrarian_conflicthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62144-AMERICA_BRAZIL_9_other_peasants_killed_in_an_agrarian_conflictMato Grosso - Nine people killed. This is the toll of the last massacre caused by an agricultural conflict in Brazil. The massacre occurred a few days ago in a settlement in the municipality of Colniza, about 1000 km from Cuiabá, but the news was only released yesterday, April 21st.<br />The Pastoral Land Commission said it was a new massacre of poor peasants, victims of criminal gangs sent and paid by leaders of large companies in the region in order to intimidate and, if necessary kill small agricultural entrepreneurs and peasants. Only a few days ago, the report on violence in the area was published: "Conflicts in the countryside of Brazil 2016" .<br />Mato Grosso Public Security Bureau confirmed the tragedy, pointing out that the massacre was carried out by a group of "hooded" men. The army was sent to the site because it is a difficult place to access in a region inhabited by about 100 families. According to the latest survey conducted by the Pastoral Land Commission , there are 6,601 families in Mato Grosso who live in areas of agricultural conflicts, most of which are located in Xingu National Park, in the municipalities of Querencia, Canarana and São Felix do Araguaia. <br />Sat, 22 Apr 2017 11:36:50 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Emergency in Mocoa continues and the risk of infection increaseshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62142-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Emergency_in_Mocoa_continues_and_the_risk_of_infection_increaseshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62142-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Emergency_in_Mocoa_continues_and_the_risk_of_infection_increasesMocoa - Two weeks after the overflow of the two rivers, Sangoyaco and Mulato , the population of Mocoa still lives in a state of emergency: there is no food, water and medical treatment. In such a context, the risk of epidemics is becoming extremely high, as is confirmed by the latest medical bulletin: there have been many outbreaks of hepatitis A and B and cases of dysentery have increased.<br />In the city it is mandatory to wear masks due to the strong odor of mud and dirt, which has attracted numerous vultures. The mud landslide has not only killed children but also many parents: the orphans are in a not far-off structure. The destiny of many children is not known. Meanwhile local media have begun criticizing the Colombian Red Cross, accused of not treating the emergency in the best possible way. <br />Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:15:17 +0200AMERICA/PERU - School kits and food for working childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62139-AMERICA_PERU_School_kits_and_food_for_working_childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62139-AMERICA_PERU_School_kits_and_food_for_working_childrenSullana - The Yachay National Program of the Peruvian Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Populations, in agreement with the Municipality of Sullana, has distributed a total of 50 school kits and food to working children and teenagers. Among the goals of this Social Program there is the desire to ensure a dignified school year start-up, to allow children and teenagers to achieve full development and prevent their exposure to risky situations. "We want to ensure that the children start the school year without the excuse that they do not have the economic resources to buy the necessary material, because education is very important for social development", said a coordinator of the Yachay Program to Fides. <br />Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:06:41 +0200AMERICA/BRAZIL - Protomatyrs of Brazil: examples of Eucharistic devotion, faithfulness to the Church and missionary commitmenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62141-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Protomatyrs_of_Brazil_examples_of_Eucharistic_devotion_faithfulness_to_the_Church_and_missionary_commitmenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/62141-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Protomatyrs_of_Brazil_examples_of_Eucharistic_devotion_faithfulness_to_the_Church_and_missionary_commitmentRio Grande do Norte - There is great joy in Rio Grande do Norte after the news that the canonization of the Protomartyrs of Brazil will take place on 15 October: André de Soveral, Ambrosio Francisco Ferro, priests, Matteo Moreira, Layman, and other 27 wer killed in faith in Brazil on July 16, 1645 and October 3, 1645. Yesterday, Pope Francis, during the Ordinary Consistory, spoke about the date of the canonization, which will be celebrated at St. Peter's on October 15. The promulgation of the decree of canonization had taken place on 23 March.<br />As the note sent to Fides from local sources informs, not only in Cunhaú and Uruacu, but in the whole Rio Grande do Norte and in many other cities in Brazil, people pray for the Protomartyrs of Brazil, especially whenever an Eucharistic Congress or the Corpus Christi feast is celebrated, as they have always been considered examples of Eucharistic devotion, loyalty to the Church, and missionary commitment.<br />These are the words of St. John Paul II during the celebration of the beatification of the 44 martyrs, on March 5, 2000, in St. Peter’s. <br />"These are the sentiments that fill our hearts as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of Brazil, which occurs this year . In this immense country, the implanting of the Gospel encountered many difficulties. The Church's presence was gradually strengthened through the missionary activity of various orders and religious congregations and by priests of the diocesan clergy. The martyrs beatified today came, at the end of the 17th century, from the communities of Cunhaú and Uruaçu in Rio Grande do Norte. Fr André de Soveral, Fr Ambrósio Francisco Ferro and 28 lay companions belong to this generation of martyrs who watered their homeland, making it fertile for a generation of new Christians. They are the first fruits of the missionary work, the protomartyrs of Brazil. One of these, Mateus Moreira, had his heart ripped out through his back while he was still alive, and yet he had the strength to proclaim his faith in the Eucharist, saying: "Praised be the Blessed Sacrament". <br />Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:52:44 +0200