Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aASIA/TURKEY - Armenians demonstrate to demand the election of a new Patriarch - A group of Turkish Christians of the Armenian Apostolic Church organized a protest demonstration yesterday, Thursday, June 23, in Istanbul, outside the headquarters of their Patriarchate, to ask the election of a new Patriarch. The episode reveals the degree of tension lived in the Armenian community in Turkey, concerning the leadership of the Patriarchate.<br />In 2008, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Mesrob II, was hit by Alzheimer's disease in a form that has rapidly reduced him to a vegetative state. According to Turkish laws, the office of Patriarch is held for life, and a new Armenian Patriarch cannot be elected until his predecessor is still alive. Since 2008, Archbishop Aram Atesyan exercises the patriarchal duties as Patriarchal Vicar for the ordinary administration of the Patriarchate. But in recent times the criticism and the malaise against him have been reinforced, especially after the letter he sent to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, in which the Patriarchal Vicar expressed "his regret and that of Armenians" for the resolution passed by the German Parliament on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, defined by him as an attempt to exploit the tragedy of the Armenian people for the interests of "international politics" .<br />According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, the group of protesters deposited a black wreath in front of the Armenian Patriarchate, with the inscription: "We want to elect our Patriarch ourselves". The canonical laws provide that the election of a new Patriarch can only happen in case of death or voluntary resignation of his predecessor. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:33:20 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Sufi singer killed: pain and condemnation of the \Bishops - "Deep sorrow and condemnation for yet another murder that has shaken the nation": in a statement sent to Fides, the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, said it is "deeply saddened" by the assassination on June 22. Amjad Sabri, a famous Muslim singer, exponent of qawwali, a musical style which derives from the Islamic school of Sufism was killed in Karachi. The man was hit by the gunshots fired at his car by two gunmen while he was on his way to record a program. <br />The murder was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban who accused the musician of being blasphemous. Sabri was very well known outside the borders of the country, for his voice and for the message of peace.<br />The President of the "Justice and Peace" Commission, Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, and the Executive Director, Cecil Chaudhry, in a joint statement, express solidarity and recall "the extraordinary contribution of Sabri for the art of Qawwali and Sufism". <br />The Commission highlights that "music can allow to overcome barriers, creating peace in society" and praises "Sabri’s efforts to promote peace through his music".<br />"We need to stay united against the forces that intend to damage the nation", says the note from the Commission, urging the Pakistan government "to take concrete steps to bring the perpetrators to justice". Bishop Joseph Arshad, "prays for the family, asking God to grant the strength to overcome this irreparable loss". <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:26:05 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Concerns of the Church on the new measures on migration - One notices an opening to review the migration policy for refugees, but must be realized in concrete, taking into account that the devil hides in the details. This is the meaning of the note sent to Agenzia Fides, published by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Jesuit Refugee Service , after a meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs of South Africa, Malusi Gigaba, on the occasion of the recent World Day of Refugee.<br />The Minister acknowledged the positive contribution made by refugees to the Country, and the need for South Africans to become aware of this. At the same time he condemned xenophobia and the temptation to throw on refugees the responsibility of the evils in the Country.<br />What raises more doubts in the Church is "is the desire for a realistic separation of the different policy responses needed for migrants and refugees, in particular migrants from impoverished Countries looking for better opportunities but who appear “refugee-like” in their social and economic profile but whose nature of need is of a different order. This is a formidable challenge both at a policy and operational level and demands a new found sophistication from government and department alike", said the note.<br />This separation between economic migrants and refugees will be implemented through two measures. The first is the creation of an "an indefinite refugee status for refugees in South Africa thus closing the option of permanent residence or citizenship" and the other " the creation of some kind of SADC identity document to facilitate movement between countries and in policy separate economic migrants from the more immediate humanitarian concerns of refugees".<br />The fear of the Church is that with these measures instead of promoting the integration of refugees a "more permanent class" is created, different from the rest of the population.<br />SADC is made up of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Several residents of the other SADC states travel to South Africa in search of employment opportunities. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:16:31 +0200OCEANIA/MARIANA ISLANDS - Appointment of the Bishop of Chalan Kanoa City - On 24 June 2016 the Holy Father appointed Rev. Fr. Ryan Jimenez as Bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa , in the Northern Mariana Islands.<br />The newly-elected Bishop was born on 18 December 1971 in Dumaguete City, Philippines, and entered the San Jose Seminary in Quezon and studied philosophy at Manila University. As a major seminarian for the Diocese of Saipan continued his studies in the United States, at St. Patrick's Seminary and University in Menlo Park, California, earning a Masters in 2003. On 8 December 2003 he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.<br />Since his ordination he has served the following pastoral and academic roles: 2003-2007: Assistant priest in Kristo Rai Parish in Garapan, Saipan; 2003-2010: Secretary of the Bishop; 2005-2007: Spiritual Director of the Cursillo Movement; since 2007: Rector of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral; since 2008: President of the Diocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church; since 2009: Superintendent of Catholic Schools and Director of the Diocesan Publications Office; 2009-2010: diocesan Chancellor; since 2010: Apostolic Administrator of the same diocese. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:48:45 +0200ASIA/MYANMAR - Appointment of the Archbishop of Taunggyi City - On 24 June 2016 the Holy Father appointed His Exc. Mgr. Basilio Athai as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Taunggyi .<br />The newly-elected Archbishop was born on July 22, 1956 in Kyekadaw , Diocese of Loikaw . After attending primary and local secondary schools, he obtained a Licentiate in Geography at the State University of Taunggyi. After the first ecclesiastical formation received at St. Therese Minor Seminary in Taunggyi, he completed his philosophical and theological studies at the Major Seminary in Yangon. He was ordained a priest on April 1, 1984 and incardinated in the Diocese of Loikaw.<br />since his ordination he has served the following pastoral and academic roles: 1984-1986: Parish Vicar of Hwary ; 1986-1989: Assistant priest of the Cathedral of Taunggyi; 1989-1991: Professor of Philosophy at the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Mandalay; 1991-1993: Pastor of Dorokohu ; 1993-1996: Studies for a Licentiate in Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome; 1996-2005: Pastor of Nanattaw ; 2005-2008: Rector of the St. Michael preparatory Major Seminary in Taunggyi.<br />On 21 June 2008 he was appointed Titular Bishop of Tasaccora and Auxiliary of Taunggyi. From 12 April 2015 he has been Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:44:06 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Syrian Archbishop: the Pope is right, the definition of 'genocide' applied to the plight of Christians in the Middle East is misleadingé - "What the Pope said on the definition of the 'genocide' applied to the sufferings of Christians in the Middle East is beautiful and useful, because it brings us back to reality and helps us not to take our eyes off the experience of martyrdom, which accompanies the entire journey of the Church in this world". This is what Syrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, at the head of the Syriac Catholic Archieparchy in Hassaké Nisibis said, who in the light of his personal experience in the scenario of the Syrian war confirms the wisdom of the views expressed by Pope Francis last June 18, during his meeting with students at Villa Nazareth university College.<br />"I do not like, and I want to say it clearly", said on that occasion the Bishop of Rome, "when speaking of a genocide of Christians in the Middle East", adding that it is the "sociological reductionism" when one uses the category of genocide to indicate "what is a mystery of faith, a martyr", and campaigning to define "genocide" the experience of persecution, "which leads us to the fullness of their faith". <br />Even for Archbishop Hindo, the definition of genocide does not apply to the sufferings of Christians even on a historical effectual plan, "because there are many more Muslims, even Sunnis, who are killed as apostates by fanatic jihadists". "But above all - emphasizes Syrian Archbishop speaking with Agenzia Fides - campaigns and also political mobilizations to recognize as genocide the tragedies that affect Christians represent a form of secularization, and end up dissipating in the consciousness of so many perceptions of martyrdom, as it has always been experienced and recognized in the Church. The martyrs participate in the sufferings of Christ, and Christ himself takes them in his arms, at the time of their suffering, as was the case in the great persecutions of the early days".<br />In some cases, the self-styled "Christian militias" operating in both Syria and northern Iraq aim to achieve in the short term loans and military supplies on the orders of the US Congress. These loans - stress the US media – would represent a concrete potential effect of the statement with which the same US Congress described the violence suffered by Christians by militants of the Islamic State as "genocide". "This possible development" points out in that regard Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo "confirms the instrumental nature and the negative effects of certain campaigns that are used as justification for creating the so-called Christian militias. Thus, even Christianity is reduced to ideology of war used by tribal groups, while the Christians, in the course of history, and despite many contradictions, recognized that the use of force to defend the people, starting with the weakest should be left in the hands of the State and civil institutions. <br />Therefore, even the Pope's words on these points, are an aid to return to the true nature of Christianity, freeing us from all of its ideological reductions". <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:37:09 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - The Bishops to resolve the conflict with teachers: Public dialogue and shared educational project - The National Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral considers that dialogue in order to address and resolve the conflict with the teachers in Oaxacan should be public, and it is also necessary to define an educational project with the participation of all. After more than five weeks of demonstrations in Oaxaca area, with several dead and wounded and many arrests , there is still no solution to the problem of teachers in the region.<br />Commenting on the statement, sent to Fides, the Bishop of Nogales, His Exc. Mgr. José Leopoldo González González, President of the Commission, and the Archbishop of Acapulco, His Exc. Carlos Garfias Merlos, stress that public dialogue should include representatives of families, schools, educators, entrepreneurs, managers, media and Churches.<br />This exchange of ideas is necessary to "always put the human person and his dignity as the foundation and the goal of any educational policy and action". <br />According to the Bishops, for the definition of an educational project it is essential to create alliances, build networks and awaken synergies among all sectors involved.<br />Teachers protest for the education reform that, according to the press, was prepared without listening to them, without dialogue or negotiation with the union. The most critical point is the evaluation of teachers and the results obtained, in order to increase educational quality and meritocracy. <br />According to the teachers such assessment does not consider social differences among states. For example, regarding the knowledge of the Spanish language and of modern techniques, in some states of the rural and indigenous zone, Spanish is used little and modern technical means do not exist, therefore teachers working in those areas cannot be considered at the same level of those in the capital or in other states. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:19:19 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Bishops pay a visit to the diocese of Maiduguri marked by the violence of Boko Haram - "We are on a visit of solidarity with the people and the Church of Borno to see for ourselves the devastation caused by the activities of Boko Haram", said His Exc. Mgr. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan and Apostolic Administrator of Osogbo, who led a delegation of some Nigerian dioceses during the visit, on June 21, in the diocese of Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, deeply marked by the violence of the Islamist Boko Haram sect.<br />According to reports sent to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Director of Social Communications of the Diocese of Maiduguri, the delegation was composed only by Mgr. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin, by His Exc. Mgr. Emmanuel A. Badejo, Bishop of Oyo, by Fr. Michael Okodua, Vicar General of Osogbo and by Fr. Martin De Cross C.M.F.<br />In his homily, Mgr. Badejo commended the courage of evangelical Christians in Maiduguri, noting that if the local Ordinary, His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme appears serene, full of courage and hope, even in the most painful moments, it is due to his faithful, who have supported and encouraged him with their example.<br />Mgr. Doeme appreciated and thanked the Bishops for the visit noting that it is a concrete demonstration of Christian solidarity. A solidarity that was materialized in the meeting with IDPs, accommodated in some camps near Maiduguri, including one run by the Catholic Church and another by the Christian Association of Nigeria . In addition to donating essential goods and a sum of money collected in their dioceses, the Bishops saw for themselves the conditions of the displaced. "What we heard about the conditions of displaced persons on the radio and television is different from their real conditions of life", said Mgr. Abegunrin. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:02:05 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The Bishops: "A historic event, the first step to building peace" - The Episcopal Conference of Colombia recognizes the definitive agreement of Peace between the Colombian government and the FARC as "a historic event for the country, which is expected to be the first step to building peace, long-awaited by Colombians, with the guarantee of respect for human rights and the promotion of justice in every corner of the country", said the statement published yesterday, June 23, and sent to Fides. The Bishops therefore call upon the government to "offer a pedagogy for peace, clear and authentic information, to overcome the doubts before this decision".<br />"The Catholic Church, which was on the side of the victims for the entire period of the war, also accompanies this historical moment in Colombia in order to continue offering its service so that the rulers build a nation that respects democracy, freedom and human rights and promotes the processes of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace", the text concludes.<br />After four years of negotiations, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia , yesterday, 23 June, signed a peace agreement that puts an end to more than 50 years of conflict. Colombian President Santos, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, the Presidents Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Raul Castro of Cuba, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, and the Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende were present at the ceremony in Havana, where peace talks are held.<br />The roadmap for the final bilateral ceasefire and the abandonment of weapons by the guerrilla group, which will be verified by the United Nations , through its Security Council, is among the most important of these agreements. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 11:28:51 +0200AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Birth of a new Catholic community in Kokossa: catechumens - of the poorest of the poor – On Sunday, June 19, Solemnity of Pentecost according to the liturgical calendar of the Ethiopian Church, a new Catholic Christian community was born in Kokossa, in Ethiopia, in the Oromia region. This is what Emeritus Bishop of Padua, Mgr. Antonio Mattiazzo, missionary in Ethiopia told Agenzia Fides. "The first proclamation of the Gospel in Kokossa took place thanks to Father Angelo Antolini, current Apostolic Prefect of Robe, when he was pastor in Kofele. His work was continued by Father Bernardo Coccia. I arrived in September 2015, helped by a catechist from Kofele and by Capuchin brother Matthew", says Fr. Mattiazzo.<br />"After trying to get to know the condition of each person who attended prayer meetings and catechesis, we admitted those who meet the necessary requirements for the catechumenate and others for the pre-catechumenate. Catechumens and pre-catechumens were from the poorest of the poor from an economic point of view. Some did not even have the money to buy a pair of sandals and went barefoot to meetings, even with the cold and the rain. We thus initiated a form of micro-credit and, among other initiatives, we gave shoes to those who walked barefoot. The announcement of the Gospel always goes together with charity and human promotion".<br />"We had a little inhabitable house - continues the Bishop -. We thought of making it habitable, and in the meantime, while work is being done, we have placed a large tent, in the free space available, partly because the larger room of the cottage was insufficient to welcome catechumens and pre-catechumens".<br />"The solemnity of Pentecost, and the celebration of the sacraments are prepared with a kind of Triduum, on Fridays and Saturdays in particular, with prayer and catechesis. On Saturday morning I celebrated three rites: the effata ritual, exorcism and admission to the Catholic Church of people from other Christian denominations. The Friday and Saturday meetings were attended by many members of the pastoral council of Kofele, and Christian communities of Gode, Denda, Cacia, belonging to the parish in Kofele, who stayed in Kokossa. They themselves were able to see how a Christian community is born, making a commitment to continue to support the newly-established community and to carry out a task of evangelization. For some of them, in fact, I have given a 'missionary mandate'. If from Countries of ancient Christianity missionaries no longer come, we propose to form lay people to be missionary disciples, as hoped for and asked by Pope Francis". "The Catholic Christian community is now made up of 36 people; a small seed that needs to be strengthened with the mystagogy to grow, bear fruit and expand", concluded Mgr. Mattiazzo. <br />Fri, 24 Jun 2016 11:28:15 +0200AFRICA/KENYA - At least three dead in clashes over cattle rustling in the northwest - Tension along the border between the county of Kisumu and that of Nandi, in north-western Kenya continues, where in recent days at least three people died in clashes between the Luo and Nandi community.<br />Several people on both sides of the border, in particular women, the elderly and children, have fled their homes for fear of further attacks.<br />About 425 people have taken refuge at the Africa Inland Church in Achego and are assisted by the Kenyan Red Cross.<br />The clashes are due to cattle rustling, but the possibility that incidents of this kind can be fed and exploited for electoral purposes was denounced by Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders of Kenya who blame politicians ahead of the 2017 elections for inciting hate speeches . In particular, in March the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya issued a warning on the formation of some political militias who "sow" violence ahead of elections , while in April the Bishops denounced the tribalism and radicalization of young people "in dangerous groups, who create insecurity" . <br /><br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:08:09 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The UN recognizes the responsibilities of peacekeepers in preventing the massacre in Malakal - Confusion in the command and control, and lack of knowledge of the rules of engagement, or orders on how to deal with an attack by the Blue Helmets are among the causes that led to the massacre that took place on the night of February 18 in the Malakal refugee camp in South Sudan . This was established by a UN investigation on the behavior that highlighted the behavior of the Blue Helmets of the UN Mission in South Sudan .<br />According to the report the attackers wore uniforms of the SPLA and used relatively sophisticated weapons, including tracer bullets and grenades, to hit civilian refugees in the UN structure that houses about 50,000 displaced people. At least 30 civilians were killed and 123 wounded.<br />According to Doctors Without Borders "MSF" UMISS did not comply with its mandate to protect civilians, as established by the Security Council: before the attack, it failed in preventing weapons from entering the camp; it decided not to intervene when the first clashes began and when the attack from the outside broke out it was extremely slow in responding to the assault".<br />The UN announced that the troops that did not respond to the assault will be repatriated. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:57:20 +0200AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Mgr. Medina: "Justice must only acknowledge the truth of the Curuguaty massacre", - The Bishop of San Juan Bautista de las Misiones , His Exc. Mgr. Mario Melanio Medina Salinas, accused Vice President Federico Franco of being responsible for the "massacre of Curuguaty".<br />The Bishop said the tragedy, which occurred on June 15, 2012 in which 11 farmers and six policemen were killed in a shootout, was a "fabrication" to elect Franco as President.<br />During a meeting with journalists in the premises of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay of Asuncion, Mgr. Medina said that "justice has a great responsibility in the face of the Curuguaty case, because on the one hand, there are those who put pressure, and on the other, there is the truth, and one should recognize the truth".<br />On 15 June 2012, 17 people were killed, 11 farmers and six policemen, who were trying to evict the farmers who had taken possession of the lands in Marina Cué. The farmers claimed that the land belonged to the State and had to be assigned to them, while the Campos Morumbi society, of late Senator Blas Riquelme, claimed it its property. After the massacre, the Congress accused President Fernando Lugo, deposed from his post a few days later, to promote the invasions of land. <br />After four years, the prosecutor a few days ago, reformulated the charges against farmers: illegal association, abuse of private property and manslaughter, when in 2012 they were only charged with attempted murder.<br />Mgr. Medina Salinas recalling that there were only 300 policemen and 60 farmers, including women and children, said: "It is a disgrace! They want to condemn them at all costs! It was a crime against them and now they are on trial. I ask the judges to carry out a fair trial!", he concluded. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:51:40 +0200ASIA/TURKEY - The legal battle over the ownership of the Armenian Catholicosate continues. Waiting for the pronouncement of the Constitutional Court - A lawsuit filed last year by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of seeking the return of the historic Sis Catholicosate was not taken into consideration by Turkey’s Justice Ministry, but the decisive pronouncement of the Turkish Constitutional Court is still pending. As reported last week by the Catholicosate communication organs, in a May 11 letter, the Turkish Justice Ministry, through rationalizations and other justifications, urged the court to drop the case, at which time the court gave the Catholicosate 15 days to present an appeal. <br />The Catholicosate legal team, on May 26, presented its appeal, in which it deemed the Justice Ministry’s reasoning and rationale baseless and reasserted the demand to return to the Sis Catholicosate to its rightful heir, the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, which now awaits the final pronouncement of the Turkish constitutional Court.<br />Sis, the ancient capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, corresponds to the current Turkish town of Kozan. <br />The intention to file an appeal, in April 2015, had already been announced on several occasions by the Catholicos of Cilicia between September and October 2014. "We cannot remain apathetic with regards to the violated rights of our nation", said Aram on 19 September, in Yerevan, at the 5th Conference of the Armenian Diaspora. As already reported by Agenzia Fides , the Catholicos himself had already said that, if his appeal is rejected by the Turkish Constitutional Court, the appeal will be addressed to the European Court of Human Rights.<br />The current seat of the Armenian Apostolic Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia is located in Antelias, Lebanon. The seat of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, is currently governed by the Armenian Patriarchal Vicar Aram Ateshian in lieu of Patriarch Mesrob II, who is suffering from an incurable disease. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:35:06 +0200ASIA - Death penalty in Indonesia and the Philippines: need to become promoters of an abolitionist culture - "The campaign for the abolition of the death penalty is a big challenge in order to protect life, to promote justice and to humanize our societies. However, the campaign can be successful when citizens themselves become promoters of an abolitionist culture. We will continue to raise awareness, particularly in Asian contexts such as Indonesia and the Philippines": says to Agenzia Fides Leonardo Tranggono, representative of the Sant'Egidio Community present at the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty being held in Oslo, where he met members of parliaments and representatives of governments from around the world to discuss the issue of capital punishment.<br />A moratorium was applied in Indonesia until 2004. "Sant'Egidio contributed to an intense awareness campaign that brought petitions in Indonesia and Europe on the occasion of the death sentence of three Catholics, Tibo, Dominggus and Marinus, accused of inciting riots in Poso. Despite doubts about their guilt, they were executed. The commitment continued in 2008 with appeals for Amrozi, the terrorist, author of the Bali bombings of 2002. And in 2014, with other associations, Saint’Egidio tried to save the life of Indonesian Wilfrida Soik, sentenced to death in Malaysia and then released". Indonesia resumed executions in 2015, six were sentenced to death in January 2015, eight in April 2015, while 48 executions are scheduled for the end of Ramadan, at the end of July. All executions in 2015 were for drug-related offenses.<br />"The battle to abolish the death penalty - observes Tranggono - has not yet been won in Indonesia. We will continue to weave a network with all components of civil society, with students, academics, activists, religious groups and churches, Islamic confraternities, associations, to promote petitions, meetings with national and international institutions and with public authorities. The goal is to create widespread awareness about this topic with positive cultural impact".<br />The same approach will be applied in the Philippines, where recently newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants to reintroduce the death penalty. "These initiatives - concluded Tranggono - should not be interpreted as anti-government movements. Rather they promote a different model of justice, pushing the institutions in search of authentic human responses to legitimate requests, born within citizenship, justice and security". <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:03:04 +0200AMERICA/ARGENTINA - Meetings for the prevention, recovery and promotion of life against addiction - On the occasion of the International Day of fight against the use and illicit traffic of drugs, the Archbishop of Mendoza, through the Pastoral against Addictions, Hogar de Cristo, and the desire of the Council of Catholic Education in Mendoza, have organized a series of meetings to invite the community to reflect on this reality. The events will be held from June 26 to 29 under the motto "Mendoza wake up to save lives". There will be various workshops and seminars for families, members of the Pastoral against Addictions and for all those interested in the subject. During the first day there will be a meeting with the testimonies of young people, a theater performance and the realization of a painting of slogans and phrases in favor of life, in order to convey a message of joy and hope. Among the various initiatives, there is also a Mass in María Madre del Pueblo chapel. Finally, on June 29, a formation seminar will be held for members of the National Commission for drug addiction, intended for all those working in this specific area and those interested in addressing this problem. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 11:40:37 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Mgr. Castro: "We need a clear sign that the signature of the agreement is concrete" - "We need a clear sign that the signature of the agreement is not just a symbolic act", said His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, Archbishop of Tunja and President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia after the announcement of the signature regarding the last points of "Dialogues of Peace" to take place in Cuba by the Colombian government and the guerrilla group of FARC . "The guerrillas must deliver and destroy the weapons publicly", added the Archbishop.<br />Mgr. Castro Quiroga also recalled some unverified information that has spread in the Country on the possibility that the guerrillas can recapture the cities. The Archbishop spoke on behalf of the Colombian people who need assurance. "The people want to immediately see the effects of the agreement", said Mgr. Castro Quiroga.<br />"The delegations of the National Government and FARC inform public opinion that they have reached an agreement on a ceasefire and the definitive end of hostilities", said the joint statement of the Colombian negotiators released yesterday evening in Havana.<br />It is a historic moment for Colombia, since the signing of the agreement is to conclude the armed conflict that has lasted for 50 years. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 11:26:54 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Militant Christian politician released by the Syrian apparatus after 30 months of detention - Christian political activist of Syriac-Orthodox confession Gabriel Moshe Kourieh, head of the political bureau of the Assyrian Democratic Organization, arrested by Syrian security forces in Qamishli, his hometown, on December 19, 2013 has been released. During the first phase of the Syrian conflict which began in 2011, Kourieh - recognized as a moderate Syrian opposition exponent – expressed himself in favor of a peaceful power transition, declaring his support regarding the demonstrations against the government in Assad. Kourieh also appeared among the signatories of the Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change. His arrest was condemned by many international organizations active in defending human rights. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 11:15:27 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Targeted killings against the Ahmadis: third victim - A homeopathic doctor belonging to the Ahmadiyya community was killed in his clinic in Karachi on June 20. Chaudhry Khaliq Ahmad was killed by unknown assailants while he was on his way to visit patients in his clinic. He was shot several times and died while being transported to hospital.<br />This is the latest of a series of targeted killings of representatives regarding the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, a Muslim sect considered by Sunni and Shiite believers "heretical" and therefore marginalized and persecuted. The Ahmadis are not even allowed to call themselves "Muslims".<br />In the last five weeks, there have been several killings motivated only by religious hatred: on June 5, another doctor Hameed Ahmed, was killed outside his home in Attock by two unidentified men. On 25 May, Daud Ahmad was killed near his home in Karachi neighborhood.<br />As Fides learns, the spokesman for the the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan, Salim Ud Din, said, "I am shocked and saddened by the news of the murder of Chaudhry Khaliq Ahmad. Words cannot describe the pain that I and all Ahmadis feel in Pakistan and around the world, because of this heinous act. It seems that there is no respite for the Ahmadi also in the holy month of Ramadan. We are being targeted in a clear and methodical manner. Authorities must act quickly to end these indiscriminate killings".<br />The NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide said in a note sent to Fides: "We are appalled by this unstoppable trail of targeted killings of members of the Ahmadiyya community and the impunity that characterizes these attacks. We urge the police to arrest and prosecute those responsible, and we ask the government in Pakistan to change the discriminatory legislation, adopting adequate measures to reduce the vulnerability of the Ahmadiyya community and other religious minorities in Pakistan".<br />The Ahmadiyya community, has been declared "non-Muslim" in the Constitution of 1974. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 11:02:32 +0200ASIA/CHINA - The orphans of Da Ming celebrate Father's Day for priests who take care of them Dan - The disabled children, abandoned by their parents, and the orphans welcomed at the Don Bosco Institute of Da Ming, in the Diocese of Han Dan, celebrated "Father's Day", celebrating the priests who take care of them and consider them their fathers. Father's Day is celebrated in China every third Sunday of June.<br />The priests of the diocesan seminary community of the Sacred Heart give spiritual assistance to the nuns who run the Institute and host the children. The children wanted to celebrate the priests on Father's Day and sent flowers made with their hands to other priests who were not present, who in turn take care of them.<br />The Don Bosco Institute in Da Ming was born in 1984 when Sister Wu Yong Bo, of the Congregation of the Mother of God, at the time eighty, welcomed a disabled baby girl who was left in front of the church door. From that moment the elderly nun decided to take care of these children. <br />In October 1994, the Don Bosco Institute was officially opened in a building suitable to the needs of these children.<br />To date about 300 disabled children, abandoned, orphans have been welcomed with love here. Many of them were able to go to college or were adopted by families chosen and followed by the nuns. To raise the necessary funds for the Institute, the sisters also participated in the annual marathon in Beijing. Thanks to them, to the priests and to the generosity of so many lay faithful, the Institute now also offers professional courses for adults with disabilities, professional qualification for those affected by cerebral palsy, also organizes meetings to improve training and the social life of these children. Today there are 61 children at the Institute. <br />Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:48:49 +0200