Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usOCEANIA/TAHITI - Appointment of the Apostolic Administrator of Papeetehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38364-OCEANIA_TAHITI_Appointment_of_the_Apostolic_Administrator_of_Papeetehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38364-OCEANIA_TAHITI_Appointment_of_the_Apostolic_Administrator_of_PapeeteVatican City - On August 28, 2015 the Holy Father appointed Rev. Father Jean-Pierre do Cottanceau, SS.CC as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:59:37 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Church: the life of the Country depends on the "good health" of the Nilehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38363-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Church_the_life_of_the_Country_depends_on_the_good_health_of_the_Nilehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38363-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Church_the_life_of_the_Country_depends_on_the_good_health_of_the_NileCairo - Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II will travel to Ethiopia in September, where he will take part in the celebrations for the feast of the Holy Cross along with Abuna Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This is what Coptic Sources report. In a statement released by the Coptic Patriarchate, it was also confirmed that the visit will allow to continue the "ecclesial mediation" with which the Primates of the two sister Churches seek to ease tension between Egypt and Ethiopia on the question of the Great Renaissance Dam, the imposing hydraulic work on the Nile.<br />The issue of the dam had been addressed during the visit of Abune Mathias in Egypt, which took place last January. Egyptians fear that the Ethiopian project of the large dam may have negative impact on the volume of the waters of the Nile, so far available to the economy and the needs of the population. The Egyptian population lives concentrated in 4% of the land area of the Country, in the lands that are located close to the river. The whole life of the nation depends in various forms on the Nile.<br />Pope Tawadros aims to favor the development of a new ecclesial sensitivity regarding the risks associated with unplanned and disorderly exploitation of national water resources. In this respect, it was announced that some priests will follow training courses to be held at public institutions that manage irrigation systems, in order to be able to contribute, through homilies and catechesis, to the vital need to safeguard from an ecological point of view the great river artery. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:57:42 +0200AFRICA/SUDAN - Appointment of the Coadjutor Archbishop of Khartoumhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38362-AFRICA_SUDAN_Appointment_of_the_Coadjutor_Archbishop_of_Khartoumhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38362-AFRICA_SUDAN_Appointment_of_the_Coadjutor_Archbishop_of_KhartoumVatican City - On 15 August 2015 the Holy Father appointed His Exc. Mgr. Michael Didi Adgum as Coadjutor Archbishop of Khartoum . <br />At the same time Bishop Didi Adgum was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the vacant Diocese of El Obeid. <br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://www.fides.org/it/news/33842-AFRICA_SUDAN_Nomina_del_Coadiutore_di_El_Obeid#.VeA7onnov5p">Biography of the new Coadjutor Archbishop</a>Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:29:44 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - The President orders the cease-fire, but expresses strong reservations on the peace agreementhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38361-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_The_President_orders_the_cease_fire_but_expresses_strong_reservations_on_the_peace_agreementhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38361-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_The_President_orders_the_cease_fire_but_expresses_strong_reservations_on_the_peace_agreementJuba - President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has ordered the army to stop the fighting, as of today, August 28, in accordance with the peace agreements signed on August 26 , which provide for the permanent ceasefire within 72 hours of their signature.<br />In signing the agreement, President Kiir however handed over a 12-page file to the mediators which lists several controversial issues considered by the government.<br />The main reservation concerns the post of first vice president, created next to that of Vice President, attributed to the rebels, led by Riek Machar. It is expected that Kiir consults his First Vice President to make "collegial" decisions. <br />Riek Machar had been Vice President under Kiir, before the latter made him resign. A few months latter, Machar had been accused of a coup attempt which triggered the civil war in December 2013.<br />Other points at issue concern the distribution of seats in favor of the rebels in the governments of three key States , the demilitarization of the federal capital, Juba, and the 18 months allowed for the unification, under a new name, of forces that fought in the war. Kiir said that there is already a regular army, whose name must remain unchanged, and with regard to Juba, invoking a "question of sovereignty", challenges the imposition of withdrawing all combat units in a radius of 25 km from the capital within 90 days after the entry into force of the agreement. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:23:55 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch to Iraqi political leaders: integrate the voluntary militias in the armyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38360-ASIA_IRAQ_Chaldean_Patriarch_to_Iraqi_political_leaders_integrate_the_voluntary_militias_in_the_armyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38360-ASIA_IRAQ_Chaldean_Patriarch_to_Iraqi_political_leaders_integrate_the_voluntary_militias_in_the_armyBaghdad - Iraq needs a "national salvation government" where the various components of the Country are represented by wise politicians, able to carry out the reforms needed to emerge from the state of emergency and counter the centrifugal forces that threaten the very existence of the nation. Among the urgent needs to be addressed, there is also the need to integrate militias in the army, on ethnic and religious basis, in all areas of the Country. These are the main contents of the letter that the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I sent to the highest civil authorities of the Country. This is what official sources of the Chaldean Patriarchate, consulted by Agenzia Fides report. The letter, sent yesterday, Thursday, August 27, is addressed to Iraqi President Fuad Masum, to Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and to the President of Parliament Salim Abdullah al-Jubouri. On the same day, the Primate of the Chaldean Church also sent a letter to Yusuf Mohammed Yusuf Sadiq, recalling the need that the new regional draft Constitution is not written in a hurry, is respectful of different identities that exist in the region and help preserve social stability, security and economic development. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:14:55 +0200AFRICA/SENEGAL - Catholic Students are protagonists of "positive change"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38359-AFRICA_SENEGAL_Catholic_Students_are_protagonists_of_positive_changehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38359-AFRICA_SENEGAL_Catholic_Students_are_protagonists_of_positive_changeDakar - "May Jéciste be a builder of positive change through solidarity, fraternity and tolerance" this is the theme of the 28th National Council of the Jeunesse Etudiante Catholique which opened today, 28 August, in Kolda in Senegal.<br />According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, "through this theme the participants will address several other issues such as the family, inclusive management at schools and universities and religious fundamentalism". Another sensitive issue that will be analyzed concerns the problem of early marriages "that slow down the schooling of girls, especially in the area of Kolda".<br />During the National Council, which ends on September 5, three panel discussions will also be organized. The first, titled "Challenges of the family in the twenty-first century: where is the education of young people placed?", sees the participation of a Catholic priest, an imam, a sociologist and a jurist; the second "Is the inclusive management at school and university a guarantee of stability?", with the participation of a pedagogue, a university inspector and a mediator; Finally, the third titled"religious fundamentalism: What is the attitude of pupils and students?", animated by a Catholic priest, an imam and a specialist in religions. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:44:00 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Church joins the Pope for the "Day of Creation" which opens the "Season of Creation"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38358-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_Church_joins_the_Pope_for_the_Day_of_Creation_which_opens_the_Season_of_Creationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38358-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_The_Church_joins_the_Pope_for_the_Day_of_Creation_which_opens_the_Season_of_CreationManila - Churches, associations, and Catholic faithful throughout the Philippines will celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the protection of creation on 1 September, joining the prayer announced by Pope Francis. As reported to Fides, in Manila the occasion will coincide with the opening of the "Season of Creation" and will see Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle preside over a Mass in the Cathedral of Manila.<br />Promoted since 2013, the "Season of Creation" is a six-week period in which there are initiatives, celebrations, exhibitions on the theme of the environment in parishes, schools, Catholic associations. This year the starting point of reflection and of the different activities will be the encyclical Laudato sì.<br />The Church in the Philippines is currently committed in a signature campaign to support the global campaign on climate change: the petition, asks to keep the global temperature rise below the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will be delivered to world leaders who will gather in Paris in late November. The document also calls for a broader assistance to the poor people in the world who face the effects of climate change.<br />Launched in the Philippines in July, the campaign was initiated and promoted by the "Global Climate Catholic Movement", which brings together over one hundred Catholic organizations engaged in the world for "climate justice". Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:24:26 +0200ASIA/INDIA - India is polio-free: thanks to the collaboration between State and Churchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38357-ASIA_INDIA_India_is_polio_free_thanks_to_the_collaboration_between_State_and_Churchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38357-ASIA_INDIA_India_is_polio_free_thanks_to_the_collaboration_between_State_and_ChurchNew Delhi - "Church and State have been working together to eradicate a disease that has caused suffering to millions of people. The positive outcome is the result of a joint effort": is what Fr. Ferdinand Nostrum said, spokesman for the Disease Control Center of the Catholic Church in India, commenting on the recent report of the World Health Organization: India is no longer on the list of countries where polio is endemic. On August 9, in fact, India celebrated twelve months without new cases of polio. If the trend continues for another two years, the virus will be considered formally eradicated.<br />"Winning the battle against polio has not been an easy task", notes Fr. Nostrum. The first joint project between the Catholic Church and the government was launched in 1997, among the general skepticism of many political Hindus. In 18 years, doctors and Catholic volunteers, international and local organizations, healthcare professionals sponsored by government programs, have worked tirelessly, especially in rural areas, in the work of prevention, especially through vaccine and then with a public awareness campaign and healthcare education. The Indian government has involved religious leaders and local communities to help build support for the polio vaccine. This ongoing commitment has resulted in the progressive reduction in polio cases. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:13:20 +0200AMERICA/BRAZIL - Scalabrinians: international meeting to find new answers to the issue of migrationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38356-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Scalabrinians_international_meeting_to_find_new_answers_to_the_issue_of_migrationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38356-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Scalabrinians_international_meeting_to_find_new_answers_to_the_issue_of_migrationPorto Alegre - Migration and the responsibility of how many have the task of being leaders in the scalabrinian female congregation: This is the main theme of the meeting of the Missionary Scalabrinian Sisters who have gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, until August 31. The participants are from Albania, Italy, USA, Mexico, Ecuador, the Philippines and Brazil and compose the general government and the provincial governments of the congregation, as well as the International Committee of communication and the Commission to draft a missionary project.<br />"This meeting – explains Sister Neusa de Fátima Mariano, Superior General, in a note sent to Agenzia Fides - has the goal to strengthen unity and communion among the various teams of the government and address the issue of migration, which is rather complex and requires new answers". The general councillor for communication, Sister Elizabeth Pedernal emphasizes: "As Scalabrinian sisters the digital world is essential in view of evangelization, because it simplifies the proximity with the communities in mission in the 27 Countries where we are present". "Migration in the world is seen as a concern and a challenge, as Scalabrinians we are called to respond to God among migrants and to find Jesus in our every day reality" says Sister Albertina Pauletti, general councilor of the apostolate. Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:38:47 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN – No celebration was held in Juba for the signing of the peace agreement, "too many deaths for us to rejoice"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38355-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_No_celebration_was_held_in_Juba_for_the_signing_of_the_peace_agreement_too_many_deaths_for_us_to_rejoicehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38355-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_No_celebration_was_held_in_Juba_for_the_signing_of_the_peace_agreement_too_many_deaths_for_us_to_rejoiceJuba - "In Juba there was no celebratory atmosphere because the suffering caused by the civil war is immense" say local sources from the capital of South Sudan to Agenzia Fides, where yesterday, 26 August, President Salva Kiir, signed the peace agreement to end two years of civil war that devastated the country.<br />"The war caused tens of thousands of victims, immense atrocities and destruction. Even those who did not suffer the direct consequences of the war because they lived in areas where there was no fighting, suffered from the collapse of the economy caused by the conflict. Living conditions have worsened except for a small minority of politicians and high-level officials. Therefore, there is no reason to celebrate the agreement signed by the person who threw the country into this situation" explained Fides sources.<br />The peace agreement was sponsored by IGAD and provides, among other things, a power-sharing between the two contenders of the conflict, President Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.<br />"It is a controversial peace agreement because the President signed expressing what he called "serious reservations", by adding an addendum that sets new conditions" underline our sources.<br />"Salva Kiir decided to sign but suffered strong pressure from some members of his own government and the army who asked him not to sign. The person, who fought against the agreement is the army commander, who opposed until the last minute. Yesterday there was tension in Juba" said Fides sources.<br />"There remains concern that the differences in the armed forces can derail the implementation of the agreement. Let us hope this does not happen", they conclude. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:29:09 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - A Syrian television documentary on the Assyrian Genocide projected in the presence of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38354-ASIA_SYRIA_A_Syrian_television_documentary_on_the_Assyrian_Genocide_projected_in_the_presence_of_the_Syrian_Orthodox_Patriarchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38354-ASIA_SYRIA_A_Syrian_television_documentary_on_the_Assyrian_Genocide_projected_in_the_presence_of_the_Syrian_Orthodox_PatriarchDamascus - A documentary prepared by the Syrian state television on "Sayfo", the so-called "Assyrian Genocide", was projected and attended by Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II. The reportage on the massacres suffered a hundred years ago by the Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac communities in the Ottoman Empire at the instigation of the Young Turks, also contains the testimonies of survivors of the massacres. The screening, held at the Opera Theatre of Damascus, ended with a performance by the patriarchal Choir of St. Aphrem. Patriarch Mar Aphrem, thanked the Ministry of Social Affairs - sponsor of the event - and related persecutions carried out a hundred years ago to the tribulations experienced by the Christian communities in the Middle East today, ravaged by sectarian conflicts fueled also by geopolitical interests. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:16:09 +0200AFRICA/MALAWI - Pope Francis in his encyclical: "We are victims of climate change", says the Archbishop of Blantyrehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38353-AFRICA_MALAWI_Pope_Francis_in_his_encyclical_We_are_victims_of_climate_change_says_the_Archbishop_of_Blantyrehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38353-AFRICA_MALAWI_Pope_Francis_in_his_encyclical_We_are_victims_of_climate_change_says_the_Archbishop_of_BlantyreLilongwe - "As I read and re-read the Pope’s encyclical, I was reminded of the climate change and its related disasters we have just experienced here in Malawi: – the devastating floods, the prolonged dry spell; the erratic rainfall and strong winds", said Mgr. Thomas Msusa, Archbishop of Blantyre, in presenting the encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato sì to the faithful dedicated to the care of creation.<br />"The Pope’s encyclical calls on us to tackle the climate threat in the name of Justice, Human Dignity and Service to the poor and most vulnerable among us", said Mgr. Msusa. <br />The Archbishop points out that Pope Francis reminds us that attention to environmental issues is related to the proper use of the resources of the Earth and therefore also to social justice and solidarity.<br />Mgr. Msusa remarked that because of environmental disasters linked to climate change mentioned before, about 3 million people are at risk of hunger in Malawi .<br />The Archbishop calls on everyone to properly use the Country's resources, especially water, in order to develop the Country's economy in a harmonious way. "It was God’s plan that He gave us massive fresh water bodies in Malawi. And that we fail to bring the waters we have in Malawi to its rightful utilization is a shame to humanity. Climate smart agriculture systems would not only put food on the nation’s table all year round but also contribute to the re-building of the ecosystem". Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:49:01 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - Christian schools: "positive" meeting with President Rivlin. But the crisis remains openhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38352-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Christian_schools_positive_meeting_with_President_Rivlin_But_the_crisis_remains_openhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38352-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Christian_schools_positive_meeting_with_President_Rivlin_But_the_crisis_remains_openJerusalem - The Secretary General of Christian schools in Israel interprets his meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to discuss the crisis facing Christian schools in Israel as "a positive step". Nevertheless, according to the co-ordinating body the solution of the crisis "requires further negotiations" and therefore "schools will remain closed until further notice". The declaration of suspension of school activities is confirmed in the press release of the Secretariat also widespread in the media of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. <br />The same document provides some details of the meeting which took place on Monday, August 24, 2015 in Jerusalem, between the Christian Schools Committee chaired by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel of the Latin Patriarchate - and President Rivlin. The meeting was attended by Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, accompanied by a Delegation of the Ministry. "President Rivlin" the statement said "opened the meeting by saying that he appreciates the role of Christian schools in Israel, stressing the importance of the exceptional educational experience they have been providing for many years". Minister Bennett reaffirmed support for Christian schools in the country and the commitment to seek solutions to the budget crisis faced by them. Christian schools have agreed to prepare a technical report on the financial statements and the financial aspects of its educational activity.<br />On May 27, the Christian schools of Israel - attended by 30 thousand students, of which only half are Christians - had staged an unprecedented demonstration to denounce the discriminatory policies made by the government . <br />They belong to the category of schools "recognized but not public" and receive partial funding from the Ministry. The rest of the cost is covered by the fee paid by parents.<br />For years, the Ministry of Education attempts to reduce the budget of Christian Schools , and this has forced Christian schools to increase the cost borne by households. The cut in funding mainly affects parents of the Israeli Arab population whose average family income is below the national average.<br />Prior to that event, a committee appointed by Christian Schools in Israel had carried out negotiations with the Ministry for eight months, and the Ministry had proposed Christian schools to become public schools. This proposal was interpreted by the owners of schools as the end of Christian education, and a serious blow to the Christian communities of the Holy Land. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:24:57 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Bishops: we need to protect children from sexual abusehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38351-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Bishops_we_need_to_protect_children_from_sexual_abusehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38351-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Bishops_we_need_to_protect_children_from_sexual_abuseLahore - "Abuse and sexual exploitation on children are spread across Pakistan. According to a public estimate, more than 3,500 cases of child harassment were reported in 2014, 67% occurred in rural areas. It is urgent for the government to act rigorously against those responsible": says a statement of the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Bishops of Pakistan, sent to Agenzia Fides. The Commission sent a memorandum to the government with demands for the protection of minors.<br />A scandal has emerged in recent days: in Kasur, Punjab, police uncovered a criminal gang which has been involved in extreme abuse against minors and in the marketing of child pornography for ten years. According to the survey results, about 400 videos were made with 280 identifiable victims from 6 to 14 years of age. The victims' families were blackmailed by the gang, who had also corrupted the local police. According to some speculations, some local politicians are involved in this traffic.<br />Bishops condemn abuses and write to the authorities: "Political representatives of all political parties should condemn such facts and not use them to achieve political advantage. It is urgent to provide assistance and protection to victims of abuse in the first place, in order to deal with the trauma suffered". <br />With regards to education, "the government should introduce sex education in schools to prevent such accidents in the future, by setting up a Judicial Commission to develop specific rules on the issue of child abuse and child pornography".<br />"Children are the future of our nation", the Commission’s statement concludes. "In order to protect them the government must meet its social, moral and international commitments towards the rights of children, working for the protection and safety of children across Pakistan". Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:09:30 +0200ASIA/BANGLADESH – Blogger killings: religious minorities are even in dangerhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38350-ASIA_BANGLADESH_Blogger_killings_religious_minorities_are_even_in_dangerhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38350-ASIA_BANGLADESH_Blogger_killings_religious_minorities_are_even_in_dangerDhaka - The killing of bloggers by Islamic extremists is also a warning for the religious minorities of Banglasdesh, penalized in their life and freedom: says Imran H. Sarker, spokesperson for the movement of the "Bangladesh Shahbag" network of activists that ask the government for democracy and justice. The lastest murder was committed against Niloy Chakrabarti, who was killed by a gang of Islamists in his home on August 7 in Dhaka. The other victims were Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman, killed in Dhaka, and Ananta Bijoy Das, attacked by a group armed with machetes in the northeastern city of Sylhet.<br />According to Imran H. Sarker religious minorities are also in danger: "Although the Constitution of Bangladesh proclaims the secularism of the state – he told the press - we are struggling to maintain space for secularism in the country. <br />Even Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities are regularly attacked in Bangladesh. The system is such that people are taking advantage of the state administrative to intimidate minorities and expropriate their rights and property".<br />"Politics has become a tool to perpetuate the power of political parties, that in words protect secularism. The only solution is to start deep political and democratic reforms that touch every political institution in Bangladesh", he concludes. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 10:47:54 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Towards the signing of the peace agreement to end the conflict described by the UN as "a threat to the peace of the entire region"http://www.fides.org/en/news/38349-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_Towards_the_signing_of_the_peace_agreement_to_end_the_conflict_described_by_the_UN_as_a_threat_to_the_peace_of_the_entire_regionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38349-AFRICA_SOUTH_SUDAN_Towards_the_signing_of_the_peace_agreement_to_end_the_conflict_described_by_the_UN_as_a_threat_to_the_peace_of_the_entire_regionJuba - "A power struggle of an elite that has become a civil war and a threat to peace and security in the region". This is how the report of the Panel of UN Experts on South Sudan, published on August 21, describes the civil war which broke out in December 2013 that has devastated South Sudan. Today, August 26, the peace treaty is expected to be signed by President Salva Kiir. His rival, Riek Machar, already signed last week.<br />The fight of the SPLA between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, has sparked a series of large-scale inter-ethnic conflicts. The states most affected are those of the Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei followed by those of Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Western Bahr El Ghazal, Warrap and Lakes, where clashes between sub tribes have intensified.<br />The humanitarian situation has deteriorated since the beginning of 2015. "The number of people facing severe food insecurity has almost doubled since the beginning of 2015 to an estimated 4.6 million, including 250,000 children who are severely malnourished — the highest numbers since the war began", says the report.<br />The document denounces that "since the offensive in the greater Upper Nile area began in April 2015, the intensity and brutality of the violence aimed at civilians are hitherto unseen, even in what has already been, without a doubt, an exceedingly violent conflict".<br />Some 750,000 people have been affected by the recent military campaign in Unity State alone and at least 138,000 of those who were receiving humanitarian assistance before the upsurge of violence are now without that assistance owing to insecurity.<br />The UN experts denounce the fact that humanitarian workers and United Nations Mission in South Sudan personnel alike are regularly being attacked, assaulted, harassed, detained, intimidated and threatened. In May 2015, humanitarian actors reported the same number of access-related incidents as the preceding two months combined. All parties to the conflict have been reported to divert humanitarian assistance, including by stopping humanitarian convoys at checkpoints and extorting money in exchange for safe passage or to permit the utilization of the roads. Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:22:37 +0200ASIA/SYRIA - Mortar attacks on two churches in Damascus. The Maronite Archbishop: our life is like a game of Russian roulettehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38348-ASIA_SYRIA_Mortar_attacks_on_two_churches_in_Damascus_The_Maronite_Archbishop_our_life_is_like_a_game_of_Russian_roulettehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38348-ASIA_SYRIA_Mortar_attacks_on_two_churches_in_Damascus_The_Maronite_Archbishop_our_life_is_like_a_game_of_Russian_rouletteDamascus - On Sunday 23 August, a rain of mortars fell on the neighbourhood including two shells on the roof of the Maronite church. This was reported by Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar, in an appeal-statement sent to Agenzia Fides, specifying that nine people were killed and about fifty people were wounded, as well as damaging his church and a nearby Catholic parish. "Part of the war in Syria", added Archbishop Nassar in his appeal "is to live under indiscriminate bombing, a kind of Russian roulette which is always unpredictable...". "Of those who died", added the Archbishop survivors say: "At least you will not have to see and live this cruel tragedy without end. You will not see your children, your friends and your neighbours suffer and die in the blind violence and fanatical killing unable to save them or help them without understanding why". "The survivors bury the dead without having been able to treat the wounded since they lack means and competence. They sink into silent prayer before the relics of martyrs, the seeds of Faith". Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:03:10 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Caritas launches "phase two" for rehabilitation after typhoon Yolandahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38347-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_Caritas_launches_phase_two_for_rehabilitation_after_typhoon_Yolandahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38347-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_Caritas_launches_phase_two_for_rehabilitation_after_typhoon_YolandaManila - Caritas of the Philippines, has started the second phase of its three-year rehabilitation program for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. <br />As reported by the Director of Caritas, Rolando Tirona, the second phase of the rehabilitation program will run until March 2016, and will focus on activities aimed at supporting local communities. The previous year, Caritas focused on building facilities, while "this year we will work on the capacity of people and activities to reduce the risk of disasters", said Tirona.<br />The program, called REACH Philippines , aims to reach 184.750 people in the nine most affected provinces. The objectives include the construction and repair of 920 shelters, installation of 28 water systems, 220 protected wells for 4,100 families, and livelihoods for 7,000 families.<br />This is the most massive rehabilitation program initiated by the Filipino Catholic Church, for a value of 817 million pesos. Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:49:13 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Census on religions: Muslims increas, Christians stablehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38346-ASIA_INDIA_Census_on_religions_Muslims_increas_Christians_stablehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38346-ASIA_INDIA_Census_on_religions_Muslims_increas_Christians_stableNew Delhi - The Muslims have increased by 0.8% and now represent 14.2% of the Indian population, while Hindus have fallen by 0.7% and represent 79.8%: are the data just released by the Indian authorities, emerged from the 2011 Census on the population of the religious communities in the country. Stable percentage of Christians who turn out to be 2.3% of the population, while Sikhs represent 1.7% and Buddhists 0.7%. The Census also confirms that the Indian population is one billion and 200 million inhabitants. According to data, the Muslims have increased in all the major states of the Federation. Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:08:33 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - The Church of Jerusalem in aid of Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38345-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_Church_of_Jerusalem_in_aid_of_Sudanese_and_Eritrean_asylum_seekershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/38345-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_Church_of_Jerusalem_in_aid_of_Sudanese_and_Eritrean_asylum_seekersJerusalem - On Tuesday 25 August, 500 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers were released from the Israeli detention center in Holot, in the Negev desert, where they had been forcibly held in violation of their fundamental rights. In Jerusalem, the group "Community for the Africans in Jerusalem" – in contact with the Patriarchal Vicariate for Hebrew-speaking Catholics of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem - is carrying out initiatives of assistance and aid towards this large group of refugees, even in conflict areas, and in the last hours has launched an urgent appeal to everyone - individuals, groups, associations - that can help in integrating asylum seekers into society, helping them to find housing and a job, even temporary jobs. "Taking into account Pope Francis’ appeals, in view of the Year of Mercy approaching" says the appeal launched through the media of the Latin Patriarchate by Father David Neuhaus SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics "it would be very significant if the Church of Jerusalem opened its doors to some of these people". Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:03:38 +0200