Fides News Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usAFRICA/NIGER - Malaria: preventive treatment to 735 000 childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36813-AFRICA_NIGER_Malaria_preventive_treatment_to_735_000_childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36813-AFRICA_NIGER_Malaria_preventive_treatment_to_735_000_childrenBouza - Seasonal malaria chemoprevention treatment has shown extremely promising results in reducing the burden of malaria in young children in the Sahel region of Africa. To reach as many children as possible in remote areas it has been crucial to get the community involved. At the same time, in order to tackle the other main childhood 'killer diseases', MSF is screening children for malnutrition and providing vaccinations. <br />In the Bouza district in southern Niger, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders is carrying out a chemoprevention programme against seasonal malaria and provides preventive treatment to around 735,000 children aged three months to five years. <br />In the months of July, August and September, the MSF teams provided chemopreventive treatment to some 80,000 children in Chad, over 175,000 in Mali, and more than 480,000 in Niger. Recent studies demonstrate that the preventive method considerably reduces the number of simple and severe cases of malaria, and leads to far fewer children being admitted to hospital with the disease. The involvement of health authorities and community leaders has been fundamental with regards to the success of the SMC program.<br />Some 23 million children in the Sahel region are at risk of contracting the disease. In the past three years, ministries of health in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Chad and Togo have all included seasonal malaria chemoprevention in their national programmes to combat malaria. In Chad as well as the preventive treatment against malaria, the NGO has also vaccinated children against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and influenza in the population, with the aim of improving children’s health from 6 to 24 months. In 2012, MSF used the SMC for the first time in Chad and Mali, and in 2013 in Niger. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/HOLY LAND - Children without citizenship: the question of Palestinian children not registered reopenshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36812-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Children_without_citizenship_the_question_of_Palestinian_children_not_registered_reopenshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36812-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Children_without_citizenship_the_question_of_Palestinian_children_not_registered_reopensJerusalem - Many Palestinian children in East Jerusalem continue not to have an ID card or proof of permanent residency. Their condition was analyzed during a conference hosted on November 19 in Jerusalem, at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem. The conference, entitled "Childhood interrupted: Child registration in Jerusalem", was organized by the Saint-Yves Society, linked to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with the Konrad Adenauer Association .<br />Children of Palestinians in prison, and those who belong to families separated , whose reunification finds obstacles in the Israel legislation are those who suffer most and do not have an ID card or permanent residency. These children cannot attend school or enjoy social and health services, because they have no identity card or passport stating their nationality. In fact, for the law it is as if they do not exist.<br />His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins, in his speech at the conference pointed out that "the issue of child registration is one aspect of a larger problem, that of family reunification. The family is at the center of all this. Family means a father, mother and children, living under the same roof. But here, in this particular situation, the Israeli law laid down rules that do not allow the family to live under the same roof".<br />As reported by the official website of the Latin Patriarchate, Raffoul Rofa and Haitham al-Katib examined the issue from a legal point of view. Raffoul Rofa explained that "in 1967, Israel gave the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem permanent residency, but not citizenship. This means that the Minister of the Interior could cancel this right of residency when he wants, and this already happens, for example, if a person resides outside of Jerusalem for a ceratin period of time". Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/MALI – Ebola: annual pilgrimage postponedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36811-AFRICA_MALI_Ebola_annual_pilgrimage_postponedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36811-AFRICA_MALI_Ebola_annual_pilgrimage_postponedBamako - The annual pilgrimage organized by the Catholic Church that was to take place from November 20 to 23 in Kita, the oldest parish in Mali, has been postponed due to the spread of the Ebola virus. This was announced by His Exc. Mgr. Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako.<br />"We cannot afford the pilgrimage to take place if we do not have the means to handle the situation at a sanitary level and the travel of 10,000 people for three days", said the Archbishop. "It is not possible, we cannot do it. For this reason we have decided to postpone it". "By praying and changing behavior, we can reduce this scourge", concluded Mgr. Zerbo.<br />Mali is the last of the Countries affected by the disease that has spread to West Africa. The first case was reported on October 27th. So far 5 persons have died of Ebola virus in Mali, while another 300 are under observation by health authorities. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The request to continue peace talks: "Do not destroy the hope of Colombians"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36810-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_The_request_to_continue_peace_talks_Do_not_destroy_the_hope_of_Colombianshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36810-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_The_request_to_continue_peace_talks_Do_not_destroy_the_hope_of_ColombiansPopayan - The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, personally announced last night that protocols have been activated for the release of four soldiers and a civilian abducted by the FARC and that immediately after their release, members of the government will return to Havana to continue the peace process . The note sent to Agenzia Fides by Caracol Radio reports that, after a meeting with indigenous communities in Popayan, Cauca Valley, the President announced: "as soon as I see the hostages released, I will give instructions to negotiators to return to Havana" . At the time of the kidnapping in fact the President had suspended peace talks.<br />The President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, Archbishop of Tunja His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, on November 19 issued a statement, also sent to Agenzia Fides, in which he asked President Santos to continue the peace process with these words: "I urge the President to reflect, because he must not allow that the hope of Colombians is destroyed, just like a ceramic plate thrown from the fifth floor". Mgr. Castro Quiroga had also reiterated the Church's support towards the government to continue the dialogue of peace as soon as possible.<br />Referring to the indigenous peoples, President Santos noted that "they are those who have suffered most the consequences of war", therefore there is a great desire in the area to be able to restore peace in Colombia. Santos also announced from Popayan the signing of a presidential decree for the effective protection and legal security of the territories occupied by indigenous ancestors. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/INDIA - The Franciscans at the forefront for "food security"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36809-ASIA_INDIA_The_Franciscans_at_the_forefront_for_food_securityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36809-ASIA_INDIA_The_Franciscans_at_the_forefront_for_food_securityNew Delhi - The Franciscans in India are engaged in the fight against hunger and contribute to food security of the population at a national level. The concept of "food security", elaborated at the UN, implies that "every person has the amount of food needed every day".<br />As reported to Fides, the Franciscans of AFFI have joined a national consultation on poverty alleviation and extreme hunger in the country, held in early November in Bangalore. The conference highlighted that in many states in India, tribal, the poor in rural areas, slum dwellers, Dalits, migrants still live marginalized and are not granted the right to food.<br />The President of AFFI Fr. A.J. Mathew, OFM, said that "the society's growth is not in the rapid socio-economic improvement of the system that brings benefits to a few, but is in the total growth, where no one is excluded. This is the focus of the Gospel and also the prophetic sense of the Franciscan charism". On the basis of the concept of "inclusion" and "inclusive development", the Franciscans are preparing concrete action plans in several states, such as Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, focusing on the elderly who are abandoned, child malnutrition, women's welfare and rights of the indigenous tribes, especially in rural areas. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/ZAMBIA - "In 50 years, Zambia has made remarkable progress", says President of the Episcopal Conferencehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36808-AFRICA_ZAMBIA_In_50_years_Zambia_has_made_remarkable_progress_says_President_of_the_Episcopal_Conferencehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36808-AFRICA_ZAMBIA_In_50_years_Zambia_has_made_remarkable_progress_says_President_of_the_Episcopal_ConferenceRome - The campaign for the next presidential elections and 50 years of national independence were the subject of the interview His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Chama, Archbishop of Kasama and President of the Episcopal Conference of Zambia had with Agenzia Fides, who is in Rome for the ad limina visit.<br /><br />After the untimely death of President Michael Sata Zambia the election of his successor is in full campaign. How is the Country living this moment?<br /><br />"It is not the first time a President dies while in office in Zambia. It already happened in 2008 with President Levy Mwanawasa . So it is an experience we have already faced. Now we are in the midst of the election campaign because the Constitution establishes that in the event of the death of the Head of State, presidential elections will be held within 90 days of his death. In this stage, the various political parties are struggling to choose their candidates".<br /><br />What in your opinion is the best result obtained from your Country in these 50 years of independence?<br /><br />"We experienced periods of political turbulence, fortunately without tragic consequences such as civil wars or similar events. We have reached a sufficient degree of political maturity. This does not mean that we have completely reached it, we are still developing it. But I wonder: how long did it take Europe to develop a democratic system? 200 years? 250 years? We are only 50 years old and we are not behaving badly; we have no complexes about our 'democratic credentials' or how to do election campaigns and so on".<br /><br />In the last 50 years how has the Church in Zambia, born out of missionary work, evolved?<br /><br />"The Church is missionary by nature. We have reached a critical point where the work of the Church is in the hands of the local faithful. Even the history of the Church in Zambia, just over 100 years, is a very short period. We feel a responsibility to be part of the universal Church and to participate in the Missio ad Gentes. We have in this regard religious congregations working in other African Countries and outside the continent". Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The Church on the measures for immigrants: "We have a long history of welcoming..."http://www.fides.org/en/news/36807-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_The_Church_on_the_measures_for_immigrants_We_have_a_long_history_of_welcominghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36807-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_The_Church_on_the_measures_for_immigrants_We_have_a_long_history_of_welcomingWashington – His Exc. Mgr. Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, welcomed the news that the Obama administration will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families.<br />"We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged - said Mgr. Elizondo -. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other. We’ve been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children".<br />In the note sent to Agenzia Fides, Archbishop of Louisville, His Exc. Mgr. Joseph E. Kurtz, President of the USCCB, said, "There is an urgent pastoral need for a more humane view of immigrants and a legal process that respects each person’s dignity, protects human rights, and upholds the rule of law".<br />According to the latest news released by agencies, last night President Obama announced the signing of enforcement measures and will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families. "It is not a mass amnesty. We are talking about responsibility and common sense measures" the President said on presenting the decree, which bars from forced repatriation those living in the US for 5 years or have children born there, providing residency and work permit. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PHILIPPINES - 30 years since its foundation, the commitment of "Silsilah" movement for dialogue reinforceshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36806-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_30_years_since_its_foundation_the_commitment_of_Silsilah_movement_for_dialogue_reinforceshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36806-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_30_years_since_its_foundation_the_commitment_of_Silsilah_movement_for_dialogue_reinforcesZamboanga City - After thirty years of work in Christian-Muslim dialogue, the "Silsilah" movement, which was launched in the Philippines in 1984 thanks to the work of the PIME missionary Sebastiano D'Ambra, collects and recognizes the benefits of the work carried out and renews its commitment. As reported to Fides in a note by "Silsilah", spirituality "life-in-dialogue" has become widespread in the Philippines and abroad, and experience has received national and international awards.<br />For the occasion, "Silsilah" celebrated its National Assembly a few days ago, bringing together people of different religious traditions and cultures. At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants signed and issued a statement in which they commit themselves to nurturing the spirituality of life-in-dialogue through constant renewal and deepening of the relationship with God, with oneself, with others and with all creation; to respect religious and cultural pluralism through education and formation; to strengthen cooperation in "Forum Silsilah", through communication and sharing of resources, experiences and reflections; to promote in every possible way the culture of dialogue as a path to peace for families, workplaces, schools, groups and other institutions; to responsibly use social media and other technologies to spread the spirit of dialogue, especially the "Chain of Harmony"; to expand the culture of life-in-dialogue beyond the Philippines.<br />The "Chain of Harmony" is the spread of a special non-denominational "prayer for harmony", which "is a sign of hope to sustain our commitment to dialogue and peace". The prayer, which finds space in schools, mosques, churches, groups, parishes around the world, is recommended as a common prayer that Muslims and Christians can recite. It was approved by the "Bishops Ulama Conference", the conference that unites Christian Bishops and Muslim leaders in the Philippines. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/IRAQ - New jihadist blackmail for Christians in Mosul: If you do not pay, your houses will be blown uphttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36805-ASIA_IRAQ_New_jihadist_blackmail_for_Christians_in_Mosul_If_you_do_not_pay_your_houses_will_be_blown_uphttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36805-ASIA_IRAQ_New_jihadist_blackmail_for_Christians_in_Mosul_If_you_do_not_pay_your_houses_will_be_blown_upMosul - Several Christian refugees from the city of Mosul reveal that they have been blackmailed by self-styled militants of the Islamic State, who have threatened to blow up their houses from which they were forced to flee if they are not willing to promptly pay a sum of money. The recurrence of this type of blackmail by phone, denounced by the victims to the www.ankawa.com arabic site, is just the latest of the violence suffered by those who fled Mosul after the second city fell under the control of jihadist militants of the Islamic State, on June 9. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch to Muslims: The barbarous acts committed in the name of Islam recalls Nazism. And your reactions are weakhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36804-ASIA_IRAQ_Chaldean_Patriarch_to_Muslims_The_barbarous_acts_committed_in_the_name_of_Islam_recalls_Nazism_And_your_reactions_are_weakhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36804-ASIA_IRAQ_Chaldean_Patriarch_to_Muslims_The_barbarous_acts_committed_in_the_name_of_Islam_recalls_Nazism_And_your_reactions_are_weakVienna - Unlike "Nazis and other deadly ideologies of the twentieth century", the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry out their barbaric acts "in the name of Islam". This is why it is "quite shocking the insufficiency of the official Islamic community that only denounced these acts by shy and helpless statements, showing the absence of a real role in raising the awareness of the public about the impending danger of ISIS in the name of religion". With these words the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I appeals to the leaders of the Islamic community so that they assume their responsibility in tackling Islamist extremism which is certainly a mortal danger to the Christians of the Middle East, but are according to the Chaldean Patriarch "no less dangerous" for Muslims themselves.<br />The heartfelt appeal of His Beatitude Louis Raphael I is contained in the open Letter "to the Muslim brothers and sisters around the world" that the Patriarch issued on the occasion of his participation in the last international conference organized by the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Center for interreligious and intercultural dialogue . The interreligious summit, held in Vienna on 18 and 19 November 2014, was attended by 200 Muslim and Christian figures called to reflect and debate on the issue of common battle against violence in the name of religion.<br />In the letter, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Primate of the Chaldean Church said he is "shocked" because of those who "disbelieved and belittled the serious danger that ISIS represents" " and appeals to all Muslim brothers and sisters to a "a drastic change, because it is your responsibility to find an answer, which has to come from you and not from an outside force". Among the crimes committed by the jihadists in action in Iraq and Syria, the Patriarch also mentions "the violation of the sanctity of churches and monasteries" or converted into mosques, and the abduction of women sold in the slave markets. His Beatitude insists that Christians in the Middle East are an indigenous presence, and invites scholars of religious issues to "rebuff ISIS arguments, refute their arguments with jurisprudence and denounce their heinous practices, in addition to proclaiming their thoughts as the "scourge of humanity". Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA – Award given to the leaders of the "platform of Religious for Peace", including the Archbishop of Banguihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36803-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Award_given_to_the_leaders_of_the_platform_of_Religious_for_Peace_including_the_Archbishop_of_Banguihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36803-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Award_given_to_the_leaders_of_the_platform_of_Religious_for_Peace_including_the_Archbishop_of_BanguiBangui - "It is an award given to people who in the midst of violence have managed to give another message, that of love, tolerance, social cohesion, of living together", said His Exc. Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui on his way back to the Central African Republic, commenting on the peace prize awarded by the US NGO Search For Common Ground to the leaders of the "platform of Religious for Peace": His Exc. Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Oumar Kobine Layama, respectively Archbishop and Imam of Bangui, and Pastor Nicolas Grékoyamé-Gbangou, President of the Evangelical Churches.<br />The three religious leaders, who received the award on November 13, were part of five groups selected by the US NGO for their commitment to the promotion of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. The three religious leaders worked tirelessly to avoid that the civil war between the Central groups identified, sometimes arbitrarily, as "Muslims and "Christians , would create a deep rift in the local society.<br />According to Mgr. Nzapalainga, those who gave the prize wanted to also highlight a path to other people who work in contexts of struggles and religious divisions: "different people observe the work we do. They see that it goes beyond passion and feelings. They thought we carry out a rational work that can be carried out anywhere by people who are motivated by the desire to build social cohesion". Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/UNITED STATES - 2 and a half million children live in shelters, on the streets or in carshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36802-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_2_and_a_half_million_children_live_in_shelters_on_the_streets_or_in_carshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36802-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_2_and_a_half_million_children_live_in_shelters_on_the_streets_or_in_carsWashington - A report of the National Center for Homeless Families revealed that, in America, last year 2.5 million children were living in shelters, on the streets, in cars, or in fields unattended. The document, entitled "More and more marginalized young people in the United States", shows that between 2012 and 2013, the number of homeless children in the United States increased by 8% reaching its highest ever recorded level, according to data of the American Institutes for Research . The phenomenon is particularly serious in California, with nearly 527 000 homeless children, although the figure could reach 300 million, Alabama and Mississippi. While in Minnesota, Nebraska and Massachusetts fewer minors live on the streets. The main causes that lead to this situation, is the high rates of poverty, lack of affordable housing, racial disparities, the problems of single mothers, domestic violence and other traumatic experiences, in addition to the lingering effects of the recession. The report carried out by the NCFH indicates a number of possible solutions to curb the problem, which provide safe and affordable housing, education and employment opportunities for parents, integral evaluation of the needs of each family member. It also proposes the detection, prevention and treatment of depression regarding mothers, support for the growth of children, and research to identify programs and services based on the experience gained. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Archbishop Monsalve Mejia: "The general kidnapped will soon be released"http://www.fides.org/en/news/36801-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Archbishop_Monsalve_Mejia_The_general_kidnapped_will_soon_be_releasedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36801-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Archbishop_Monsalve_Mejia_The_general_kidnapped_will_soon_be_releasedCali - "General Rubén Darío Alzate could be released in the next 48 hours". This is what the Archbishop of Cali, His Exc. Mgr. Dario de Jesús Monsalve Mejia said in an interview with Colombian broadcaster "BluRadio". <br />The Archbishop claims to have received updated information on the situation of the army officer who has been a prisoner of FARC since last Sunday . "He will soon be back among us. The most important thing is to establish secure, transparent and confidential communication between the parties involved", he said.<br />Mgr. Dario de Jesus Monsalve Mejia participated, as a representative of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, in various dialogues for the release of hostages in the hands of the "National Liberation Army" guerrilla group , and has always expressed himself positively on the peace negotiations under way with guerrilla groups. In recent months he appreciated "the willingness on both sides" and "commitment to dialogue expressed by President Santos". Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/HOLY LAND - Thousands of children from Gaza are disabled because of warshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36800-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Thousands_of_children_from_Gaza_are_disabled_because_of_warshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36800-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Thousands_of_children_from_Gaza_are_disabled_because_of_warsGaza - The military conflict in the Gaza Strip has had serious consequences on the lives of Palestinian children and their families. There are about a thousand young children who are handicapped because of the bombing of Israel against civilians in the Palestinian territory. This is what is reported by the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory, a group that deals with the protection of human rights which is based in the Country. In a press release the group denounced the fact that the Israeli army uses illegal bullets containing thousands of iron nails that penetrate the flesh and bones of humans causing wounds, cuts and serious damage to the body. In Gaza there are several charitable organizations that deal with children with disabilities, especially those who were injured during the 50 days of military conflicts during which an Israeli tank attacked a school run by the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East, in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The center assists 250 children with disabilities throughout the Gaza Strip, who were injured during the last offensive. To these are added the 550 cases that were treated before the last war against Gaza, and they all need artificial limbs. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Violence against minorities: the governor of Punjab meets religious leadershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36799-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Violence_against_minorities_the_governor_of_Punjab_meets_religious_leadershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36799-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Violence_against_minorities_the_governor_of_Punjab_meets_religious_leadersLahore - After the tragedy in Kasur - where a Christian married couple was burned to death for alleged blasphemy - the governor of Punjab, Muhammad Sarwar, met with a delegation of Christian and Muslim religious leaders. As Fides learns, among those present were the Anglican Bishop Samuel Robert Azriah, Bishop Romal Shaw, Fr. James Channan OP, head of the "Peace Center" in Lahore, Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, President of the "Council of Ulama of Pakistan", and other well-known Muslim leaders.<br />In the meeting, held on November 18, religious leaders asked what strategies and paths the Pakistani government intends to take with regards to the crime of Kasur, to ensure justice and prevent other incidents of violence against minorities. Sarwar expressed his deep shock, saying that he even thought of resigning "because I failed to protect Christians". "If a government fails to protect its citizens, it does not have the right and does not deserve to govern. The feeling of insecurity in the country is very painful", said Sarwar. The government in Punjab has promised every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice and end impunity. "Impunity for attacks against Christians in Shanti Nagar, in Gojra and Joseph colony in Lahore is a matter of serious concern for me", added the governor. Commenting on the misuse of the blasphemy law, Sarwar remarked: "If a person falsely accuses another person of blasphemy, he/she must be punished". He then confirmed his appreciation "for the role of Christians, who have always worked for peace and harmony in the country".<br />Even Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashraf, President of the "Council of Ulama of Pakistan," said: "If the perpetrators of past attacks had been punished, perhaps the murder of Kasur would not have happened". "Christians are our fellow citizens - he added - and we mourn with them", pointing out that over one hundred ulamas have visited the scene of the crime, in the district of Kasur, bringing condolences and solidarity. "We are with you and with you we will raise the voice for justice", he concluded, turning to Christian leaders present. Bishop Azariah and other Christians present thanked the ulama and all Muslims who "are next to the Christians in this difficult moment".<br />Yesterday, November 19, a public gathering of Christian and Muslim religious leaders, representatives of civil society and activists was held in the town of Kot Radha Krishan, in Kasur district, the area where Shahzad Masih and Shama were lynched. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/BRAZIL - Support of the Church with regards to the formation of political consciousness for democratic reformhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36798-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Support_of_the_Church_with_regards_to_the_formation_of_political_consciousness_for_democratic_reformhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36798-AMERICA_BRAZIL_Support_of_the_Church_with_regards_to_the_formation_of_political_consciousness_for_democratic_reformBrasilia - On November 18 the Episcopal Council for the Pastoral Care , a body of the Conference of Bishops of Brazil , discussed the issue of political reform in Brazil. According to the note sent to Fides the Auxiliary Bishop of Belo Horizonte, President of the Episcopal Commission of the Pastoral Care for Culture and Education, His Exc. Mgr. Joaquim Giovanni Mol Guimarães, spoke to the Bishops on the proposal of a popular initiative concerning the law for the democratic political reform and transparent elections.<br />"After the elections, we need two important actions: the more people are interested in discussing political reform, the better it is. Because the more we discuss the subject, the more a political consciousness is created. The second action is to work for the collection of signatures, because the process is not so simple, since to sign one must have a registration number as a voter or the full name of the mother", said Mgr. Joaquim Mol. The Bishop stressed that the bill is not at the service of any political party, "on the contrary, it comes from organizations and social movements".<br />The bill proposes: to end the influence of economic power on elections and the "barter" during election campaigns; a transparent vote through the proportional electoral system with a vote in two rounds, in order to strengthen political parties, stop parties without programmatic identity, reduce the number of candidates and ensure effective supervision of the electoral process; gender equality in the preordained list of candidates; the strengthening of the mechanisms of direct democracy: plebiscite, referendum and popular initiative projects.<br />On November 13 the proposal of the "Projeto de Lei de Iniciativa Popular pela Reforma Política Democrática" was made public by the popular coalition for political reform and transparent elections. The Church has already, in the past, supported these initiatives for the formation of a civic consciousness of the population and a democracy without corruption . Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/HOLY LAND - Representatives of all religions visit the synagogue attacked. Patriarch Twal: No more violence in places of worshiphttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36797-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Representatives_of_all_religions_visit_the_synagogue_attacked_Patriarch_Twal_No_more_violence_in_places_of_worshiphttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36797-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_Representatives_of_all_religions_visit_the_synagogue_attacked_Patriarch_Twal_No_more_violence_in_places_of_worshipJerusalem - The leaders and representatives of the religious communities in the Holy Land went to visit the synagogue in Jerusalem, which yesterday was the scene of a bloody terrorist attack, to express solidarity with the affected community and condemn all together acts of violence that do not spare places of worship. The visit was attended by Christian, Muslim, Druze and Jew leaders and representatives.<br />Among the various speeches held, the Christian Churches was represented by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Thephilos III, while for the Muslims, the Mufti of Akko. "Speeches – says to Agenzia Fides the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, who took part in the visit - repeated emphatically that no reason and no political intention can justify violence against people praying and attacks in places dedicated to prayer and silence. He recalled that all people of responsibility, politicians and religious leaders, must do their best to condemn this violence and avoid as much as possible the causes which lead other people to violence. The very act of gathering together in that place of sorrow, hit by violence - adds His Beatitude Twal - is a sign of hope. It means that in Jerusalem the different religions share the will to live together in peace and mutual respect, and that conflict and violence cannot prevail and disfigure the face of the Holy City. In this spirit, we Christians prepare ourselves for Advent, hoping to be able to welcome pilgrims from all over the world". Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100EUROPE/ITALY - National Missionary Conference: to rekindle the fire of the mission ad genteshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36796-EUROPE_ITALY_National_Missionary_Conference_to_rekindle_the_fire_of_the_mission_ad_genteshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36796-EUROPE_ITALY_National_Missionary_Conference_to_rekindle_the_fire_of_the_mission_ad_gentesRome - The work of the fourth National Missionary Congress, to be held in Sacrofano until November 23 on the theme "Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city - where the Gospel becomes encounter" will open tomorrow, November 20th. Organized by the National Office for missionary cooperation among the Churches, together with Missio Foundation and Cum Foundation, the Conference, will be attended by more than 700 participants, and "aims to highlight the richness of the missionary activities of the Church in Italy and relaunch the efforts of individuals and groups and the community for the mission ad gentes, starting from the poor, those living on the outskirts of the world".<br />As it is written in the presentation of the event, "ten years after the previous National Convention in Montesilvano, there was the need to take stock of the situation with regards to: pastoral action as animation, cooperation and formation, to look ahead and revitalize mission". <br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://www.chiesacattolica.it/cmsacrofano/eventi_di_uffici_e_servizi_cei/convegno_missionario_sacrofano/00055351_Home_Page.html">For more information</a>Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - File: the damage inflicted by Boko Haram to the diocese of Maidugurihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36795-AFRICA_NIGERIA_File_the_damage_inflicted_by_Boko_Haram_to_the_diocese_of_Maidugurihttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36795-AFRICA_NIGERIA_File_the_damage_inflicted_by_Boko_Haram_to_the_diocese_of_MaiduguriAbuja - According to a note sent to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Head of Social Communications of the Diocese of Maiduguri, with the fall of Mubi the estimated figure of destruction caused by Boko Haram in the diocese of Maiduguri is as follows:.<br />Over 2,500 Catholic Faithful have been killed; Over 100,000 Catholic faithful are displaced; Out of the priests currently working in the diocese are displaced ; Over Catechists are displaced while over Rev. Sisters are displaced; Abducted women and Girls: Over .<br />Over churches and rectories have been razed down, a good number were destroyed more than once and out of the parish centers \ chaplaincies are presently deserted and occupied by the terrorists. Out of the convents, have been deserted.<br />A good number of our faithful have been converted to Islam against their will. Most schools in the Northeast can’t commence regular activities not only because of the terrorists, but also because such school premises now serve as refugee camps. <br />Communities captured and occupied by Boko Haram:<br />In Borno State: Gomboru Ngalla and Bama, Gwoza, Maffa and Abadam. Askira Uba, Dikwa, and Marte. Maiduguri is completely surrounded by the terrorists. The one exit out of Maiduguri city is only the Maiduguri-Damaturu raod.<br />In Adamawa state: Madagali, Michika, Mubi. Others include Gulak, Kaya, Shuwa, Bazza, Yaffa, Betso, Mishara, Vimtim, Muchalla, Kala’a, Maiha, and Mataka.<br />In Yobe State: Buni Yadi, Gujba, Gulani, Kukuwa, Bularafa, Buni Gari, Bara, Bumsa, Taltaba. Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Every hour two children are victims of sexual abusehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36794-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Every_hour_two_children_are_victims_of_sexual_abusehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/36794-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Every_hour_two_children_are_victims_of_sexual_abuseBogota - According to a recent report published in Bogota on the occasion of World Day for the prevention of child abuse, every hour two are sexually abused. The study, which collects data from the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, reveals that approximately 39 children each day in the country are victims of sexual abuse, 40% of whom occur within their own families. The document indicates that family breakdown, lack of communication with children or the fact that they are looked after by other people because their parents are busy working, are some of the risk factors.<br />According to estimates by the Institute of Forensic Medicine, out of the total number of children abused examined, 25% takes place in homes. The main victims of this plague are girls from 10 to 13 of age. The alleged assailant is a family member , followed by a known person . In Colombia, where for over 50 years there has been an ongoing armed conflict, sexual violence against children, girls and teenagers go hand in hand with scourges such as poverty, labor exploitation, forced displacement. Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100