Fides News English Agency Newsen-usAFRICA/LESOTHO - South Africa concerned about the "explosive" situation in Lesotho - Concern in South Africa about the situation described as "explosive" in Lesotho, after the killing, last week, of former Chief of Staff, General Maaparankoe Mahao, who according to family members was murdered by men who wore military uniforms and driving army vehicles. The leadership of South Africa sent Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa to try to mediate between the various factions vying for control of the country.<br />In September 2014 a coup attempt had thrown Lesotho into chaos . The elections held in March were, however, defined by the observers free and transparent . South Africa fears a wave of refugees if the situation in the neighboring country were to worsen, exacerbating xenophobic tensions registered in recent months . Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:11:22 +0200AFRICA/LIBERIA - Ebola nightmare is back: 3 new cases - Liberia, declared "Ebola-free" on May 9 by the World Health Organization , has plunged back into the nightmare of a new epidemic. Three new cases were registered in the same village, Nedowein, located 40 km south from the capital Monrovia. After more than seven weeks , a 17-year-old boy fell ill and died on 21 June 28 for what was thought to be malaria, but he was actually positive to Ebola. On July 1, the local health minister confirmed a second case and today, July 3, a third. Both the infected were transferred to a treatment center in Monrovia. At the moment there are no other probable cases or suspects and the origin of the infection is not known. After the boy's death, the Liberian authorities have quarantined the area.<br />According to the latest WHO report, on June 28, the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, has so far resulted in 27,514 cases and 11,120 deaths. The highest number was recorded in Sierra Leone , while the record of deaths in Liberia . Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:05:23 +0200ASIA/JORDAN - The UN decreases aid to Syrian refugees. The Director of Caritas Jordan: the great powers have created the catastrophe, and now they wash their hands - The UN funds earmarked for Syrian refugees in Jordan are about to be cut, and soon 450 thousand of them will be starving, with devastating consequences for the stability of the Hashemite Kingdom. The alarm is launched in these hours by Wael Suleiman, director general of Caritas Jordan. "The UN World Food Program - refers Suleiman to Agenzia Fides - warned a week ago that, due to the lack of resources, will stop sending funds for Syrian refugees, which already decreased in percentage last month. Yesterday the Jordanian media gave news that, unless we get more money from the UN, the distribution of food to 450 thousand people will be stopped. This means they will be forced to steal if they want to survive".<br />The Syrian refugees present on Jordanian territory are currently one million and 400 thousand, of whom only 650 thousand registered at the UN offices. "This catastrophe - said Suleiman, in reference to the ventilated suspension of international aid - is also an effect of policies and reckless military interventions made in the Middle East of foreign Powers. Now, after having contributed to the disaster, they wash their hands even from a humanitarian emergency point of view. It is obvious to everyone that only a big peace conference could start reconstruction processes to try to get out of this situation, unsustainable from an economic point of view. But obviously there are those who have an interest in perpetuating this chaos. Money is there not to feed refugees, but always only to build, sell and buy weapons". Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:51:43 +0200ASIA/INDIA - One hundred years of mission in the media for the Daughters of St. Paul - The Daughters of St. Paul celebrate one hundred years of mission and proclamation of the Gospel in the world of mass media: as Fides learns, on June 29 they celebrated the centenary of their foundation with a Mass of thanksgiving in the cathedral in Nagpur in the Indian state of Maharashtra.<br />The Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul is a really thriving reality in India, with 168 religious women who live in 15 communities, scattered in 12 dioceses in 11 states of India. The Sisters have also dedicated themselves, according to their charisma, to the mission ad gentes: 17 Indian sisters render services outside of India, and are currently living in African countries, in Europe , in America Latin America and also in Australia.<br />The Eucharist in Nagpur was celebrated by Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulnagara, in the presence of many priests, religious and faithful. "The Daughters of St. Paul – he said in his homily - preach Jesus Christ and go to the ends of the earth to proclaim the Good News: we are all anointed by the Holy Spirit, sent on a mission to proclaim the Gospel".<br />The Archbishop recalled the Founder, Blessed Don Giacomo Alberione, who had the intuition of proclaiming Jesus "not only in the traditional way, but even with modern means of social communications". He expressed gratitude for the presence of the sisters in India, who "live a life in the light of Christ and in constant conversion". The Daughters of St. Paul are present in over 53 countries in five continents. Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:39:49 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - "Boko Haram wants to punish Muslims who rebel against their violence", says a priest from Abuja - "These terrible attacks against the Muslim community are signs of weakness and not of strength", says Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, Director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja, capital of Nigeria, where two violent attacks carried out by Boko Haram in the north east killed 145 people of Muslim faith. The fiercest attack occurred in the village of Kukawa, near Lake Chad. According to witnesses, about fifty men opened fire on the faithful gathered in prayer in a village mosque. 97 died, including women and children.<br />"The new President, Muhammadu Buhari, a devout Muslim, wants to defeat Boko Haram. Buhari appears more decided than the previous President, who was a Christian, in the fight against Boko Haram", said Fr. Patrick. "The measures taken by the Head of State have put in serious difficulties the Islamist sect. For example the transfer of the command of military operations against Boko Haram from the federal capital, Abuja, to Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, is seen by Boko Haram as a non-acceptable challenge".<br />"All this - continues the priest - is putting Boko Haram in difficulty, especially since the Muslim community are denouncing the atrocities committed by Islamists".<br />"Faced with the rebellion of Muslim communities, Boko Haram has decided to punish them, because in their ideology you are either with them or against them. But in the end this is a sign of weakness and not of strength", concludes Fr. Patrick. (Agenzia Fides 03/07/2015Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:30:46 +0200AMERICA/HONDURAS - The Bishops offer their support to dialogue for social peace - The President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, met with several Bishops who have offered their support to national dialogue, as was announced by the Government House in a statement sent to Fides. The same bulletin of the Government House specified that the auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, His Exc. Mgr. Juan José Pineda, has called on all sectors of society to join in the dialogue by accepting the invitation of President Hernández.<br />The Catholic Church, according to what Mgr. Pineda told reporters, who is Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the Honduran Bishops' Conference, also offered to provide moderators for dialogue, to ensure greater democracy and transparency. The Latin American country is going through a difficult period especially due to two serious problems: violence and corruption.<br />Mgr. Pineda stressed that "dialogue is an important thing, all have to participate because it is the only way to clarify disagreements or differences". <br />In a pastoral letter the Episcopal Conference of Honduras yesterday, July 2, stressed its support to tens of thousands of demonstrators who protested against corruption, and propose "dialogue for social peace", "for a better Honduras". Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:58:18 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - The founding conference of the Chaldean League has concluded – The first elected President of the Chaldean League, the organization - strongly supported by Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I - that celebrated from the first to July 3 its founding conference in Erbil is called Safah Sabah Hindi and is a Chaldean Iraqi emigrated to Switzerland. <br />The meeting, in addition to the Patriarch, was also attended by Bishops, priests and Chaldean laity from Iraq and the Chaldean communities of the diaspora, scattered across the world. During the days of the conference - says the final statement sent to Agenzia Fides - there was a lively and democratic debate that led to the change of many passages of the drafts of the statutes, and in addition to the President, other 11 members of the Governing Council, to last in office for a year, were elected by vote.<br />Even the final communiqué of the conference stresses the need to safeguard and promote in every way - including conferences, language courses and cultural initiatives - the Chaldean identity, presented as a primordial factor of Mesopotamian civilization in the region. The primary purpose of the Chaldean League - stresses the final communiqué of the conference - will be to "preserve our social political and cultural rights". Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:42:19 +0200ASIA/MALAYSIA - Evangelii Gaudium in Bahasha language Lumpur - Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" will be translated in Bahasha, the indigenous language spoken by the majority of the population of Malaysia and Indonesia. As Agenzia Fides learns, the project is managed by the Pontifical Missionary Societies in Malaysia, in particular as an aid for catechists, but also for all the faithful who wish to benefit from it. The translated text will in fact be freely distributed to parishes and communities.<br />The document is considered crucial for a correct approach to evangelization today, this is what was said during a recent meeting of the Diocesan Directors of the PMS from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, held in Miri and led by Archbishop John Wong. The participants reflected on the Pope's message for World Mission Sunday 2015, and shared their experience. The Directors of the PMS, approving the project of Evangelii Gaudium in Bahasha, reiterated the need of the permanent formation of the faithful, especially children, who are encouraged to pray and become "little missionaries". This is why among the various projects of the PMS there is also the project to reprint the childrens’ Bible, to be distributed mainly to poor families and the needy. Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:28:38 +0200AMERICA/PERU - Lost childhood in coffee plantations - 25% of Peru's population, or 7 million 700 thousand people, live in poverty, mainly in rural areas. One million people live in extreme poverty, less than one dollar a day. To help families, thousands of children are engaged all day in work activities of all kinds, thereby jeopardizing their future. In the department of Pasco, one of the poorest regions of Peru, 64% of children work in restaurants or in agriculture, such as coffee plantations, where they cut, sow, water and collect. Every morning these little ones get up at 5 to go and pick coffee beans. They work eight hours without wearing boots and gloves. After work, they study from six to ten in the evening. Many of them work at the weekend, in restaurants, selling food, or in other activities. The most serious case is that of girls working as domestic servants and often end up being exploited and abused. Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:19:06 +0200AMERICA/HAITI - Demonstration for Haitians who risk expulsion from the Dominican Republic - A crowd of Catholic faithful and numerous citizens of Ouanaminthe, a small town north-east of Haiti, on the border with the Dominican Republic, took part in a march of solidarity with Haitians who, according to a recent law on Immigration, the fact of being undocumented means they will soon be expelled from the Dominican Republic .<br />According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, the march, which was held on Tuesday, June 30, saw the participation of a large group of people. They carried the national flag, played music and sang religious hymns that called for peace. There were also several organizations, including the Human Rights and the Jesuit Service for Migrants. The Bishop of the Diocese of Fort-Liberté , His Exc. Mgr. Alphonse Quesnel, S.M.M., the priests of the church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Ouanaminthe and the faithful of the parish of Christ the King were at the procession.<br />The crowd crossed the state road n. 6, passing in front of the Dominican Consulate in Ouanaminthe, where the Bishop read a message in Spanish before reaching the border between the two countries. Mgr. Quesnel asked Catholics in the provinces of Dajabón and Montecristi to show solidarity with Haitian migrants. "This march also has the aim to protest against the mistreatment of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian origin", said the Bishop, asking the Dominican authorities to treat Haitians with dignity.<br />Mgr. Quesnel asked to extend the period of July 6, 2015, granted by the Dominican authorities to those who want to voluntarily leave Santo Domingo, and the guarantee that there will be no repatriation in this period. Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:12:50 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - The police save a Christian accused of blasphemy from being lynched - New case of blasphemy charges against a Christian in Pakistan. As Fides learns, in the town of Farooqabad, in Punjab, the young Awais Qamar, son of Saraj Masih, was denounced when neighbors saw him use a piece of cloth as a mat on the floor of his house. Presumably verses from the Koran were written on the piece of cloth. The neighbors informed the imam of the nearby mosque who instigated the crowd. Muslims violently took Awais, his wife Rukhsanae, his sister-in-law Farhana, shaved their hair and painted their faces black, bringing them in procession through the village. They then started to beat them, and only the intervention of the police in Sheikhupura prevented the lynching. The police also arrested the local imam who attempted to incite the crowd against the police. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:07:02 +0200AFRICA/BURUNDI - More and more weapons circulate even among the opposition, a very worrying situation - "The number of victims in yesterday’s clashes is higher than reported by official sources, that speak of 6 dead", say local sources to Agenzia Fides from Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, where yesterday, 1 July, there were clashes between the police and some opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza. "We know now that weapons are in the hands of the militia of the President but also in the hands of the opposition, who react by shooting when the police try to conduct searches in their neighborhoods", say our sources, who for security reasons remain anonymous. "The situation is therefore increasingly more and more dangerous. In Bujumbura there are Kalishnikov weapons and machine guns. Unfortunately we live in a region where it is easy to obtain weapons of war: think of the rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo who have numerous arsenals". Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:59:13 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Church after the jihadist attacks in Sinai: we are on the side of the military fighting "evil forces" - After a series of attacks carried out yesterday by jihadist groups against 18 army posts in north Sinai, the Coptic Orthodox Church expresses sympathy and full support to the Egyptian military. In an official statement sent to Agenzia Fides, the military are supported for their fight "against the forces of evil that threaten security in the region and in the world", and God is invoked "to save Egypt from evil".<br />The coordinated offensive of suicide bombings and attacks on army posts in the northern Sinai region has killed dozens of soldiers. According to data provided by the Egyptian government, the attacks have killed more than a hundred jihadist militiamen, and the situation in the area seems to be under control. For years, despite the repressive campaigns carried out by the army, North Sinai continues to be the territory of forging strong links with jihadist groups who now declare their affiliation with the Islamic State and have always shown particular fury against the local Coptic population. According to sources of the Patriarchate, at least 400 Coptic families reside in northern Sinai, but their slow and steady exodus to safer areas began a while ago.<br />Also in Sinai direct threats against Christians have increased after the Coptic Patriarch supported the operation with which, in early July 2013, the armed forces ousted Islamist President Morsi. On July 6 of that year the priest Mina Aboud, a close collaborator of Bishop Kosman had been killed in el-Arish. Since then the local Coptic community has been hit by a series of murders and kidnappings with ransom demand, attributable in large part to the jihadist faction Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The same group addressed death threats to all Christians in Sinai, accused of supporting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and not to pay the "protection fee" to support jihadist fighters. Meanwhile, according to rumors spread by local media after the attack that cost the life of the Egyptian Attorney General Hisham Barakat, security measures around Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II have also increased. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:52:40 +0200AFRICA/CAMEROON - Floods destroy homes and buildings, there are two thousand displaced - A week of heavy floods, caused by heavy rains have hit the economic capital of Cameroon, Douala, and has caused the death and destruction of homes and buildings in the city, as well as two thousand people have escaped and 30,000 have suffered severe damage. The city is totally devastated. Electricity polls have fallen, there is no energy, cars and transportation have been abandoned on the streets, trash and other debris cover the muddy streets. In the southwest of Cameroon tropical monsoon rains and subsequent flooding are becoming more frequent every year. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:36:03 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - "Terra Sancta Museum" ceremony of laying the foundation stone – The ceremony of laying the foundation stone for the creation of the "Terra Sancta Museum", a profound desire of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land, took place at The Franciscan Convent of the Flagellation in Jerusalem. Fr. Eugenio Alliatas OFM, director of the museum, says that the first of three sections to be completed will be the "multimedia center", designed to offer "a very modern multimedia experience to visitors and pilgrims who begin their journey of the Via Dolorosa to the Holy Sepulchre".<br />The ceremony for the laying of the foundation stone, which took place in recent days, was also attended by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who in his speech stressed that the Terra Sancta Museum "will in fact not only be a place where hundreds of objects will be displayed, but will also be a cultural center that will make the public of all religions, as well as the secular public, aware of the links of the Holy City with the centuries-old Christian traditions, both local and international". Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:22:08 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - If these structural issues are not adequately addressed, we shall soon have another Marikana", says "Justice and Peace" - "If these structural issues are not adequately addressed, we shall soon have another Marikana, if we continue to pursue a brand of mining economy that puts profit before people", warned His Exc. Mgr. Abel Gabuza, Bishop of Kimberley and President of the "Justice and Peace" Commission, followimg the release of a report by a Commission of Inquiry appointed to look into the Marikana massacre .<br />From 11 to 16 August 2012, during a miners stike in which miners were demanding a pay rise, there were serious incidents that led to the death of 44 people, the wounding of 70 others and the arrest of about 250. The most serious incident dates back to August 16, 2012, when South African police intervened firing live bullets at thousands of striking miners at South Africa’s Marikana platinum mine, killing 34 people. The Commission ascertained that 17 people were hit in the back while they were being chased by the police.<br />"Our hearts are with the families who lost their loved ones and are struggling to find healing and closure as they try to make sense of the findings of the Marikana report", said Mgr. Gabuza. "There is also a need for healing in the whole Country from the culture of structural violence", concluded the Bishop, making an implicit reference to the latest xenophobic violence that have shaken some major South African cities . Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:04:31 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - A recreational project for indigenous children of different ethnicities - The talent, creativity and imagination of 450 indigenous Mexican children have found their expression in some murals on display in the magnificent facilities of the Gran Mundo Maya Museum of Merida, Yucatan. It is a very important recreational project. The project consists of 18 large paintings by children belonging to 16 ethnic groups: maya, nahua, tzeltal, zapotecs, huastecos, tlapanecos, mazatecos, otomíes, popolucas, mixtecs, mixes, wirrárikas, mayos, tarahumaras, purépechas and Triquis. Another particular feature is the involvement of disabled children, excited that their drawings are exposed in an area dedicated to the Mayan culture.<br />The project, El Arte Mural de las Niñas y Niños de México was presented for the first time in 1993 at the Fine Arts building in Mexico City and will remain until next December 31. This collective and multicolored work had already been exhibited in the United States, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Greenland. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:45:27 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Stop violence against women - A silent march and a prayer vigil to express solidarity with the Salesian Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and to ask for justice: with this spirit more than 2,000 people gathered near the Cathedral of San Francesco in Nagpur, a city in the Indian state of Maharashtra, yesterday evening, 1 July, 15 days after a nun was attacked. The initiative was also attended by the Archbishop of Nagpur, Abraham Viruthakulangara who strongly condemned the attack on a 43-year old nun which took place on the night between 19 and 20 June, at the maternity hospital in Raipur.<br />The Archbishop expressed deep regret as "15 days after the attack, the authorities have not yet found the culprits who committed the heinous crime of attacking the integrity of a woman". "The government should ensure the safety and security of all, especially the most vulnerable such as children, women and minorities", he remarked, protesting "the indifferent attitude of the government, the police, bureaucracy". "We demand that justice be done as soon as possible", he said.<br />The march was attended by young people, women and children of various communities: Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians of various denominations. "We Christians are a peaceful community, we are an integral part of this ancient homeland. It is unacceptable that our peaceful life is disturbed by planned attacks", the Archbishop concluded.<br />Representatives of the different communities have shared these feelings and called on the government to "do more to protect citizens, especially the most vulnerable". They all highlighted that women in India suffer harassment and discrimination and demanded to stop violence against women. A signature campaign has been launched and candles have been lit to express solidarity with the victims of abuse and violence. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:18:31 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Widespread violence does not spare even three elderly nuns - The Bishop of the diocese of Tehuantepec, His Exc. Mgr. Oscar Armando Campos Contreras, along with all the clergy expressed an energetic condemnation of the acts of violence committed against priests and religious in the area, in particular the acts "perpetrated against three religious elderly nuns, of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart" in the night between 29 and 30 June.<br />"The victims of a robbery in their home - says the statement sent to Fides - despite their age, were bound and gagged. This aggression, along with that suffered by the parish priest of the area, in Palomares, Oaxaca, reflects the degree of violence which is widespread in the area".<br />The statement calls on the authorities to intervene and work harder for citizen safety. In addition, the Bishop asks parents to invest in the education of their children, because "this situation is rooted in personal and family, social and cultural deterioration. When there is no respect for life and for the dignity of each person, the rest of the values are not considered, and therefore corruption and wickedness, money and material goods appear as the most important things in life", concludes the text. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:35:38 +0200AMERICA/CUBA - Food sovereignty and other initiatives resume power thanks to CELAM - In view of the upcoming visit of the Pope to Cuba and his words for a serious commitment regarding the peripheries of the world, CELAM has proposed again some examples of positive feedback that one obtains when one strives to eradicate the scourge of poverty, empower the poor and make them participate actively in the process of recovery of social equity.<br />One of these issues, proposed in 2013, concerns "food sovereignty" as the new horizon of social assistance. This initiative started, promoted by the Land Pastoral, with a training program for promoters of sustainable tropical agriculture communities. Producers had to "learn-by doing" modern technologies for their interest in and respect for environment. Achieving this goal required a new attitude: both on behalf of the so-called "beneficiaries" and the so-called "benefactors" or promoters of aid.<br />Today the efforts of various institutions continue, and the portal of CELAM cites some examples to reflect on the initiative: the formation of the promoters of sustainable tropical agriculture communities in Cuba; programs of the anthropological Center founded by Father Botasso in Ecuador; recognition of Quinoa by the FAO, as the "perfect food"; Nica Hope project in Nicaragua; and others. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:29:37 +0200