Fides News Englishhttp://fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usVATICAN - Cardinal Filoni returns to Iraq to express the closeness and affection of the Pope to displaced familieshttp://fides.org/en/news/37536-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_returns_to_Iraq_to_express_the_closeness_and_affection_of_the_Pope_to_displaced_familieshttp://fides.org/en/news/37536-VATICAN_Cardinal_Filoni_returns_to_Iraq_to_express_the_closeness_and_affection_of_the_Pope_to_displaced_familiesVatican City - "Pope Francis has expressed his concern for Christian families and other victims of violence who have been expelled from their homes and villages in Iraq, in particular those from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, many of whom have found refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Holy Father is praying for the victims and hopes that they will soon be able to return to their former lives in their homeland where for centuries they have lived in good relations with their neighbours", So says a statement issued today by the Holy See press office.<br />The text continues: "In this coming Holy Week these families particularly share in the injustice and sufferings of Christ, and as a sign of unity, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will return to Iraq to be with the expelled families and to pray with them during this time of suffering. The Diocese of Rome will be taking up a special collection in parishes, and in a sign of solidarity, will be sending traditional Italian cakes to the persecuted families of Iraq so that they may be able to share in the joy of Easter".<br />The statement ends by saying that: "The Holy Father would also like to express his closeness to suffering families in northern Nigeria. The Holy Father has also asked the local Episcopal Conference to join with him in extending a similar sign of solidarity with those families".<br />Already last August, following the serious situation in Iraq, the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, His Personal Envoy in the Asian country "to express his spiritual closeness to the populations that suffer and bring them the solidarity of the Church ". Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - On the eve of the vote 90% of the areas freed from Boko Haram; "Why was it not done before?"http://fides.org/en/news/37535-AFRICA_NIGERIA_On_the_eve_of_the_vote_90_of_the_areas_freed_from_Boko_Haram_Why_was_it_not_done_beforehttp://fides.org/en/news/37535-AFRICA_NIGERIA_On_the_eve_of_the_vote_90_of_the_areas_freed_from_Boko_Haram_Why_was_it_not_done_beforeAbuja - Nigeria to vote tomorrow, March 28, to elect the new President. "The Nigerian press has already made predictions that the main opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, will get two-thirds of the vote", says Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, Director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja.<br />The presidential and parliamentary elections which were to be held on February 14 were postponed for six weeks to allow the multinational military force responsible for combating Boko Haram, to reconquer areas controlled by the Islamist sect and to strengthen security in the northeast of Nigeria . As reported to Agenzia Fides by Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, one of the areas in northern Nigeria most affected by the violence of Boko Haram, elections can be held in Maiduguri now .<br />However, there remains uncertainty in some areas in the north. "In those areas it is hard to imagine that regular elections will be held, given the large number of internally displaced persons", said Fr. Patrick. "According to some estimates, 80-90 percent of the occupied areas by Boko Haram have been freed in recent weeks by the army of Nigeria, with the help of Chad and Niger. One can see how the military offensive prepared itself in recent months thanks to the supply of weapons from South Africa, after Western countries, particularly the United States, refused to sell arms to Nigeria", continued the priest.<br />"In Nigeria, however, one wonders why, if our military had the ability to hunt Boko Haram, this was not done before, why now, on the eve of elections?" concludes Fr. Patrick. Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Delegation of Bishops to visit a detention center for immigrant familieshttp://fides.org/en/news/37534-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Delegation_of_Bishops_to_visit_a_detention_center_for_immigrant_familieshttp://fides.org/en/news/37534-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Delegation_of_Bishops_to_visit_a_detention_center_for_immigrant_familiesSan Antonio - A delegation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will visit today, Friday, March 27, a detention center for immigrant families in Dilley, Texas, to learn more about their situation. The visit is part of the commitment that the USCCB is carrying out on immigration, which intensified last year due to the exponential increase regarding the arrests of unaccompanied minors from Central America. <br />"This visit will help us to make proposals to Congress, also because several Bishops have already given their testimonies in the past", said Norma Montenegro Flyn, USCCB spokeswoman, in the note sent to Fides.<br />The delegation is led by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S., Bishop of San Antonio , and the Bishops Mgr. Eusebio Elizondo, of the diocese of Seattle; Mgr. James A. Tamayo, of the Diocese of Laredo, and two Bishops of the Lutheran Church: H. Julian Gordy and Michael Rinehart.<br />According to information of USCCB, about 68 thousand families in Central America have fled the violence and poverty in their countries. Many of these have been arrested "to stop and discourage migration", but "these families can become free with an alternative detention program, to be verified case by case, in a more humane option", says the press release. Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Assyrian Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV has passed awayhttp://fides.org/en/news/37533-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Assyrian_Patriarch_Mar_Dinkha_IV_has_passed_awayhttp://fides.org/en/news/37533-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Assyrian_Patriarch_Mar_Dinkha_IV_has_passed_awayChicago - His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East passed away on Thursday morning, March 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Patriarch Mar Dinkha was 80 years old and the cause of death was a virus infection and pneumonia. The funeral service will be held on April 8 at St. George Church in Chicago.<br />Patriarch Dinkha, the 111th Patriarch of the Church of the East, was consecrated as Patriarch on October 17, 1976, serving 39 years at his post. His tenure was the tenth longest in church history. Patriarch Dinkha was born in Iraq on September 15, 1935. He was appointed to the ministry in Urmia, Iran. He was consecrated as bishop on February 11, 1962. He became patriarch after Patriarch Eshai Shimun was assassinated in 1976. Patriarch Dinkha is credited with rebuilding the church, which had neared the brink of destruction after the assassination of his predecessor, and brought stability and peace to a church in turmoil. After seven centuries, Mar Dinkha IV was the first Patriarch chosen by election and not by succession.<br />Since his election, Patriarch Mar Dinkha transferred the patriarchal seat from the mountains foothills of Iraqi Kurdistan to Chicago. Now the main part of the Assyrian Church is concentrated in communities in diaspora scattered in America, Europe and Oceania.<br />Patriarch Mar Dinkha, during his long patriarchal tenure, met Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. The meeting with the current Successor of Peter took place on October 2. On 11 November 1994 Patriarch Mar Dinkha and Pope John Paul II signed the Joint Declaration on Christology, where it is recognized that the Assyrian Church of the East and the Catholic Church confess the same faith in Christ, and admit that Christological disputes of the distant past were largely due to misunderstandings. In the past there was no mutual excommunication between the two Churches, and there has been for some time a bilateral theological dialogue that will also have to face the theme of the constitution and the nature of the Church, which also includes the study on the ministry the Bishop of Rome. Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Group of Spanish Catholic volunteers give support to Nicaraguan childrenhttp://fides.org/en/news/37532-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_Group_of_Spanish_Catholic_volunteers_give_support_to_Nicaraguan_childrenhttp://fides.org/en/news/37532-AMERICA_NICARAGUA_Group_of_Spanish_Catholic_volunteers_give_support_to_Nicaraguan_childrenLeón - About 10 years ago a group of faithful of a Spanish parish in Madrid traveled to the city of León, Nicaragua. They met malnourished children and families with problems related to alcohol. Faced with this situation they started to help the local priest and two lay collaborators in the pastoral initiatives and to give food to children in need. Once back in Spain, they decided to create the "Pan de Vida para Nicaragua" Association, consisting of 100 members who through markets, theatrical performances, small initiatives, raise funds for the children of Nicaragua. Currently there are 180 children who eat in the soup kitchen in León every day; 25 attend a day school in order to give support to working mothers and another 110 attend secondary school. Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - "WeCare!" Foundation: support to vulnerable women and marginalized children and young peoplehttp://fides.org/en/news/37531-OCEANIA_PAPUA_NEW_GUINEA_WeCare_Foundation_support_to_vulnerable_women_and_marginalized_children_and_young_peoplehttp://fides.org/en/news/37531-OCEANIA_PAPUA_NEW_GUINEA_WeCare_Foundation_support_to_vulnerable_women_and_marginalized_children_and_young_peoplePort Moresby - "Traditionally the primary emphasis in the parishes in Port Moresby is placed on worship, on the sacraments, on devotional practices", said Fr. John M. Glynn, head of the "WeCare!" Foundation in Papua New Guinea, in a note sent to Agenzia Fides. "The first apostolic community, founded by Jesus, despite being a Church in its initial stages, is already devoted to the love of one’s neighbor, giving food to the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the naked, welcoming foreigners", notes Fr. Glynn.<br />"If one were to go to remote communities and asked people: where can we go to seek help if sick, poor, elderly, disabled, abandoned, abused? the answer was: the Church. I hope with all my heart that Pope Francis’ word can take root in Papua New Guinea, encouraging parishes to work in charity and social services", he remarks.<br />The "WeCare!" Foundation offers free support to vulnerable women and marginalized children and young people, through the work of volunteers and placing them in families or "care groups". "WeCare!" was established in 2002, when Fr. John Glynn, an Irish Catholic priest, began assisting orphans, disabled and abandoned people in the streets and in the suburbs of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. In 2007, the Foundation had official recognition. Today, the work focuses on assistance and education to children or young people, with the intention to help them reintegrate into the social fabric. Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/VIETNAM - The first house of formation of the Guanellian’s has been inauguratedhttp://fides.org/en/news/37530-ASIA_VIETNAM_The_first_house_of_formation_of_the_Guanellian_s_has_been_inauguratedhttp://fides.org/en/news/37530-ASIA_VIETNAM_The_first_house_of_formation_of_the_Guanellian_s_has_been_inauguratedHo Chi Minh - The first house of formation of the Servants of Charity in Vietnam has been inaugurated. As Fides learns, the inauguration took place on March 24 in the district of Go Vap. Among those present, the Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh city, His Exc. Mgr. Paul Bui Van Doc, and Fr. Sooshai Rathinam, Superior of the Guanellian Province of Divine Providence. Many other religious institutes attended the blessing of the chapel and then concelebrated the Eucharist in the large neighboring parish.<br />"The house, three floors of 70 square meters each, was built on a small surface area at the generosity of two Vietnamese sisters. It can give hospitality to a group of about twenty young students who intend to serve the poorest according to the charisma and style of St. Louis Guanella" explains, in a statement sent to Fides Fr. Gustavo De Bonis, Secretary General of the Congregation. At the entrance there is a statue of the Mother of Divine Providence. <br />The Guanellians have been in Vietnam for four years. Father Alfonso Crippa, Superior General notes that "the response of Vietnamese youth so far has been very positive. The religious vitality in this country is very strong and I am sure that also our Congregation will be enriched by the enthusiasm and sensitivity of these future Guanellians". Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Orthodox Church reaffirms ban on pilgrimages to Jerusalemhttp://fides.org/en/news/37529-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Orthodox_Church_reaffirms_ban_on_pilgrimages_to_Jerusalemhttp://fides.org/en/news/37529-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Coptic_Orthodox_Church_reaffirms_ban_on_pilgrimages_to_JerusalemCairo - The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, through spokesman Father Boulos Halim, confermed the ban to visit Jerusalem, as provided in 1979 by the then Patriarch Shenouda III, which remains in force for the faithful Orthodox Copts. This was made known by Coptic sources consulted by Agenzia Fides. The clarification by the patriarchal spokesman comes after the intervention of Hazem Abu Shenab, a prominent member of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah, leading organization within the PLO , who in recent days had implicitly criticized the disciplinary measure, arguing that the visits of Christians to the Holy City - especially at Christmas and Holy Week - represent a material and spiritual comfort for the Palestinian Arab population of the Holy Land, who pay for the effects of a provision originally taken as a sign of solidarity of Coptic Christians toward the Palestinians, in the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict. <br />The indication not to visit the Holy City, therefore, remains in force, repeats Fr. Halim - until the "Muslim brothers" of the Egyptian nation can freely enter Jerusalem.<br />Already last year, the journey carried out by ninety Coptic Christians during Holy Week to the Holy Land had given way to several observers to point out the irrelevance of anti-pilgrimage disciplinary measure, in the framework of the existing relations between the two neighboring nations .<br />Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III forbade the faithful of his Church to make pilgrimages in the Jewish state and had not changed his position even after the normalization of relations between Egypt and Israel desired by President Sadat. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA - Rome -Caritas meeting: A million displaced persons and refugees fleeing Boko Haramhttp://fides.org/en/news/37528-AFRICA_Rome_Caritas_meeting_A_million_displaced_persons_and_refugees_fleeing_Boko_Haramhttp://fides.org/en/news/37528-AFRICA_Rome_Caritas_meeting_A_million_displaced_persons_and_refugees_fleeing_Boko_HaramRome - An action plan for displaced persons and refugees from the violence of Boko Haram will be discussed during the meeting promoted by Caritas Internationalis in Rome which begins today and will end tomorrow, March 27th.<br />According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides "in the past year, more than a million Nigerians have fled fanatically violent attacks by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Spilling over into neighbouring countries, these displaced families have relied on Catholic Church and other aid groups for basic necessities like shelter, food and medicine".<br />"The terror and suffering that the people of Nigeria have experienced is extreme", said Caritas Nigeria Executive Director Father Evaristus Bassey, who will attend the Rome meeting. "We at Caritas, along with other people of goodwill, are doing our best . But the needs are staggering".<br />In Nigeria and surrounding countries like Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, Caritas and Catholic dioceses are helping the displaced. More than 2500 people are staying at a camp at Saint Theresa Cathedral in Yola, Nigeria, with thousands more sheltering in church buildings around the Country. Recently, Catholic bishops in Cameroon appealed to Nigeria’s bishops for help responding to the needs of tens of thousands of Nigerian refugees who fled to their country .<br />The Rome meeting will include Caritas representatives from Cameroon, Niger, and Chad, and during the meeting the plight of the 800,000 displaced persons and refugees from the Central African Republic will also be addressed. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - Christians and Muslims celebrate together the feast of the Annunciationhttp://fides.org/en/news/37527-ASIA_LEBANON_Christians_and_Muslims_celebrate_together_the_feast_of_the_Annunciationhttp://fides.org/en/news/37527-ASIA_LEBANON_Christians_and_Muslims_celebrate_together_the_feast_of_the_AnnunciationBeirut - The Marian solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which Lebanon proclaimed a national holiday in 2010, has also seen this year celebrations in various parts of the country promoted by organizations of Christian-Muslim dialogue, starting from Ensemble Autour de Marie group. This year, in particular, Christians and Muslims gathered around Mary in the Shrine of Notre Dame de Nourieh and Notre Dame de Jamhour, for a liturgy of reflections and songs - some in Latin and Aramaic – and also saw the participation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lione, together with the Imam of the Mosque of Lione, Kamel Kabtane. The French Cardinal gave a speech dedicated to Mary, defined as "She who sings mercy", while Imam Kabtane expounded a reflection focused on coexistence and interreligious dialogue.<br />In Lebanon, the Solemnity of the Annunciation was declared a national holiday in 2010 with the declared intention of finding in the devotion to Mary - also shared among Muslims - a point of convergence among the different religious communities. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/CUBA - Cardinal Ortega: "dialogue, the new name of love"http://fides.org/en/news/37526-AMERICA_CUBA_Cardinal_Ortega_dialogue_the_new_name_of_lovehttp://fides.org/en/news/37526-AMERICA_CUBA_Cardinal_Ortega_dialogue_the_new_name_of_loveHavana - He agrees to be called "a man of dialogue" but not "a diplomatic". "Dialogue - he says - is the new name of love". This is what the only Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, Archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana since 1981 says in a long interview published by "Palabra Nueva", the magazine of the Archdiocese of Havana, sent to Agenzia Fides. The Cardinal is well-liked by many and misunderstood by others, but he is always presented as "the pastor" which he has never ceased to be, as he says himself.<br />Protagonist behind the scenes of the turning point on the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, Cardinal Ortega has always proposed a "culture of encounter" to Cuba, with interesting results, such as the release of prisoners, the opening of new spaces for social presence, greater individual freedoms, and some change in the programs of democratic institutions.<br />The long interview ends with this statement: "In me what survives is the fact of being a pastor, there is nothing more interesting than being a pastor". <br/><strong>Link correlati</strong> :<a href="http://www.fides.org/spa/attachments/view/file/ortega_palabra_nueva2015.pdf">Interview with Cardinal Ortega y Alamino (Palabria Nueva):</a>Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Caritas Bangui distributes aid to the displaced Muslims in Mbaikihttp://fides.org/en/news/37525-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Caritas_Bangui_distributes_aid_to_the_displaced_Muslims_in_Mbaikihttp://fides.org/en/news/37525-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Caritas_Bangui_distributes_aid_to_the_displaced_Muslims_in_MbaikiBangui - Caritas Bangui, very active in providing relief to the displaced of the civil war in the Central African Republic, has distributed food aid to 49 members of the Muslim community in the city of Mbaiki . According to reports sent to Agenzia Fides, the beneficiaries of the aid are Muslims forced to flee the village of Boboua because of the violence of the Anti-Balaka militias, that are in contrast with former Seleka rebels.<br />The displaced were welcomed at first in a MINUSCA base and then in some homes. On March 24, a delegation of Caritas distributed clothes, soap, sugar, rice, oil cans, and other food to them.<br />The Caritas delegation was accompanied by Imam Kobine Layama, one of the three leaders of the religious platform for peace, which includes Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, and pastor Nguerekoyame Gbangou. The Imam praised the local people for their generosity in receiving the displaced. "It is a gesture to encourage. This proves that there are believers in Mbaiki. The other cities should do the same. As for their return to Boboua, it will still take some time for the displaced to return to their homes", said Imam Layama.<br />The civil war has created deep divisions within the Central African society, and among the Christian and Muslim communities. Gestures such as the reception on behalf of the inhabitants of Mbaiki or the distribution of food carried out by Caritas are important in order to create a new climate of trust and mutual respect. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Jinnah Institute: "Continuous and constant violence against religious minorities"http://fides.org/en/news/37524-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_Jinnah_Institute_Continuous_and_constant_violence_against_religious_minoritieshttp://fides.org/en/news/37524-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_Jinnah_Institute_Continuous_and_constant_violence_against_religious_minoritiesLahore - "Violence against religious minorities in Pakistan was continuous and constant in the period 2012-2014. Forced conversions, kidnappings, damage to areas of worship, sexual violence and targeted killings are oppressive practices to which minorities are regularly subjected": says a note of the Jinnah Institute, a prestigious independent study Center, based in Karachi, dedicated to the "Founder of Pakistan" Mohammed Ali Jinnah.<br />In the period 2012-2014 among religious minorities the Center registered: 265 victims of attacks; 550 families forced to flee; 21 persons indicted for alleged blasphemy; 15 cases of forced conversions; 15 sexual assaults, 20 cases of domestic abuse.<br />Among the most serious incidents reported by the Institute: the attack on the "Joseph Colony" in Lahore, the suicide bombing in Peshawar, the brutal murder of the Christian couple Shama and Shehzad accused of blasphemy in Kot Radha Kishan. "Besides the persecution of religious minorities - explains the note sent to Fides - they are numerous cases of harassment and discrimination". This situation "has resulted in the displacement of about 550 families of religious minorities in Pakistan", he concludes. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/INDONESIA - Violations of human rights of indigenous peoples: first investigationhttp://fides.org/en/news/37523-ASIA_INDONESIA_Violations_of_human_rights_of_indigenous_peoples_first_investigationhttp://fides.org/en/news/37523-ASIA_INDONESIA_Violations_of_human_rights_of_indigenous_peoples_first_investigationJakarta - indigenous people of Indonesia have been the victims of violations of human rights, of the right to property, of the right to a decent and safe life for many years. This is what we read in the first national report on the Violation of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the forest areas of the Country, which will be published in May by the National Commission on Human Rights. The issue was addressed recently in Jakarta by a group of researchers during a press conference organized by the Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of The Archipelago , news of which was sent to Agenzia Fides. The report is based on research carried out for months in Sumatra, Java, Bali-Nusa, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Maluku and Papua. Among the conclusions we report: currently on maps and official documents there are no traces of borders regarding indigenous territories; this part of the population is facing serious legal obstacles to lay claim to their legitimacy; women are discriminated against in many ways; government agencies, including police and military forces, have engaged mainly in the private sector, neglecting indigenous communities; there is no institution at a ministerial level that has the mandate to resolve land conflicts. AMAN represents 15 million people in 2,244 indigenous communities throughout Indonesia. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Guaranteed education to Shama and Shehzad’s children, Christian couple burned alivehttp://fides.org/en/news/37522-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Guaranteed_education_to_Shama_and_Shehzad_s_children_Christian_couple_burned_alivehttp://fides.org/en/news/37522-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Guaranteed_education_to_Shama_and_Shehzad_s_children_Christian_couple_burned_aliveLahore - Suleman and Sonia go to school. Poonam will also go. The three children are children of Shama and Shahzad Masih, the Christian couple tortured and burned alive by a mob of Muslims on charges of blasphemy in Kot Radha Kishan, in the Kasur District in November 2014. As reported to Fides, the "Cecil Chaudhry & Iris Foundation", led by the Christian Michelle Chaudhry, has taken the responsibility to provide education to all three of the couple's children. The two children Suleman, six, and Sonia, three, have been admitted to a school in Lahore. The youngest, Poonam goes to kindergarten.<br />Michelle Chaudhry, president of the Foundation named after the Pakistani Christian hero Cecil Chaudhry, her father, explained to Fides: "We wanted to bring a change for the better in the lives of these children and considered various options to help them. However, having a strong belief in the power of education, we decided to take the responsibility to educate them. It is our belief that education is one of the best defenses against exploitation and injustice and is a valuable tool to break free from a life of oppression and marginalization. Therefore it is crucial to accompany them on a path of education".<br />The "Cecil Chaudhry & Iris Foundation" is an independent, non-profit organization, dedicated to eradicating injustice in society by supporting the oppressed and marginalized groups, especially religious minorities in Pakistan. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/BOLIVIA - More than 6 million to vote: the Bishops call for free and fair electionshttp://fides.org/en/news/37521-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_More_than_6_million_to_vote_the_Bishops_call_for_free_and_fair_electionshttp://fides.org/en/news/37521-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_More_than_6_million_to_vote_the_Bishops_call_for_free_and_fair_electionsCochabamba - The Bishops of Bolivia invite the national community to exercise the civil right to vote in good conscience, in freedom and with attention to the common good of citizens. The President of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference , His Exc. Mgr. Oscar Aparicio, emphasized these aspects in view of the elections on Sunday, March 29 and asked the candidates "to try and do their best".<br />His Exc. Mgr. Jesús Juarez, Archbishop of Sucre, asked voters to participate in the elections calmly and without fanaticism.<br />The Episcopal Conference has announced that religious activities planned for Palm Sunday will be held regularly.<br />The party of the current government, "Movimiento al Socialismo" has been very active in recent days, which brought President Evo Morales in most departments of the country to support their candidates. More than six million voters are asked to vote for nine governors, 339 mayors, members of the Assembly, councilors and magistrates. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100EUROPE/ARMENIA - Armenian Parliament votes a statement condemning the Assyrian and Greek Genocideshttp://fides.org/en/news/37520-EUROPE_ARMENIA_Armenian_Parliament_votes_a_statement_condemning_the_Assyrian_and_Greek_Genocideshttp://fides.org/en/news/37520-EUROPE_ARMENIA_Armenian_Parliament_votes_a_statement_condemning_the_Assyrian_and_Greek_GenocidesErevan - On Tuesday, March 24 the Armenian Parliament voted a resolution condemning the massacres against the Assyrians and Greeks carried out in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. The resolution was supported by all political forces in Parliament , and won the unanimous favor of 117 MPs. There were no votes against or abstentions. Last February, the stated intention by the Armenian Parliament of wanting to adopt a statement condemning the massacres suffered a century ago by the Greeks and Assyrians in Ottoman territories which remained under the Turkish domain was commented positively by associations and militant groups involved in the protection of the historical memory of those tragic events, defined respectively as "Greek Genocide" and "Assyrian Genocide". The statement reiterates that all ethnic and religious minorities were the subject of the massacres perpetrated by the Young Turks. Less than two years ago, the idea of adopting a similar statement - sponsored by some Armenian political parties - had been rejected by the Parliament of Yerevan. Wed, 25 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Two Christians accused of the lynching of two suspected terroristshttp://fides.org/en/news/37519-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Two_Christians_accused_of_the_lynching_of_two_suspected_terroristshttp://fides.org/en/news/37519-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Two_Christians_accused_of_the_lynching_of_two_suspected_terroristsLahore - Two Christians, Sohail Johnason and Yousaf Kamran, according to a video in the possession of the police, are accused of being responsible for the lynching of two suspected terrorists, which took place shortly after the attack against two churches in Lahore on March 15. According to local sources of Fides, the two are among the approximately 150 persons detained by agents and remain under arrest, after the police, in about a week of investigations, made several raids to identify those responsible for the lynching.<br />As Fides learns, the agents have the videos shot with mobile phones by eyewitnesses present in those tragic moments. The act of frustration and revenge carried out by Christians has been widely condemned by political and religious leaders. "But now all the innocent people who have been stopped have to be released", says to Fides Haroon Barkat Masih, head of the "Masihi Foundation", present in Pakistan with aid projects and development of Christian minorities. "It is right to bring to justice the perpetrators, but everyone has to be treated in the same way" he notes. The lawyers of the Foundation have filed applications for bail for many innocent people, but so far these demands have not been accepted. In the district of Youhanabad people are still in shock. Sohail Johnson, one of the alleged perpetrators, was the founder and head of the NGO "Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan", which aimed to help Christians in difficulty. Wed, 25 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/LIBYA - The Islamic State claim new attackshttp://fides.org/en/news/37518-AFRICA_LIBYA_The_Islamic_State_claim_new_attackshttp://fides.org/en/news/37518-AFRICA_LIBYA_The_Islamic_State_claim_new_attacksTripoli - The Islamic State has claimed two attacks carried out respectively in a suburb of Benghazi, capital of Cyrenaica, and in Misurata in Tripolitania. In the first case a suicide bomber is of Tunisian nationality, detonated a car bomb in the district of Leithi, killing at least seven people. The peculiarity of the claim spread through the internet is that in addition to the photo of the alleged bomber, there was also a picture of the effects of the explosion taken from above.<br />On March 23 a car bomb exploded without causing casualties near the security offices in Misurata. Again the attack was claimed by the Islamic State that is fighting against the militias of Misurata, the most important of the military forces of Libyan Dawn, the coalition that supports the government in Tripoli, close to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is in contrast with that of Tobruk, recognized by the international community.<br />The Islamic State took control of Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, where there are ongoing battles with the militias of Misurata. Earlier today, a car bomb driven by a suicide attacker, exploded against the positions of the militias of Libyan Dawn outside Sirte, killing at least five militants. Wed, 25 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/EGYPT - President Sisi endorses the new regulation for the election of the Coptic Popehttp://fides.org/en/news/37517-AFRICA_EGYPT_President_Sisi_endorses_the_new_regulation_for_the_election_of_the_Coptic_Popehttp://fides.org/en/news/37517-AFRICA_EGYPT_President_Sisi_endorses_the_new_regulation_for_the_election_of_the_Coptic_PopeCairo - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi approved yesterday, Tuesday, March 24, the decree containing the rules and procedures for the election of the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Sources of the Coptic Patriarchate report that the Presidency has ratified the regulation which had been proposed by the same Coptic Orthodox Church, without making any changes.<br />"In the draft submitted to presidential approval - refers to Agenzia Fides Anba Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, Coptic Catholic Archbishop of Minya - articles considered irrelevant to the present state of the Coptic Orthodox Church had been revised or deleted. Among other things, the involvement in the electoral body of representatives of the Coptic Orthodox communities in the Diaspora, which now counts more than two million members was expected for the first time. The percentages reserved for different categories and different dioceses within the body of representatives in charge of the election were also revised".<br />The new regulation is composed of 36 articles, and provides that, to become Patriarchs, you have to be born to Egyptian Coptic Orthodox parents, be a monk for at least 15 years and be between 45 and 64 years of age. The election of the Patriarch falls within the Community law of the Coptic Orthodox enshrined in the Constitution, which guarantees to Christians the right to elect the leaders of their church communities. So this is a procedure guaranteed by civil law, and therefore must obtain the consent of confirmation of the offices of the Presidency of the Republic. Wed, 25 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0100