Fides News English Agency Newsen-usAMERICA/ DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Migrants: Bishops call for definitive solution Domingo – The National Commission for Migrants of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Dominican Republic has called for a return to dialogue with Haiti in order to maintain existing neighbourly relations and solve the immigration crisis between the two countries.<br /><br />"Dialogue must take place in an atmosphere of transparency and respect, implementing the political will of the government, in order to go forward in the process started with the National Plan of Regularization of Foreigners , and solve any difficulties which could threaten present peaceful relations", says the Bishops’ Commission statement sent to Fides.<br /><br />The statement signed by the chairman of the Migrants Commission, Bishop Diomedes Espinal, stressed the need to resume bilateral dialogue "founded on truth and justice rather than mistakes and mistruths. And above all with genuine political will on the part of the government to reach a definitive solution regarding illegal immigrants and clandestine persons born in the Dominican Republic".<br /><br />By way of conclusion the statement congratulates the Dominican authorities for its plan for registration which has led to the settling of irregular situations for some 28,466 clandestine immigrants. <br /><br />Registration terminated on 17 June provoking criticism from the government of Haiti which reported to international authorities presumed expulsion of Haitian citizens, some of whom were born in the Dominican Republic. . Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:44:07 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN – Floods and monsoon rains continue to strike the country causing major damage to people and structures – Heavy flooding for several weeks in Pakistan has left thousands homeless and many dead. The weather is particularly bad in the northern mountainous regions where many villages are still isolated. In the regions of Jitral and Gilgit-Baltistán bridges and roads have been destroyed . Flooding is also reported along the River Indo which flows through Pakistan from the Himalayas into the Arabian Sea. At least 200,000 people living along the river banks have been evacuated. According to official sources flood warnings still remain in five districts. At present some 600,000 people and 812 villages are literally underwater. The news comes from the National Disaster Management Authority . NDMA has forecast for the next 24 hours storms, rain and moderate rainfall in the basins of the great rivers which flow through four provinces. Every year, monsoon rains cause serious damage to people and structures in this south Asian country. The worst floods in Pakistan recorded in 2010, caused by exceptional monsoon conditions added to a particularly abundant summer thaw left 2,000 dead and more than 20 million persons affected. Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:07:19 +0200AFRICA/BURUNDI - General Nshimirimana killed: fighting within the government or rebel ambush? -“At the moment the situation in Bujumbura is quiet ” local sources in the capital of Burundi, told Fides the day after the killing of general Adolphe Nshimirimana, considered second in command in the regime of President Pierre Nkurunziza, re-elected for a third mandate on 21 July in elections said by UN Mission observers to be “neither credible, nor free, nor inclusive”.<br />“General Nshimirimana, former secret service chief, was in charge of all security in the country, and he was also commander of the Presidential Military, which has carried out attacks on the Opposition ” our sources recall. The candidature of Nkurunziza for a third mandate was a violation of the Constitution and triggered serious a political crisis, with Opposition media closed by the authorities, a failed military coup, and the return of the armed Opposition groups .<br />“In Burundi people wonder who committed the murder. For some it was a clash within the ruling power , others say rebel groups are to blame ” say Fides’ sources. “However the modality of the attack would seem to point to the army . The attackers used an army pick-up and powerful weaponry. They organised an ambush in central Bujumbura at 8am., thus demonstrating ability to move freely around the capital ” conclude our local sources. Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:39:08 +0200AMERICA/CHILE - “Abortion is never therapeutic”: local Catholic Church attacks del Chile – “We urge all authorities to safeguard every human person, in particular the weakest and most vulnerable, to love and respect them as a mother loves her child.”. This was said in a recent statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Chile. The Bishops call on the country’s legislators to promote just laws and not to collaborate with laws on abortion. In brief the Bishops affirm that abortion can never be therapeutic. “We say that abortion in itself can never be a therapeutic action to save the life of a mother, even if the death of the unborn child is a foreseen possibility, neither desired, nor provoked”, the Bishops add. “In the case of the undesired death of the unborn child caused by an action to save the mother in danger, we cannot speak of abortion”, the statement reads. In the case of women who have been raped, “it is inhuman to leave them to face the trauma alone, just as it is inhuman to take the life of the most defenceless and innocent human person, her child”. The local Catholic Church in Chile stressed the importance for a government and society “to be active and present” in the task of supporting mothers and babies. Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:16:57 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA – From Venezuela school material for South African children Bela – Thanks to an initiative organised by the embassy of Venezuela in South Africa, hundreds of children at a primary school in Heleketani, Limpopo province, will soon receive new didactic material. The initiative, part of activities for the “Semana de Libertadores” involves providing support for a school in South Africa. The selected school is situated in the city of Bela Bela, district of Waterberg, and the children come from poor social areas. In a statement to the local media , the Venezuelan ambassador Mairin Moreno explained that the week of aid is also meant as a tribute to the late South African leader Nelson Mandela. “The new material is a small gift for the pupils of this school ”, the ambassador added. Heleketani Primary School was opened in 1995. The school has 31 teachers, 21 classrooms and 105 pupils aged 5 to 13. Here in Bela Bela, 110 km north of Pretoria, besides reading, writing and mathematics, the children learn the local languages sepedi, setswana, xitsonga as well as English. Sat, 01 Aug 2015 16:00:36 +0200ASIA/NEPAL - Post earthquake aggravates situation of early marriages: 2 out of every 5 girls married before the age of 18 –Three months after the earthquake, NGO Plan Internacional, warns of the danger of an increase in the trafficking of early marriages. In Nepal it is known that two out of five girls are married before the age of 18 . In a statement Plan Internacional affirms that the tremor aggravated an already difficult situation regarding water supplies and sanitation, and the arrival of the monsoon season increased the risk of disease such as diarrhoea, common cold and pneumonia. To protect minors the NGO is also helping to build temporary school buildings to enable the children to return to school as soon as possible, to resume lessons and also to provide place of safety from the danger of human trafficking. Plan Internacional acts mainly in the districts of Sindulpalchowk and Dolakha, most affected by the earthquake. However its aid also reached the valleys of Kathmandu, Sindhuli and Makwanpur. Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:39:58 +0200AMERICA/ECUADOR - Papal altar to serve as parish church – The infrastructure used for the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis during his recent pastoral visit to Guayaquil, in Ecuador, will soon serve as a new parish church centre for two districts of the "Piano Casa" Housing Plan undertaken in this area by the government five years ago.<br /><br />The new church centre will stand on an area of 5,500 sq. metres. The land is not far from the Monteverde-El Chorrillo gas pipe which divides the "Piano Casa" in two districts.<br /><br />Fides learned the news from Klaere Construcciones builders at present engaged in removing the infrastructure used by the Pope in order to reinforce the foundations before putting the Centre in its new position.<br /><br />The archdiocese says the new church will keep its original design and therefore be a visible memorial of the visit Pope Francis paid to that city in 2015.<br /> Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:02:54 +0200AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - No negotiating with gangs in the plan for National Security Salvador – The National Security Council in San Salvador decided on 30 July, to exclude any negotiation with gangs and to go forward to implement the plan based on the strategy El Salvador Sicuro, Fides was informed in a report by Hato Hasbún, presidential security commissioner. This position was ratified by auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, Mgr.Gregorio Rosa Chavez, as the representative of the local Catholic Church. <br /><br />According to the government representative a possible source of funding for the plan could be a security tax and the Council will meet again on 10 August to define the mechanism for obtaining resources.<br /><br />The Diplomatic Corps was also present at the Council. "We noted international interest to fund the El Salvador Sicuro plan, said auxiliary Bishop Rosa Chavez, remarking on one result of the Council meeting.<br /> Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:01:45 +0200AFRICA - For some 10,000 children development and survival threatened by congenital malformation – Every year in east African countries about 10,000 children are born with harelip and-or malformation of the palate, congenital malformations which threaten proper development. According to the NGO African Medical and Research Foundation, this malformation, noticed during pregnancy, is associated with genetic factors. Babies have difficulty eating and drinking, with speech, hearing and correct breathing, and the condition is generally seen as a taboo or punishment for bad deeds committed by some relation in the past. Very often the affected babies are hidden or abandoned or even killed. Similar malformation can also cause difficulties with breast feeding and consequent difficulty of survival and balanced growth. To prevent these problems from interfering with development, the babies need surgery in the first months of life, within the two first years. Only surgery will enable the child to speak, hear and feed normally. Sad to say the majority of babies in Africa suffering from this condition have no access to surgery which lasts just 45 minutes. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:08:35 +0200AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - “Print your Future” : Graphic Art for very vulnerable young people – At the beginning of June 2015 work began at last to build a School of Graphic Art in Mekanissa, an outlying district of Addis Ababa. The project called “Print your future: developing graphic art and printing in Ethiopia” aims to provide young people in the capital with new opportunities for highly qualified work in an emerging new sector, graphics and printing. The Salesian news agency ANS says this is the first such school in Ethiopia. The formation of the operators and the site for the Department of Graphic Art and Printing, will be the Salesian School in Mekanissa. The project is an initiative of Italian NGOs Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo and Volontariato Internazionale Donna Educazione e Sviluppo with the help of Cooperazione Italiana. The project consists not only of the building and equipment of the Department but also the organisation of formal and informal classes, including among the students, particularly vulnerable young people: workers in the informal sector, street children and young people in general excluded from the formal education cycle. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:41:18 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Day of Protest against human trafficking: child soldiers still used by FARCà – "All this must be denounced since it is one part of the things we have to do, the other part is to fight against the problem, because there exists a sort of masked protection of these crimes, on the part of the very people who run nations: governments in one way or the other, put them at their side. Masked protection of illegal trafficking of human persons is difficult to reveal", this was said by Archbishop Augusto Castro Quiroga of Tunja also chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, <br />Archbishop Castro Quiroga was speaking yesterday30 July at a press conference against human trafficking in Colombia.<br />The Bishop also spoke of thesad situation in Colombia: "a realty: the recruitment of child soldiers by FARC. Although FARC as a group is conscious of the damage caused, they have yet to come to a convinced decision to say no to child soldiers in their guerrilla groups. This is a decision FARC must make, otherwise ever greater harm will be done ".<br /><br />In his intervention, Colombia’s vice interior minister Carlos Ferro Solanilla, reiterated the government’s responsibility and commitment to continue working to identify public policies able to reveal this problem at both national and regional levels.<br />Sr Vicentina Genoveva Nieto, in charge of initiatives to promote the prevention of human trafficking, recalled that the local Church has dedicated religious men and women working hard to assist the victims of abuse. The nun spoke of 22 national and continental networks present in 197 countries, "seriously committed to this work, to ensure that every time there is one less victim ".<br /> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:12:38 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - “Yes to dialogue, but with respect for the law”, local Catholic Church on political dialogue – "Dialogue is considered the founding principal of democracy and nation". This was said on Tuesday 28 July by the secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo , Rev. Leonard Santedi. The priest was taking part in a debate organised by CENCO.<br />The participants, politicians belonging to the Presidential Majority MP, members of the opposition, members of civil society and a group of analysts, discussed goals of political dialogue in Democratic Republic of Congo , the upcoming elections and special session of Parliament.<br />For Rev. Leonard Santedi, the local Catholic Church is not opposed to the idea of dialogue, but insists on respect for the Constitution. "Yes to dialogue, but with respect for fundamental law ", he said.<br />Congo’s Constitution deals with the expiry date for the election of a President of the Republic and the number and duration of presidential mandates.<br />Present at the meeting political analyst professor Philippe Biyoya, affirmed that dialogue is the very principle of community life.<br />"Dialogue is seen as the active principle of every society. It is the principle which builds harmony in society", said, André Alain Atundu, governing Party spokesman.<br />However this opinion was not shared by Opposition member Franck Diongo, who considers dialogue "in the present context, deception and a trap".<br />The local Catholic Church reaffirmed her position regarding national dialogue promoted by President Joseph Kabila, which “must take place in absolute respect for the current constitutional and institutional framework”, in other words excluding any constitutional change which would enable the outgoing president to stand for election and a third mandate. <br /> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:26:50 +0200AFRICA/KENYA – Bishops call for general ‘boycot’ of upcoming vaccination campaign until vaccine is tested – The Catholic Bishops of Kenya have urged citizens to boycot a maAFRICA/KENYA – Bishops call for general ‘boycot’ of upcoming vaccination campaign until vaccine has been confirmed through scientific tests. The oral vaccination campaign, by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, is scheduled to begin in Kenya on Aug. 1. Ahead of the campaign’s launch, the bishops questioned the safety of the vaccines, saying the manufacturer failed to provide requested information and the government disregarded the bishops’ request for tests. The Bishops concern follows a recent unrelated incident in which about 30 children who received an injection of an anti-malarial drug in a dispensary in western Kenya appeared to be paralyzed. The drug, believed to be quinine for advanced cases, was found to contain the pain drug paracetamol, according to the bishops. In an immediate reply the Kenyan health ministry encouraged support for the vaccination from all sides including the local Catholic Church. Bishop Philip Anyolo, of the diocese of Homa Bay and chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Kenya, said at a recent press conference in a Nairobi: “We are not in conflict with the Ministry of Health, but we have an apostolic and moral duty to ensure Kenyans are getting safe vaccines”. Early this year, government and bishops came into conflict after the clerics claimed a mass neonatal tetanus vaccination campaign was a disguised form of population control. However both institutions reached an agreement for testing before, during and after vaccination campaigns. “We are not fighting anybody”, said cardinal John Njue, bishop of Nairobi, “we are only trying to prevent our people from suffering from external causes”. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:20:06 +0200ASIA/NEPAL – Months after the earthquake prime necessities still needed – Despite a slight improvement in the humanitarian situation in the past three months, hundreds of children are still without shelter, food, water, sanitation, schooling and protection. Many children still live in areas at high risk of floods and landslides. Following the first earthquake as many as 10,000 children developed acute malnourishment, one thousand in serious conditions. Hundreds have lost one or both of their parents or care-person, 900,00 homes and 32 school buildings are still damaged or destroyed. Some three million people, including one million minors, still depend on humanitarian aid. UNICEF humanitarian aid is assisting some 330,000 families, including 450,00 children, in 19 districts most affected by the earthquake. It has also supplied aid to thousands of families living in remote areas, supplying tents, hygiene kits, therapeutic foods, vaccinations and other life-saving medicines, medical kits, bed nets, newborn packages, and school-in-a-box and early childhood development kits. Aid has enabled 100,000 children to return to school, provided clean water for 650,000 people at home or in camps, reopened 100 maternity centres in more than 150 medical centres, saved women and children from being taken out of the country illegally. .Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:43:01 +0200EUROPE/UKRAINE - Two religious murdered within days – Sr Alevtina of Florivsky Convent in Kiev was found dead in her apartment on 29 July, the Union of Christian Orthodox Brotherhoods of Ukraine told Interfax-Religion. <br />"We know that she went to her city apartment to wash and change before undergoing a surgical operation [there is no hot water in the convent at present]. However, later her nephew found the nun's body with her hands tied and traces of torture," a spokesman said.<br />Sister Alvetina was 62 years old. <br />Interfax was unable to obtain any more official information on the case from police in Kiev.<br />This is the second murder of a member of the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in a few days.<br />On July 29 morning a 40-year old priest of the Church of St. Tatiana in Kiev, Father Roman Nikolayev, died of gunshot wounds to the head inflicted last week.<br /> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:12:02 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Updated Spanish version of the New Testamentà – Spanish speaking Catholics in Latin American countries can now avail themselves of a new updated version of the New Testament. This was announced by the Council of Latin American Bishops , on Monday in Bogotá. <br />On occasion of the official presentation of the new edition of the New Testament, on Monday, a Castilian translation from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the work of Latin American scholars of the CELAM Bible School, Archbishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales, military ordinary of Chile and director of the work, said: "Language is living and with the passing of time expressions change; at the same time Biblical knowledge increases thanks to studies. These changes, in language and in knowledge, must be translated in keeping with the changing needs of the Church".<br />One most important aspect of the new translation consists in the notes, quotations and commentaries which provide a fundamental contribution for the work of evangelisation in the local Churches. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:49:54 +0200AFRICA/ERITREA - United Nations investigates human trafficking - Eritreans with the Syrians, form the second largest group which risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean sea in an attempt to reach Europe. A recent report issued by the United Nations Organization denounced systematic and multiform violation of human rights on the part of Eritrea. This African country has asked the UN to investigate the despicable trafficking of human persons, exodus generally attributed to the violation of human rights. Since the beginning of this year, according to the World Migration Office, some 150,000 migrants have arrived in Europe via the sea. In these perilous journeys at least 1,900 people lost their lives. Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:10:01 +0200AFRICA/CAMEROON – For women kamikaze detonators easier to hide – Suicide bombing attacks continue in the northern region of Cameroon and in the Nigerian state of Yobe. In both countries more recently it would appear that suicide bombers are mainly women, and of all ages. According to latest reports from the city of Maroua a girl of 12 and a middle aged woman were responsible for suicide bombings in a crowded public place leaving persons dead and wounded. Whereas although Boko Haram is suspected, no responsibility for the episode has been claimed. In Maroua only days earlier there had been several suicide attacks by young girls. Moreover two more women blew themselves up in the town Fotokol, in the north of Cameroon. The regional government has prohibited the use of the burka, often used by Boko Haram to mask its suicide bombers. In Nigeria, another woman, apparently mentally unstable, detonated her bomb in a crowded market place in Damaturu, other women had done the same a few weeks earlier in a prayer area in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State. Since the month of June 2014, Boko Haram has used 35 women suicide bombers in Nigeria and Cameroon. The use of women makes it easier for Jihadists to organise suicide attacks since the explosives are more easily hidden in their ample clothing. Despite a military offensive coordinated by Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon targeting the ISWA stronghold in the region of Lake Chad, the jihadists have maintained rhythm in their attacks suicide and military. Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:57:21 +0200AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Local Catholic Church applauds order to release detained Central American families – A sentence dated 24 July issued by Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court of California ordering the Obama administration to release families fleeing violence in Central America and detained in the US, has been warmly welcomed by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary of Seattle and chairman of the Migration Commission of the USCCB, the United States Catholic Bishops Conference.<br />The administration had launched a policy of detention for such families as a means of discouraging other such families from emigrating to the United States.<br />"I warmly welcome the court decision and urge the Administration to act swiftly ", said Bishop Elizondo on 27 July. "I welcome the decision which will prevent the prolongation of a wrong and unjust policy treating vulnerable persons as criminals."<br />In the first months of this year Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio; Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, Texas; and Bishop Elizondo visited the families at the detention centre in Dilley, Texas, where and they requested the release of the detained families and the use of measures alternative to detention. .<br /> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:22:40 +0200AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Government and people commence dialogue for definitive solutionì - 27 July marked the beginning of dialogue between the civic committee of Potosi and various representatives of the government. Although there exists a willingness to end the situation of conflict which has lasted for more than twenty years , the sides have yet to agree on principal points to define as the first step in the meeting.<br />The local Catholic Church in the person of Mons. Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzmán, Bishop of the diocese of Potosì, has called once again for dialogue which must be sincere: "We are convinced that the only possible solution to reach an agreement with the people is to commence sincere and immediate dialogue and therefore I urge you for love of Bolivia and love of Potosì to heed the demand that promotes this encounter between government and people in the context of respect and freedom because the rule of law is always possible", the local Church statement sent to Fides concludes.<br /> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:57:21 +0200