Fides News Englishhttp://fides.org/Fides Agency Newsen-usASIA/PAKISTAN - Anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters storm Christian schoolhttp://fides.org/en/news/37196-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Anti_Charlie_Hebdo_protesters_storm_Christian_schoolhttp://fides.org/en/news/37196-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Anti_Charlie_Hebdo_protesters_storm_Christian_schoolIslamabad - 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks protesting against the French satirical newspaper "Charlie Hebdo" for publishing blasphemous cartoons of the prophet Mohammed stormed a Christian boys’ school in the city of Bannu, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in northern Pakistan, demanding its closure. As reported to Fides, the protesting students entered the "Panel High School" after jumping its outer walls and forcibly opened the gates. Four Christian students were injured in the attack. The school has been closed for two days and the Headmaster has decided to take additional security measures.<br />In a note sent to Fides, the Christian Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO "Center for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement" declares: "It is very sad that Islamic radicals attack Pakistani Christians because of Charlie Hebdo. Christians condemn the blasphemous cartoons. It is a shame that even after 67 years since the birth of Pakistan, Christians have not yet been considered Pakistani citizens, but are seen as 'Western allies'. Whenever incidents occur in western countries, the faithful Pakistanis are attacked. Christians, who are already living under constant fear for their lives, become even more vulnerable. It is the politicians’ duty – he concludes – to create a cultural environment and a society in which Christians and religious minorities feel safe". Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Mgr. Parra robbed during a parish meeting: "Money is spent on many things, but not on safety"http://fides.org/en/news/37195-AMERICA_VENEZUELA_Mgr_Parra_robbed_during_a_parish_meeting_Money_is_spent_on_many_things_but_not_on_safetyhttp://fides.org/en/news/37195-AMERICA_VENEZUELA_Mgr_Parra_robbed_during_a_parish_meeting_Money_is_spent_on_many_things_but_not_on_safetyCiudad Guayana - "We cannot continue like this, I do not see concrete action against violence", said His Exc. Mgr. Mariano José Parra Sandoval, Bishop of Ciudad Guyana after being robbed, along with other 50 people during a parish meeting on 27 January. "Everything was quiet around 8 pm in the auditorium of the Virgen del Valle parish, in Ciudad Guyana, but when I walked in I was told to lie on the floor", said the Bishop to the local press. "I spoke with the governor to tell him that we cannot continue like this. Money is spent on many things, but not on citizen safety", said Mgr. Parra.<br />The pastor, who attended the meeting with two other priests, pastors of neighboring parishes said that since the beginning of 2015 this is the fifth time that thieves have stolen in the parish. "We cannot close the churches", said the Bishop who concluded: "we need to teach children to live without violence. But one thing is certain, we do not live well in the Venezuelan society".<br />Despair and lack of security in the cities of Venezuela is pushing youth groups to attack people also for a few dollars. Urban delinquency has increased and many believe it is the consequence of the terrible economic situation that crosses the country. Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - Appointment of Rector of the "Blessed Tansi Iwene" Seminary in the Archdiocese of Onitshahttp://fides.org/en/news/37194-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Appointment_of_Rector_of_the_Blessed_Tansi_Iwene_Seminary_in_the_Archdiocese_of_Onitshahttp://fides.org/en/news/37194-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Appointment_of_Rector_of_the_Blessed_Tansi_Iwene_Seminary_in_the_Archdiocese_of_OnitshaVatican City - On October 17, 2014 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev. Emanuele Uchenna Dim, of the diocesan clergy of Auchi as Rector of the "Blessed Tansi Iwene" Seminary in the Archdiocese of Onitsha . Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/NIGERIA - Appointment of the Rector of the "Blessed John Paul II" Seminary in the diocese of Auchihttp://fides.org/en/news/37193-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Appointment_of_the_Rector_of_the_Blessed_John_Paul_II_Seminary_in_the_diocese_of_Auchihttp://fides.org/en/news/37193-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Appointment_of_the_Rector_of_the_Blessed_John_Paul_II_Seminary_in_the_diocese_of_AuchiVatican City - On October 3, 2014 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples appointed rev. Benjamin Ewelu, of the diocesan clergy of Auchi as Rector of the "Blessed John Paul II" Seminary in the diocese of Auchi . Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/GUATEMALA - A reception center for HIV childrenhttp://fides.org/en/news/37192-AMERICA_GUATEMALA_A_reception_center_for_HIV_childrenhttp://fides.org/en/news/37192-AMERICA_GUATEMALA_A_reception_center_for_HIV_childrenCiudad de Guatemala - The San Jose Reception Center, founded in Guatemala in 1985 as a non- governmental organization to help HIV-positive children who are abandoned, orphaned or sick. Currently the center takes care of 67 children where not only do they receive medical care, but also psychological support that teaches them to live with their health condition. Many, especially the older ones, refuse to depend on drugs for life. Furthermore, people with HIV, because of medications, are constantly exposed to diarrhea, vomiting, skin peeling. They may also have kidney problems and cholesterol and treatments involve a very high cost. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/DR CONGO - Resignation of Bishop of Lolo and appointed of successorhttp://fides.org/en/news/37191-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Resignation_of_Bishop_of_Lolo_and_appointed_of_successorhttp://fides.org/en/news/37191-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Resignation_of_Bishop_of_Lolo_and_appointed_of_successorVatican City - On 29 January 2015, The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral governance of the diocese of Lolo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, by His Exc. Mgr. Ferdinand Maemba Liwoke, in accordance to can. 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law. The Holy Father appointed Rev. Jean-Bertin Nadonye Ndongo, O.F.M. Cap., Minister of the Capuchin Friars Minor in Rome as Bishop of the Diocese of Lolo.<br />Rev. Jean-Bertin Nadonye Ndongo, O.F.M. Cap., was born on March 24, 1965 in Botuzu, Equateur province, diocese of Molegbe. After primary school in Bozene he attended secondary school in Bongisa/Bwamanda . He studied philosophy at the Saint Laurent Convent in Bwamanda and Theology at the Saint Eugene de Mazenod Institute in Kitambo . He then obtained a licentiate in Theology at the Catholic University of Kinshasa . He also has a bachelor's Enseignement secondaire, degré supérieur. He was ordained a priest on 2 August 1993.<br />After ordination he has served in a number of pastoral roles: 1993-1995: Assistant priest at Ste Elisabeth in Gemena, Diocese of Molegbe; 1995-1996: Vice Rector of the Capuchin Friars in Kinshasa; 1996-1997: Master of Novices and lecturer at the Institute of Religious Sciences in Bwamanda; 1997-1998: First Counselor of the General Vice-Province of Congo; 1998-2001: Pastor of Sacré Coeur de Jésus, in Bwamanda and member of the Economic Council of the Diocese of Molegbe; 2001-2005: Formator and Rector of the Maison d'études in Kinshasa; Vice Coordinator of the Famille Franciscaine in Kinshasa; Member of the Audit Committee of the Constitutions and General Statutes ; 2005-2009: Vice-Minister and then Provincial Minister of the Capuchin Friars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and President of the Capuchin Conference of Central and Western Africa ; 2009-2011: Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saint Augustin Institute in Kinshasa; 2011-2012: President of ASUMA . Since 2012: General Minister of Friars Minor Capuchin, in Rome. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Nearly 50 000 children victims of homicide because of armed conflicthttp://fides.org/en/news/37190-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Nearly_50_000_children_victims_of_homicide_because_of_armed_conflicthttp://fides.org/en/news/37190-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Nearly_50_000_children_victims_of_homicide_because_of_armed_conflictBogota - More than two million children are victims of violence in Colombia: abused and displaced. <br />According to a document published by the Victims Unit, sent to Agenzia Fides, currently 2,182,707 children have suffered violence due to armed conflict, of whom 47 724 were victims of homicide. 30% of the total victims in the country were Young boys and girls. The document also shows that the lives of about 10 thousand children are at risk because of terrorist attacks, fighting or harassment, while 60 thousand suffered intimidation and threats. Other 8,600 disappeared, 683 were seized and 631 were victims of anti-personnel mines.<br />Sexual violence has affected 604 children, and 354 others have been tortured, some 250 have been deprived of everything and forced to leave their homes. It also revealed that two out of 10 children were abused when they were under 5 years of age, 43 out of 100 between 6 and 12 years of age, and 36 out of 100 between 13 to 17 years of age. According to sources of the Victims Unit, since 2010 the number of children involved in conflicts has decreased. Progress is still being made in the recovery of these victims. The Unit has also launched an appeal against the guerrillas of the FARC and ELN, so that they put an end to the recruitment of young children. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/ECUADOR - The country remembers "the Bishop of the Indios"http://fides.org/en/news/37189-AMERICA_ECUADOR_The_country_remembers_the_Bishop_of_the_Indioshttp://fides.org/en/news/37189-AMERICA_ECUADOR_The_country_remembers_the_Bishop_of_the_IndiosQuito - Ecuador is celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Mgr. Leonidas Eduardo Proaño Villalba, the "Bishop de los Indios", as he was called by everyone in the Latin American country, who dedicated his life to support the cultural and territorial rights and identity of indigenous peoples. "I am the son of a poor family ... I was born on January 29, 1910 in San Antonio de Ibarra ... I knew, as all the poor, what longing and hunger mean. Poverty! ... But even that is a gift", he says in his autobiography.<br />On 26 May 1954 he was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Bolívar , appointed by Pope Pius XII. The diocese changed its name to Riobamba in 1955. He was appointed Pastor, visited the peasant and indigenous communities, in which he found serious social problems. In 1956, seven years ahead of the first Agrarian Reform Law, Mgr. Leonidas Proaño, after checking that his diocese had vast properties, gave the estates of the Church to the natives, asking them to organize themselves in cooperatives, in order to ensure an income.<br />He died on August 31, 1988, leaving a rich legacy to the local church: the Centro de Estudios y Acción Social , where leaders of farmers' organizations are trained; Schools Radiofoniche Popular Ecuador for literacy and adult education; the Hogar Santa Cruz, the center of community life and technical update; the Equipo Misionero Diocesan, missionary groups engaged in the social sector, an initiative which will be proposed in other dioceses. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - The Bishops: "We pay tribute to the consecrated who founded the local Church"http://fides.org/en/news/37188-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_The_Bishops_We_pay_tribute_to_the_consecrated_who_founded_the_local_Churchhttp://fides.org/en/news/37188-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_The_Bishops_We_pay_tribute_to_the_consecrated_who_founded_the_local_ChurchJohannesburg - "Consecrated men and women established the local Church in our dioceses and most of our parishes, serving people of every background in countless ways", say the Bishops of the Southern African Catholic Bishop's Conference in their Pastoral Letter dedicated to the Year of Consecrated Life .<br />"We pay tribute to all deceased Religious who have served in our Countries and are buried in our soil, sometimes in obscure or forgotten graves. We appreciate all those Religious who have grown old among us, who have given courageous witness and led exemplary lives", continues the document, sent to Agenzia Fides.<br />The Bishops, after pointing out that the mission of evangelization is a duty of every religious, emphasize the wealth resulting from the presence of religious men and women from different parts of the world. "The witness of internationality and multi-cultural living counteracts the tendency to extreme nationalism. Caring for one another across the boundaries of age and culture and listening to each other with respect encourages all to live the Gospel by openness to the mystery of God in each other".<br />"We entrust our dear consecrated Brothers and Sisters in a very special way to our Mother’s prayers and to her love. May she share with them, and with all of us, the love which enables them to offer their lives every day for Christ and to cooperate with him in the salvation of the world", the Bishops conclude. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/IRAQ - US Senators: The United States have to encourage the creation of a province for Christians in the Nineveh Plainhttp://fides.org/en/news/37187-ASIA_IRAQ_US_Senators_The_United_States_have_to_encourage_the_creation_of_a_province_for_Christians_in_the_Nineveh_Plainhttp://fides.org/en/news/37187-ASIA_IRAQ_US_Senators_The_United_States_have_to_encourage_the_creation_of_a_province_for_Christians_in_the_Nineveh_PlainWashington - The situation of suffering experienced by Christians and other minorities forced to flee from Nineveh Plain raises "serious concern", to the point of asking the US State Department to "support the government of Iraqi’s establishment of the Nineveh Plains administrative province" and provide "direct support programs designed to assist vulnerable Iraqi ethnic and religious minorities". These are the concrete proposals contained in a petition that 17 US Senators write to the Secretary of State, John Kerry, urging direct intervention on behalf of the US Government on the Iraqi institutions in order to push them to increase the levels of institutional and security protection of the indigenous Christian communities. The senators, in supporting their proposals, appeal to the legislative appropriations for the fiscal year 2015, which provide for actions of the State Department to support "programs to assist" the ethnic-religious minorities.<br />In addition, the Senators also refer to law FY15 for the programming of the activities of National Defence, where there are expressions that allow direct supplies in favor of the security forces committed to protecting Iraq's minority communities. In the letter, which is dated January 27, 2015, the petitioners also mention Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution currently in force, which guarantees the protection and the legal regulation of "administrative, political, cultural and educational rights of different nationalities, including Turkmen, Chaldeans, Assyrians and all the other components".<br />The definition of the Iraqi Christian communities as ethnic-national entities, also contained in the Iraqi Constitution is supported and theorized especially by circles and nationalist groups that are very active in the Chaldean and Assyrian diaspora communities in the US. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/MYANMAR - "Remove a cross in the state of Chin": the order worries Christianshttp://fides.org/en/news/37186-ASIA_MYANMAR_Remove_a_cross_in_the_state_of_Chin_the_order_worries_Christianshttp://fides.org/en/news/37186-ASIA_MYANMAR_Remove_a_cross_in_the_state_of_Chin_the_order_worries_ChristiansHakha - The government of the Burmese state of Chin has ordered the removal, by 30 January, of a 16-meter-high cross, located on a hill in the city of Hakha. As Fides learns, the ordinance states that the cross, erected in April 2014, was erected illegally. It is Tial Cem, a Christian elder of ethnic Chin, who now has to appear in court and faces a sentence to two years in prison.<br />According to the organization "Chin Human Rights Organization" , the government must withdraw the order and guarantee religious freedom. The Chin Christians who planted the cross refer in fact "of not having asked for an official permit", because they knew "it would not be granted".<br />CHRO notices "discriminatory restrictions that make it virtually impossible to get permits for non-Buddhist buildings and religious monuments". A 2012 Report entitled "Threats to our existence: the persecution of the Christians of ethnic Chin in Burma", sent to Fides, traces in detail these restrictions and documents the destruction of 13 Christian crosses in the Chin State in recent years.<br />The case of the cross in Hakha has brought to surface these violations of religious freedom and minority rights, says a statement sent to Fides by the NGO "Christian Solidarity Worldwide" . Some faithful Chin intend to organize a public protest in coming days, to prevent the removal of the cross. According to CSW, "the destruction of Christian crosses in Chin State has long been a pursued policy of the Burmese authorities, often accompanied by the construction of Buddhist pagodas in their place. If Burma wants to proceed in an authentic path of reform, we need to protect religious minorities and respect the most basic human right of freedom of religion". Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/PAKISTAN - Legal battle for the custody of the children of the Christian couple burned alivehttp://fides.org/en/news/37184-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Legal_battle_for_the_custody_of_the_children_of_the_Christian_couple_burned_alivehttp://fides.org/en/news/37184-ASIA_PAKISTAN_Legal_battle_for_the_custody_of_the_children_of_the_Christian_couple_burned_aliveLahore - Five different applications have been lodged at the Court of Lahore demanding custody of the three children of Shama and Shahzad Masih, the Christian couple accused of blasphemy and burned alive by a mob of Muslims in Kot Radha Kishan, in Punjab, on November 4, 2014.<br />As Fides learns, the three orphaned children are: Salman 6 years old; Sania, 4 years old; Poonam 18 months old. According to family members, at the time of the death, Shama was also pregnant.<br />The three children are currently living with their maternal grandfather. The Prime Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, visited the children the day after the death of their parents, announcing compensation of five million rupees and the gift of 10 acres of land. He promised, moreover, education and free health care to the three. It’s up to the Court now to destine the amount allocated by the government, by choosing a guardian to administer the property and to take care of the three until they reach legal age.<br />This has sparked a legal battle for custody. The plaintiffs are Mukhtar Masih, the children’s maternal grandfather; maternal uncle Yasin Masih; paternal uncle Iqbal Masih. Also two organizations that could take care of children have filed for custody: one is "Legal Evangelical Association Development ", led Christian Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill; the second is "Child Protection and Welfare Bureau", an NGO that deals with orphaned children. The hearing is scheduled for February 6.<br />Christian lawyer Gill, in a note sent to Fides, recalls that "if the three were assigned to LEAD the children would be brought up in a Christian environment, as is their right". Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AMERICA/CHILE - "We have lost a great opportunity": criticism regarding the Law on Educationhttp://fides.org/en/news/37183-AMERICA_CHILE_We_have_lost_a_great_opportunity_criticism_regarding_the_Law_on_Educationhttp://fides.org/en/news/37183-AMERICA_CHILE_We_have_lost_a_great_opportunity_criticism_regarding_the_Law_on_EducationTemuco - The Episcopal Conference of Chile, through its Commission for Education, is disappointed that the new Law on Education recently approved by Congress, does not address issues related to government subsidies and the quality of education. <br />The Bishop of Temuco and President of the Commission, Mgr. Héctor Vargas, commented: "maybe this happened because there were no necessary spaces for a serious and profound reflection on the nature, the principles and values of a true education".<br />In this regard, the Bishop expressed strong doubts "about the fact that this law will contribute substantially to improving public education in Chile. We believe that the country has lost a great opportunity in this regard". Mgr. Vargas recalls that since the beginning of the debate on educational reform, the Church has been willing to engage vigorously" in the construction of a more just, inclusive education and with real opportunities for all children and young people, especially the poor".<br />The Episcopal Commission for Education believes that "although insufficient, there were still progress and changes made in the legislative text". The note concludes with a wish: "We hope that in the next implementing regulation and in any future revisions, the principles of authentic education, freedom and inalienable rights are safeguarded. This is what we Catholic bishops stated in the document 'La Educación que queremos para Chile' in November 2014" . Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/TAIWAN - X Congress of the Word of God in Chinesehttp://fides.org/en/news/37182-ASIA_TAIWAN_X_Congress_of_the_Word_of_God_in_Chinesehttp://fides.org/en/news/37182-ASIA_TAIWAN_X_Congress_of_the_Word_of_God_in_ChineseTai Pei - "Witnessing the Word of God, a new Evangelization - Pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved ": was the theme of the X world Congress of the Word of God in Chinese, held from January 22 to 26 in Tai Pei, organized by the Bible Association in Chinese. <br />According to information gathered by Agenzia Fides, over 300 faithful attended the Congress from all over the world: Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand , England, Italy, Germany, Canada ...<br />As a point of reference of the work, the Congress took the Apostolic Exhortation of the Pope Francis "Evangelii Gaudium", with the aim to "reflect, share, listen, celebrate, study and to put oneself at the service of the Word of God in the Church, in order to spread the Word of God in the world, so that the Word of God may always be the core of the life and mission of the Church".<br />Some important anniversaries were mentioned: the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the Conciliar Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum; 40 years of the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation of Blessed Pope Paul VI Evangelii Nuntiandi; 15 years of the canonization of the Chinese martyrs; 3 years since the beatification of Fr. Gabriele Allegra, who translated the entire Bible in Chinese; the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Bible Association in Chinese.<br />Based on these ecclesial events, the participants highlighted that the Word of God has shaped the beauty of the many aspects of the life and mission of the individual communities. They also presented their pastoral and missionary work, committed to spreading the word of God in the contemporary world through new tools and new technologies, like the Internet, social networks ... Finally they proclaimed 2015 as the "Pastoral Year of the Sacred Scripture". Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/IVORY COAST - In view of the elections there is growing concern for children abducted for macabre ritualshttp://fides.org/en/news/37181-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_In_view_of_the_elections_there_is_growing_concern_for_children_abducted_for_macabre_ritualshttp://fides.org/en/news/37181-AFRICA_IVORY_COAST_In_view_of_the_elections_there_is_growing_concern_for_children_abducted_for_macabre_ritualsAbidjan - In view of the upcoming presidential elections to be held in the Ivory Coast in October, there is a growing concern for the kidnapping and murder of children for ritual purposes. According to information gathered by Fides, a previous wave of kidnappings took place even before the 2010 elections. <br />The fear of the population and the security forces is based on the fact that in the Country, leading producer of cocoa in West Africa, some businessmen and corrupt politicians rely on macabre rituals that they believe give them supernatural powers to win the elections. Since December more than twenty children have been kidnapped, and most have been found dead and mutilated. According to the locals we are talking about black magic, occult and mystical practices, carried out during ceremonies to receive the "energy" of the young victims, in order to obtain money and power. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/SRI LANKA - Cardinal Ranjith: for peace and religious harmony, the government "is on the right path"http://fides.org/en/news/37180-ASIA_SRI_LANKA_Cardinal_Ranjith_for_peace_and_religious_harmony_the_government_is_on_the_right_pathhttp://fides.org/en/news/37180-ASIA_SRI_LANKA_Cardinal_Ranjith_for_peace_and_religious_harmony_the_government_is_on_the_right_pathColombo - "The new government of President Mahinda Sirisena has undertaken the important task of ensuring the rule of law in the country and promote peace and harmony among different communities": this is what the Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said, commenting on the first appointments of ministers of the new government.<br />As Fides learns, the Archbishop said that in recent months a situation had been created in which, in particular, religious minority communities felt "a little uncomfortable because of the activities of some extremist groups in the country". "It is therefore nice to see various ministries assigned to people of different faiths, who believe in their religion", said the Cardinal, who appreciated that the government has assigned the protection of Buddhist religious affairs to a Buddhist, of Hindu Religious Affairs to a Hindu, those related to Christian affairs to a Catholic.<br />Recalling that religion is a fundamental element for each person, the Archbishop of Colombo noted that "one cannot have harmony among different communities excluding religion from the inside of the person". The Cardinal concluded: "We live on this earth for a short period of time. We need to live in peace and together with others, trusting each other. To lead a country on the path of development, there must be peace and harmony, there must be an understanding among the different types of people belonging to different religions, with different ideas and social classes. This is how Sri Lanka can become a nation with one heart and one soul". Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/EGYPT - The Egyptian government allocates land for the construction of new churches in the capitalhttp://fides.org/en/news/37179-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Egyptian_government_allocates_land_for_the_construction_of_new_churches_in_the_capitalhttp://fides.org/en/news/37179-AFRICA_EGYPT_The_Egyptian_government_allocates_land_for_the_construction_of_new_churches_in_the_capitalCairo - A plot of 30 hectares has been made available to the Coptic Patriarchate to build structures and offices connected to the Cathedral of San Marco in Cairo, and three other smaller plots of land to be allocated for the construction of three new churches in three different areas of Cairo: These provisions ratified recently by the Egyptian Ministry for construction, services and urban communities, was made known by the minister Mostafa Madbouly. In statements released by the Minister and sent to Agenzia Fides, Madbouly highlights that concessions meet real pastoral needs, properly documented by the various ecclesial communities, and were placed in full compliance with the legislation that currently governs the construction of buildings of worship.<br />At the end of last October, representatives of the main Churches and Christian communities in Egypt had sent a draft bill on the construction of churches to the government , prepared with the intent to outline legal and clear procedures, that shun the construction of churches in every kind of arbitrariness. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/LIBYA - Assault on Tripoli: the shadow of the Islamic State on the shores of the Mediterraneanhttp://fides.org/en/news/37178-AFRICA_LIBYA_Assault_on_Tripoli_the_shadow_of_the_Islamic_State_on_the_shores_of_the_Mediterraneanhttp://fides.org/en/news/37178-AFRICA_LIBYA_Assault_on_Tripoli_the_shadow_of_the_Islamic_State_on_the_shores_of_the_MediterraneanTripoli - At least 10 people died in the attack on Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, committed by two gunmen, yesterday, January 27th.<br />After setting off a car bomb in the parking lot of the hotel, where diplomats and foreign businessmen have met local dignitaries in the past, the militants rushed inside the hotel and opened fire killing security guards and some foreigners. After being surrounded by security forces, at least two militants detonated explosive belts they were wearing.<br />The attack was claimed by a group which is said to be affiliated to the "Islamic State", active between Syria and Iraq, the "Islamic State in the Province of Tripoli". In a statement, the group said the attack was in honour of Abu Anas al-Libi, an Al-Qaeda suspect who died in the United States earlier this month, days before facing a trial for bombing US embassies in 1998. Al-Libi, who was captured in Libya in October 2013 by US special forces, died of cancer in January in a US prison while he was awaiting trial.<br />Omar Khadrawi, head of the Central Security Directorate , has instead accused a group that remained loyal to the deposed leader Gaddafi of being responsible for the assault on the Corinthia, denying the presence in Tripoli of groups loyal to the Islamic State. According to the Libyan press, at the time of the attack the Prime Minister of the government in Tripoli, Omar Al-Hassi was present in the hotel, who was unhurt. In Libya there are two governments which are competing for power: in Tripoli and in Tobruk . The UN has initiated talks to form a government of national unity . Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100ASIA/LEBANON - The Patriarchs of Antioch: in order to stop the conflict, arms trafficking must be stoppedhttp://fides.org/en/news/37177-ASIA_LEBANON_The_Patriarchs_of_Antioch_in_order_to_stop_the_conflict_arms_trafficking_must_be_stoppedhttp://fides.org/en/news/37177-ASIA_LEBANON_The_Patriarchs_of_Antioch_in_order_to_stop_the_conflict_arms_trafficking_must_be_stoppedBkerké - The wars that devastate the Middle East, starting from Syria and Iraq will end only when the flow of arms and money destined to armed factions and terrorist groups by allies and sponsors regional and International will stop. This is how the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches of the East expressed themselves during a meeting on Tuesday, January 27th in Bkerké, at the headquarters of the Maronite Patriarchate, and once again highlighted that the arms trade and the current financial resources made available to the jihadi groups are the key factors in the conflicts that disrupt the lives of entire peoples, destabilizing the geopolitical framework in the Middle East.<br />The meeting, hosted by the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, was also attended by all the other Bishops who carry the patriarchal title of Antioch: Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Yohanna X, Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III, the Syrian-Orthodox Patriarch Aphrem II and the Syrian Catholic Youssef III.<br />In the meeting - which was attended by the Armenian Catholic Bishop of Damascus Joseph Arnaouti and Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon – what emerged was the common judgment and shared pastoral concern which unites the Heads of Churches of the East before the emergencies that afflict the peoples of the area and, in some cases, threaten the very survival of the indigenous Christian communities.<br />"Even in Lebanon - refers to Agenzia Fides Father Paul Karam, President of Caritas Lebanon, who attended the meeting - the general impoverishment, political paralysis and the growing danger of an offensive by the jihadi militias are destabilizing society and push the youth to flee, especially young Christians, who go abroad to find work. <br />The efforts of the Churches and ecclesial institutions, even though have doubled, cannot make up for the inaction of civil institutions. There is also a decline in international aid to the benefit of refugees, while humanitarian emergencies and the number of refugees continue to rise".<br />In the document, published at the end of the meeting, the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches insist on the need to end conflicts with "peaceful means" and "through political negotiations" involving all the contending parties. Among other things, the text reaffirms support and solidarity with the Lebanese armed forces, who since last Friday, January 23, have been engaged in the area of Ras Baalbek, in operations against jihadi militias from Syria, "to foil a subversive plan of enormous gravity, with the help of God". Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Caritas: more funds needed for refugees from the Central African Republichttp://fides.org/en/news/37176-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Caritas_more_funds_needed_for_refugees_from_the_Central_African_Republichttp://fides.org/en/news/37176-AFRICA_CENTRAL_AFRICA_Caritas_more_funds_needed_for_refugees_from_the_Central_African_RepublicGeneva - More funds are needed to help refugees from the Central African Republic who have been welcomed in neighboring States, said Msgr. Robert J Vitillo, head of Caritas Internationalis’ delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, in a statement on the occasion of the launch of the Inter-Agency Central African Republic Regional refugee Response 2015, sponsored by the UNHCR .<br />Msgr. Vitillo recalls - in the text sent to Agenzia Fides - that the overall budget plan prepared by UN agencies for 2015 amounts to 331 million dollars, but NGOs will receive $ 14 million. According to the head of Caritas Internationalis, NGOs should receive an equitable share of funding made available by international donors.<br />Nearly 190,000 people have fled the Central African Republic since the anti-Balaka militias overran the capital Bangui in December 2013. Before that, more than 230,000 people already had fled, bringing the total number of refugees from the Central African Republic to some 425,000. Many are in Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In these Countries, Caritas has been providing training programs for refugees as well as education, sanitation, clean water and food assistance.<br />Msgr. Vitillo has finally launched an appeal to help the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons accommodated in makeshift camps in the same Central African Republic. The structures of the Catholic Church in Central Africa, said Msgr. Vitillo, welcome more than 80,000 internally displaced persons, to whom Caritas is providing assistance. However, he concluded, "the complex environment makes this emergency work very difficult". Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100