July 3, 2015

LIBERIA: Country Confirms Re-emergence of Ebola


MONROVIA JULY 03, 2015 (CISA) – Liberia confirmed a third Ebola case on July 2, nearly two months after it was declared Ebola free.

The new cases were registered in the same village of Nedowein, located 40 km south from the capital Monrovia with officials saying they were investigating whether the disease had spread through animals before resurfacing.

World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia “Ebola-free” on May 9 but on 21 June 28 a 17-year-old boy fell ill and died after testing positive to the killer disease. On July 1, Deputy Health Minister, Tolbert Nyenswah confirmed a second case, reported Reuters.

“The two (latest) live cases are 24 years old and 27 years old. They are stable,” Nyenswah said on July 2 while confirming the third case adding. “There is no further spread of the virus to any part of the country as we speak.”

“There is no need to panic. Our health team is on top of it. It will be contained,” said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf following the announcement.

None of the new victims is known to have travelled to Guinea or Sierra Leone, and Nedowein is far from the borders, leading to speculation that there could be hidden pockets of the virus or new means of transmission.

According to the latest WHO report, on June 28, the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, has so far resulted in 27,514 cases and 11,120 deaths. The highest number was recorded in Sierra Leone (13,119) while Liberia, worst hit by the West African outbreak last year accounts for more than 4,800 of the 11,220 deaths.

Separately, Democratic Republic of Congo, which has periodic Ebola flare-ups, is investigating a possible outbreak in a village. (13)views


NEW YORK: Christians continue to be Persecuted in Africa, Nuncio to Kenya and S Sudan says


ALBANY, JULY 03, 2015 (CISA) – “Recent events that have taken place in different parts of Africa show that there are still men and women who continue to bear witness to their faith in God by offering their very lives,” Archbishop Charles Balvo, Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan said June 29.

He was speaking during a prayer service organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York’s Office of Black Ministry at Holy Family Church, the National Catholic Reporter reported.
The event drew attention to the ongoing persecution and killing of Christians in Africa.

Archbishop Balvo said that in the few years he has lived in Nairobi, he has learned of other names that can be added to the list of those African men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in the profession of their faith in Christ.

“The list should include Blessed Isidore, Bakanja, Daudi Okelo, Jildo Irwa and Anuarite Nengapeta, all of whom were killed for their beliefs,” he said.

He went ahead to mention more recent martyrs who included, the Kenyan bus passengers, most of whom were teachers, and quarry workers, who died in a terrorist attack last year; nearly 150 students shot at Garissa University College; and the Coptic Christians in Libya, who were first kidnapped and then put to death last February.

“The modern martyrs of Africa may seem weak in the eyes of their persecutors but, like those who have gone before them, by their suffering and death they show forth and make manifest the power of God,” said the Archbishop.

He noted that the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri in Kenya is beginning the process of recognizing more than 70 martyrs from the Mau MauUprising, a military conflict in Kenya during the 1950s.
The Archbishop added that those who suffered from anti-Christian violence in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries should also be remembered in prayers.

He concluded by saying that recent African martyrs as well as those from past ages “give us a timeless example of faith, a faith that does not fail” and plants the seeds for further growth of the Catholic Church. (1)views


BURUNDI: Elections not free and Credible, UN says


BUJUMBURA, JULY 03 2015 (CISA) – UN election observers yesterday termed the June 29 parliamentary elections in Burundi as “not free and credible.”

Elections took place “in a tense political crisis, and a climate of widespread fear and intimidation in parts of the country, Episodes of violence and explosions preceded, and in some cases accompanied Election Day activities, mostly in Bujumbura,” said the UN observers in a nine-page report.

The report came a day after fresh violence left six people dead in Capital Bujumbura, in the opposition stronghold of Citiboke district, an area that has witnessed protests against Nkurunziza’s bid.

Parliamentary elections were held on Mondaydespite an appeal by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to postpone the polls after months of civil unrest.

The UN electoral observer mission said in a report that the results of the parliamentary polls have yet to be released while the United States on Thursday July 2, through US State Department spokesman John Kirby called for presidential elections scheduled for July 15 to be delayed.

He urged the president “to place the welfare of Burundi’s citizens above his own political ambitions and participate in dialogue with the opposition and civil society to identify a peaceful solution to this deepening crisis.”

“This solution should include the delay of theJuly 15 presidential elections until conditions are in place for free, fair and peaceful elections,” Kirby added in a statement.

The report described widespread media restrictions, with journalists targeted for assaults, detentions, attacks and expulsions.

The international community’s attention to Burundi was attracted by Nkurunziza’s bid to run for a third consecutive five-year term, which is unconstitutional and violates a peace accord that ended 13 years of civil war in 2006.

At least 70 people have been killed and more than 147,000 have fled Burundi seeking refuge in neighbouring countries since the eruption of unrest in April. (1)views


Kenya: Catholic Parliamentarian Defends School on Suspension of Students


TAITA-TAVETA, JULY 03 2015 (CISA Hon Thomas Mwadeghu, Chairman of the Catholic Members of Parliament Association has defended Bura Girls High School against allegations of imposing Catholic faith on non- Catholic students.

“All schools have traditions and regulations and the students signed in their admission letters that they will abide by the school rules… I maintain that any student admitted in a Catholic school must abide by the school regulations and traditions,” the Wundanyi Member of Parliament said.

37 students of Bura Girls High School were this week suspended for failing to attend last Sunday’s Mass as dictated in the school rules.
Catholic and Muslim parliamentarians have since disagreed over the suspension of the students with each group taking sides depending on their religious persuasions, reported the Daily Nation on July 2.

Catholic MPs defended the school’s administration while Muslim MPs took the side of the 37 students of the girls’ school located in Taita-Taveta County in the Archdiocese of Mombasa.

Mwadeghu refuted the allegations that non-Catholic students were forced to take the Holy Eucharist.

“The allegation that students are being forced to take the Holy Eucharist is a fabrication by the students and total lies because as Catholics the Holy Eucharist is sacred and non-Catholics are not allowed to take it,” the MP said.

“I have discussed this issue with the principal of the school, the sponsors and the Catholic fathers and have been given a totally different picture of what happened. They said the students were suspended because of indiscipline and not because of religious intolerance,” said Mr Mwadeghu, also the National Assembly minority chief whip.

Mr Mwadeghu urged all the students in the school to obey the school regulations and not expect to receive special treatment. (2)views


KENYA: Kitui Diocese Breaks Ground for Shrine


KITUI JULY 03, 2015 (CISA– The Catholic diocese of Kitui has held a ground breaking ceremony for the Our Lady of Protection Shrine in Museve.

John Cardinal Njue led the ceremony that took place June 27, 2015.

“Our Lady of Protection Shrine in Museve will upon its completion be “a place to encourage prayer and help build people’s faith,” Bishop Anthony Muheria of the Catholic diocese of Kitui said in an interview with CISA.

“The shrine is central and very important to the Church in Kitui,” said the Bishop who is also the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Machakos.

The shrine will not only be an icon of faith but also of care for those in distress.

“Many people in the diocese undergo a lot of suffering and sometimes they don’t know where to take them. The shrine will take them away from superstitious ways to supernatural ways of solving their problems. For us is for the spiritual heart of the diocese,” added the bishop.

“Every Christian is making a contribution according to their affordability but the measure of contribution is a chicken so that everyone can afford. We expect to collect over 1000 chicken from the Christians right now,” he said.

The diocese expects to raise two million with chicken contribution and 10 million from a number of planned fundraising dinners.

The shrine whose construction will happen in three phases and expected to begin at the end of the year, will include a church with a capacity of about 800 people, a square with a capacity of 50,000 people, a prayer trail for conducting rosaries and way of the cross and a nature contemplation trail.

“God willing in four years we should be able to finish the entire project,” concluded Bishop Muheria. (3)views