The month of September 2017 will not be easy to forget for the Mexican people. Two earthquakes which struck just 12 days apart, on 7 and 19 September, left thousands of families torn apart, 471 people dead and over 12 million otherwise affected. Most victims were in the city of Mexico itself, but there were also many in other states, such as Cuernavaca, Oaxaca and Puebla. We still retain vivid memories of buildings collapsing like a house of cards, of roads and bridges destroyed – and at the same time we recall the solidarity shown by this country in drawing on all it's resources and tirelessly searching for survivors amid the ruins.

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MEXICO / TUXTLA GUTIERREZ
Repair of the mother house, the juniorado and the chapel
after the earthquake of September 2017.
Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Archbishop Hindo to ACN: “The plan to oust Christians from the region is being executed.”

“For years I have been saying that the Kurds are trying to eliminate the Christian presence in this part of Syria,” the Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnam Hindo of Al Hasakah-Nisibi, which is located in the northeastern part of Syria, explained. In an interview with the pontifical foundation, he confirmed the closure of several Christian schools through the Democratic Federation of North Syria, a de facto autonomous region located in northern and northeastern Syria.

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Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnam Hindo celebrating Mass.
ACN has been supporting Syrian Christians during this time of persecution in their country.

Bishops and experts comment on the nature and implications of the recent currency devaluation

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Just days after the introduction of the new economic measures by the government of Nicolás Maduro on 17 August this year, there is a sense of complete confusion and helplessness in Venezuelan society, both among the larger economic concerns and among the ordinary small traders.

The effects of the new measures are by no means clear, nor indeed is their practical implementation. The government has stated that it will cover the extra financial charges on the private sector for the first 90 days, but it doesn’t say how it will do so. It has also promised that it will not apply the new rate of VAT – which has increased from 12% to 16% – to foods and medicines. However the Official Gazette which has been published states that the tax will be a general one and makes no mention of any such exemptions.

What seems certain is that the new measures will lead to a savage increase in inflation, and in consequence to still more poverty and hunger for the ordinary people. The 60-fold increase in the national minimum wage, which has also been announced, is so enormous that it is feared that many companies and small businesses, which are already struggling to survive, will be forced either to close or to sack a large part of their workforce.

ACN 20180706 73221The Fiji Archipelago in the southern Pacific is a renowned destination for divers and tourists, above all from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Its capital city, Suva, is also the commercial and political centre of Fiji. However, what few people realise is that parts of this seeming earthly paradise are in danger of extinction. Maria Lozano spoke to Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva, on the Fiji Islands, during his visit to the central headquarters of the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the consequences of climate change for his country and the sufferings of the Fijian people.

 ACN to present the Church as the “Family of Families” at the World Meeting of Families

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The Charity and Pontifical Foundation is helping families from different parts of the world take part in the Dublin meeting.

From 21 to 26 August thousands of people will be descending on Dublin, Ireland to take part in the World Meeting of Families sponsored by the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life.

The event will include a three-day congress with a varied programme for young people and adults. The international Catholic charity ACN will be involved, organising two meetings which will highlight the experiences, hopes and challenges facing families in such widely differing countries as Russia, Kenya and the Congo (on 22 August, Hall 3, at 7 p.m. and on 23 August, in Hall 8B, at 7 p.m.)

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