VATICAN – To Fides readers

Vatican City – At the beginning of the new year, our Agency presents its new website, which aims to make information more accessible and useful to those who want to expand their interests on the wide horizons of humanity.
This was a need much felt by the entire editorial staff, in order to reach a vast category of men and women from all continents, in eight languages in which the Agency publishes its news.
We are aware that ours is a service goes beyond the vast confines of the Church, and that affects humanity, because all that is human – said Blessed Paul VI – interests us.

ASIA/LEBANON – The President of Caritas Lebanon: the Maronite Church supports any serious attempt to get out of the institutional crisis

Beirut – The Maronite Church “does not support a presidential candidate over another, but is in favor of any serious solution to enable the Country to emerge from the institutional paralysis and finally elect a new President. In this perspective, the news of an agreement between Geagea and Aoun is seen as positive”. This is how Fr. Paul Karam, President of Caritas Lebanon, outlines the attitude of the Maronite Church community in front of the new political scenario in the Country after the leader of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, announced the availability of his political formation to support the candidacy of former General Michel Aoun, his longtime rival, at the office of President of the Lebanese Republic .
Geagea’s political move is revolutionizing the system of alliances and conflicts that have long characterized the political landscape of Lebanon, and brought the Country to the institutional paralysis that has blocked the election of a new President for 18 months. “Of course”, adds Fr. Karam “the Church positively looks at the fact that forces and Christian political leaders in contrast agree to reconstruct the political framework and solve the Country’s problems. We now need to see if this attempt will produce concrete results or find insurmountable opposition. But overall, the rapprochement between Geagea and Aoun has spread a sense of novelty throughout the Country, in the hope that it will help bring the Country out of serious institutional crisis”.
Michel Aoun is 82 years old. In the delicate institutional system of Lebanon, the President of the Republic is reserved to a Maronite Christian. Maronite Patriarch Boutros Bechara Rai is now in Italy, where he continues to closely follow the developments of the political situation in Lebanon.

AFRICA/DR CONGO – Minors exploited for the extraction of cobalt

Kinshasa – Thousands of children who live in extreme poverty continue to be abused and exploited in exchange for a paltry remuneration. We are talking about children who are employed in the mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo to extract cobalt useful for the construction of lithium batteries. The children work in dangerous conditions. According to a recent report by Amnesty International and Afrewatch, cobalt is used by multinational companies for smartphone and tablet batteries.