Displaying items by tag: Asia
The Pentagon believes Chinese space activities present growing threats to US and global security. Chinese and Russian military doctrines indicate they view space as critical to modern warfare and the use of counter space capabilities as a means of reducing US military effectiveness and winning future wars. China is developing electronic warfare capabilities to jam satellites and probably intends to develop additional weapons that could destroy satellites. Given the chance, China will move ahead to use space to dominate not only the US but also the rest of the planet. Many believe defense budget cuts or flatlines in the military should be regarded as suicidal. Shortly after becoming president Xi Jinping said, ‘Developing the space program and turning the country into a space power is the space dream that we have continuously pursued. The space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger. China aims to become the world's leading space power by 2045.’
On 11 May four Christian farmers from the remote village of Kalimago, Poso regency, were murdered by five sword-wielding attackers. The terrorists ambushed a group of farmers who were harvesting their coffee plantation. The victims were aged between 42 and 61. A fellow-farmer saw the suspects carrying firearms and sharp weapons approach the victims before he fled and informed the police, who later said the witness identified one attacker as a fugitive and a member of the IS-linked Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) terrorist group. The attack was motivated by robbery and to terrorise local residents. One of the victims was decapitated in this particularly brutal attack. In November, the same Sulawesi-based terrorist group burned down a Salvation Army church and Christian homes, and hacked four Christians to death and beheaded one. The authorities have not been able to capture the fugitives despite months of efforts.
Hospitals rely on daily oxygen deliveries, but they are constantly sending desperate messages for extra supplies. A doctor described the situation: ‘Once you've emptied your main tank, there is nothing to fall back on’. Delhi is running out of cremation space for Covid dead. Pyres burn in families’ gardens. One doctor says hospital patients dying without oxygen prevents him sleeping: ‘I should be concentrating on treating my patients, not running around to get oxygen.’ Many hospitals face the same ordeal. Federal officials reported ‘no shortage of oxygen’, and say the challenge has come from transportation. People are paying a price for political wrangling between the state and federal governments. The price is their life. In November a parliamentary standing committee on health warned of inadequate oxygen supplies and ‘grossly inadequate’ government hospital beds. On 5 May the Supreme Court decided against immediately punishing Indian officials for failing to end an erratic supply. However, significant amounts of oxygen and ventilators are now reaching India from Europe and the USA.
45 people were crushed to death and over 150 sustained injuries in Israel’s deadliest civilian disaster when a stampede broke out at a densely-attended celebration. Search and rescue authorities struggled to evacuate trapped people after some revellers slipped on steps, causing dozens more to fall over and be crushed. The police commissioner said the handling of the site was deeply flawed. On 3 May the Knesset held a memorial for the 45 victims of the Meron disaster. Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the special session. He was moved by his hospital visit to the injured, saying that Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike, have shown mutual responsibility and a huge heart in their response to the tragedy. ‘The families are not alone, and this is the most important thing.’ He vowed that the government would help them. and the incident would be investigated from every angle.
Two and a half years after Chinese authorities arrested Pastor Wang Yi and over a hundred members of Early Rain Church, the congregation is still being harassed for following Christ. Last November elder Yangquan Li was detained for worshiping online from his home; local officials cut off his utilities and internet service. His landlord was also forced to evict him and his family, and they are now closely monitored by police. They are asking Christians to pray for them and for the church. ‘We pray that we depend on God when we lack, because apart from Him we have no good thing’, Yangquan said. ‘We pray God makes us put our trust in Him at this difficult time. We pray the Holy Spirit fills us to respond to our situation with gentleness and respect.’ Despite ongoing persecution, our Christian brothers and sisters in China continue to share the gospel with their neighbours.
Harrowing scenes from India have shocked the world, as it struggles with soaring Covid cases. But the outbreak isn't just India’s crisis - it's a crisis for everyone. ‘Viruses don’t respect borders, nationalities, age, sex or religion; what’s playing out now unfortunately has been played out in other countries’, said the World Health Organisation's chief scientist. We can pray for travel restrictions, multiple tests and quarantine to prevent infections leaking out and for enough vaccines to be available across the nation. Pray for misinformation and mistrust to be replaced by trust and positive take up of Immunisation. Dr Jeff Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative, said, ‘The higher the number of cases a country has, the more likely new variants will emerge. Every single infection gives the virus a chance to evolve.’ A major concern is that mutations could arise, rendering vaccines ineffective. Pray for God to give medics stamina and hope as they double down on hospital care and vaccination.
In 1915 two million Armenians lived in Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000. Successive regimes deny that there was such a thing as an Armenian genocide. Turkey now appears intent on reigniting the hatred by helping Azerbaijan wage war on Armenia in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, which erupted into armed conflict in late 2020. Turkish mercenaries and their Azerbaijani partners have ISIS-like behavior. They tortured beyond recognition an intellectually disabled 58-year-old Armenian woman before murdering her. Her family identified her by her clothes. When a random pedestrian was asked, ‘If you could get away with one thing, what would you do?’ She looked at the video camera and smiled saying, ‘What would I do? Behead twenty Armenians.’ 24 April was Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, marking the start of the period in which Ottoman Turks massacred 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. On 27 April that Turkey said relations with the US had sunk to a new low after Joe Biden formally acknowledged that Armenians suffered genocide 100 years ago.
Japan’s government declared a third state of emergency due to rising Covid infections just three months before hosting the 32nd Olympic Games. Documents released on 28 April introduce new Covid restrictions and requirements ahead of the Olympics, with guidelines that limit participants’ movement and require more testing. Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access said, ‘The government wants to quickly eliminate the rapid increase of new cases with new strands of viruses. We are quite behind with vaccinating the people. We didn’t come up with vaccines of our own, so we depend on US production. Different simulations have been done, and we probably will not be able to finish vaccinating people over 65 before the Olympics are supposed to start.’ One third of Japanese people want to postpone the Olympics for another year; another one third want to cancel it, and the rest want to go ahead after already postponing for a year.
On 16 April Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights, published the following: ‘His wife’s picket at the Chinese consulate in Almaty got so much attention that the CCP decided to give up, and set her husband free after 17 years of detention. Those who insist that picketing and protesting outside Chinese embassies and consulates is a waste of time were proved wrong in Kazakhstan.’ An amazing Kazakh woman from Xinjiang who had picketed the Chinese consulate in Almaty achieved the return of her husband Rakhizhan Zeinolla. He had been arrested without evidence when he went to Xinjiang from Kazakhstan, and kept in jail for 13 years. Then he was put into a camp, and later was under house arrest.
The UK has been in Afghanistan since 2001, with over 450 troops dying during the conflicts with the Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. Defence secretary Ben Wallace said they now plan to ‘drawdown’ the number of troops from next month. Confirming the planned departure of forces, he also warned any attacks on existing troops would be ‘met with a forceful response’. The US has said it will withdraw all forces by 11 September, and NATO confirmed allies would begin withdrawing troops from 1 May. Pray that the patchwork of multiple different competing tribal leaders agree to negotiate territory boundaries and not revert to the violent clashes seen in the past. Pray that the fragile government will successfully prevent chaos in parts of Afghanistan currently strongholds for terrorists. Pray that future negotiations between the government and Taliban will lead to meaningful reductions in violence once foreign troops are out of the equation.