Displaying items by tag: Asia
As Yemen prepares to move forward with a power-sharing government, two explosions at Aden airport were designed to annihilate the new government officials disembarking from their plane. Saudi Arabia had brokered a peace deal between Houthi rebels (controlling much of northern Yemen) and the Yemeni government. The explosions also threatened the UN effort for a nationwide cease-fire to prevent the coronavirus spreading. It did not injure any of the new cabinet, but killed 26 people and injured 50 more; the death toll is expected to climb as more victims succumb to their injuries. The government had just forged an alliance with southern separatists. This latest attack threatens a very tenuous situation plagued by years of war and hunger. An explosion was also heard at the presidential palace where cabinet members, the prime minister, and the Saudi ambassador had been taken for safety. Pray for officials to apprehend all those responsible, and for a successful resolution of the conflict between the Hadi government and Houthi rebels.
A little child - a long walk - a rocky road - no shoes - twice a day - five times a week. This is life for thousands of Indonesian Christian children because their parents cannot afford shoes. The more fortunate children have jepit (meaning pinch sandals because they must be gripped by toes). Not easy walking over rough ground, and not healthy for young growing feet. Christians asked Barnabas to provide proper school shoes for them. A local Christian shoe company is providing shoes at a 67% discount. This Christmas the children, who walk every day for miles in bare feet, will receive a gift of school shoes thanks to many generous donations.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are common and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Imran was falsely accused of blasphemy and imprisoned for life. On 15 December the Lahore High Court acquitted him and released him, after he had spent over ten years in prison. The development came as a shock to Imran’s family. ‘It is a day of resurrection for us’, Naveed Masih, Imran’s brother, said. ‘God has heard our cry and we are very thankful to Him. It’s a Christmas gift for us.’
Beijing and New Delhi have long been at loggerheads over a disputed border in the Himalayan mountains (see ) This led to massive skirmishes earlier this year. The two Asian powers are battling it out over water. China will build a hydroelectric project in one of the largest rivers in the world, which Indians call the Brahmaputra River. After Beijing announced its biggest hydropower project in history, New Delhi said that its aggressive plans could have major implications for India's food and water security, and would give China power to use waterways as a ‘weapon.’ Indian officials are now considering a rival water project in the same waters, from Arunachal Pradesh to Bangladesh. Analysts say that things could quickly spiral out of control because the two powers have not honoured a water-sharing agreement, which usually governs plans and discussions surrounding new water projects.
Last week we prayed for change and the need for reforms to alter the way Turkey polices, prosecutes, judges, and imprisons its residents. Almost all Kurdish mayors have been replaced by government-appointed administrators. Judges whose verdicts disagree with government diktats are probed and often punished. 63,014 people were prosecuted for insulting President Erdoğan between 2014 and 2019; 9,554 of them were sentenced. A political analyst said Erdoğan's reform program survived only nine days, and his charm offensive is fake and is too little too late. He wants Turkey to continue as a third-world democracy while hoping to lure foreign investment on the same terms as a Western democracy, but investors are leaving. The economy is in freefall, with double-digit inflation and central bank interest rates up to 15%, while unemployment rises sharply. Erdogan promises to democratise, hoping to reverse the economic downfall, but that will not happen without real reforms.
On 2 December. the 23rd Knesset came one key step closer to being dispersed, but it must still pass three more readings before a new national vote is called. Opposition leader Yair Lapid said, ‘I call upon the Knesset to vote in favour of this bill, to disperse and let the people of Israel choose a government that genuinely cares about them.’ Lapid said his bill was not intended to be ‘just another round of 'anyone but Bibi,’ aimed at defeating Netanyahu. He said the bill was being presented ‘because it's time to end that focus and ‘the anger and the hatred and the terrible mismanagement and the politics that are destroying our country and won't end as long as he's there’. Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said that Netanyahu needed to leave office due to his criminal cases, and he would have already left had Blue and White listened to his office and not joined the government.
On 27 November, around 7:30 am, Nei was having breakfast with her husband, Yasa, and saw about ten unknown people visiting Naka, at a nearby house. Soon after that terrorists Ali Kalora and Jaka Ramadan entered the house and took Yasa and Nei outside. Yasa was tied up, stabbed in the back, then decapitated with a machete. One of the terrorists, near Yasa’s house, gave a signal to villagers to flee, allowing several witnesses and children to escape. Naka and his son Pedi were set on fire, as was their house and eight other homes. Terrorists also torched the Salvation Army house of worship. Another Christian, Pinu, was stabbed to death. Approximately 750 people fled their homes after the attack. Police suspect militants with allegiance to IS carried out the violence, as the leader of the outlawed group was seen at the scene of the crime.
The police forces in Turkey’s Kurdish region resemble occupying armies. Government-appointed mayors, police brutality and armies of imams have altered society’s fabric. Allegations against Special Forces of rape and sexual harassment are ignored. If such accusations are publicised, officials will dismiss it as affairs between soldiers and girls who want to marry them. A former mayor commented, ‘It is better that they are involved in prostitution than protesting the government.’ A young Kurd who photographed a policeman killing an innocent Kurd in 2017 now faces twenty years in prison, while the policeman goes unpunished. Also recently hundreds of army officers, pilots and civilians were jailed for life for taking part in the 2016 attempted coup to overthrow President Erdoğan. The acquittal of the police officer and the hundreds jailed comes when Erdogan is trying to attract foreign investors. Even the simplest reforms would demand drastically altering the way Turkey polices, prosecutes, judges, and imprisons its residents. See
India has made ’impressive gains’ in its fight against malaria. The number of cases and deaths caused by the mosquito-borne disease has seen a marked drop, according to the WHO. From nearly 20 million cases in 2000, there were just 5.6 million in 2019. In the past two years India has reduced cases by 18% and deaths by 20%. Malaria is now limited to some hilly parts of India, with most of the districts able to reduce it to almost nil. While nearly a billion Indians live in malaria-endemic areas, 80% of cases are reported by just 20% of the population living in the forest-fringe, tribal, and foothills hard-to-reach areas of the country. The people in these places have low awareness of disease prevention and access to health care. India’s prime minister has pledged to eradicate malaria by 2030.
A rare insight into the persecution endured by Christians living under the totalitarian North Korean regime has been given by Sookyung Kang, a Christian who fled her homeland to be able to worship freely without risking her life. She said, ‘The regime tries to control people by idolising and divinising the leaders. I believe the Gospel gives freedom to everyone. But the regime takes away freedom and won’t allow people to think freely.’ North Korea has set up ‘quarantine camps’ for Covid-19 patients, where they are deprived of food and medicine, causing many to die of starvation. Some believers have been executed simply for owning a Bible. Tens of thousands of Christians - sometimes entire families - have been incarcerated in labour camps where they are abused, tortured and worked to death.