Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Group: China Fails to Improve Human Rights in 2008
- Pace of Bible Translation Reaches New Highs, Translators Say
- New Kyrgyzstan Law to Restrict Religious Activity
- Public Health Ministry Serves Rural Ghana
Group: China Fails to Improve Human Rights in 2008
The Associated Press reports that the Olympic Games did nothing to spread freedoms in China, according to a democracy watchdog organization. The Washington, D.C.-based Freedom House released its 2009 "Freedom in the World" report on Tuesday, and called China's progress "disappointing" after the country's many public promises to improve prior to the Olympic Games. "There were restrictions on Internet access even after there was some opening of that when the Games first began, and ... a lot of attacks and incidents of foreign journalists arrested," Asia researcher Sarah Cook said. "Meanwhile, local journalists continue to face a very difficult environment, including arrests."
Pace of Bible Translation Reaches New Highs, Translators Say
Mission News Network reports that Bible translation projects are at an all time high. "We are participating in the greatest acceleration of the pace of Bible translation the church has ever witnessed. We're actually seeing, in reality, more translation programs being started today than we've ever seen in the history of the church," says President of Wycliffe Bible Translators Bob Creson. He said that Wycliffe is on target to have Bible translation projects underway in every known language that does not yet have the Bible in their native tongue by the year 2025. That means approximately 2,250 projects to go. Yet Creson is optimistic despite the global economic upheaval. "I think the work of Bible translation is one of those things that just transcend all these things that are going on around us," he said.
New Kyrgyzstan Law to Restrict Religious Activity
The Associated Press (AP) reports that a restrictive new religion bill officially took effect Monday, when Kyrgyzstan's President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed it into law. The law drew international attention for its repressive measures on religious meetings, distribution of religious literature, and missionary activity. The law also disbands private religious schools, while upholding religious education in public schools. The Spiritual Administration of Muslims and the Russian Orthodox Church, Kyrgyzstan's biggest religions, both supported the measure. Provisions in this law "contradict not only Kyrgyzstan's constitution but also the country's international human rights commitments in the area of religion," Felix Corley of the Norway-based Forum 18 religious rights organization told the AP.
Public Health Ministry Serves Rural Ghana
Missionary Cherry Faile smiles when she hears villagers singing songs in the Manpruli language about how to properly nurse children or cook nutritious meals, Baptist Press reports. Faile's public health programs extends beyond urgent care to educating the masses, most of whom still live in mud huts and have little formal education. From the clinic, which villagers helped build, public health workers make rounds on motorbikes three times a week, traveling on dusty, dirt roads to villages as much as two hours away. They carry all the vaccinations, basic first aid and prenatal care kits they can manage. According to the World Health Organization, Ghana has about only one doctor for every 6,600 people. By comparison, the United States has about one doctor for every 400 people.