Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Judge Says Father Can Take Daughter to Catholic Mass
- Relief Groups Get Moving as China Quake Toll Passes 600
- Cuba: Wife and Children of Imprisoned Pastor Evicted
- North Korea Freedom Week Begins Next Sunday
Judge Says Father Can Take Daughter to Catholic Mass
Religion News Service reports that a Chicago man will be allowed to take his 3-year-old daughter to Catholic Mass, despite protests from the girl's Jewish mother. The girl's parents, Joseph Reyes and Rebecca Reyes, were married for six years before their marriage fell apart. Joseph Reyes had converted to Judaism when the child was born, and the parents agreed to raise the girl Jewish. After the couple separated, Reyes returned to his Catholic roots and told reporters he never agreed to raise his daughter in the Jewish faith. The girl's mother filed for a restraining order after Joseph Reyes had the 3-year-old baptized in the Catholic Church, without the mother's knowledge. Judge Renee Goldfarb's 30-page decision lifted the restraining order and granted the father visitation rights, which included the right to take his daughter to church and spend time with her on Easter and Christmas.
Relief Groups Get Moving as China Quake Toll Passes 600
The Christian Post reports that Christian relief groups are making their way to China's remote Qinghai province to respond to the area's deadly earthquakes. On Tuesday, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershocks killed at least 600 people and injured an estimated 9,000 people. Development group World Vision dispatched a team of three aid workers from Beijing on Thursday, who reported that shelter and warm clothing are key concerns. Temperatures in the area have hovered around freezing. "Based what we learn on the ground, we will be moving quickly to meet the needs of children, particularly to help them establish a normal routine again and stay clear of dangerous rubble," reported Meimei Leung, leader of World Vision's assessment team. "Local government is rushing to save people. Casualties are not clear," an official said. "Since the earthquake and many aftershocks have endangered the local Changu Reservoir, people are evacuating to the mountain."
Cuba: Wife and Children of Imprisoned Pastor Evicted
Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that Cuban authorities have delivered documents to the wife of imprisoned Pastor Omar Gude Perez notifying her that the family home is to be confiscated. The family will be relocated to a significantly smaller apartment in poor condition outside of the city of Camaguey. Kenia, the pastor's wife, has told officials that she and her children will not leave the home voluntarily. She has called on the international community to actively monitor the family's situation. Government officials have been threatening the family with eviction since last July, when Pastor Gude Perez was sentenced to a six years and seven months in prison. The official reason given for the confiscation of the family home and their relocation is "illicit gain." However, Kenia has been informed repeatedly by the authorities that she is being punished for continuing to inform international outlets about the human rights violations the family has suffered.
North Korea Freedom Week Begins Next Sunday
ASSIST News Service reports that North Korea Freedom Week will kick off on April 25 to promote the freedom, human rights, and dignity of the North Korean people. The event, organized by the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC) annually since 2004 in Washington, D.C., will be held for the first time in Seoul, South Korea. North Korean defectors, South Korean leaders and activists are organizing exhibits, a major rally, seminars, press conferences, prayer vigils and other events all focused on highlighting the misery the Kim Jong-il regime has inflicted on the people of North Korea, as well as citizens of South Korea, Japan and other countries. "With the increasing ability for North Koreans to learn about the outside world, it is fitting that North Korea Freedom Week will be held in South Korea for the first time," said Kim Seung Min of Free North Korea Radio.