Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Guatemala Faces Twin Disasters over Weekend
- Christians Fight against Human Trafficking ahead of World Cup
- Church Bodies Voice Concern for Detained Madagascar Christians
- China: Estimated 3 Million Babies Hidden Each Year
Guatemala Faces Twin Disasters over Weekend
ASSIST News Service reports that Guatemala has been hit with a double disaster, as the Pacaya volcano erupted May 27, and Hurricane Agatha hit the Guatemala coast 24 hours later. The rains, in particular, have brought mudslides and road wash-outs that have resulted in nearly 100 deaths in Central America, primarily in Guatemala. The New Life Children's Home, located just 8 miles north of the volcano, immediately began to receive a hail of small rocks and ash after the eruption. Agatha was dissipating over the mountains of western Guatemala, a day after it made landfall as a tropical storm near the nation's border with Mexico with winds up to 45 mph. The rains, however, continued as the rivers continued to rise and word filtered out from isolated areas of more deaths in landslides. A major concern is that the rains mixing with the lava ash may form a mud almost as strong as cement, which will seriously complicate clean-up efforts.
Christians Fight against Human Trafficking ahead of World Cup
Christian Today reports that human rights watchdogs fear a large spike in human trafficking as the World Cup draws nearer, estimating that anywhere between 40,000 and 100,000 people may be trafficked for the event. South African President Zuma has even warned parents to keep close tabs on their children during the event to prevent potential kidnappings. "Not all parents and care-givers will be able to align their vacation with that of the extended school vacation. We urge parents to take extra care and ensure that their children are supervised and provided with guidance at all times," he said. "Children wandering alone in shopping malls and football stadiums will be vulnerable to people with evil intentions."
Church Bodies Voice Concern for Detained Madagascar Christians
The Christian Post reports that two church alliances are calling international attention to eight Christian journalists and radio technicians detained in Madagascar. The heads of World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM) issued a letter saying, "We support the prophetic voices seeking to bring justice and reconciliation in Madagascar today." They added, "These journalists must be given full protection while under arrest and allowed a fair and free hearing." Madagascar's Highest Transitional Authority (HAT) arrested the eight for allegedly endangering the internal security of the state and participating in a failed mutiny by inciting the public. Supporters say the group and the church-supported station they worked for were only reporting the facts.
China: Estimated 3 Million Babies Hidden Each Year
A researcher says that China's one-child policy has resulted in three million babies being hidden in the country each year, according to The Daily Telegraph. The policy is enforced via large fines and prison terms, sometimes even forced abortions and sterilizations. Liang Zhongtang, a demographer and former member of the expert committee of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, says that many people are flouting the policy anyway. He says the discrepancy is obvious is China's census. "In 1990, the national census recorded 23 million births. But by the 2000 census, there were 26 million 10-year-olds, an increase of three million," he said. "What happens is that the unplanned baby girls usually do not get registered with the authorities when they are born," he added.