Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Christians Reach Out after Tornado Devastates Joplin
- Harold Camping Announces New Rapture Date
- Four Eritreans Murdered in Tunisian Refugee Camp
- Rights Abuses Continue in Myanmar
Christians Reach Out after Tornado Devastates Joplin
Churches and Christian relief groups have already arrived in Joplin, Missouri, to assist with cleanup after a massive tornado cut the city in half. The tornado, which measured half a mile across, destroyed swaths of businesses and homes and killed at least 117 people. Christian Today reports that four feeding stations capable of serving thousands of meals and drinks have been set up by The Salvation Army in affected areas of the city, home to 50,000 residents. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response Team is assessing needs on the ground together with Samaritan’s Purse. “We are praying for area residents, that they will experience the presence and care of Christ in the midst of these storms,” Preston Parrish, executive vice president of ministries at BGEA. The ministry plans to move in basic necessities. The Missouri Baptist Convention is also coordinating with its local churches to help provide relief.
Harold Camping Announces New Rapture Date
ASSIST News Services reports that Family Radio head and broadcaster Harold Camping isn't exactly reneging on his idea of the Rapture, even though his predicted date of May 21, 2011, has passed. Instead, the 89-year-old has come out with a new date for the Rapture. Speaking on a live Open Forum, broadcast on Family Radio in Oakland, the preacher says his prophecy that the world would end was “off by five months” because “Judgment Day” actually will now come on Monday, October 21, 2011. Camping, who publically predicted the end of the world was to come this past Saturday, defended his claims despite the event not happening. “On May 21 this last weekend...God again brought Judgment on the world," he said. "We didn't feel any difference, but we know that God brought Judgment” on the world. “The whole world is under Judgment.”
Four Eritreans Murdered in Tunisian Refugee Camp
Four Eritrean refugees were burnt to death and one was critically injured after their tents were deliberately set on fire at a Tunisian refugee camp. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports the camp is close to the Libyan border. Ibrahim Suleman Ahmed, Ahmed Mohamed Saleh, Jamie Mohamed and Saleh Ismail had recently fled Libya, and were waiting to be resettled in a safe third country by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Two Sudanese refugees have been arrested in connection with the May 22 deaths and remanded in custody. Tensions between Sudanese and Eritreans refugees in the camp have repeatedly resulted in physical altercations, but this is the first time the feud has resulted in murder.
Rights Abuses Continue in Myanmar
The government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is supposed to be in the final stage of its seven-stop roadmap to democracy. However, UN Special Rapporteur and human rights lawyer Tomas Ojea Quintana has data to show that Myanmar is still a long way from upholding basic human rights. In his report, Quintana said, “My findings... are that the situation of ethnic minority groups in border areas presents serious limitations to the government’s intention to transition to democracy. Violence continues in many of these areas. Systematic militarization contributes to human rights abuses. These abuses include land confiscation, forced labor, internal displacement, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence. They are widespread... and they remain essentially unaddressed by the authorities.” According to UCA News, Myanmar is the only country where the government is directly responsible for forced labor and many other rights violations.