Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Violence In Oaxaca, Mexico, Forces Missionary Evacuation
- Marriage Amendments Seven for Eight on Election Day
- OBI and Humedica to Bring Medical Relief to over 35,000 Refugees in Darfur
- Iraqi Bishop Calls for Christian Gathering
Violence In Oaxaca, Mexico, Forces Missionary Evacuation
Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries were forced to evacuate the city of Oaxaca in southern Mexico Friday, Nov. 3, following the escalation of conflict between Mexican federal police and protestors demanding the removal of Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz. A story released by Evangelical News and reported on ASSIST News Service says that he is accused of rigging the 2004 election in his favor. At least eight people have died in the violence, most of them protestors who were shot by the police or armed gangs. At least one short-term Covenant missionary left Oaxaca by airplane at noon Nov. 3 on the last flight to leave before the airport was officially closed. Missionaries Cindy Hoover and Jo Ellen Reeves were driving north toward Puebla around 1 p.m. on Nov.3. Federal police had secured the highway leading north out of Oaxaca Wednesday evening. Short-term missionary Laura Rodriguez left Oaxaca by airplane at noon on that same today – the last flight to leave before the airport was officially closed. The story went on to say that Leah Sander, daughter of Covenant missionaries Gary and Mary Lou Sander, has been studying in Oaxaca in a program with the University of California-Davis. She had already left Oaxaca with the study group two days ago and is reported safe.
Marriage Amendments Seven for Eight on Election Day
Voters have approved "defense of marriage" amendments in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But it appears Arizona is the first of more than two dozen states that have considered such measures to defeat a move to constitutionally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. AgapePress reports that on Election Day two years ago, ballot measures amending state constitutions to protect traditional marriage made a clean sweep, passing in 11 states. That brought to 20 the total number of states taking it upon themselves to define marriage as a heterosexual relationship, effectively banning same-sex "marriage" in those states. Seven of the eight states considering similar initiatives on Election Day 2006 followed suit, with victories ranging from a 80-20 margin in Tennessee to a relatively close 52-48 margin in South Dakota.
OBI and Humedica to Bring Medical Relief to over 35,000 Refugees in Darfur
As militia groups intensify their attacks on villages throughout Sudan, the crowded Otash refugee camp is undergoing a surge of new arrivals – and with it – a burgeoning health crisis. Every day, trucks arrive with an average of 300 people crammed on board, mostly women and children, to the 15,000-person Otash camp on the outskirts of Nyala, South Darfur. Upon arrival, the survivors are dependent upon the NGOs that run the camp to provide their basic needs of food, water, and shelter. However, with the current rate of influx, camps are falling short in resources, and health and hygiene standards are almost nonexistent. Already, OBI and German partner, Humedica, have made a huge impact on the health conditions at the Al Salaam and El Sheriff camps, stabilizing outbreaks of chronic diseases, wiping out birth mortality rates, and providing primary healthcare to over 25,000 refugees. Now, they are extending their relief efforts to reach the 15,000-person Otash camp through the construction of a permanent medical clinic that will serve an anticipated 25,000 refugees.
Iraqi Bishop Calls for Christian Gathering
The Archbishop of Kirkuk, Mgr Louis Sako, told AsiaNews a meeting needed to be held urgently regarding drawing a “common line” about conditions and problems of Christians in Iraq, “uniting demands” for political and civil rights and duties, researching “development projects” for villages in a bid to contain growing emigration. The possibility of creating a new “administrative region” around the northern province of Nineveh is being discussed more and more, recently winning the support of the US Church. Such a region would be directly linked to the central government of Baghdad and would aim to offer Christians more security and control over their activities.